Less than meets the eye


I am a Transformers fan.

It takes a lot to admit that anymore. That admission comes with a lot more baggage now than it did 10 years ago. It is a bit like being a Los Angeles Clippers fan; things started to get pretty good, but then the guy in charge is super racist1 and is kind of mad that people found out about that and goddammit he’s going to take everyone down with him.

My allegiances lie firmly with Hasbro, who I assume ghostwrote the current movie, as they have since the beginning. I own numerous shape-changing action figures, and will continue to buy them2 because secretly I am a nine year old with no self control. Even my USB drive is Ravage (a knock off, but still).

I write all this to frame my review of Transfomers 4: Hey, Mark Wahlberg! Right?3 It is, in the words of Charles Barkley, T-R-B-L turrible.

(Edit: I wrote this in the few days following the theatrical release, but haven’t had time to publish until now. The review holds up, but some of the references would have made more sense in June. Deal with it lol)

I rewatched the third one, because a) I am a glutton for punishment, b) I’ve already said I am a Transformers fan, and thus own all the movies, and c) because I wanted to confirm the my theory that they are steadily getting worse. I think it holds.

The first one had just enough of Spielberg’s touch to be pretty good. The second one was critically panned, and probably rightfully so, so several actors and writers jumped ship. Seemingly the only goal of the third movie was “don’t be actively racist again”, which they accomplished by killing of Ken Jeong (best character in the movie) before they could do any damage. And for the fourth, they basically took a cookie cutter to the third movie and said LaBeouf, Turturro, Jeong, Patrick Dempsey ==> Wahlberg, Tucci, TJ Miller, Kelsey Grammer4. And DINOSAURS!

Basically, the movie plot can be boiled down to this quote, from the writer of the goddamn movie:

When you’re talking about aliens, robotic machines which disguise themselves as vehicles and animals, you start to make your peace with the idea that logical sense doesn’t have to be the be-all, end-all.

Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but expanding it to include plot and character development is another. “Making the robots the main characters? Allowing natural human interaction? Using the dinosaur robots before the last 15 minutes of a near-three-hour film? Nah, those would make logical sense. Oh, a samurai that transforms into a Bugatti Veyron AND a helicopter? Now you have something. Get Ken Watanabe on the phone.”

My only recourse is to not pay to see the film (which I already did). I can only sit back and watch Michael Bay ruin the rest of my childhood. So, Michael, if you are reading this: STAY AWAY FROM CAPTAIN PLANET. NO. STOP IT.

  1. Michael Bay is not super racist. I’m not saying that. Whoever wrote these jackasses, or Ken Watanabe’s lines in the new film, is secretly racist. Not super racist. 
  2. How can you not want to buy this?  
  3. My love of Mark Wahlberg comes from the fictitious ‘Mark Wahlberg’ character from the podcast Doug Loves Movies. It is the best. It is how I learned that he greenlights the first script given to him every month, and that they used live ammo on Lone Survivor – he only hit 3 extras and a PA. His review of Transformers: “You think it’s 3 hours because it’s bad?” 
  4. Which you would think would be an improvement, right? Not really. 

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