In the first Great Depression, Hollywood managed to survive by spewing out terrible, generic cut-rate movies. People would flock to theatres, forget about their woes for a few hours, and Tinseltown would rake it all in.
Sound familiar? It should.
Generic Hollywood Robots II: Return of the Product Placement is a two-and-a-half-hour orgy of mediocrity. Remember the 1998 Godzilla re-imagining? The needlessly radical redesign, the overly large cast of uninteresting humans, and the plot which seemed to have been added as an afterthought between explosions?
Sound familiar? It should.
The team who reduced the Transformers to nothing more than a brainless teen comedy have returned to once again reduce the Transformers to nothing more than a brainless teen comedy.
If you thought that the character development was bad in the 2007 flick, guess again. It's even worse this time around, with more characters who have less screentime than ever before. Think of the Redshirts from Star Trek. Only this time, they've given them names and even action figures. If you're only going to give a character one line and 30 seconds of screentime, you probably shouldn't have bothered to have put them in at all. Why would a character come to Earth just to drive through a few buildings, not even get a full robot mode, and ultimately get blown up?
And speaking of the 'robot modes,' have you ever crumpled up a ball of aluminum foil? Congratulations, you've made an accurate replica of a movie 'Transformer.' What's that? Your replica has no limbs and can't even turn into anything? Well, why not put it on a wheel? Feet are SO 1980s.
Seriously. A construction vehicle that turns into what looks like the robot equivalent of an abortion? A head between two wheels and arms? Where is the torso? Where are the legs? What the hell IS that thing? And don't get me started on the motorcycle triplets. Three motorcycles who don't have a robot mode between them. Picture a jack-in-the-box, with the head on the end of the extended spring. Now put that jack-in-the-box on top of a unicycle. According to Hollywood, you have a robot. Are they trying to make a Beast Machines reference, or just make their designers look lazy? And speaking of terrible designs, the main villain, a bastardization of one of the more memorable Transformers villains (and the ONLY character in this movie who should have had flames) looks like Makuta from Bionicle, and doesn't even turn into anything.
There are many 'robots' in this flick. Too many, in fact, with more literally leaping out of nowhere. Can drones tunnel their way across oceans, and just happen to be in the right area of the right country during an important battle? Do Constructicons reproduce asexually? Do they have Multiple Man's abilities? Sure seems that way because they can be everywhere at once, despite being combined into some kind of gorilla-like Shop-Vac.
Also, way to misunderstand Cybertronians. Megatron calls no one 'master.' Transformers do not cry. They do not have green blood. They do not speak like inner-city thugs. They have their own lexicon of slang and curses and need not borrow the humans'.
But don't worry. The robots aren't the only characters who are awful. The humans are, too. Forget about acting and characterization. Oh no, you can rely on stereotypes to instantly understand everything about a particular character. Paranoid geekboy? Check. "OMG, it's my destiny" guy? Check. Airheaded women? Check! People with learning disabilities? Minorities? Double check!
Why? Why must they make two of the robots who get the most screen time turn into awful-looking Chevrolets with repulsive paint jobs? And why must those cars turn into slang-talking stereotypical gangstas? The Retardicon twins (Hurp and Durp) have huge ears, gold teeth, oversized eyes, speak in human slang, and can't read. Of all the characters to give screen time to, it had to be these two. Primus, why? It was like watching a pair of mentally deficient wannabe rappers having a seizure.
Along with the awful characters came other staples of this kind of movie-making: too much gimmicry, too much special effects, too much frat boy/douchebag/unfunny humour (wrecking ball testicles? Dog buttsex? What kind of 12-year-old wrote that into the script?), and of course, airheaded/airbrushed women who are only cast for two reasons. And their reasons are on their chests.
At one point, Megan Fox's character is seen airbrushing what looks like some trashy tattoo onto a motorcycle. How very appropriate.
This flick is incredibly difficult to watch. And not just for the foreseeable plot twists (I use the term 'plot' very, very loosely), the excessive amount of uninteresting/undeveloped characters, the excessive special effects, a story structured almost as badly as this write-up, and the incredibly forgettable generic soundtrack (which, come to think of it, seems highly fitting). For some reason, this hack of a director loves gimmicks such as shaky-cam, lens flare, motion blur, and slow-motion - and combinations of any of the above. Not only do these 'techniques' feel overdone and tacky, but they really make the movie literally unwatchable. What's going on? What just happened? I don't know, because the camera wouldn't hold still while the sun blocked everything on screen while everything moved around really quickly. If you expect people to pay damn near twenty dollars to watch your drivel in Imax, show some courtesy and let them see the movie.
The best way to describe this flick is to compare it to a 90s comic book - 24 pages of over-the-top 'toughguyness' and badassery for no reason (to the point that characters act out of character), characters no one has any reason to care about, excessive fighting and violence for the sake of excessive fighting and violence, whenches, and bad stories, complete with a holographic cover, a collector card, plastic bag, and whole lot of ads.