Transformers (Review)


Directed by Michael Bay

Transformers were the pinnacle of 1980’s toys. They had classic characters and endure to this day. Transformers are among the first toys I remember getting for Christmas (of 1984, where I got toys including Megatron) and are toys I still have stored away in the attic. Even my favorite toy line (Battle Beasts) are just a spin-off of Transformers. I saw the original movie in the theaters and cried when Optimus Prime died. So to say I was interested when it was announced there would be a live action film is an understatement to say the least.

However, the interest soon waned when I found out Michael Bay was to be the director. Problems also arose when preview art of the Transformers showed them to be very ugly-looking. I realize this is not the Generation 1 line but a new universe. I don’t expect tape-recorder robots. I do expect writing that matched Beast Wars at the least, not writing that pales in comparison to the original cartoon. A cartoon where and entire episode revolved around a girl falling in love with Powerglide (who subsequently beat her around a bit). How hard can it be to write something that doesn’t suck? All you had to do was just be average and let the robots do the rest. Instead, we have 2 ½ hours (way too long) where robots don’t do much of anything until the last 25 minutes. And also the robots pee. Seriously. It’s a disgrace. Not to Transformers, but to audiences everywhere. The movie thinks the audience is stupid. The army regularly endangers civilians for no reason. There is a plot about hackers. Every piece of modern technology came from a frozen robot. The sun seems to be stuck at the edge of the horizon (or setting every five minutes) giving every shot an orange glow. More Transformers are killed by humans than Transformers. The robot fight sequences are cool, but were needed earlier. The movie is more than meets the eye, more terrible than the eye could ever meet.


Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) – Spike (or Buster if you read the comics until they hastily introduced Spike) gets a realistic first name and is played by sudden “It” kid Shia LaBeouf. Funny how some kids get molested by Michael Jackson and some get picked to fight Decepticons and be Indiana Jones’s son. Life is a cruel mistress.
Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) – The movie beats us to the “more than meets the eye” joke, but that didn’t stop half of the magazines that interviewed her from using the joke anyway. She’s one of those hot girls that is also a super-genius mechanic, like Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. Also, she has a juvenile record, which this film treats like it is worse than having the plague. If I was Sam I would have found it hot (as Simmons stated), not a massive breach of trust. What Sam should have found disturbing is she is going to marry Brian Austin Green.
Ron Witwicky (Kevin Dunn) – Sparkplug Witwicky does his duty like he does in the cartoon, playing the dad. No idea if he’ll get bumped off or vanish into nothing like he does in the original cartoon.
Agent Reggie Simmons (John Turturro) – Member of the secret government agency Sector 7, which exists entirely to deliver a whole movie’s worth of plot in thirty seconds of exposition dialogue. A rather annoying character that by the end of the movie has been urinated on by a robot and is collecting unemployment. Luckily, Turturro has fun with the part.
Secretary of Defense John Keller (Jon Voight) – The president being a humiliating Hostess Ding Dong-loving fool, one expect the Secretary of Defense to be an evil starter of unpopular wars. Instead he’s a competent individual, but notice how he never seems to bother to inform the President about giant alien robots destroying a US city. Jon Voight was also in the summer’s other big toy movie, Bratz!
Glen Whitmann (Anthony Anderson) – A super computer hacker and an embarrassing performance, despite the fact I like Anthony Anderson. Lives with his mom, like many of the single thirty-something males in the audience.
Maggie aka Hacker Girl (Rachel Taylor) – Let’s just fill up this film with sooooo many completely useless characters that the audience wonders if they aren’t in the theater that’s playing Fantastic Four 2 by mistake. Why do we need like 10 people to resolve some unneeded hacker subplot? Couldn’t the writers think of any lines for the soda machine Transformer? Rachel Taylor was previously seen here in Man-Thing.
Army guys (Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, some other guys) – Who cares, I couldn’t tell any of these guys apart for the life of me. The only bright spot was Tyrese Gibson was the only non-embarrassing minority in the film. Also another one had the lame “newborn baby I’ve never seen” plot device going on. The rest had hardly any lines and are more interchangeable than generic Smurfs.


Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) – Optimus Prime is Peter Cullen, and he’s a big rig! Sure, it’s a different cab design, but some versions of the toy were this way anyway. The familiar voice is a welcome feature, and shows the fans weren’t entirely ignored. Also, some people seemed insanely upset that Prime has flames on his cab. If my life ever gets so simple my biggest problem is that a CGI robot in a movie has a paint job I don’t like than things are going pretty well. This Prime is in search of the Allspark and seems to have dropped several hundred IQ points from the classic Prime from 1985.
Bumblebee (Mark Ryan) – Sam’s loyal car, a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro that becomes a 2009 model later in the film. The original Bumblebee was a Volkswagon Bug, but now VW has decided they no longer want to be associated with war toys, even if it is toys that fight evil, like the evil that was Volkswagon in the 1940’s who used Jewish death camp slaves as workers for the Nazi war machine. Not associated my butt, you should be hopping on anything that makes your company look not evil. Bumblebee doesn’t talk for most of the film and uses the radio to say things, which would have been a good choice for every character in this film with how bad many of the lines are.
Jazz (Darius McCrary) – Hey, a black Transformer! But instead of being voiced by the late Hong Kong Phooey Scatman Crothers, instead we get Darius McCrary, guy no one has heard of extraordinaire! He’s also yet another example of an embarrassing minority character in this film. And guess which one of the Autobots dies. It sure ain’t the white ones. Jazz transforms into a Pontiac Solstice, which is almost as cool as a Porsche except not really.
Ironhide (Jess Harnell) – Ironhide is again the old veteran Transformers, and is a GMC Topkick pick-up truck instead of a red van. He’s the weapon’s expert and threatens to shoot some humans. I prefer Peter Cullen’s Ironhide, as he was one of my favorites on the show, but this Ironhide isn’t really that bad.
Ratchet (Robert Foxworth) – Instead of an ambulance he is a Search and Rescue Hummer H2, which is another good choice, actually. Again he is the medic for the team, and Ratchet doesn’t do anything that shameful, so he isn’t that bad. I can even get over the fact he is lime green.


