Seriously Michael Bay, what the hell?

The theme from the animated (1986) Transformers film.

I had promised myself that I would not blog about Transformers 2. I knew it was going to be awful, but against my better judgment I went anyway. (Given that MST3K was one of my favorite shows, I figured I could at least have some fun riffing on it.) Now that I have seen it, though, I must break my promise.

Military fetishism, incomprehensible action sequences, sexism, racism, and gaping plot holes pervade big budget summer action movies (i.e. anything by Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, &c.), but there was one scene in particular that left my mouth agape in disbelief. About halfway through the film our ragtag team of heroes stops by the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. to have a chat with a long-dormant Transformer. Fair enough. The robot duly wakes up and makes an exit out of a pair of closed hangar doors, but I was entirely unprepared for what was on the other side.

The robot and humans exit onto an airfield on a grassy, high-altitude plain set against a majestic mountain range. I just visited Washington a few months ago, and unless everything I learned about North American geography is a lie, you can't see the Rocky Mountains from the middle of the nation's capital! I could cope with the film's poor dialogue, nonsensical plot, and infantile sense of humor, but that one little scene was the most baffling thing I have ever seen on the big screen.

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In 100% fairness that was the Udvar-Hazy part of Air&Space in Virginia, and Virginia technically has mountains SOOOOOOOO

Did your geographiology also tell you that Washington D.C. is in Newark Delaware (it is, according to the map in one scene)

By Gold Toofed Robot (not verified) on 27 Jun 2009 #permalink

Who the hell do people think they are, like movie critics, who gives a crap what you think about movies, every one in the world is entitled to there own opinion, but just because you went to college and have a degree were supposed to oo and ahh at your comments, well guess what, go to hell, no one cares, I go to movies just because the critics say it sucked this guy talks about the scenery not being real in Transformers, so freakin what I didnât realize there were big talking robots in the world either dumb ass, its a move its fantasy none of its real, just watch and enjoy, Iâm so sick and tired of these people and there opinion, maybe I should go on and tell my opinion, oh wait, NO ONE CARES!!!!

By Rick Paravich (not verified) on 27 Jun 2009 #permalink

Hehe, reminds me of the old Wonder Woman TV show where Griffith Park is apparently a few miles from the Pentagon.

Lynda Carter > Megan Fox. Discuss.

Rick, that is one impressive run-on sentence.

Gold Toofed; Sooooo... then why did they say they were going to DC and showed the front of the museum on the mall? Maybe you're right about the real location, but it doesn't make sense.

Rick; Why are you getting so worked up about a stupid summer action flick? If you are sick of people giving their opinion about the movie, then why are you giving yours? Do I not have a right, as someone who just blew a $16 on the film, to have an opinion?

Mike; A wise choice. I would like to say that the action sequences make up for all the other flaws, but they really don't. Wait until they make a RiffTrax for the DVD and then check it out.

I went with my son. It was a parental duty. I had my hand supporting my jaw so it wouldn't drop at the absolute stupidity of this movie.

And Rain Wilson had the absolute worst material to work with. I felt sorry for him, except that he could have chosen not to take the part.

I believe I said everyone is entitled to their opinion, but why do we have to hear about all the crap the critics wanna shove down our throats? And my bad for the run on sentence, I'm just tired of having to read some ones opinion who gets paid for it, its not jelousy, its just plain ridiculous, my point is a critic can make or break a movie, what kind of insane crap is that, just because some guy has a college degree, I'm supposed to listen to him him and be like, I'm not going to see that movie now, Hell no, screw them, why are you there, why is there a stupid tv show just to see what they say about movies, thank you I'll go see for myself!! Thats all.. Maybe I'm not clear enough..

By Rick Paravich (not verified) on 27 Jun 2009 #permalink

Cripes, Rick. You've got some serious issues. Transformers 2 was almost universally hated by critics and yet it had one of the most successful openings in cinema history, so you're wrong that "a critic can make or break a movie." Also, the author of this blog does not have a college degree, which is also true of many movie critics, so your insistence on bringing that up makes me think that you're just insecure about your lack of education (and it's certainly clear from your writing that you lack education).

Also, unless you see every movie that comes out, you're still letting others dictate the movies you see; you just rely on marketing instead of unbiased 3rd parties. That's not noble or independent; It makes you even more of a sheep.

By carnitein (not verified) on 27 Jun 2009 #permalink

Geographical snafus CAN make it harder for the audience to maintain "willing suspension of disbelief." "The Deerhunter"(1) came out shortly after I moved away from Pittsburgh, and the incongruity that struck me most the first (of two) time I saw it was having the deer hunting scenes -- supposedly a few hours' drive from the Pittsburgh area home of the main characters -- in obviously WESTERN mountains.
(1) A truly dreadful movie, but so successful in pushing the right buttons for American audiences in the aftermath of the Vietnam War that I only realized HOW dreadful when I watched it a second time.

By Allen Hazen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2009 #permalink

The Smithsonian -> planes on plains transition was pretty poor, but there was some other nonsensical stuff in there, too. Like, say, when the bunker is infiltrated w/ marbles, you begin in the daytime, probably the evening, and over a period of say 5 minutes where you watch just about everything happen, it's suddenly pitch black outside. That's not how time work!

The racist parts were the most annoying, to me. That and the moronic pacing, shaky-cam, and very strange, fragmented plot. I second Jason R, the io9 review gets everything right! Sadly, I'm probably going to watch it again (it's free....) solely because some of the CG is entertaining. And I'll get to see some Jewish butt and irritating tech kid again, ****YAYY****.

