Escape to the Movies: Transformers Revenge

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jun 27, 2009

Filed under: Movies 61 comments

So, a new (to me) series at the Escapist is Movie Bob. As someone who has only a cursory knowledge of movies and directors, I really appreciated his take on Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell. Like Yahtzee, his aggressive and profane style either works for you or it doesn’t, but I always enjoy reviewers that can educate me on the director, the history of this particular movie, the cast, or whatever else is useful for putting the thing in context. Drag me to Hell looks like something I would pass up even if it was free, but I still enjoyed his take on it.

But I’m linking his Transformers review, because I very much agree with the point he makes mid-way through. Warning: This is coarse, profane, rude, and angry:

This is something I was trying to say in my review of the original previous movie: Just because the source material is a “toy commercial” doesn’t get you off the hook for basic fundamental movie making concepts like characterization, cinematography, dialog, casting, and pacing. Movie Bob says it better, though. Note that I haven’t seen the new movie, but everything he says applies just as well to both movies.

Imagine that Michael Bay’s Transformers is – as Movie Bob says – the Batman & Robin of Transformers. What would the Dark Knight of Transformers look like? Or the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Basically, imagine the fun or interesting movies we could have gotten for that $200 million dollars, if they would just put the project in the hands of someone who wanted to do something more than capturing blurry footage of Stuff Blowing Up.


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61 thoughts on “Escape to the Movies: Transformers Revenge

  1. Krellen says:

    I wish people would stop dogging on Batman & Robin. I thought it was a perfectly good campy movie, as it was intended to be. As such, I’m sure it’s much better than anything Michael Bay has ever produced.

  2. Pederson says:

    I find myself really hoping they’re going to reboot the TF movie franchise in a half dozen years.

  3. zimboptoo says:

    “But I'm linking his Transformers review…”

    Is this some sort of experimental new “virtual” link, where we readers are so internet-saturated that all you have to do is mention a thing and we instantly know where to find it?

    [edit] Err… so how was I to know that noscript was blocking that embedded video? *sheepish* [/edit]

  4. Jim says:

    Here here! Very well stated by Movie Bob (and don’t sell your own writing short Shamus).

    Looks like there’s another Escapist feature I need to start following.

  5. Hirvox says:

    I found myself agreeing to most of his points, but somehow I’m not regretting that I spent 7€ on the movie. I guess it’s a guilty pleasure. As long as the movie gives me enough Scenery Porn and/or action sequences, I’m willing to turn off my brain for the duration of the movie. Batman & Robin did it with the gorgeous, multilevel Gotham, and the new Transformers do it with the robots.

  6. Yar Kramer says:

    @Hirvox: You fool! You linked TVTropes with no warning! You’ve doomed us all! Or at least those of us who don’t know that clicking that link will drain away hours! ;)

    Um … on-topic, I really think that a “mindless action flick,” if that’s all you’re going for, is a perfectly valid type of movie. I mean, when I was in high school, I looked forward to getting home from classes, plopping myself down in front of the TV, and watching Scooby Doo, because I’d just spent the whole day working really hard and now wanted a chance to turn my brain off. Not every franchise needs to be internally Serious.

  7. Mark says:

    I struggle in writing about this because I believe the sequel actually improved on some things about the first movie (plot, while still horrible, was more straightforward and the action, while still horrible, was not completely incomprehensible like the first movie). I struggle because that in no way means that this is actually a good, decent, or even mildly entertaining movie. It is, indeed, one of the worst of the current century and it has that black hole thing that moviebob talks about.

    I discovered Moviebob whilst binging through Yahtzee’s archives at the escapist. Apparently he does (or did, not sure) another video thing about video games called the “GAME OVERTHINKER” which is also pretty cool.

  8. scragar says:

    I was willing to forgive the film until it got close to the end, the big battle sucked, the past primes appeared out of nowhere to resurrect Sam and repair the matrix, only to never appear again, and did I mention that there is no clue given as to what happened to the knowledge Sam absorbed, is he still seeing strange shapes? Has, as was mentioned earlier in the film the knowledge moved on, or was it just no longer a plot point and thus written off.

  9. Kdansky says:

    I must correct you there:

    “in the hands of someone who wanted to do something more than capturing blurry footage of Stuff Getting Blown Up By The American Military.”

    I was entertained by the first one, but if that review is only partially true, the second one is horrid.

  10. Jericho says:

    Meh. I haven’t seen the movie, but if it is anything like the first movie, then I will love it, I expect.

    I find it ironic funny that this guy rails about douchebags. Sure, it is perfectly valid to not like the movie. But is he seriously looking at “The Godfather” for a comparison movie? Methinks he went looking for the wrong stuff.

    Transformers is supposed to be a Terribly Campy movie. You don’t go to see Transformers, or any Bay movie, expecting high art, you expect to see shit exploding, douchebag characters, and Megan Fox trying to act in short shorts.