Megatron (Hugo Weaving) – Megatron spends most of the film asleep, then ends up not even sounding like Agent Smith at all. That’s almost as lame as us buying that he was frozen. Or that he build a program into his hand that etches microscopic locator information on glass that is right in front of his dead body, which means he shouldn’t need locating because someone already found him! Turns into a Cybertronian jet instead of a gun or even a tank.
Starscream (Charlie Adler) – The best character from the cartoon gets like two lines of dialogue as the movie has taken the bold stance of not giving anyone any characterization at all. Needless to say I disagree with that move. Turns into a F-22 Raptor, which is the successor aircraft to the F-15, what the original Starscream became. Flies into space.
Barricade (Jess Harnell) – One of the first Decepticons shown in pre-release material, a Saleen Mustang police car with “To punish and enslave…” inscribed on the side, this was a good choice for preview material. Unfortunately, he gets some of the worst lines in the movie, then vanishes.
Frenzy (Reno Wilson) – It looks like the Decepticons must have been recruiting straight from the short bus. He’s not a cassette tape, he’s a boom box who stumbles around and squawks like a machine possessed. I was not aware Bill the Cat was a Transformer. Imagine being Barricade, as you have to keep this guy inside your all leather interior, which he’s probably leak fluid all over and gnaw on the seats. Bad Frenzy! Killed by humans.
Bonecrusher (Jimmie Wood) – A Buffalo H Mine-Protected vehicle, which basically means he’s an armored steam shovel. Gets into a fight on the freeway with Optimus Prime, and shouldn’t have brought a shovel to a sword fight.
Blackout (CGI) – Fires the opening salvo against the humans when he tears through a US base in Qatar, yet notices some guy take a photo of him and has to send Scorponok to go kill him instead of bothering to do it himself. Also he fails at his mission to hack a database. But he tears stuff up, that’s got to count, right? Killed by humans.
Scorponok (CGI) – A CGI Scorpion thing that is totally not a Headmaster able to transform into a base, he’s just some crappy soldier who can’t even get good covering for his moving parts. What a waste of metal. Taken out by the random soldier guys.
Devastator aka Brawl (CGI) – A tank. He did some tank stuff, I guess. Killed by humans and legless Bumblebee.

That’s a lot of damn characters!

We start out our film with a voice-over by Optimus Prime, who explains to us what the All-Spark is. It is a plot device that enables the movie to go forward. To be more specific, it is a device that created all the machine life on Cybertron and then was lost during the war, and ended up hidden on Earth, because why else would the Transformers come to Earth? Certainly not to clear an asteroid field/search for energy sources resulting in their accidental crash landing four million years ago.

In Qatar, solders ride in to base on an osprey vehicle. We get some quick characterization of some of them, including the black guy who is played by Tyrese Gibson, and the white guy who has an infant daughter he’s never seen. Can baby say “cliché”? I knew you could. In base, we find out the daddy is also friendly with a local Qatari boy. The less said about Michael Jackson jokes, the better. Enough of the set up, we are about to enter the payoff phase, as a mysterious chopper approaches the base. It refuses to respond to hails– I mean communication requests, and the ID number matches a chopper shot down in Afghanistan months earlier. As we are once again reminded that the white guy is a father due to an internet teleconference with his baby, the chopper lands and is surrounded by troops. Power problems then plague the base, and the helicopter’s pilot flickers on and off revealing something robotic and alien underneath. The Terminator! Not quite, as the helicopter then transforms into a giant freaking robot and begins blowing the crap out of the base! It’s awesome! Things blow up and people die and it is all because of a giant robot. Luckily the humans are all useless, as this is Blackout the Decepticon, who blasts things and grabs on to computer cores like it’s some sort of Rubix Cube. As Blackout tries to hack the Gibson, the captain of the base denies him via a fire ax firewall, smashing the power to the core and causing Blackout to go into “smash everything” mode. The only thing Blackout hates more than being denied his 1337 [email protected] badge is the paparazzi, which we find out as Sgt Tyrese takes a photo of him. Blackout has Scorponok drop off his back and into the sand to give chase, then gets back to smashing things. It is almost as if Blackout knew that Tyrese and the few other guys with some character development would be the sole survivors who need to be hunted down later by an underground scorpion robot to destroy the photo. I guess that’s easier than actually firing your big gun that was taking out huge swaths of the American base at the humans. But this is a Michael Bay film, logic is for losers.

