Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Fri... Sa.. Sunday Debate: Is opening "Transformers" alongside "The Simpsons Movie" a wise move?

Transformers opens in the UK on July 27, as does The Simpsons Movie. The latter has the benefit of having had much more pre-release publicity (about 18 years worth) than the former, and there's also the problem of the movie itself.

I saw it on Friday night at the Empire's multimedia screening with a fellow Guardian Unlimited poster (his companion had to pull out due to boyfriend problems and I snatched up the ticket going spare) , and thus got to be searched before the feature thanks to all the security. The place was packed, and the only time I regretted having to sit way in the back was when Michael Bay came on stage with producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura and cast members Shia LaBoeuf, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox, whose middle name should be legally changed to "What a", even if she seems to want to channel the spirit of Angelina Jolie. Gah; I could have thrown something at the director of The Rock and producer of The Amityville Horror. I was so close... anyway, the movie itself

a) proved yet again after The Island and Mission: Impossible III that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman should have stuck with writing for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys;
b) was a lot more interesting when it involved Sam's life than with the Autobots and Decepticons, which is somehow not entirely right for a movie whose raison d'etre is giant robots taking their ongoing battle to Earth;
c) was an hour longer than the 1986 movie and a lot more incoherent;
d) had far too many wisecracks (a sense of humour is one thing, but for goodness' sake did Sam's parents have to be so buffoonish? And as for the Autobot "lubricating" John Turturro's Fed...);
e) had hard to follow action setpieces (apart from the Army soldiers fighting a robotic scorpion in the desert);
and f) had pretty weak music (if only Steven Spielberg had directed as well as exec produced). The end credit songs were especially crap.

All of which wasted an engaging performance from Shia LaBeouf as our human hero and the voice work from Peter "My name is Optimus Prime" Cullen (the intro got a big cheer from the audience) and the rest, plus amazing effects work from Industrial Light and Magic, Digital Domain, KNB EFX, Asylum et al. I didn't hate the movie, it just didn't fire me up or really give me any emotional investment... that ain't good. But at least the horrible Mute Math version of the TV theme that's on the song CD (which the Empire played all of, apparently, before the movie) never turns up in this movie. Here's Lion's much better take from the '86 movie for your enjoyment.


1 comment:

The Archivist said...

So, in a word, Transformers was worse than expected by the eye?

Transformers, total crap in disguise?