    Though I will agree with the overabundance of unnecessary human characters.

  11. Carra says:

    All this bitching on Michael Bay is not needed. The man made The Rock which was an excellent movie. And Armageddon & The Island were mediocre movies but certainly not bad. The man has talent, he just doesn’t seem to be using it in his newest movie.

    And the Movie Bob feature resembles Yahtzee a bit too much. The rambling is similar but it doesn’t have the cute hand drawn men. And complaining about the quick editing in Transformers 2 is ironic seeing how this clip is edited even faster.

  12. SatansBestBuddy says:


    I’ve tried, you know.

    Defending the first film.

    I thought it was a set-up, an origin story, that like all comic hero movies before it, that it would be the sequel that would be the magical film that would wow everybody so much that the shit from the first film would be forgiven.

    It worked for Spiderman, it worked for Batman (twice!), and I thought it was gonna work for Transformers.

    The only fathonable reason I could think of that anybody, even someone as stupid as Micheal Bay, would go from one movie to another without learning ANYTHING about what made their first movie horrible… would be that he doesn’t think so.

    Micheal Bay, the guy in charge, is firmly entrenched in thinking that what he is doing is the right way to go about it, that the scripts he had are perfect and don’t need rewrites, that the special effects are just the way they’re meant to be, and that everybody coming into that theatre is coming for the human’s, because it’s their drama that people care about, not some machines that people have liked for decades that have personalities that never make it onscreen, because who cares about them aside from the little kids?

    And why should kids be entertained by this movie, anyway?

    Pardon my French, but Fuck You, Micheal Bay, and Everything You Stand For.

  13. Colonel Slate says:

    The first movie I enjoyed, it wasn’t what I truly wanted, but it was good enough to see again, at least to me, story, bleh, but in general it was entertaining the reason I see a movie.

    —-Spoiler Possible—-

    T2 on the other hand didn’t seem the same, I don’t mind the humans in it, IF THEY HAD BEEN MORE DEFINED THAN – I’M A HUMAN OR I’M A GENERIC STEROTYPE – No, it would have been better if I could have cared about them, and then, damn, why did all the decepticons LOOK LIKE MEGATRON.

    All in all, I enjoyed it, mostly, but I probably won’t see it again, by the time they got to Egypt, I was thinking, can this movie be over now?

  14. Michael says:

    I couldn’t stand the first movie. The moment a robot pissed motor fuel from his crotch on to a human FBI guy (or whatever) I turned it off.

  15. edcalaban says:

    Saw the new one opening day with a group of friends. We enjoyed it, but the plot was… sparse at best.

    What we most enjoyed was the railgun. I mean, come on, RAILGUN. Battleship with RAILGUN. Right there i decided the movie had been worth paying to see. We were pissed it only went off once, but hey, maybe they actually thought through the technical limitations of such a system. Or maybe they forgot about it. Whatever it was, we (engineering students of course) hit up IHOP and started working out how to build a railgun on a napkin.

    The whole ending sequence with modern military kicking Decepticon ass was all I really loved. The rest was amusing, but not good.


    Was the college bit interesting at all, conspiracy roomie, evil hot chick, etc? Nope.

    What’s up with the Blackbird? I mean, he’s pretty cool, I liked him, but did he have to be so senile? He could have been epic without his character taking a nosedive lemming style.

    Devastator, section 7 guy, dangling wrecking balls. WTF. “I am directly under the robots scrotum” is completely and totally unnecessary. Actually, same with all the robot body humor.

    Matrix of Leadership. Boring, pointless, and I’m not here for you to preach to me about how Transformers are totally cool, we should all be friends, blah blah *vomit*
    I’m a big boy. Don’t preach to me in such a way that I notice and reject out of annoyance.


    Still, enjoyed the movie. It was worth the money (unlike certain others I saw recently which shall remain conspicously unnamed). And I’m not sure I want a Transformers that isn’t about Stuff Blowing Up (TM), but take out a lot of the crass humor and this movie would have been a LOT better.

  16. BarGamer says:

    Escapist Magazine is rapidly turning into one of my favorite websites, and not just for the profanity-ridden reviews.

    Oh hey, he reviewed Up, too! AND LIKED IT!

    That’s it, I’m hooked.

  17. UtopiaV1 says:

    MovieBob is the only reviewer who I actually totally and 100% trust (apart from yourself, Shamus, obviously :D ), and everything he says is gospel. He’s not new though, he’s been shoved to the back of the Escapist Show for months, maybe years, now (which is a travesty, as the Escapist Show is the worst geek humour ever made, and feel embarrassed to be a part of gaming culture whenever I see it. Appalling acting, terrible dialogue, badly-conceived skits and no grasp on current geek trends or news, basically, a show with no point… like my rant!).