We leave the explosions and booms of war for the explosions and booms of the average American high school. High schooler Sam Witwicky is doing show and tell about his famous grandfather Archibald Witwicky, who did arctic exploration and later went insane and mumbling about Ice Men. Just like my grandfather! Sam spends most of the presentation trying to sell all of his family heirlooms in an attempt to get money for a car, which annoys the nerd stereotype teacher and amuses people in the class, including the dumb jock character we’ll call Flash Thompson and his girlfriend Mary Jane–I mean Mikaela. Sam stays behind to bargain for a better grade with the teacher, who oddly scheduled his presentation to start a mere one minute before classes ended for the day. Sam is then picked up by his dad (who does not go by the name Sparkplug) in his convertible to go car shopping. A humorous drive through of a Porsche dealership later, they end up in a used car lot run by Bernie Mac. A yellow Chevy Camaro follows them into the lot, which is odd as there is no driver. Bernie Mac’s used cars features a scary depressed clown, an ostrich, and a middle-finger pointing mom. The first of many minority characters who will be one-dimensional (and I love Bernie Mac), this is a bad sign. We all know used car dealers are supposed to be shysters, so making a one-dimensional caricature is just easier than actually doing some writing. I don’t blame Mac, he probably only saw a few pages of the script. But when stereotypes begin to fly from all directions something is seriously wrong. And the flying has begun. Sam gets shown off the beaten up Chevy Camaro that we all know is Bumblebee from the promotional material, but is taken out of the car when the price isn’t right. Bumblebee beats up on a VW Beetle car next to him (low blow, Bay!) and then blows out the windows of every car on the lot, causing Bernie Mac to accept a lower offer for the car. I tried this when I was negotiating for a new Chevy Blazer, but instead got arrested for “vandalism” and had to pay a “fine” and do “community service”. Plus I didn’t get a deal on the car. Jerks.

Now we jump to Washington DC for some characters that are completely useless and only serve to pad the running time of the film. A Hacker Girl is sitting in an audience at the Pentagon with a skinny nerd and a guy who looks very similar to Kevin Smith. They are part of the elite crew of every hacker in the phone book who are called in by Secretary of Defense Jon Voight to identify a mysterious signal that is the only evidence of who blew up the base in Qatar. Looking for survivors is out of the question, I guess (and there are survivors who show up two scenes later, but that’s more logic and logic has no place in this film.) Back at Sam Witwicky’s house, we meet his dog Mojo, who is a Chihuahua with a broken leg. We then watch Sam check his eBay auction of his grandfather’s glasses (which is currently sitting at zero bids.) Sam’s eBay name is LadiesMan217, implying there are 216 other LadiesMen on eBay, all of which have probably tried to snipe me on auctions. When you think of Transformers, think of eBay! (Yes, I have bought Transformers off of eBay.) Sam goes to take his car out for a test drive, because the audience can only handle so much eBay at a time in a movie without getting overexcited. Sam and his nerd friend who we’ve never seen before drive around and stop somewhere near where Flash Thompson and Mikaela are hanging out. The jock goes to demand why they are there, and Sam says they came to climb a tree. Sam then insults Flash Thompson with words, which enrages the jock as it forces him to think about things. Flash Thompson takes out his impotent steroid rage on Mikaela, who dumps him and starts walking home. Sam sees his chance, leaves his nerd friend to go climb more trees, and goes to talk to Mikaela’s firm abs to try to convince her to get in the car. At this time you notice a “BEE-OTCH” air freshener hanging from Bumblebee’s dashboard.

After some small talk and fake muscle flexing talk, Bumblebee breaks down in what looks like an “we’re outta gas so we should make out” type deals. Mikaela takes a look under the hood where we find out she is a car junkie, and also allows us to get a better gander at her toned, tight stomach muscles. Eventually Bumblebee turns himself on again and Sam gets to take her home. No time for love, Dr. Jones, we go now to Air Force One. A President who is not seen but is easily interpretable as our current worst president ever demands some Ding Dongs from the stewardess. This is not sexual harassment or Clinton non-sex, but is Hostess snack cake requesting (granted, a president who sexually harasses his stewardess might make for a more interesting film.) Also lurking on board Air Force One is crazed demented robot Frenzy, who looks like a minor imp from cyberpunk hell. He also has Parkinson’s disease or something (perhaps a latent case of scraplings infection) and is constantly shaking or seizuring. He’s able to turn into a boombox and hide in the basement of Air Force One (where the snack machines and top secret computers are) and uses a Robocop-style computer spike to hack into the Air Force Gibson. He looks up Project Iceman, which is not old X-Men comics but a secret government program designed to pad the film with another subplot. He also is discovered by Hacker Girl due to the giant shoehorn the writers are using to put her into the film. The computer is shut off (on a screen of Admiral Witwicky) and Secret Service agents head to the basement to be shot with flying saw blades fired from Frenzy’s arms. He’s surprisingly accurate despite shaking more than Michael J. Fox in an earthquake, and soon turns back into a boombox to hide.

Air Force One lands, Frenzy sneaks out of the landing gear like he saw Commando recently, and jumps into a cop car. A Decepticon cop car. With Decepticon symbols on it, and “To Punish and Enslave” as the motto. They converse in Transformer-speak, and do a Google search on Witwicky, which connects to the LadiesMan217 screenname and the eBay listing. That’s some pretty efficient searching, perhaps the Decepticons should open a detective agency. Or maybe they ordered one of those spam email CDs that are supposed to let you find any information you want about anyone. The plot resumes as Sam watches his car Bumblebee drive off by itself. Sam chases on his bike while dialing the cops, who laugh at him. Sam follows to a junkyard, where he sees the car transform and shine a batsignal (actually an Autobot signal) at the clouds. Sam makes a phone message, is chased by dogs, and saved by Bumblebee in car mode. But then the cops arrest him for making false reports, because cops always arrest people for making false reports before investigating what is going on. Shoehorn in Hacker Girl at a Department of Defense meeting where no one listens to her because she’s a girl. They don’t want her girl cooties. Shoehorn over and now Sam is at the police station being picked up by his dad as the cops make fun of him.

