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June 26, 2009


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I haven't seen the new movie, but I'm aware enough of what Michael Bay finds "funny" or "for the kids" to understand that I'll find it to be neither. I do think, however, that a more accomplished and story-smart filmmaker might have made a viable franchise from the TRANSFORMERS material. "Viable", that is, meaning "logical" and "makes sense" and "has a plot" and "doesn't hurt my brain" in ADDITION to meaning "making money".

And in defense of DIE HARD's Argyle, he does serve several plot purposes outside of comic relief. He's an excellent source of McClane's backstory, a possible lifeline early in the story, and - what can't possibly be said for any supporting Michael Bay character, EVER - his subplot pays off in the narrative.


I think DIE HARD is overrated. There, I said it.

Oh, also, Michael Bay is an inhuman monster.

Matthias Galvin

It's a shame Michael Bay has to be as commercial as he is, because he's been (probably the way he sees it) cursed with a visual style. In any of his films, there's always that small, slightly-shiny paragon of Potential in his work. Maybe someday he'll make a movie that's not "for the kids," and make a passable, dare I say it, good work.

In either case, the redeeming facet of the film is what our buddy Armond White picked upon: Bay DOES have some amazing Dutch angles, even if they're sans the same asthetic meaning of, say, Carol Reed.

Steven Santos

We all know Michael Bay cannot tell an interesting or coherent story, but his saving grace is supposed to be his skills as an action director. But I think Bay is terrible at that as well, shooting too many close-ups with a heavy-duty vibrator seemingly attached to his camera.

I'd be embarrassed to sit in a theater to watch a 2 1/2 hour movie (as some other movie site put it, longer than 2001: A Space Odyssey!) based on toys, consisting of robots slapping each other upside the head between long stretches of lame comedy bits and endless exposition. I'm going out of my way this weekend to see "Hurt Locker" instead of giving my money to this.

Glenn Kenny

@Matthias: If I was an insane conspiracy theorist, I'd posit that the otherwise inexplicable presence of a Smiths "Meat Is Murder" in the LaBeouf character's bedroom at the beginning of the film was some kind of sop to Armond...

@Steven: I feel your pain, and hope to check out "Hurt Locker" myself this weekend...

Owain Wilson

@Steven Santos - I agree with your comments about Bay's supposed skill as an action director. His films - or rather, his action sequences - are neither exciting nor coherent.

He'd probably be put to good use as a cinematographer instead.

Benjamin Russell

Welll... I haven't seen the film and don't intend to, but Optimus Prime has been saying "Let's roll!" in Peter Cullen's sonorous voice for a long time now. There was even an internet vote for the previous movie to incorporate key lines from the cartoon into the live-action script, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they went back to that well for this one. Now, did Bay film the line to evoke the Todd Beamer phrase? I couldn't say, but if he's truly as out-of-touch as the jar-jar-bots seem to indicate, then it's not much of a leap to believe he wouldn't have noticed that particular cultural echo either.

John M

Did you just say something harsh about Argyle?

That's it. I am DONE with this blog.


Hal Needham + Andy Sidaris + Tony Scott = Michael Bay

Jason M.

I prefer to think of this as Part Two of the sure-to-be-epic trilogy: "Shia LaBoeuf Destroys Ivy League Campuses." First he tears through Yale's campus on a motorcycle in "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and now he ups the ante with giant robots rampaging through Princeton and Penn. If his next movie doesn't involve an alien mothership or Mothra wiping Cornell and Dartmouth off the map, I'm going to be sorely disappointed.

Jett Loe

the film has 'collapse of contemporary culture' vibe about it -

for me one of the notable 'take aways' in FALLEN is not only is there no continuity between scenes - there's no continuity within the scenes themselves - so a character will get tased in the back of a car and then in the very next shot get out of he car like nothing's happened. this happens over and over again.

James Hansen

Yeah, this movie is just straight up embarrassing. I played a game where I tried to meet it on the grounds of what people who enjoy the film say they like about it (fun, cool, attraction, spectacle) and found plenty to dismantle in that direction too. There just isn't anything there. Nothing. Its maybe the most genuinely empty blockbuster of...gosh...a long time. Here's my take if anyone actually wants to read more about this monstrosity.



I'm sure i will be met with disagreement here, but I don't find Megan Fox to be that attractive. Maybe it's just the way Bay uses her, but she's like a burlesque of SEX more than she's actually, y'know, sexy.

How else to put it? She's so "HOT" she's not ever hot, if you will.

Glenn Kenny

@DUH: Indeed. And even in that respect, she is, like so much in the movie, kind of anachronistic. I'm reminded of this observation from David Foster Wallace back in 1998: "The...explicit sexuality of Jenna, Jasmin, et al. seems more than anything like a Mad magazine spoof of the 'smoldering' sexuality of Sharon Stone and Madonna and so many other mainstream iconettes [...]and of the ubiquitous smolder that's so much a part of '90s commercial culture."

Speaking of which, CC's equation is pretty amusing, but needlessly insulting of Needham...and particularly Sedaris. At least Sedaris always had the courage of his (admittedly morally bankrupt) convictions when it came to delivering on-screen nudity. You just KNOW that Bay was dying to have S. Johannson and M. Fox get their tits out for him, and that his studio-dictated allegiance to the PG-13 rating on "The Island" and the Transformers films was the only thing stopping him.