    Still, unlike Yahtzee, Moviebob only swears when he REALLY dislikes something, so uses curse words for their intended purpose (for emphasis). And I have never disagreed with a thing he’s said, and that’s something (because I LOVE to argue ¬_¬ )

    Oh, and @Carra, did Micheal Bay really direct the Rock? I hope that’s not true, cos I love that movie, it’s the film me and my dad watch whenever we want a night of guns, explosions and beer :P

  18. Gahazakul says:

    People are doing it here also so I must speak up.

    I am getting tired of the TF2 defense of “it’s a summer campy actions movie, it is supposed to be dumb”. That does not make up for it being an awful movie. Other summer action flicks include Die Hard (the originals), Rambo, the first 2 Terminator films. Those movies were, ehm, Big Dumb Action films but were also good and in their own way made sense.

    This film, TF2, wouldn’t be as bad if they weren’t pushing the terrible comedy. Why do we need distractions from the giant robot action in the GIANT ROBOT ACTION MOVIE.

    It boggles the mind.

  19. bbot says:

    Timing seems off in the video, with text slides zipping by, and uninteresting static slides sticking around for too long. I’d blame it on my computer not having enough grunt to render it fast enough, but it’s a Core i7 920.

    The codec also seems confused, with several otherwise static slides dissolving into pixel globs for no apparent reason.

    Also: when you say you’re going to link to something, could you create an actual hypertext link, as to not confuse us noscript using scum?

  20. BaCoN says:

    Yeah, I’ve got that feeling where I’m agreeing with the POINTS, but I still enjoyed the movie itself.

    Though, to be FAIR, I REALLY enjoyed Uwe Boll’s “In The Name Of The King”, simply because it was purely amusing.

  21. Nostromo says:

    Topless Robot had a pretty good review (read: bashing) of the movie, if anything for those two quotes:

    “Watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is marginally better than shitting your pants, but it takes a lot longer.”


    “Can you explain Megan Fox’s appeal?
    Yes. She looks like a porn star and has the same acting talent as one, yet for some reason she makes mainstream movies. This tonal disconnect is what’s so appealing about her.”

  22. mcgurker says:

    Way to not link to Movie Bob, Shamus.

    C’mon, and usually you’re so good at linking to things!

  23. Ell Jay says:

    Another question could be: what if the new “Star Trek” had been more like “Batman Begins” and less like “Transformers”?

  24. Louis says:

    Here’s the review of this movie I posted a forum I frequent. For reference, a number of the more sophisticated members were already discussing how the Autobot “characters” from the first movie were turned into set pieces, rather than expanded.

    First, let me get some things out there. I’m a die-hard Transformers fan. I have been since 1984. I’ve seen the highs and lows of the franchise, and I think they all have a certain appeal, even though I may not always be able to appreciate it.

    I even found something to enjoy in that comic from 1985, when the Decepticons built a machine that would steal the sound from a Bruce Springsteen concert and convert them to Energon.

    Yeah, you heard me. Bruce. Springsteen.

    So I went to RotF last night in IMAX, expecting fun action and something that as a whole came out marginally better than the first (which I deemed “Good Enough”).

    I didn’t get that.

    I didn’t even get something half as good as the first.

    I thought this movie was a complete and utter piece of slag.

    It was an incoherent mess that could neither put together anything vaguely resembling a plot, nor deliver enough action to satisfy.

    Each and every scene was marred by horrible attempts at comedy (WHY WAS WHEELIE HUMPING MEGAN’S LEG FOR PRIMUS’ SAKE?!?), or complete misuse of CGI. Yeah, the graphics were really good, but so what? Jar Jar Binks came alive more than anything of these growling pieces of furniture. Jar Jar Binks was funnier and more sophisticated than 80% of the Transformers cast.

    The story was non-existent. Here’s my summary…

    So, you remember the thingie from the first movie? Well, now its been blows up into lots of little thingies but they just makes the guy go Woo Woo Woo and then the robots who falls down last time get up and make the things BOOM and then girl had the panties and she messed up the room and then big growly bear grabbed the guy but OPTIMUS PRIME fight him and then he fall down and that was sad but now the guy is trouble so he and the peoples go there and they talks about the new thing with the new big thing guy and they runs to the place with the mummy and they find the thing but all the blow ups wrecks the thing but they didn’t really wreck it and they push the button and OPTIMUS PRIME doesn’t fall down no more and punches the ugly and they win.

    Yeah, I left a lot out. The movie should have done the same. And while we’re editing this film with a chainsaw, leave out half of what I described, as well. It’s like every scene existed for its own sake, and the actors were left to improvise their dialogue and try to connect everything together.

    Oh yeah, I echo every bad thing that was said previously about the characterization of the Autobots and Decepticons.

    What a complete and utter waste.

    Woo. Posting that everywhere I can makes me feel better.

  25. Eric says:

    He’s wrong about Meagan Fox, there are worst eye candy actresses, she did pretty good with simon peg in how to alienating people. I don’t like him. Also picking on Michael Bay isn’t exactly hard, but to say the Transformers series is worse than anything Uwe Boll has done is preposterous. That tells me he knows nothing of film, and thus sounds like a pretend elitist.

