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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Listen to Me Rant S'More About Transformers

I posted this comment on Firstshowing, an absolutely fantastic movie news website. If you have the time, I highly recommend checking it out. It is so choice.

Without further ado...listen to me essentially compliment Michael Bay's films by insulting his prowess as a filmmaker!

*Additional commentary will be added in [brackets]*

"I don't understand why people praise movies like Piranha 3D for being fun with no plot (humor, sex, violence) while they bash Transformers for that. Despite being a hardcore Transformers fan, when people ask me about the movies, my default response is that they're "fun, but not at all good". And I think that's all that people should expect from a summer blockbuster of this nature. For properties such as DC or Marvel that are based on well written comics, it's fair to assume that the writing in the movie should match the nature and caliber of the comics. [If you were disappointed with Iron Man 2 because it did not match the emotional intensity of the "Demon In A Bottle" arc, fair enough.] However, Transformers has never been about plot or story telling. The rich history and mythology of Transformers developed out of the initial popularity with little children, and later fan nostalgia, not out of genuine goodness. This is a direct quote from the story editors of the 80s series:

"...we feel action should be emphasized over plot—especially avoiding any complicated story lines—to ensure the success of this series with its intended viewers." Intended viewers, of course, being children.

The current Transformers movies, while obviously not entirely appropriate for children, are designed to cater to the child inside of the audience. The Transformers movie franchise is designed to be a good action series, emphasis on action, with plot supplementing, emphasis on supplementing, that action. Autobots and Decepticons fighting each other are a given in the Transformers mythos. There just has to be a setting or plot behind it. The staple of the Transformers multiverse is the fighting (and doing so on Earth for some bizarre reason), not the reason as to why they're fighting. [The plot simply adds a backdrop to the ensuing mayhem, rather than actual substance.] Are they fighting because of some all powerful artifact? Why not? Are they fighting because some cliche, evil, "Judas" character wants to destroy the Earth. Fair enough. Are they fighting because something of significance happened (coincidentally, I'm sure) on our moon? Just roll with it. [A little line that I particularly like is that "you can't lose what you never had". That being said, poor quality Transformers franchises are not a loss.]

What I'm trying to say is that people oughtn't judge the Transformers franchise on the same level that they'd just freaking Citizen Kane (not that I've seen it, I'm 15 for God's sake). The two movies aren't even on the same plane. To put this into a better perspective, people enjoyed Terminator and Aliens (earning them 100% on Rotten Tomatoes) because they were judged as somewhat hokey sci-fi flicks. Granted, I thought them to be damned good sci-fi flicks and definitely are less sloppy than Transformers as a sci-fi flick, I give Transformers the benefit of the doubt because I never entered the theater expecting a grandiose tale of the tragedies of intergalactic war, and the emotional strife of romance, and maturing (both from Shia, and the homeless Autobot vagabonds). I expected what, for the most part, Transformers was created to offer: action, child-friendly characters, and plot holes. In that sense, I was not disappointed.

[Even if you are not a Transformers fan, with a knowledge about the tradition of loopholes and poor story telling, you should have known what (not) to expect when you entered the movie house, especially if you had seen the first movie, or even any of the trailers (which were devoid of plot points).]

So before you wax negative lyrical about Michael Bay films, ask if he delivered what you expected of him, and if he delivered what he wanted to deliver. The critical reviews will answer the former, and the box office count, the latter."

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