I’ve been wanting to see Transformers 2 since it was released, but noticed that every few days I watched the IMDB score, it would drop farther and farther down.
Checking out Metacritic was even more dissuading, with a 35% overall score. I couldn’t believe how bad this movie sounded. I read comment after comment about how the movie was nothing but “balls jokes”, or how immature the use of Megan Fox’s beauty was or how 1-trick-pony Shia LeBeouf was… fortunately my curiosity and desire to see big robots do battle got the better of me and I went and saw it, and here are my thoughts:
- I laughed for the first hour — Shia LeBouf is hilarious with his neurotic interactions with his parents, little spats with girlfriend Megan Fox or delivery of 1-off snarky comments. Whoever cast Kevin Dunn and Julie White as Shia’s parents was brilliant. The chemistry between the three of them is fantastically enjoyable and really a good fit as a family. As a side note, Julie White steals the spotlight as Shia’s neurotic mother for about 30mins of the movie and is absolutely fantastic at the roll — putting me close to tears twice.
- Well done special effects are awesome — I don’t know what it takes in Hollywood to do effects like these or if you have to have special relationships with the industry’s best animations or something but Bay delivers — big time. There is so much robot awesomeness going around this movie with explosions and scene-interactions that at no less than 6 epic scenes I found myself floored with “Jesus… how did they film this scene?!” It is really impressive to see the coordination of 50 extras mocking a battle with huge building set pieces blowing up and everything being choreographed such that when the CG transformers are added later, the entire scene is completely fluid.
- Story — For the die-hard Transformers fans out there, I have no idea how accurate this story is behind Transformers 2 (I won’t mention any details in case you haven’t seen it), but it drew me in pretty good. Only 1 or 2 parts struck me as pretty corny and the rest of it flowed with enough pace and accuracy that I had no qualms with it.
- Characters — They got rid of the ridiculously good looking hackers from #1, which I was thrilled about, and seemed to remove about 20% of the cheese that #1 had in it. I felt the characters in this one were much more realistic and enjoyable — obviously I’m not comparing these characters to Shawshank Redemption anytime soon, but for a big-budget robot action movie, I didn’t find myself trying to rake my eyes out of my head once — which is a good sign. I also like the new Agent Simmons — I hate him from the first movie because he was such a neurotic simpleton even though he was suppose to be the head of some clandestine Sector 7 group — in this one he plays his character much better and isn’t annoying at all — I actually enjoyed his comedic relief in the 2nd half of the movie quite a bit. I also liked the portrayal of the military more in this one. Typically sci-fi movies paint the military as bumbling idiots as a story mechanic to get around the impossibilities of hacking and breaking in, and it ends up annoying me how inept and unrealistic the military is usually made to look — casting of Glenn Morshower as a general in this helped bring a lot of cred to the military picture painted. It felt much easier to get into the story than in #1 where the military was more inept and incapable.
Overall I have no idea what movie critics want… This is exactly what happened with The Matrix (Reloaded and Revolutions) — the followups were bigger, badder and brought way more awesome to the table, but they get dinged in the reviews.
I loved the Matrix trilogy — the 2nd and 3rd movies were awesome. I really liked Transformers 2, better than #1, and think movie critics don’t know what they want out of these movies.