  26. Neil Polenske says:

    There’s stuph I can say about this movie, which I was able to enjoy and acknowledge for the nonsense it was, but really, there wouldn’t be much point. So instead, I pop ya this link that I posted in the same forums Louis popped in his review:

  27. LintMan says:

    I haven’t seen Transformers 2 yet, but as Shamus said, pretty much everything Angry Bob says applies to the first film as well.

    He really hits on something that bugs me that I hadn’t put my finger on: all the movie’s focus on Shia Whatshisname. Yeah, they had a kid or two and some adults in the show, but they weren’t the *stars*.

    But I’ll be seeing it anyway – I told my kids I’d take them.

    About the review itself – did anyone else think Angry Bob sounded like he was talking from inside a tin can? Also annoying (*really* annoying) were the several times some image/test flashes up for .1 sec. There’s no “rewind”, so you have to keep dragging the slider back a bit and try to catch it with the pause button. And then after all that, it wasn’t worth the effort. Honestly, the video didn’t really add much to what he was saying, and with this level of production value I’d rather just have read it.

  28. Magnus says:

    As a huge fan of the original ’84 film, I was mildy annoyed by the first Bay TF film.

    People mention it’s a film you should “switch your brain off” to see, and the reasoning behind that is the terrible characterization and awful dialogue. I know it’s an action film, but those things can be done well and there are many examples of good big-budget action films.

    The first was a mess of a film, and I can see from the trailers and reviews I’ve seen so far that I should avoid this like the plague.

  29. Sydney says:

    Graphics technology is killing movies, too. It costs the same amount to draw a robot as it costs to draw a human – but it costs way the fuck more to animate one than it costs to hire a human. So guess what we get?

    A movie about humans, with less screen time for the robots. And the screen time they do get is deliberately obscured by lens flare, rapid cuts, and useless camera angles to mask what I’m sure are ingenious tricks used by the animators to save production costs, like fog in old outdoor FPS games.

  30. Papo says:

    I agree with you at some extent, but I also have to remind you of some great film which have been possible thanks to graphics technology (most Pixar movies for example, they all need huge computers to make them)

  31. K says:

    Me and a couple of my brothers went to see it recently. I have to agree that it is terrible in just about every way. The thing I remember most about the first film is that it ended with Shia making out while laying on top of his best friend, while all his other friends stand around watching them. This film starts from there and goes downhill.

    I mean, why on earth do robots find Megan Fox hot? I agree with others that every single Decepticon is the same shade of grey and is hard to differentiate. The whole resurrections at the end really pissed me off. And when [SPOILER] Optimus Prime took some of Jetfire’s parts [/SPOILER] me and my brother burst out laughing for a couple of minutes, probably pissing everyone else in the audience off.

    Not all of it was bad though. A couple of the fight scenes weren’t bad, and the “I’ll take you all on!” was awesome.

    I think overall the whole film was overly sexualised, had poor camerawork and they were trying to make a comedy, not an action film.

  32. Aergoth says:

    Not having seen the second one, but recently rewatched the first, I remember my brain did turn off the first time I saw “GIANT ROBOTS” but then got a little ticked off because A) Self-Righteous Political Allegory (brownie points to someone who can turn that into a C.R.A.P acronym for me) and B)Too many “Where the hell is this coming from” moments. Yes, it’s Transformers, not Star Trek. Even Star Wars tried to explain the Force (I meant the first time. Midichlorians…*facepalm*) and the cartoons explained that they needed energon. I’m not asking for SCIENCE but if you’re going to show me a freaky box of doom, I want to know maybe how it’s doing what it’s doing?

  33. Alex says:

    I think if Steven Spielberg were a little more than just the executive producer, we’d have had our “The Dark Knight of Transformers” years ago, instead of this unsalvageable crap.

    This “Movie Bob” fellow suffers many of the same pitfalls as Yahtzee(I shouldn’t have to pause the video every 2 seconds just to read the captions in every picture of his. It’s funny how he spends the entire presentation insulting Michael Bay’s film-making abilities, when it looks like he was the major source of inspiration towards the editing here). But at least he paused between sentences here and there. It’s nice when I can actually understand at least 50% of a rant.

  34. Eric says:

    I’d just like to point out, MovieBob does some nice video blog type stuff over at his other site, The Game OverThinker, which is dedicated to, for the most part, dissecting the culture, content and industry surrounding videogames. It’s quality stuff (although he sometimes skims over some topics), and worth watching. We need more intelligent discourse about games, period.

  35. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I really dont understand the appeal of shaky cam.Well,actually,I do.Its a nice escape for someone that has no clue about coreography.But really,it is so overused,and overused poorly,that its unbearable.Is there an internet petition to ban shaky cam?Im all for signing it.I remember that it worked exactly once,in saving private ryan(well maybe in cloverfield as well),but thats it.It is something you can use for a massive battle,but not 1 on 1 combat.Especially if its 1 on 1 combat of robots as tall as buildings.

