Double header review!
Transformers: The Movie (1986)
The animated cult classic! This movie was cool, man.
Except when you’ve grown up, and you look back, and realise how lame it really was. Plot? What plot? Characterisation? They’re robots… that transform! Oh and there’s a goofy kid to give you the human interest story. Um. Deus Ex Machina!
Now this, this is proper summer blockbuster. CGI, stuff blowing up, not-quite-b-grade-but-not-A-grade acting talent, and to give it some credibility, it’s got multiple legs to its plot that all tie up together at the end.
So lemme put it this way: don’t go into this movie expecting to use your brain, because you will be too caught up in the many ways in which the plot is just pure dysfunctional that you just won’t enjoy it. This really is a popcorn thriller – you’re here for the ride. While it escapes the animated original’s major foible, in that it actually has breaks between the action to let you calm down, and it also has a much larger human cast, it doesn’t escape from the fact that shit just isn’t explained.
There are three main plot threads: (a) the US soldiers in the Middle East (Qatar, to be exact), consisting of The Guy from Las Vegas (TV show), The Guy from The Fast and the Furious, and The Guy from Prison Break. (b) is the computer analyst team, consisting of no-name stereotypes, an Aussie blonde who doesn’t look like she belongs at all, and eventually that funny overweight black guy that crops up in so many movies. Oh and they’re working with the Pentagon, so we have the Secretary of Defence, Jon Voight. Finally, we have (c), Sam, the high school kid who just wants a girlfriend, and the girl that just so happens to be the one that he wants happens to be available just as the action kicks in and Sam can be a hero.
Notice the lack of names? Only Sam, our main hero that we are supposed to identify with, is with a name that is memorable; and that’s only because it’s repeated so many times as to be drilled into you. If you remember the other names without looking it up on IMDB, lemme know.
Don’t come here looking for real plot, or indeed even proper conclusions and explanations for major characters (fer instance, we have no idea what happens to Aussie Hacker Babe). About the only thing that makes sense is that… no, no, I got nothing. Typical summer blockbuster fluff, but somehow, it’s a fun ride, right? There’s plenty of action and stuff getting blown up, no-one gets hurt too bad, and there’s a few decent jokes in there too. (Just try to keep your eyes blinkered from the product placement while they’re at it). The Deus Ex Machina at the end is entirely plausible because it makes so much sense compared to the alternative courses of action.