stupid in disguise

Sun Jul-27th-2008 // Filed under: Celluloid

I have just finished watching what I believe may very well be the worst movie I have ever seen.

I’m going to qualify that statement a little before I get into this. I mean, there are movies that are so badly done that they aren’t even ridiculous, they’re just incomprehensible messes, created with so little skill on any front that they fail to entertain even on the most basic “let’s laugh at stupid crap” level. Those are in a league of their own. I’m not talking about movies like Plan 9 or Manos, either — those’re movies created by people who were obviously earnest, yet just about completely devoid of skill or any real understanding of art. You laugh at them, but they aren’t really comparable to “real” movies any more than the doodles of a toddler are comparable to the work of an artist. There’s just a kind of a quantum leap of difference there.

I suppose what I’m getting at is that this was probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen created by people who had the money and even the basic artistic understanding to know better. I’m talking about Transformers, by Hollywood shitmeister Michael Bay, and it’s an awful, awful film even by Bay’s admittedly low standards. I felt plain embarrassed watching the movie; I was by myself, and I had to pause the movie several times to just swear out loud at how incredibly stupid the entire thing is.

I find myself at something of a loss for words, which doesn’t happen a lot. I call the movie stupid, and it’s true, but that’s like saying that the sun is hot. It doesn’t really convey the magnitude of what I’m talking about, the absolute absence of quality in the movie’s content and storytelling. I mean, okay, fair enough: it’s a movie about alien robots that transform into vehicles and household appliances and fight each other, so I’m not exactly expecting the greatest story ever told in a film, but even by that standard it’s idiotic. It’s not so much full of plot holes as it is a collection of incoherent scenes that follow each other, contrived moments that fall apart at the slightest touch of logic or consistency. So you have captured a giant robot that you are scared to death of and is literally kept on ice, but you have no backup plan — I’m thinking heavy-duty explosives here, kids — in case you have a power failure and it starts to heat up? Or even just a huge tank of liquid nitrogen to keep it frozen a little longer or something? The location of the MacGuffin is, uh, somehow coded in the glasses of a guy who saw where it was? And why doesn’t Scorponok just kill the soldiers right away instead of waiting long enough for them to reach a phone and call in air support, even though we know he could attack at any time, when the entire point of his attack is to suppress evidence of the Decepticons’ existence? Oh yeah, because then they couldn’t call in the air strike and move the plot forward! That’s great writing, guys. Awesome storytelling, and you stick to that standard throughout the entire piece of shit of a movie.

Sure, the robots look pretty cool, I’ll give you that. I mean, they don’t look much like Transformers and they have no personalities, but a cool robot is a cool robot. Even if you do have trouble telling them apart — not that we see a lot of them, because for some goddamn reason the movie about giant robots is actually a movie about some fucking teenager’s girl problems and a bunch of special forces guys’ wacky desert adventures and utterly ridiculous computer stuff. Speaking of which, I loved the part about the “spider-bot virus” that “hacked the Pentagon’s firewall within 10 seconds”, which was pretty awesome because “even a supercomputer with a brute force attack would take 20 years to do that.” Because, y’know, a brute force attack is the most efficient way to breach computer security. Of course, then our NSA analyst concludes that it could be a quantum mechanics-using DNA-based computer, because, hey, she’s smart as a whip or something.

And it goes on and on and on, and all of it is completely irrelevant to a Transformers movie, which — lest we forget — is about cool robots doing cool shit. Instead, we get some of the most cringe-worthy and idiotic dialogue ever heard in a movie and protracted scenes of the Autobots playing Three Stooges in suburbia. The numerous, terribly unfortunate attempts at comedy and slapstick make for some of the most uncomfortable viewing moments in the movie. Haha! They’re trying to hide from Sam Witwicky’s parents, but they’re so clumsy!! Oh, and look at that, a dog takes a leak on Ironhide’s foot! It’s hilarious! And later on Bumblebee pisses — I’m sorry, “leaks lubricant” — on a government agent!

Yeah, let me run that one by you again, Buckaroo: In this movie, there is a scene in which a giant robot pisses on a human.

Guess you found your calling as a thespian there, John. That sequel is probably gonna be great, huh?

There are dumb movies that are still fun, or dumb in a fun way, or dumb in a self-aware way, or clever enough to make the dumb irrelevant. Transformers isn’t one of those movies. It’s a torrent of idiocy that is all style over substance, made by people who don’t really understand how stylish movies are made. I was squirming in my seat throughout the whole goddamn thing simply because watching it was so awkward. It made me feel bad in ways I find difficult to articulate.


  1. Sun mielestä olisi varmaan ollut hauskempaa, jos Hämähäkkimies pissaisi pukumiehen päälle, nörtti!

    Comment by harro — July 28, 2008 @ 1217238229

  2. Oh come on, it wasn’t really that terrible, now was it? :-)

    I admit your points, but lot’s of movies have terrible logical problems, but are still OK. At least Transformers was entertaining and the effects were well done.

    Besides, when people make a movie based on a comic or a cartoon, they are always shooting themselves in the foot because they are desperately trying to keep the Jeff Albertsons of this world happy.

    Comment by Scully — July 28, 2008 @ 1217238783

  3. I guess ‘lots’ is not spelled ‘lot’s’; mea maxima culpa.

    Comment by Scully — July 28, 2008 @ 1217238837

  4. Entertaining? Are you kidding me? Seriously, it was like shitting razor blades made of chili peppers.

    Comment by Mikki — July 28, 2008 @ 1217239977

  5. So I guess you simply didn’t like it? :-D

    Comment by Scully — July 28, 2008 @ 1217244671

  6. I can’t hide anything from you, can I?

    Comment by Mikki — July 28, 2008 @ 1217245270

  7. No, and I noticed you were trying to be subtle about it.

    Comment by Scully — July 29, 2008 @ 1217325937

  8. I agree with you with almost every point, but since I am a simple guy I have to say that I kind of enjoyed the movie. I have no history with Transformers prior to this movie, so any argument about the story (minus the annoying leaps from a scene to another) is beyond me, but the fx were cool and Megan Fox was really hot :). Then again generally Michael Bay as a director = really crappy movies. They shouldn’t let him anywhere near a movie studio if you ask me. I’ve seen a few and I think The Island was the crappiest of them all, a lot worse than TF.

    Comment by Jokivaris — July 30, 2008 @ 1217460402

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