    Other than that,I dont even remember what the first movie is about,so I probably wont see the second one,unless it comes to tv,or I win tickets.

  36. Danel says:

    I didn’t think the movie was as hyperbolically bad as some people are arguing, but in some ways that makes in worse since I can see where decisions were made that, had a different choice been made in production, could have resulted in a vastly improved movie.

    There’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of comedy to lighten the tone – and indeed, parts of the movie shows why this is needed, with the Serious soldiers of DAFT, or whatever the acronym was, being so absurdly serious all the time. And when it works, you end up with characters like Sam and Bumblebee – important characters who can also be funny. But when it goes wrong, you end up with characters like the Annoying Roommate and the Hateful Twins – pointless comic relief distractions who just get in the way.

    The opening scenes are actually quite good – starting things off with a dramatic bang, they reintroduce us to the Autobots while introducing new ones, usually with no more to their name than a setpiece and a Cool Move. And that’s fine – this is the introduction, and that’ll serve until they can be given a bit more characterisation later… except it never arrives, and indeed most of them don’t appear again at all until the climactic final battle, by which point we’ve mostly forgotten who they are. It also makes you wonder how much better the film could’ve been if any of the autobots OTHER than the Hateful Twins had been the ones assigned to the main squad we followed around.

    The early part of the film also makes it seem as if they’re going to focus on fewer human characters this time round. There are some who argue that it should just focus on Robot Action all the time, but regardless of whether or not this would actually appeal to the Normals, the Suits usually believe that it wouldn’t, and the Geek Audience isn’t viewed as big enough to justify the expenditure needed for the graphics of it. The problem is that human characters aren’t INNATELY interesting – they should focus on just a few and make us care about them, in the process making us care about the robots through them. (The first movie really should’ve focused on just Sam and his subplot, or if they really wanted the war and international action stuff, just the soldiers – which would’ve been a very different movie, and possibly one that wouldn’t appeal to kids as much)

    And to some extent they do this. The movie assumes that we can be assumed to care about Bumblebee and Optimus, at least, going in; it seems like it really will focus mainly on Sam, even if the soldiers are still around (and even less characterised than in the previous film). But then they add another bunch of characters – I didn’t mind Sam’s roommate at first, since I assumed he was just there to remind the audience of what happened in the last film, and to serve as a kind of foil for Sam. At the end, he’d be talking to Sam about the Robot Action, totally oblivious that Sam had been right in the middle of it. I didn’t expect him to tag along.

    And really, what the hell was with the Treasure Hunt in the middle of the film? It slows the pace to a crawl.

  37. I refuse to watch TF2 in theatres – if Hasbro wants to try to sell me toys, they can do it on their own dime – but I have seen the first movie a couple of times. I’m also a published author (not a big one, but published all the same), and I’ve got an idea of how storytelling works.

    The thing that drives me crazy is the “it’s supposed to be campy” defence – that was used by defenders of the first one too. Frankly, it’s BS. I love deliberately campy movies – Army of Darkness and Planet Terror are two of my favorites. But Transformers was NOT one of those movies. It was a movie that tried to be over the top at everything, and just came out as a mess.

    There’s a principle that works for willing suspension of disbelief that is also at play here. The key to willing suspension of disbelief is consistency. Once you set a rule up for your setting, you don’t break it. If there’s sound in space in the first space scene, there has to be sound in space in all of the others. But, if for half the movie there’s sound in space, and then it suddenly switches to silent space scenes for no apparent reason, that’s jarring enough to pull the viewer out of the story and make him/her notice the inconsistency.

    The same thing goes for tones of movies. The first ten or twenty minutes of a movie sets the tone for that movie. So, for example, the opening of Planet Terror had a mad scientist who collected testicles. The opening of Army of Darkness had an over-the-top Ash. It’s not that a movie has to set a tone and stay there, but a transition of tone generally has to be smooth and gradual (take Catch-22 shifting slowly from comedy to horror, for example). An abrupt shift jars the viewer out of the action of the movie.

    So…taking Transformers – we start with a very dark scene with a scary giant robot wiping out a military base and leaving only a handful of survivors. This moves to middle America, and Bumblebee – so far not too bad tone-wise. Characters actually are set up (about as subtly as a flying brick, but at least Sam has more than one dimension). Then the Autobots show up, and we have an abrupt transition to situational, rather than character-based, comedy. Then a transition to government conspiracy. Then a transition back into gritty SF. It’s the transitions that are jarring.

    Really, the movie just tried too hard. The action when it happened had to be over the top…the conspiracies had to be over the top…and the comedy had to be over the top…and let’s face it, it’s just embarrassing to watch these powerful giant robots hiding from Sam’s parents. If it had been scaled back so that the shifts in tone were more gradual and natural, it would have probably been a good movie.