By Shirakawasuna (not verified) on 27 Jun 2009 #permalink

Shirak; I spent most of the movie thinking "Now that was just unnecessary..." There was certainly plenty to criticize, but rather than trod over ground covered before, I figured I would mention something small that spoke to the general lack of care taken in the film. Like I said at the beginning, I knew it was going to be bad going in and did not plan to cover it at all.

Jason; Thanks for sharing that one. I read that before I saw the film, and I think it's the best review (though thankfully my limbic system is intact).

carnitein; Thanks for the defense, but one small correction. I do have a college degree. I have an associate's degree in grade 4-12 education. Just have to polish off physics and I'll have my BS.

Brian wrote: "The robot and humans exit onto an airfield on a grassy, high-altitude plain set against a majestic mountain range. "

That reminds me of the very silly Keanu Reeves film Chain Reaction, which was filmed partly in Chicago. It was entertaining for Chicago folks to see Keanu enter the Natural History museum and, without leaving, dodge the bad guys through the interior of the Museum of Science and Industry -- a completely different building.

"Just have to polish off physics and I'll have my BS."

Why is it that people always associate physics with BS? :)

And yet it made 400 million USD since Wednesday, world-wide. When are you guys going to get that it doesn't matter if the audience hates a movie as long as they buy tickets and don't ask for a refund?

Movies are not reality. They are not documentaries. They are not edcuational. They are not suimulations. They're not about science. They're movies. Period.

What an interesting complaint.

Yes, I think everyone here can distinguish between a documentary and a summer action blockbuster. Even so, (a) people pick up knowledge about the world from places which are not lectures and documentaries, and (b) even a summer action blockbuster can be so stupid that it fails to be entertaining.

Of course Rick is letting critics tell him what movie to see... " I go to movies just because the critics say it sucked".

I've never understood anybody who gets that worked up about a casual blog post. I mean, I just pinged Ebert for a review, but I hope it was more in humor than this - and Ebert actually does get paid to review movies, unlike Brian... Did Rick have a part in the movie or something? His rant would have better directed at a real critic than a blogger...

I really really liked the first movie, and I didn't know Thing One about the second one, so I went in fresh last night. Came out a little shakey. I think Michael Bay made a traditional Michael Bay movie this time, whereas he was being held back the first time. Some awesome action sequences--I appreciate a romping summer blockbuster--but about forty minutes too long, too many robots, and an unfocused plot(s).

Good to see Bumblebee get his game face on, though.

That can mean that the identical pronunciation may be "brytning" for one person (they learned it as a second language) and "accent" or dialect for another (they're monolingual but from an immigrant family, say).

I go to movies just because the critics say it sucked this guy talks about the scenery not being real in Transformers, so freakin what I didnât realize there were big talking robots in the world either dumb ass, its a move its fantasy none of its real, just watch and enjoy, Iâm so sick and tired of these people and there opinion, maybe I should go on and tell my opinion, oh wait, NO ONE CARES!!!!

A series of anecdotes, however convincing, are not data. But give me a large scale clinical trial, or a series of animal studies (there are already some out there), and then I'll let you know. It may not be a cure, but considering what we have available right now, I think it's certainly worth a try.

I think the real thing that everyone forgets is that there is simply no reason for this movie to be as bad as it is. It's really unfair for the fans of any film to be letdown by a director and production team that is really just in it for the big bucks. Everyone wants to argue that "its just a movie" but movies are supposed to do something for us, not just give us a headache and make us wonder where 2 hours of our life just went. Here you have a movie that should have been a cinch to make really well; lovable characters, great plot, and action that guarantees a blockbuster. Plus its a great theme for kids and adults. So, why make it so poorly? This happens all the time these days because the public doesn't want to make anything of it, there are enough ignorant folks out there willing to spend their money no matter what the end result. And that just feeds into what Hollywood already knows; that they don't have to put any effort or thought into the movies they make in order to make bank. Its shameful. Michael Bay should be ashamed of this and all the other movies he has put out under the title of "art." This is not art, its a cheap ride that far too many people pay to get on and never question what they are supposed to get out of. This guy has an unlimited budget, endless casting talent, and decades of experience and he still has the nerve to put out trash like this. He films for a month in the most breathtaking backdrops he can find and then spends the rest of his time in a lazy boy scrambling together the most haphazard, unrecognizable action scenes imaginable on his MAC. Then his production team does their very best to piece it all together into something that resembles a feature length film. Its pathetic. On top of that he hires the most dimwitted non comedic talents available to throw a few grade school jokes in the mix (along with some racial "humor".) I expect this from Bay by now, he is a hack and a whore who gets all the best story lines and consistently ruins them all. He is far too busy worrying about whether his check from GM cleared to actually take a minute and reflect on the quality of his work. What does he care anyway, he is laughing all the way to the bank, who gives if people actually like a movie anymore, right? Congratulations America, we all got suckered in again and another great movie concept just went in the toilet.

*My apologies for the length of this post*

I found the fact that there was NOBODY at the pyramids for - what, the day and a half they were there - was just silly.

I went with the boy, and I cringed at the unnecessarily 'sexy' shots, the language, and the very noticeable 'black' characters. It was over the top. I also find the fight scenes very hard ot follow - just a whir of metal.

It was rated PG-13, so I guess I cannot really compain about the sex/language so much. But the continuity issues really annoyed me.

"Some Jewish butt"?

I presume you're referring to John Turturro's character. Well, Turturro is not Jewish in real life. As for his character, he wore a cross in the first Transformers movie,

Jeeze, some vehement Transformers 2 defenders here o.O

God forbid you make fun of Twilight (even if it deserves it), given that that fanbase is insane. Heard of one incident where a girl splashed someone with acid over the series.