Back to Qatar, so get out your guitar (okay, YOU try coming up with jokes about Qatar!) Scorponok attacks the surviving soldiers, killing the nerdy one who always dies in these movies. The soldiers run to a local village so they can endanger the villagers as well, but luckily the villagers are stereotypical Arabs and much better armed than the US soldiers and start breaking out the rocket launchers and AK-47s. The Qatari kid’s dad is there and gives the soldiers a satellite phone with which “I have a baby” soldier uses to make a collect call to the Pentagon. The writing turns to sub-junior high level as they encounter a bored Indian stereotype phone operator, and they need a credit card located in Tyrese’s wallet (on his “Left cheek! Left cheek!”) Finally they manage to connect and get through the system switchboard to talk directly with the Secretary of Defense (how many company sergeants know the direct line to the Secretary of Defense?) An unmanned Predator drone is sent to blast Scorponok while additional planes are sent in the air which also help to blast the crap out of the robot. That’s good, because some actual action helps break up the monotony of eBaying, tree climbing, and Hacker Girl drama. Speaking of Hacker Girl, she steals the secret message data and heads to the obvious place, Anthony Anderson’s house. Anthony Anderson plays some sort of nerd living with grandma who acts like he’s one of those parodies of stereotypes from The Boondocks. That’s a shame, as Anthony Anderson is a great actor as rolls in Hustle and Flow and Law and Order: SVU show. But this is a Michael Bay film, things must explode, and so his personality explodes into some sort of stereotype on rabies. The cops burst into the house and arrest everyone. Then explode. Okay, maybe not.

Back at Sam’s place, Bumblebee drives home alone, and starts to chase Sam. Sam escapes on his bike, but is notices by both Mikaela and Barricade the Decepticon police car. Barricade stops Sam in a parking garage, transforms, and demands to know “Are you eBay user LadiesMan217?” This classic line will help cement Transformers place in history. Garbage history! Barricade demands the glasses, something he probably could have won with a “Buy It Now” option but, again, logic has gone on vacation for the time being. LadiesMan217 manages to escape from Barricade, runs into Mikaela, and both of them are saved by Bumblebee who goes to fight Barricade. Frenzy is also there and steals Sam’s pants. Robot pedophiles. Mikaela goes all The Shining on Frenzy with a saw, and Frenzy loses his head over her, literally. Bumblebee returns from the fight, uses the radio to talk, and turns back into a car opening the door. An actual original good line is now spoken, with Sam asking Mikaela “Fifty years from now, when you’re looking back at your life, don’t you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?” So they get in, and Frenzy sneaks into Mikaela’s purse by turning into a cell phone.

In the Bumblebee car, Mikaela is sitting on Sam’s lap in the passenger’s side. They are worried about being in the driver’s seat while Bumblebee is driving, thinking it is rude. Mikaela then asks that if Bumblebee can be any car he wants, why is he a crappy Camaro? Bumblebee then throws them out of the car and drives off. Sam complains that they made him made, but Bumblebee is just scanning a brand new Camaro for product placement goodness and returns as a brand new car. I suddenly have an urge to bid for a Camaro on eBay.

And now, the Transformers arrive to Earth! (Well, the ones who aren’t already here!) Some meteors arrive and crash into things. These meteors are Autobots, who travel by crashing meteor method because one of the stupid writers thought that robots that turn into cars shouldn’t need spaceships. This is probably the guy responsible for LadiesMan217 and robot peeing, so he can go bite my turbo-rotors or some other Ironhide-esque insult. Robots smash into things, including Optimus Prime who crashes into a pool and is confused as the Tooth Fairy by a little girl. Other Autobots also get scenes, and soon everyone has picked a vehicle to scan and turn into. Jazz becomes a Pontiac Solstice. Ironhide is a GMC Topkick pick-up truck. Ratchet is a Search and Rescue Hummer H2. Finally, Optimus Prime is a flame-covered big rig. All of these Autobots noticed from outer space the symbol Bumblebee reflected in the clouds of Earth and came here. Hey, stop thinking logically! Stop it! Just repeat to yourself “it all makes sense!”

All the Autobots converge on Bumblebee’s location, and we get a Meet the Autobots segment where everyone gets a few lines of personality. Jazz is given the Poochie treatment and acts like Vanilla Ice’s whiter younger brother. Ironhide is given the beginnings of an old warrior personality, while Ratchet gets no personality at all. Optimus then uses his hologram-projecting eyes to explain to us what the heck is going on. You see, Cybertron was engulfed in civil war over the Allspark, where evil Megatron pursued it to Earth and crashed into the Arctic where Archibald Witwicky found him. Megatron had a program installed where location coordinates are engraved in the glasses of whoever stumbled across him so he can be located. Yes, that is correct. Don’t think about that at all. Thinking is this movie’s mortal enemy. So now they must get a hold of the glasses to read them, despite a photo of the glasses with engravings visible having been included on the eBay listing. Sigh. Sometimes these movies just make me want to hurt myself.