    Best to all,

    Robert Marks

  38. Well, I should have said “the movie tried too hard.” The plot was pretty weak too…but it’s the tonal changes that drove it into your head like a mallet…

  39. Eric2 says:

    Wow, sorry, I signed my name as Eric above (the comment on MovieBob) without even realising there was someone else using the same name. Sorry about that! I am a completely different person.

  40. Bobby says:


    “It costs the same amount to draw a robot as it costs to draw a human – but it costs way the fuck more to animate one than it costs to hire a human. So guess what we get?”

    That’s actually completely inaccurate. Each robot has a horde of human animators and 33 hours of rendering on ILM’s gigantic render farms for each frame, they’re massively more expensive to create and animate than hiring humans, it’s the reason there were only around 10 in the first movie.

    The reason we got more robots is because the fan community bitched about there not being enough robots in the first movie, because to them Transformers should be a story about robots foremost.

  41. LintMan says:


    I think you misunderstood Sydney. His point was that in the cartoon, drawing people or robots is the same amount of effort, but in a live action movie, animating the robots is way way more expensive than hiring an actor. All your stuff about the horde of ILM animators proves his point. He is completely accurate.

    As for them responding to complaints that a Transformers movie should be about the robots – Now that I’ve seen it, I’d say that the “response” was pretty anemic. Transformers 2 is still not about the robots…

    There may be more robots in this one, but they are still not the stars of the movie. I’d estimate that the robots are only on screen 30-40% of the time, and the story is about the kid.

  42. qrter says:

    I can almost remember when The Escapist didn’t just seem a sort of aggregator for snarky video’s and comics.

  43. Bobby says:


    Yeah. rereading the bit I quoted it seems I jumped a line and completely misunderstood

  44. Eric2 says:

    or am I just a split personality?

  45. Noble Bear says:

    I’ve seen the review already, but I eagerly clicked on it again because I liked it that much.

    The line about “fearing for my own nostalgia” especially resonated with me.

    I disagree that Michal Bay has produced anything worse than Uve Boll, but at least Boll never made any pretense that what he was doing was for fans. Sometimes I really wish Bay HAD made Megatron a fondue pot.

    Unlike GI JOE, where while the film will likely be a sucky retread of Team America, I can relax because Resolute was awesome; it left me with a sense that SOMEONE knows how to handle the material correctly. Hmm… I wonder if Warren Ellis would be up for writing a transformers story as well, c’mon Adult Swim, whaddaya say?

    PS: Shamus, I will also add my voice to those who have been enjoying and would encourage you to check out Bob’s Game Overthinker blog.

  46. MattF says:

    Carra: Armageddon & The Island were mediocre movies but certainly not bad.

    Really? REALLY?

    All right, maybe it’s just me. When Charleton Heston gave hos voice-over for Armageddon, I was expecting some semblance of scientific accuracy. It looked like they had done a little bit of homework, at least, and that we’d be seeing a movie where Smart People Save The Planet. Awesome.

    (Sure, the stats they gave on the dino-killer asteroid were completely wrong, but it’s hard to do BotE calculations in a dark and crowded theater.)

    What we got was science so bad it would insult a third grader’s intelligence, plot holes so large you could send a Texas-sized asteroid (?!?) through them, and characters that were simultaneously one-dimensional and bland.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t demand anything close to realism in many of my stories. But I feel that my expectations were shattered. In any event, if you’re going to dispense with realism, it had better be because your story is damn good. Armageddon wasn’t.

    (Maybe it wouldn’t have stuck in my craw so much if I hadn’t had to try to gently correct countless people who came away thinking that what they had seen was, in some measure, somewhat plausible.)

  47. Hawkehunt says:

    Whats with all the hate? Myself and every person I know absolutely loved the new Transformers movie. I’ll admit there were a couple of WTF moments, but there’s no need to take a dump on everyone else’s fun because it doesn’t meet some arbitrary standard for a “good movie.”

    I enjoyed it; my friends enjoyed it. QED it was a good movie.

  48. Blackbird71 says:

    @Hawkehunt (47)

    I have to agree. I haven’t seen the second movie, but I felt the same way about the first. There were a few moments I could do without (mostly involving Sam’s parents), but I found it thouroughly enjoyable. I just watched it last week on a lazy afternoon: still fun.

    Personally, I’m one who will typically pick apart everything I find wrong in a movie (or other franchise), regardless of popular opinion. Star Trek was terrible, don’t even get me started on Harry Potter, and we could go on for hours about anything Lucas has touched in the last couple of decades.

    With Transformers, I can see flaws, but they’re not enough to stop me from enjoying the movie.

    @Alex(63) Spielberg? Really? The same guy who gave us the Crystal Skull? Maybe once upon a time, but in recent years his judgement has been slipping. In one of his interviews on the IJ4 DVD, he goes on about how over the years, Lucas and Ford kept talking to him about doing another movie. Spielberg had some concerns and reservations, which he listed, but in the end he was talked into it. Well, every problem he had was, in my opinion, a major flaw with the movie. The man should have listened to his instincts.

