MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Transformers’: less meets the eye – Transforms money into wasted time
BY TED MILLS NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
July 6, 2007 8:19 AM
Good morning class. Welcome to Day 2 of the Michael Bay Film Academy. I’m glad all of you could attend the screening of “Transformers” last night. Weren’t we all pumped! I certainly could feel the energy in the room as professor Bay unfurled his latest masterpiece. But you might have some questions regarding how to make films. I will address these questions.
I know some of you, when you were kids, played with the Hasbro toys. For those who were reading books — OK, everyone, calm down, let me talk — Transformers were cars, trucks, planes and the like that turned into robots. Some were good — they turned into GMC trucks and Camaros — and were led by Optimus Prime. Some were bad, were called Decepticons and were headed by Megatron.
What’s that, Smith? You think the movie should have consisted of robots fighting? That’s what the fans want, you say? Well, you obviously don’t know the first thing about Michael Bay filmmaking.
What you need to do, if you want to be like professor Bay, is fill the first four-fifths of the movie with humans running around worrying about the Transformers. We got that kid who looks like John Cusack (Shia LaBeouf), and that girl from the wrong side of the tracks who looks like Jennifer Connelly (Megan Fox). Plus, on the other side of the globe, we have an army guy who looks kind of like Johnny Knoxville (Josh Duhamel). Remember: You only have to give these characters the minimal amount of personality traits as long as you keep them moving.
What about the hot Aussie computer hacker? Or the fat African-American hacker? Um, I’m not too sure what happened to them either. Why are you hung up on details, Smith? And don’t worry about indulging in stereotypes.
So, after professor Bay introduced the Transformers more than halfway through the film, does anybody remember what he did? Smith?
That’s right: not much. You see, in the old days, when you introduced, say, Godzilla and his foe in a film, you set them to fighting quickly. But Godzilla filmmakers did not understand Bay’s genius. There’s still so many cool military weapons and planes and cars and such to shoot, surely the robots can wait. Yes, I know the film is called “Transformers,” but professor Bay knows best.
I would also like to lecture about camerawork. Keep the camera moving, especially in a circle. It helps if your character says “My god” during this sequence to focus the action. Otherwise, pick up the camera and run around with it. This is action, man! Nobody cares if you can’t tell what’s going on. And remember, even though you might spend the equivalent of the GDP of a small Baltic country on special effects, don’t actually show the robots in anything other than blurred, incoherent close-ups. Why? Don’t ask.
In conclusion, I’d like to talk about respect for the audience. Wait, was that the bell? Oh well, it wasn’t important.
We’ll pick this up tomorrow, when we’ll talk about product placement.