Wednesday 9 July 2014

Transformers: The Franchise So Far...

With the impending release of Transformers: Age of Extinction, this seems a good time to bring out another franchise perspective. It has been filled with hits, and far too many misses. Age of Extinction has to try and salvage something and prove that Transformers is not quite a dead horse yet. Michael Bay has taken the definition of a modern summer blockbuster (that does not mean it has to be good, just profitable) and made not just one, but three versions of them. Without any further delay I’m moving into the start of the series.
The start is also the highpoint, the worst thing any franchise can do. But focussing on the first Transformers as a standalone film, I must say that it was quite impressive upon its release. Admit it, you were blown away by the amazing CGI used to bring these iconic toys to life, I know I was. This was an area that Michael Bay actually succeeded at, he made them look very mechanical whilst keeping an element of organic nature about them. Fans of the animated show were obviously split right down the middle over the redesign, but I felt that this was an effective way to utilize the effects, which would be needed to distract us from the many problems.
The film was one of those instances where you felt as if the part of you that respects true film art should hate this feature. But you don’t, it is a rather stupid plot, with many holes and parts that could only have come from a script, not to mention the rather flat dialogue between the humans. Mind you, and what I’m about to say may be a bit controversial, but I really liked Shia LaBeouf in this film. This time he had a part to suit him, a socially awkward, smart but underappreciated by everyone character, who could also rise to any challenge that comes his way even if that involves saving the world. For once, his part perfectly suited his range as an actor. However, it is still very difficult to connect with these humans, because of the fact that many have weaker personalities than the robots they’re helping. So far from perfect, but then you see explosions and giant robots and you think ‘who cares’.
So the sequel was eagerly awaited as most science fiction sequels tend to be better that the first, the backstory is out of the way and you can now expand on the world you have created and set up the long term plot for the other films. Oh, how wrong we all were. To describe the flaws of this film, I find myself quoting from the Youtube channel Screen Junkies’ Honest Trailer segment. Revenge of the Fallen contained way too many racist and sexual parts of dialogue for a film based on CHILDREN’S TOYS. Kids are going to want to watch this film and yet this is the image they are presented with, nasty, that’s all I can say. Shots are reused from both the first film, and earlier parts of the same film, and we still have to endure the humans that have no personality or character of any kind. Not to mention wasting more time with Sam’s parents, because that is what everyone was asking for (!).
More problems include that fact that we’d all gotten over the initial excitement of seeing the CGI Transformers, and now that they were being used in huge battles there was no way to distinguish between the good side and the bad side. Every time we see a Transformer die it is difficult to know if it is even relevant to the plot because we have no idea who it is. The first may have had plot holes, but this one goes above and beyond. Just a few unanswered questions are; why does the all-spark bring Megatron back to life if it’s what killed him, and if it brings him back why not just use it on Optimus, why is the roommate included, why does the military not use the Decepticon gun until the last five minutes, and why do the Decepticons not utilize their human transforming abilities to a more useful task than just seducing Sam, and many, many more.
Now onto Dark of the Moon, and immediately there are problems. I’m no fan of Megan Fox, but if you create a character for a film that keep that character rather than just use a terrible excuse to explain their absence. Luckily the effects are minimalized due to the fact that we don’t care about the character anyway. Anyway, I digress as Dark of the Moon was a lot better than Revenge of the fallen, but that is still a lot worse than the first film. It was better mainly for the fact that the story was improved and this time the Transformers were partially distinguishable from each other. The acting however is worse than ever, even more characters are introduced and they all still fail to connect with the audience. But what’s more is that this really should have ended a trilogy. I have no doubt that the next film will make more money, but I’m struggling to look forward to it. 

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