Time to remind us of the subplots, so the GI Joe knockoffs play with Scorponok’s tail while Anthony Anderson acts embarassing during police questioning. Back to where we should be, the Autobots take Sam home so he can get the glasses. The Autobots act cringe-inducingly awful as well, stumbling all over the place and making noises. Sam tells them to be quiet, and Mojo the dog pees on Ironhide’s leg in the first of the urination “fluid leaking” jokes. Sam starts searching in his room as Mikaela is dropped in through the window by Prime as well. This also means Frenzy gets in the room as he’s still in her purse. Sam tells the Autobots to hide, so they transform into cars that are placed all over the front yard of the house. These Autobots must have gotten some defective microchips. Perhaps they need to upgrade their firmware. Sam somehow can’t locate the glasses right away, giving time for Ironhide to knock out a power line and make Sam’s Dad think a tremor is happening. Dad demands to see if Sam is okay, and wants to know what Sam is doing in his room with the door locked. Sam opens it after Mikaela hides, and his parents begin to assume he was wanking it. Yes, masturbation jokes! Just when you thought we’d hit the bottom of the barrel. If Ironhide cuts one, we’re hunting down Michael Bay and gutting him. The secret joke of this scene is that Sam is wearing a “The Strokes” t-shirt. Mikaela reveals herself before Sam’s parents have to explain the facts of life to him, which makes them suddenly relieved he isn’t going solo but is instead was getting it on with a hot girl.

Sam locates the glasses, but it all comes to naught as government agents burst in and arrest everyone, even the dog. These aren’t your mama’s government agents, they are lead by John Turturro as Agent Simmons and are from Sector 7, one of those top secret agencies no one has ever heard of. Agent Simmons reveals he has Mikaela’s real phone and that is how he located them. Plus everyone has radiation signatures that are consistent with the Transformers. This is a point glossed over, as the humans have a way to detect Transformers, and it is with radiation. No wonder Daniel turned out so screwed up. Agent Simmons spends most of his time on camera acting like a jerk as John Turturro has fun overacting. As Sam and Mikaela are being driven away, Simmons reveals that Mikaela has a police record. Sam acts like she stabbed him in the heart, while Simmons is all hot for underage criminal teen girls (as are many government employees but that is another tale.) And I’m sure I’ll get all sorts of interesting Google hits with “underage criminal teen girls” in this review. This short segment comes to a close as Prime rips off the roof of the car they are in, and all the agents’ guns are magnetized away by Jazz. The tables are turned and now the agents are the ones captured.

Sam demands to know where his parents are and where the Sector 7 HQ is. Agent Simmons refuses to talk and is soon lubricated on by Bumblebee. Yes, robot peeing! I can’t believe it. Robots peeing on people. Thanks to the internet, I know there are people who probably get off on that, and now they got a mainstream movie to perv up on at theaters. I can’t even begin to describe how bad the writing process must be to have a scene where a robot pees on a human. Keep in mind this joke had to have been pitched by a writer, and he had to defend it. Then people agreed with his arguments. People complain that the writing in Hollywood has gone downhill, but I think this shows it’s so far below ground it’s popping out of the ground in China. And China’s just selling it back to us as lead paint and date rape drug contaminated toys.

After the peeing, Agent Simmons is ordered in his underwear by Mikaela (thus giving many audience members a hint of their fantasies) and we see he has Sector 7 underwear. Uh huh. The writing of the 1985 cartoon is rapidly winning out here. All the agents are handcuffed together, but don’t worry, they have reinforcements coming because one agent had his NOKIA phone on speakerphone. Buy Nokia! Use it in your Chevy Camaro! Pay for it by joining the army!

Incoming Sector 7 SUVs and helicopters approach. The Autobots roll out in random directions and Prime grabs the two humans. The helicopters chase Prime but prove to be just as incompetent as the helicopters in the 1998 Godzilla movie and lose the giant robot (who is hiding under a bridge.) However, bad writing will come to the rescue of the chopper pilots, as soon Mikaela starts to fall off of Prime (because she’s a girl and they always fall) and Sam tries to catch her, only to fall himself. But Bumblebee leaps out of nowhere to catch them only to get nailed by helicopter harpoons that he does little to try to stop. He’s soon captured along with Sam and Mikaela as the rest of the Autobots watch helplessly (as they would have to harm humans to rescue Bumblebee.)

Back at the Secretary of Defense’s place, various military factions are putting troops on alert for reasons not specified because the writers forgot to add a subplot about increased military tensions in the wake of the assault on the Qatar base (we needed a hacker storyline instead), but all of this is useless anyway as a virus cuts communications in the US. A new Sector 7 guy explains to the Secretary of Defense that the virus has a secret explanation (something the president also seemed to know about despite the fact his only interest seems to be Ding Dongs.) Soon Sector 7 Guy is explaining about the NASA Mars Beagle Probe wasn’t a failure and really showed some footage of a giant robot destroying it. The same type of giant robot that destroyed the US base. The Secretary of Defense then drafts every character caught in a subplot to Hoover Dam for Act III: Robots smash things!

Act III begins with the army guys getting kept from going home, the Secretary of Defense snagging Hacker Girl from jail and Anthony Anderson for good measure, and the whole group helicoptering in to Hoover Dam. When Hacker Girl asks why Sam is there, he says “I bought a car, turned out to be an alien robot.” A second good original line! Will the film do a hat trick?

We fly into Hoover Dam as the Autobots are nearby and use the recovered glasses to locate where the Allspark is – Hoover Dam. During a voiceover of Optimus Prime we see lots of shots of Hoover Dam. I have a sudden urge to go visit Hoover Dam. I will drive there in my 2007 Camaro. And call you on my Nokia. Optimus Prime talks about how the priority is to get the cube and Bumblebee would want it that way (shots of Bumblebee being tortured also interspersed with the Hoover Dam tour footage) and Optimus talks about how humans are warlike but young, and Transformers were like them once. Also, he says “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings,” which was not only his motto on the original Optimus Prime techspec card, but was the winner of the internet vote of a dialogue to add to the movie. My pick of Optimus saying “I’m very sorry for this film’s writing” was the real winner but disqualified due to the filmmakers just not caring. Prime also mentions that they will destroy the cube, even shoving it into his own chest if he has to. Because that will kill him, see. Yeah. So we must destroy the cube, or something. Autobots roll out! “We rollin’!”

