Thursday, July 12, 2007

FILM Transformers

As you can tell from all the links I've been posting, I've been writing for More specifically, I was brought in to write for their "indie" section. Last week, after having seen Transformers, I wrote an entry that suggested five indie/art films that you could go see instead of the giant robot movie. What I didn't realize was that the powers that be over at were going to post my article on the main page (for a while) and in the mainstream movies link, along with being posted on the indie page. That was unexpected and cool, because it threw my writing to audiences that don't usually click the "indie" link.

As you can see from this link, many of the people who wrote in were critical of my being critical of Transformers. I tried not to be too negative about the movie, either, because the special effects truly are amazing to behold. You take for granted that the robots are giant and heavy and can cause massive destruction, and you forget that they are creations of a computer.

My criticism was that the story was unfocused. Sure, it was energetic and enthusiastic, but the military stuff seemed like it was added for no reason other than to have a couple more action set-pieces, and the romance was charming (thanks to the performances) but had little to do with the robot battle that ends the film. The commentors pointed out to me that I was looking too hard for a story, when this is really just supposed to be a big and fun action film. That's fine and dandy, but I was still often confused.

Most if not all of the people who commented on my article grew up watching Transformers. I remember them, but I was a little too old to get into the show. The story was made for the fans, with tons of references to the cartoon and the original animated film. Because I wasn't familiar, most of the in-jokes went over my head, which only added to my confusion.

But it was a relatively pleasant confusion. Like I said before, the performances were pleasant. I'm looking forward to Shia LaBouef in the new Indiana Jones movie because I'm sure he'll have more of a character to play off of, but he was charming in this film, especially when his performance (and, to an extent, the film) settled into a groove. John Turturro was also cinematically engaging with his over-the-top performance, even though it didn't really fit the tone of the rest of the movie. That didn't matter because it was fun. And the robots themselves were often goofy and charming.

So I liked the movie, but there's no way I could like it as much as the fanboys. My biggest criticism is that I wish it was about 20 or 30 minutes shorter, because I did start getting bored. But if it was shorter? I may have loved it.

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