Saturday, 27 May 2017

Transformers (2007) - Film Review


*Originally written December 17th, 2016*

Where do I begin with Transformers? One of Michael Bay's best films, which is an achievement. It's not good, it's not terrible, but it is head and shoulders above its soul crushing sequels which get increasingly and absurdly long with each installment.

Transformers hits a certain sweet spot of escapism entertainment. It's stupid, it's overlong, but it is pretty fun for the most part. It knows what it is. It's a film based on toys about robot cars that come to Earth and fight each other. It's never going to be high art, but it can be an entertaining way to kill 140 minutes.

There are certain Bayism's that nearly derail Transformers though. His weird fetishizasion of the US Military and more problematically, his racist portrayal of black people. It is horrendous. Every scene with the military is bursting with cringy humour and slow-motion heroic shots of soldiers. Its... bad.

Optimus Prime
But nowhere near as bad as his depiction of black people. Every single black person in this film is some sort of loud, annoying and obnoxious stereotype. The car dealer is some weird sleazy, fast talking dick who shouts at his grandmother, who is also a sassy black women who gives him the finger. This awful stereotype is copied with one of the few black characters we meet later in the film.

It might be a tad harsh to single out Bay's direction of black people only, because in all honesty, every character is terrible. Megan Fox is one note, there completely to look sexy, but dirty at the same time. Shia LeBeouf and his Witwicky family are some of the most annoying people to grace cinema. I wanted to punch every single one of them in the face. Every scene involving the family is a deeply awkward and unfunny moment that I couldn't wait to end.

I'm sounding very negative about Transformers, but I did enjoy it. It comes into its own when we actually focus on the robots fighting. Which just sounds so childish when I write it, but that's where Transformers shines. Excellent CGI robots that blow eachother up in sparking madness. The entire final act is just pure chaos, and I loved it for that. For a film 9 years old, the special effects still hold up very well and far better than what I remember from certain scenes from 'Age of Extinction'.

Bay is in his element when he doing purely visuals. Transformers is a visually interesting and excellent film. Filled with nice cinematography, a bright colour scheme and some cool looking shots, which is what the film should have been, but instead we have to suffer through horrific characters and terrible writing for a lot of it.

Transformers isn't a great film, it's not even a good film, it's a stupid but fun piece of entertainment that delivers some great and stylish action, but fails on almost every level of storytelling and humour. That said, this is still easily the best film in the series. It's all downhill from here.....

6/10 Dans

Transformers is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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