Monday, June 23, 2014

Transformers Review

I refuse to be someone who wastes time complaining about Michael Bay. At this point, if you sit down to watch a Bay blockbuster you should know exactly what to expect, and if you decide to screen one and you find yourself shocked at how stupid the content was during the film, you either entered the experience willfully ignorant or you are new to his work. The fact is, making films in Hollywood is a massive financial business and most creative decisions are made in order to maximize the production company's bottom line, and Michael Bay is rather fantastic at what he does in this regard. Of the ten features he has directed thus far, only one of them was a failure at the box office, that being the 2005 film The Island. Ironically his film from last year Pain & Gain (which might be my favorite of his entire filmography despite my nostalgic love for The Rock) was the lowest grossing film of his career yet even that made a healthy profit thanks to its rather small production budget.

This isn't even including the new Transformers film due out this Friday, which is pretty much locked in for a billion dollar worldwide take. So while you may hate his films and groan whenever a new one is announced, I promise you there are a bunch of suits sitting in a board room pumping their fists when a Michael Bay film is nearing its release. It doesn't take a massive amount of artistic integrity or sublime talent to fill the coffers, so don't mistake my words for some sort of idea that I believe him to be a visionary auteur or anything, but I also can't help but tip my cap to a man who does what he loves and he obviously is doing it well enough to entertain a whole shit ton of people.

This brings me to my thoughts on my revisit with the original Transformers this past weekend. I feel a strange level of conflict while absorbing this film for the first time in a few years because throughout the entire thing I kept noticing moments that I should despise and yet I kept on enjoying myself until the very end. Sure, Shia Labeouf has gone bat-shit crazy as of late, but honestly here he presents a lot of charisma and humor to the role of Sam Witwicky. The shameful aspect of Megan Fox in the film has nothing to do with her talent level or performance, but instead regarding the fact that we all know Michael Bay gave her the role for one reason, and probably had a private conversation with the costume department as well before shooting. The goal of her inclusion in the film was to put boys and men of all ages in the seats and tap into their fantasies of combining giant fucking robots with a really hot girl, and I can't literally prove that this actually helped the box office numbers but I can say with confidence it probably didn't hurt.

The various secondary characters all ranged from the mildly entertaining to the absurdly silly, but combined everything accomplished one singular goal: to create a spectacle that would dazzle the eyeballs and put smiles of those that were lining up to see a film such as this. Was Transformers some sort of important cinematic milestone that will be picked apart for generations, studied by film classes, adored by cinephiles long after I am in my tomb rocking to Call Me Maybe in the afterlife? Lord no. Is it entertaining enough to enjoy while laying on the couch on a Sunday afternoon? It sure is.

Keep doing what you're doing, Michael Bay. If I don't like it, I don't have to go see it.

Well scratch that, if what you're doing is a film similar to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, then stop right now and reconsider your decisions. Even with the financial success, that shit was terrible.


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