Wait a minute, “We rollin’!”??? What kind of Poochie-reject dialogue is this, and why is Jazz spouting it? Writers, stop trying to make black characters sound like whatever rapper’s video was playing on BET when you had to write “black dialogue.” I rollin’….my eyes at you. Jazz, return to your home planet.

Frenzy is at Hoover Dam as well because he was still in Mikaela’s purse despite the Sector 7 radiation detectors and Sector 7 showing Mikaela her phone which should have told her something about the phone in her purse. Frenzy is still just a head with spider legs, but not for long.

Sector 7 Guys give everyone else a tour of the facility, and show of NBE1 – aka Megatron as Sam informs them. Turns out Megatron is frozen, and has been frozen there since 1934 because operating a giant freezer in the desert is cheaper than building a base in Alaska or something. They figure he was frozen a few thousand years ago when he crashed. The storyline goes all stupid when the writer tries to tell us that Megatron was the source of the modern age: lasers, microchips, and the space age all reverse engineered from Megatron. Also Windows ME, web popups, and spam email about cheap viagra came from Megatron. Imagine how lame our space age would have been if they frozen the Megatron that turns into a Walther P38! Do I even have to explain how retarded and cliché the “entire computer age came from this alien/future thing” story is? If Star Trek Voyager devoted a two part episode to it, it probably sucks as plot material.

We are also told that the First Seven found the Allspark cube in 1913 and President Hoover built the Hoover Dam around it to hide it’s energy emissions from alien beings. During the tour, no one notices alien being Frenzy scuttle up to the Allspark and have it zap him, growing a new body. Frenzy then sends a transmission that he found the Allspark. Decepticons report they are on there way, lead by Starscream, Barricade, Blackout, Bonecrusher, and Devestator. FYI, the Allspark is a giant metal cube. In fact, it looks like a Borg ship that hired an Egyptian decorator.

We get to find out what the Allspark does, as Agent Simmons takes a Nokia phone (I must buy Nokia…) and zaps it with Allspark energy. The Nokia quickly becomes a Transformer, an evil little bugger who starts shooting weapons at the bulletproof glass it is encased in. The phone is then killed to prevent further damage to the Nokia brand. My Nokia can’t even get reception at the library, much less transform into a gun-toting monster. Let us all weep for the death of Transformer Nokiabot. He had more bars in more places than any other Transformer.

Decepticons arrive in the area, and blast the power generators for Hoover Dam while Frenzy causes a failure of the cryofreezer, which will wake Megatron up. Autobots are also driving to the area as a cut scene informs us. The power outages alert the humans that the Decepticons are arriving, and Sam wants his car back. Agent Simmons says no, the army guys say yes, and guns get drawn all over the place. The Secretary of Defense is like “What the heck?” and demands that Bumblebee be let go. They go to take him out of the random torture chamber that Sector 7 put him in (that doesn’t seem to do anything but randomly torture robots.) Bumblebee is admittedly ticked off, but he agrees to help and follows Sam to the Allspark. Bumblebee touches it and transforms it into a tiny cube a fraction of its size. This new version of Rubix cube sucks.

The plan is to protect the cube, so they decide to take it to the local neighbor city, as that is the best way to endanger as many other people as possible. They will also call the air force so even more things are blowing up around all the innocent people. This is similar to the logic in Qatar where they endangered the local village. Be warned, innocent people in Transformers-universe, the military under General Michael Bay will use you as shields.

Megatron wakes up from cryostasis, his first words are “I am Megatron.” In case we forgot or something. I know my first words in the morning are telling no one who I am. Megatron smashes his way out of the chamber, and for some reason a lot of the human scientists were still in the room so they become dead. Megatron flies out of the chamber and meets up with the rest of the Decepticons. He demands to know where the cube is, and Starscream tells him the humans took it. Megatron seems really up on what is going on despite the fact he’s been frozen for thousands of years. He tells Starscream he failed him again, which is about all the characterization we get for these guys. This Starscream is pretty lame as he doesn’t get sarcastic or defiant.

The army guys, Sam, Bumblebee, Mikaela, and the cube are on their way to the city (where they are soon joined on the road by the rest of the Autobots) as Hacker Girl, Anthony Anderson, Agent Simmons, and the Secretary of Defense are attempting to contact the air force by using Morse code (as they have no microphones for the radio.) Their job is complicated by Frenzy who is banging on the door and attempting to fire sawblades of death at our heroes.

Decepticons close in on the convoy just as they reach the city and big highway superstructures. We’re about to get actual robot-vs-robot fight sequences here, and it has only taken two hours! First up is Bonecrusher versus Optimus Prime, and Bonecrusher transformers and smashes a bus on the way to get the cube. Prime transforms as well and soon the two metal titans are tangling through the overpasses. Rush hour traffic is usually pretty bad but at least we don’t have to worry about delays caused by robot civil wars. Prime and Bonecrusher smash around and fall next to a van where an annoying kid is all “Cool, Mom!” Shut up, you fat kid. Prime pops out a sword from his arm and slices the crap out of Bonecrusher. Bonecrusher loses his head out of the ordeal, and Prime calmly walks away while dropping Bonecrusher’s head. The sword will not be seen again.

