Transformers (2007) movie poster

(2007) dir. Michael Bay
viewed: 07/26/07 at AMC Van Ness 14, SF, CA

Big summer movies and Michael Bay go right hand in hand.  He makes those big action pictures that all seem to have their soundtracks recorded at that Spinal Tap 11 volume level, and he resurrects the blazing guitar solos of the hair metal years to pump up that soundtrack and action.  Things go boom.  A lot.

Actually, as I’ve admitted here many times, I like to go to the summer movies when the spectacles of special effects and sound and noise and action make the frenzy of popular Hollywood all fun and games each year.  Of course, the films are frequently let-downs.  This has been a pretty poor year for the summer movies, too.  The ones that I have seen, Live Free or Die Hard (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), and especially Spider-Man 3 (2007) have all been pretty mediocre, though Die Hard certainly was the best of the bunch.  But there haven’t been any that I’ve really been all that overboard about seeing.  When it comes down to it, Transformers wasn’t exactly the most tantalizing of prospects.  I mean, based on a late-1980’s television/toy line that was only moderately cool but also part of the toy-ification of entertainment.

That said, Transformers had the best trailer that I’d seen for the summer action flicks.  Bay seems to love these slo-mo shots of these giant robots twisting through the air as rockets stream and people leap for safety.  These shots do kind of work, but they get a bit silly after several in a row.

The film doesn’t take itself seriously, thank goodness.  I mean, it’s a seriously ridiculous premise.  And the names of the robots…they are so hilariously implausible.  Even the first line in the movie, “In the beginning,…there was the cube…” like some bizarre Rubik’s-inspired take on Genesis.

The movie has its fair share of humor and laughs and it’s reasonably entertaining.  The stars aren’t particularly engaging, though some of the minor characters are actually pretty fun.  Particularly, Shia LaBeouf’s parents.  They get the best material.  The dialogue for the most part is just so plainly silly that one might think that they wrote it over a lunch at McDonalds or something.

What does one expect?  What should one expect?  Will the powers that be in Hollywood ever get out of this rut of remakes and sequels and films “inspired” by toys, rides, and video games?  Is marketing something new so frickin’ difficult?

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