  49. Fusilier says:

    When I go to see a movie about giant space robots, that’s what I go for: GIANT SPACE ROBOTS. You don’t need a story when you have kick-ass mecha action!

    Seriously though, I quite like the story of the movies and was very content with both of them. I love the visuals and the sounds of the transformers. The chick-robot was annoying, though. Once again we have our hero being seduced by any female that comes along just so we can have the jealous girlfriend walk in on them at the opportune moment. I mean, I know guys are fueled by their hormones, but c’mon.

  50. Noble Bear says:

    @Fusilier (49)
    I think had the films actually just been about good robots fighting bad robots, it would have been a much better feature; but that’s not what it was; it was roughly 20-30 minutes of robots fighting set at the back end of more than 90 min of bad story telling and unlikable characters.

    @Hawkehunt (47)
    You are correct in saying that you liked the movie or me saying I didn’t are purely subjective statements. However, to call those who disagree with you as being arbitrary when such is not the case, is disingenuous. What many of us who didn’t like the feature have been calling attention to are issues such as pacing, tone, dialogue, how necessary many of the characters are, how much of the action we get to see, and so on are matters that, while they can’t always be defined strictly, turn these opinions into arguments. Now, weather you find those arguments compelling or if they are metrics you use to determine your enjoyment of a movie are up to you.

  51. Veloxyll says:

    Having now seen the movie, I can generally agree with these comments. Seriously, $200 million and all you get is a movie that’s DECENT?

    The entire angry government suit guy could’ve been cut, since it didn’t ACTUALLY AFFECT ANYTHING WHATSOEVER. Seriously. Army guys still took the auto-bots where they needed to be, AND they got fire support when they called for it. It was a colossal waste of time.

    Decepticons can appareently mimic humans, yet this never shows up later in the film AT ALL, despite the writers and director prefering to write about humans. Seriously. Terminator’s copyright holders should sue for stealing ideas, and get it so the writers and director can never work again >: (

    Also a general total lack of characterisation on the Transformers. Jetfire and the Twins pretty much are the only major Transformer characters. Bumblebee, Optimus, Megatron and The Fallen are relatively minor characters in comparison. Even Transformers: The Movie (the cartoon one) could manage to at least NAME every transformer. Most of the transformers who show up in ROTF are nameless red shirts.
    It would not hurt, if there is a third Transformers movie, to cut the length back to 90 minutes, work with fewer Transformers, but have more interaction between those Transformers. Also, they can kinda TALK in vehicle mode. It may cost a lot to animate a robot walking, fighting etc
    but it doesn’t cost nearly so much to have a Voice Actor talking while cars drive along!

    I think humans could’ve easily been cut down to Sam, his girlfriend, and Army Guy. Sector Seven guy and Freaked out internet guy didn’t really matter either, since it ended up being Wheelie who lead them to someone helpful. Though, in closing, that’s the problem with a lot of the characters in the film, the story worked fine without them, there is an easy hour of film that’s useless, and it all involves humans. maybe if I get bored I’ll download a version, cut them out for the most part and see how that goes >.> (I might wait till it’s out on DVD so I can actually OWN a home copy, I dunno. I may also get bored iwth the idea by then.)

  52. ima420r says:

    I don’t get all the hate. The movie was awesome! I don’t usually like action movies, I would (probably) never go see one in the theater, but I went and saw T:RotF on opening day. I say again, it was AWESOME! Just like the first one, and I hope the third one, Transformers are totally rad.

  53. Joe Cool says:

    This guy isn’t nearly as funny as Yahtzee. When a reviewer tears apart a movie/game because he doesn’t like it, and does it in a funny way, I usually enjoy the review, even if it was a movie/game I liked. But when he not only tears apart the product, but also insults those who like the product, as if there was something wrong with them, he’s lost me and comes of sounding like an elitist jerk. And that’s where this Movie Bob fellow lost me, when he mentioned something about how people were “pretending” the recent Star Trek was good. I’m sorry, but I’m not “pretending” anything when I like that movie. You don’t like it? Fine, trash it in a humorous way. Just don’t claim that there’s something wrong with me for liking it.

    Also, the editing and sound on his video was crap and anyone who disagrees with me is a moron.

  54. Veloxyll says:

    @ Ima420r: It was kinda cool, but it could’ve been so much better is the problem.

