This week has been full of halfhearted jabs at the Transformers movies. To illustrate, I didn’t even know why this week all the lukewarm dislike appeared until IMDB told me the fourth one came out.
Well, okay. I get that people love to hate Michael Bay. He’s known for big, dumb explosions and cliched action filmwork that’s all SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER and no substance. People were decrying him before the first one came out. Look: it’s the fucking Transformers. It’s a cartoon from the ’80s about robots that turn into cars. I know, I loved it as a child. But as the Star Wars prequels showed us, if the new iteration ruined the old thing for you, you need to grow the fuck up and understand that 7-year-old you saw things differently.
I enjoyed the first Transformers movie. It was big and dumb, and Optimus Prime turned into a truck, and that’s really all I asked of it. I didn’t need Oscar-caliber acting or a seamless plot. I’ll admit the second one was so bad I walked out, but part of that was the quick-cut camera work made it physically unpleasant to watch. I didn’t care enough to see any more after that, but it doesn’t diminish the cartoon for me at all.
G.I.Joe: Rise of Cobra didn’t tarnish my childhood memories either. Nor will Bay’s Ninja Turtles thing. But let’s be honest; the old G.I.Joe and TMNT movies were really fucking bad, and if you go back and watch the shows… also pretty bad. Both of those, I learned later on, were much better as comic series. I understand that when something gets rebooted, fans want it to be an improvement. The thing is, you’ll almost never see that with a feature film, because the production always ends up halfway between a “true to the source” rehash and making something inspired but different, and consequently failing at both.
That brings me to the weirder part of this latest batch of opinions. The nerdrage is less rage than lip service. Is it because we’ve all resigned ourselves to seeing it anyway but we still feel the need to bitch about it? Does anyone actually still care enough to spit vitriol after four movies? Are we all just falling asleep?