Back at Hoover Dam Secret Base, Frenzy does a John McClain and crawls through the vents into the room where out main characters are. How many Secretaries of Defense do you imagine would be able to blast a shotgun at an alien robot? The closest we get in real life are Vice Presidents that drunkenly shoot their friends. The air force responds that they are sending out jets and helicopters while Frenzy somehow manages to get his head sliced in two by his flying sawblades. Frenzy really sucked. The air force is getting their F22s ready to take off. And taking off. And taking off. There is more shots of jets prepping for takeoff than the opening segments of Top Gun. Movie, we believe you that the air force is coming, you don’t need an extended sequence to prove it!

The Autobots and the cube have reached the city, where everyone is on walkie-talkies and an F-22 is flying over the city. Let’s say hi to him! Wait, this F-22 is dropping bombs! It’s Starscream, you lugheads! A giant bomb explodes so hard the film goes into slow motion for a few seconds. I guess since Steven Speilberg was executive producer on this he won’t mind the direct rip from Saving Private Ryan. I forgot to note that just before the explosion Ironhide picked up a truck filled with Furbys and used it as a shield. Poor Furby. Too bad one of them didn’t get blasted by the Allspark, that would have been fun. The explosion was so big it blew up Bumblebee’s legs. Everyone has time to regroup and plan their next actions as Starscream has apparently gone on a tea break instead of going around for a second pass. Blackhawk helicopters are incoming, but there is no real reason to care because we all know they will get blown up. A tank starts firing on out heroes which would be funny if he wasn’t a Decepticon. It is Devastator, who was supposed to be named Brawl but someone messed up. Ironhide and Jazz go to fight Devastator, and the film suddenly goes into slow motion as Ironhide does all sorts of unnecessary flips to get to where Devastator is at. Right now I’d like to once again state that I hate, hate, HATE The Matrix. Not for the film, it was actually good. I hate it for what it did to action films. Every film must now have stupid “bullet time” effects in them. And so we get giant alien robots in bullet time.

Bumblebee gives Sam the cube, while Ratchet and the human soldiers go to help fight Devastator. Devastator gets blasted down, but everyone is distracted when Megatron arrives. He smashes around and then grabs Jazz. In a rare example of a clever line, Jazz and his hip-hop persona asks if Megatron “want(s) a piece of me?” and Megatron rips him in half, saying he wants two pieces. Devastator gets back up and Blackout arrives from whatever he was doing. The army guys tell Sam to get to the top of a building with statues for a helicopter evacuation while Mikaela hooks Bumblebee up to a tow truck. She also tells Sam that she’s glad she got in the car with him. The film has so few good lines it has to do a callback to one of them instead of just having more.

We have a running fight to the building with Sam being protected by Ironhide and Ratchet, and another fight with the Army guys shooting at different Decepticons. The problem here with all the confusing-looking robots is it gets hard to tell them apart, even the Autobots blend in at times. Optimus Prime catches up to the rest of the action and has a fight with Megatron. Megatron starts out with “Humans don’t deserve to live!” as the first line he says to Optimus Prime in thousands of years. I guess they were still arguing about this back when humans were living in caves and worshiping fire. Optimus Prime retorts with “They deserve to choose for themselves!” Optimus Prime: pro-choice. They fight more and fly through buildings. We also watch as Sam is menaced by Starscream and Ironhide and Ratchet get shot a lot and can’t protect him anymore. Once again Starscream just wanders off for a while. I get the feeling this Starscream has ADD and keeps getting distracted by random things like blue flowers or YouTube clips of kittens.

Megatron tries to get the cube from Sam, causing Sam to slip and the cube to shoot energy at a few random things: A computer case a guy just happened to be carrying around with him, an SUV, and a vending machine. All three of those things soon come alive and start attacking random people. Most notably with the vending machine, which turns into a fully functional robot with soda can firing gun (the other two just have random arms appear that grab at people.) None of them are seen or mentioned again. Just think about that the next time you’re thirsty for a soda. Mikaela determines her policy of doing nothing but hiding with Bumblebee isn’t the best course of action, so will drive the tow truck in reverse while Bumblebee shoots his gun at Devastator. Between him and the army guys Devastator is devastated into a scrap heap.

Sam runs into the building with Megatron on his heels, and is chased all the way to the roof. Sam’s escape in a helicopter is cut short when the helicopter is blown up (as we all knew it would be) by Starscream. Megatron then chases Sam out onto a ledge, causing Sam to fall to his death and the movie ending. Oh, wait, Optimus Prime grabs the falling Sam and does some sort of falling that involves crashing down the sides of buildings. He tells Sam to shove the cube into the spark in his chest if he loses so Megatron doesn’t get it. Now we get the final Prime versus Megatron fight, where the original film is cannibalized again and the “one shall stand, one shall fall” line is lifted. Blackout comes in to help Megatron, but the army guys have contacted those F22s that were taking off a long time ago and have finally gotten to the city. The humans will tag Blackout with a laser, while the army guy with the baby gets on a motorcycle to do a ridiculous stunt. He crashes the bike so he can go sliding on the pavement under Blackout and fire a grenade launcher while the jets overhead also hit Blackout with missiles. Oddly enough, the army guy doesn’t have all of his skin scraped off by the pavement skids, nor was he blown up by the jets. Blackout was and he’s dead. The jets come in again to fight Megatron but Starscream joins the squadron and starts taking out jets, flipping back and forth between jet and robot mode. This sequence is one of the best in the movie, so no criticisms here. At one point Starscream just flies off and then the jets blast Megatron. Prime can’t help because Megatron beat him when we weren’t looking. Megatron is down, Prime tells Sam to put the cube in his chest, but Sam puts it in Megatron’s chest instead. At this point I was hoping Megatron would then just laugh evilly, grow to Unicron proportions, and devour the Earth. Because that would have been cool. Instead he just dies. Lame.