    Also, while lying in bed relentlessly not sleeping (When I go to bed at 11 brain, I expect to be asleep by 2 AM), I thought of another thing that bugged me. Namely, the only trio of Pyramids I’m aware of is at Giza, right next to Cairo. Yet they make several mentions that they’re fighting on the Dagger’s Tip (aka the Sinai), I don’t recall the exact geographical co-ordinates they used, but I’m pretty sure that’s where they were fighting. They call for JORDANIAN, not Egyptian support also, again backing up that they’re fighting on the Sinai (Since Egypt can’t put troops in the Sinai due to the Camp David treaty they signed with Israel, apparently bringing in Jordanians doesn’t bug Egypt or Israel at all however.)
    They do mention Aqaba, which suggests they’re fighting up north near the Israeli border, they could also see the Mountains of Petra, which are in Jordan, aka another freaking country.
    The great pyramids are only oooh, ~350 km AWAY from where they’re fighting. supposedly. Or, they’re not there and they’re in fact at Giza, in which case they can’t see Petra, or any mountains because they’re in FIRE TRUCKING CAIRO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT!?! To put it in perspective, it’s similar to putting the Empire State Building just outside of Pittsburgh.
    Bonus points for only encountering ONE checkpoint while travelling FROM Egypt TO Petra. Now, since they lack passports we can assume they don’t take a Ferry, which means they not only have to pass through Egyptian and Jordanian border control, but they also have to go through ISRAEL. And to get back to Egypt they have to go through TWICE. I’m pretty sure that at least ONE of the three countries involved would not let someone in wihtout a passport, which Sam explicitly states he doesn’t have.
    Also the Sinai is littered with checkpoints, the tourist industry in Egypt is kinda big and they do like to keep track of tourists.

    To see the problem visually, I prepared this map:

    SERIOUS. EPIC. GEOGRAPHY. FAIL. If I’d known beforehand I don’t think I could’ve gone. It crashed my suspension of disbelief when I picked it. And it’s keeping me awake at night.
    This is so serious everyone involved should be forced to go back through High School Geography and learn how to read a freaking MAP.

    If they did fight in Cairo, not on the Sinai, that is one HELL of a shot with the railgun. Unguided ordinace at least 150 km!
    Edit 3: Although we know it’s in a costal location because they land reinforcements via hover-boat thingy on what appears to be a beach (I have 8 minutes of editing still and I intend to use it!)

    Edit: here is the Googlemaps map I was using to make my map:,33.953247&spn=4.228274,6.685181&t=h&z=8

    Edit 2: Finding a colour that isn’t blotted out by terrain is HARD

  55. Chris Arndt says:


    I will kill you and your dog for locking me onto tvtropes wiki again.

    Your favorite pets will taste delicious.

  56. rofltehcat says:

    So… I watched it yesterday and as someone who didn’t like the transoformers series when I was younger and didn’t watch the first one I have to say:
    It is a medicore to good action movie with lots of special effects. It is a bit hectic but at the same time finds a lot of time to waste on the relation between that no-porn-star-but-looks-and-acts-like-one girl and that boy.
    I liked the action but they could have done it a little bit slower and cut the relationship stuff out a bit, overall reducing the movie to 2 hours (they put in a fucking break because it was so ‘long’).

    Yeah, it is just that, a mediocre to good action film.
    But I guess if you liked the Transformers series and are a fan of it you won’t like it.

    An additional thought about the speed of combat: I think if combat was a bit slower you might actually see a bit of those special effects. But I guess maybe their special effects weren’t that great and so they just turned up the speed a little?

  57. Chris Arndt says:

    Anyway, back from my sociopathic thought processes…

    Terminator's copyright holders should sue for stealing ideas, and get it so the writers and director can never work again >: (

    C2 Productions should sue Hasbro for something they mass-produced and sold to children in 1987?

    Maybe Saberhagen should sue them both for ripping off Berzerkers? Or did that come out after 1984?

    Maybe Asimov should sue them all….

  58. Chris Arndt says:

    Anyway the reviewer is mostly correct.

    While I enjoyed very much the movie his sentiments echoed mine.

    Also: Transformers is a circle that begins and ends at the toy aisle if it ends at all (circles don’t end) yet in the middle of the traveling arc we stopped in the juvenile young adult jerk-face aisle with puerile material proudly and selfishly displayed along with the sign “we have you toys but we won’t let you see them or play with them until after we draw genitalia on them.”

  59. Chris Arndt says:

    I think if Steven Spielberg were a little more than just the executive producer, we'd have had our “The Dark Knight of Transformers” years ago, instead of this unsalvageable crap.

    That doesn’t explain the pile of dung that was War of the Worlds.

  60. skantman says:

    TF doesn’t need a reboot. All that is needed is for Spielberg to step in as director for the 3rd installment and get Orci and Kurtzman to churn out a script of Star Trek quality. As bad as War of the Worlds was, it was still 1000 times better than TF2. And he did an awesome job with Minority Report, despite the obligatory Spielberg ending fail. If they thought part 2 made a lot of money, imagine how big the box office would be for a Spielberg helmed entry! Personally I’d like to see a Michael Mann TF movie but that’ll never happen.

  61. Veloxyll says:

    @Chris: I don;’t mean the Transformers in general, I mean the transformer that transforms into a HUMAN.

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