LMAO, first off you obviously aren't a film student like my sister, or you wouldn't be so ignorant as to trash this movie in your reviews. I watched it with my sister and first off, he chose the "I'm so excited" song simply because it's something everyone has heard and is familiar with. All of his stereotypes are old simply because he wants everyone to be able to feel something in common with the movie. This is what attracts people. Ever seen an action movie when you were a kid and walked out doing the awesome kung-fu moves? Same basic principle.

Glenn Kenny

@Allen: And now I'm LMAO too. Thanks.

Jeff McMahon

To be fair, Mr. Kenny, you most certainly are _not_ a film student like Allen's sister.

Jett Loe

"My Sister the Film Student" is now officially the title for my latest unpublished screenplay.

Nathan Duke

You know, I was watching "The Hurt Locker" Friday and thinking to myself, "Jesus, this film would be a lot better if Jeremy Renner's character were defusing his 871st bomb to, uh, I don't know, 'I'm So Excited' by the Pointer Sisters, maybe." Then, I could relate to it more. And so could all the film student sisters of the world.

By the way, my favorite critical blurb on "Transformers 2," though I can't remember who said it, so far is it's like having "Michael Bay scream at your eyes for two and a half hours."


So apparently there exists a film school that teaches that a respectable aspiration for a piece of mainstream cinema is to give the audience the opportunity to bask in the familiar, comfy warmth of blackface robots.


I don't understand why so many people expected so much from this movie. It's a movie based on toys and a cartoon from the 1980's... The plot of the movies is the same as the plot of the cartoon, Autobots try to save humans and earth, Decepticons try to destroy those same humans and the earth.

If anything, this movie explained a lot about WHY Decepticons want to destroy earth and showed that even though Autobots would benefit from the Decepticons plan, they wanted to protect the planet.

Its a great action film, mildly humorous (although at least half the audience laughed out loud at every joke in the theater I was in) and spot on to the cartoons that all Transformers fans loved.

The only complaints I had were Skids and Mudflap. I don't care that they were racist (it's a movie, they are CGI robots, and racist humor is usually funny and accepted by all professional comedians), what bothered me is that they weren't funny, important to the movie, or even remotely interesting.

Account Deleted

I can only hope that this is the climax of a terrible 14 year run of blockbusters, which started around the time of Joel Schumacher's excruciatingly poor Batman Forever.

Will the return of Cameron be a one off or will it lead to a resurgence in quality in the action/adventure/sc-fi event picture?

How Abrams, McG, Bay, Wiseman, Ratner, Sommers, Kurtzman and Orci etc. were ever given control of millions of dollars is utterly beyond me.

Jason M.

"How Abrams, McG, Bay, Wiseman, Ratner, Sommers, Kurtzman and Orci etc. were ever given control of millions of dollars is utterly beyond me."

Because, against all reason (actually, mainly thanks to marketing dollars, most likely), these movies make boatloads of money. Transformers 2 has made more than $200 million domestically in about 5 days. Which is probably more than the take of every art film released here in the past decade combined. It's the sad truth. The Hurt Locker will probably make less in its entire run than Transformers made in a day.


Back in the Good Old Days, Bay would have been a second-unit director like Andrew Marton or B. Reeves Eason, shooting huge action sequences in big pictures and occasionally directing a B-western or serial. Those en were never fortunate enough to direct a big-budget film on their own...and they were far more talented.

And remember: the difference between "Bay" and "Bad" is exactly one letter.

Dan Coyle

Uh, the Decepticons never wanted to destroy the earth in the cartoon. They wanted to plunder it for its resources, because Cybertron's were all dried up. The Autobots felt obligated to stop them.

Account Deleted

@Jason M. - You're not wrong, sadly. I'm hoping The Hurt Locker can put in a solid performace and get to $50 million or so though.

runescape gold

Not nearly as bad as people say. Yes it's long, so was "Dark Knight". if you liked the first, you'll love this.It's the perfect summer blockbuster, and that's all it's trying to be.


I feel like I may be stepping into a snake pit here by saying this, but I have to: The first TRANSFORMERS was actually pretty good, and while it had plenty of silly, crass moments, it was rarely as insulting or as incoherent as this sequel. For starters, its funny parts actually were funny. And there was some genuine exaltation in the depiction of the huge-ass fighting robots. I think it's pretty clear from the sequel that, knowing that there was a huge payday for them at the end of this, everybody involved (including the screenwriters, who were reportedly paid $6 million to NOT write a script) just decided to throw as much shit at the wall as they could to distract viewers from the particular emptiness at this one's core.


So, I'm hearing conflicting reports about this movie (which I have no intention of seeing, but never mind that)...

Is it wall-to-wall action from start to finish, or are there long stretches of lame sitcom-style humour and endless plot exposition? Basically, what percentage of the film would you say consists of giant robots battling humans and/or themselves?

And though I'm sure the film is crap, I wish some people would stop trotting out the old "It has no plot" critique: it just gives supporters of the film an easy opportunity for a long-winded rebuttal. The plot may be inane, but from all appearances, it does seem to possess one.


Millions spent for farting robots. Sorry, this is an enormously stupid and soulless, obscene waste of money. Spielberg must be a little ashamed at those ghetto-bots. William Holden's speech to Faye Dunaway about television in NETWORK sums up this movie's corruption.

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