Time for a speech from Prime, where he tells Sam that the Autobots owe him. Ratchet and Ironhide bring up the pieces of Jazz, who is dead. Because he was ripped in half, which shouldn’t have damaged any vital brain functions in these robots but, whatever. The black robot is dead. Thanks, movie! Prime gives a eulogy with “Aw, Jazz.” Jazz, we hardly knew ye. Seriously, you were barely in the film, spoke jive, and died. Prime says they lost a dear comrade but gained new ones. Lame. Cliché lame. I expect better from an Optimus Prime. Also, Bumblebee can suddenly talk now with no explanation and wants to stay with Sam. Sam agrees, as he has robo-fever.

Hey, what happened to Starscream? And Barricade? Did they just forget about these two? Starscream is used to wandering off, but Barricade never appeared after being seen on the freeway. So we got two Decepticons MIA, and the Allspark is now nothing but a small shard of what it once was. Except since that is the condensed version, it probably expands to the size of a large car or something.

The epilogue part one is told to us by the Secretary of Defense, who tells us Sector 7 was disbanded and all the Decepticon hulks were dropped down a deep trench in the ocean. The army guy meets his wife and baby in case any of you care, but none of you do. Sam and Mikaela make out at Prime gives epilogue part two where he sends a message to any remaining Autobots that the new home is Earth and come on down for the party. So when Sam and Mikaela get it on in the backseat of an Autobot, do the Autobots take a peak? Because that’s what I want to know. Let’s close the main part of the movie with alternative rock that doesn’t mention people touching or daring to be stupid.

During the credits Sam’s parents are interviewed and asked about the “so-called alien activity”. They say the government would have told us if there were aliens. Seriously, the film tries to tell us that the government covered up giant robots fighting through a downtown city and thousands of witnesses. Plus the witnesses of a US base destruction and Qatari village attack. And all the witnesses who saw the giant robot carcasses getting dumped down the trench. No news crews were anywhere during the robot attacks? The movie even has overweight camera-phone users taking photos of meteor crashes, but no one got any shots of the giant robots? I find that hard to believe, and once again must say the film thinks we are stupid. Incredibly stupid. Gigantically stupid. So stupid that a single digit IQ would be a far away dream. And any movie that thinks that can just suck it.

The last screens show Starscream flying off into space. No sign of Barricade. Because the movie thinks we are stupid and forgot about that guy. Or maybe the movie forgot, which is even stupider. Suck it, movie!

Classic Transformer’s reactions to the new movie:

Soundwave – Soundwave superior, this movie inferior
Shockwave – Being stationed on Cybertron for 4 million years while Megatron was missing was boring, oh so boring. But I was never bored enough to want to watch a movie like this!
Starscream – Pathetic Earth creatures can never create good cinema! Why if I were in charge we’d already have three sequels and a billion dollar haul, all of which I would convert to energon and used to take over the Decepticons!
Dead End – The movie was awful, but it doesn’t matter as we are all going to rust one day.
Ransack – None of you even know who I am!
Laserbeak – Squaaawk!
Megatron – The fleshlings think they can get away with making a movie like this? I will obliterate their planet and name the remains Megatron Asteroid Belt I! Decepticons, destroy Hollywood!
Ironhide – Aw, shucks. If I weren’t dead I’d kill myself over that convoluted hunk of Decepticrap movie! If I meet this Michael Bay I’ll give him a mouthful of liquid nitrogen!
Jazz – I died???
Grimlock – Me Grimlock no like new movie. Where Grimlock? Me Grimlock think they make big mistake with no Grimlock.
Blurr – OhMyGodOhMyGodTheMovieWasTerribleTerribleTerrible JustAwfulAwfulAwfulICriedCriedCried
Perceptor – All research on cinematic qualitative data points to the conclusion that this film is of deleterious quality and can cause injurious trauma upon viewers.
Kup – This movie reminds me of the time the Decepticons tried to broadcast Manos: The Hands of Fate across the world to tap into the rich energy supply of hatred that movie would create.
Gears – This movie makes my aging rotator cuffs feel like rust has taken over. Also, I fought with Spiderman.
Omega Supreme – Movie: Abysmal. Plot: Ludicrous. Effects: Passable. Verdict: Horrible.
Trailbreaker – Check out my force field! It helps protect me from things, like this terrible movie. Force field!
Chip Chase – This movie shows that no one is really disabled as long as they have courage!
Spike – Shut up, Chip!
Ransack – Really, I was a Deluxe Insecticon! Delux!
Powerdasher – I feel you, I’m a S.T.A.R.S. exclusive but that don’t mean anything because we weren’t in the cartoon. Also this movie sucked.
Optimus Prime – I came back to life to fight the Decepticons again, but this film proved too much for me. Freedom may be the right of all sentient beings, but sometimes freedoms can go to far. But I have freedoms as well, like the freedoms to not pay good money for complete garbage.

Why I hate the new designs–

This is iconic, classic, simple, a child can draw it:

This is messy, far too busy, confusing, and ugly. Advanced art degrees are required:

Now if you excuse me I have to go join the military, be stationed at Hoover Dam, and drive my Camaro I bought off eBay while talking on my Nokia because I am more than meets the eye.

Rated 3/10 (Dashboard Swear, eBay MySpace, Ding Dong D’oh!)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!