The Way of The Bay

05

Every director has their own style. Their own special trademark they put into every film they make. For some, it may be similar themes of obsession, fears, and identity that permeate every film. For other directors, stylization may be it’s own type of story telling that allows us to become completely immersed in the bizarre world set in front of us to accept whatever crazy concepts come flying at us in that two hour reality.

But Michael Bay is just like (And I quote) “F*#^ that! CHECK OUT THIS CAR! I’MA BLOW IT UP, VROOM VROOM BOOM! Haw haw!” Or at least that’s what I get from his three hour robot extravaganzas. Here are recurring motifs of each Transformers movie (As if I needed to point them out).

Transformers (AKA, Baby Wants a Car but Robots Get Here!)

00

Small Object Plot Device? The Allspark. Both Decepticons and Autobots chase after this, destruction ensues.

Unnecessary Comedic Relief Characters? Not as much as future installments but enough to make you feel like you’re watching the Honey, I Blew Up the Baby-style sequelof Small Soldiers. Bernie Mac is a car salesman that really hates his mom and we need to know this in the scene that took ten minutes when it could have taken two. Anthony Anderson probably didn’t even need to be a character but is anyway and we get several nerd and/or black jokes out of it. John Turturro’s character is initially serious but becomes a joke by the end with his character still serving a purpose on the whole. Sam’s parents matter as characters although certain scenes with them don’t seem vital to any part in continuing the story.

Jerkwad Bureaucrats? Turturro’s character is the closest we get to this so Bay done good as far as streamlining characters go to make everyone’s part matter. Turturro is a huge jerk that doesn’t want Sam or Megan Fox’s character, Mikaela, to be happy for some reason and even makes personal jabs at her about her criminal father.

Pointless Human Drama? Definitely, though not nearly as much as what was to come. Human child Sam isn’t that cool and wants to get the hot girl. Standard movie teen stuff. Mikaela’s dad in jail matters to her and being that it’s mentioned several times it’s possible we’re meant to care.

Racially Charged Robots? Yep- one. Jazz. Though nothing too heavy is implied as far as race itself goes, a black dude voicing a robot named Jazz shouldn’t necessarily mean that his introductory lines need to be “Whus crackin’ lil bitches?”…or does it?

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (AKA Baby Wants a College but Robots are Here!)

01

Small Object Plot Device? The Matrix of Leadership. Both Decepticons and Autobots chase after this, destruction ensues.

Unnecessary Comedic Relief Characters? Yes, four, and possibly the most time wasting of the live-action series. The annoying autobot twins, Skids and Mudflap. Also comedic relief comes in the form of Sam’s roommate, Ramon Rodriguez, whom I still can’t understand his role in the entire film other than to point the characters in the direction of John Turturro’s character which probably could have somehow been done by a line from Sam. He screams, sweats and cries a lot. Also, Rainn Wilson, makes a cameo if you will, as Sam’s pervy professor that serves no purpose to the film. Sam Parents’ role has been added onto greatly and about twenty minutes could have been cut out of the film and still kept the story going.

Jerkwad Bureaucrats? Oh yeah- one big a-hole standing in the way of the oh-so awesome military characters. Nothing pisses off Michael Bay more than characters standing in the way of the action so National Security Advisor Theodore Galloway is the uppity punching bag in a suit that eventually gets his due by being jerked out of a plane into a foreign country. We do not see him again but his conclusion is what allows for the hour long action sequence to commence.

Pointless Human Drama? Unfortunately, yes, and lots of it. Sam wants to go to college and be “normal.” Sam and Mikaela in a long distance relationship make for complications. Same comes close to cheating on Mikaela and this puts a damper on things. Mikaela, for some reason, has a hard time getting Sam to say “I love you” even though they’ve been dating for at least two years by this point. He dies, comes back, then says it. Weee.

Racially Charged Robots? The worst of the worst in the entire series. Skids and Mudflap speak ebonics heavily, sport gold teeth big ears, and misshapen bodies. Comparisons to Jar Jar Binks were often drawn which means they were universally hated. Their deaths were never implied or shown which feels like a middle finger all it’s own.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (AKA Baby Wants a Job, Robots Are Asked to Leave)

03

Small Object Plot Device? The Pillars! Both Decepticons and Autobots chase after this, destruction ensues.

Unnecessary Comedic Relief Characters? You know it! We get to know John Malkovich’s character really well because he’s Sam’s boss and…and…I don’t know why we got to know him as well as we did. John Turturro’s character now has an assistant  played by Alan Tudyk who does serve a purpose but nothing that couldn’t have been done by an previously existing character. Ken Jeong plays a man with inside intel central to the story but acts so stupid it takes away from what he’s trying to say. We also get several moments from Jeong’s co-worker who hates him and even mocks him when Jeong’s character is killed. Also, Sam parents, although their role has been significantly reduced.

Jerkwad Bureaucrats? Frances McDormand and Patrick Dempsey mostly. One is good and one is bad, both are jerks.

Pointless Human Drama? As always. Now that Sam isn’t in the middle of danger 24/7, he wants to be. Sam also needs a job and we’re subjected to a ten minute scene of him trying to find one. Sam’s girlfriend wants him to choose- Bumblebee or her? Sam chooses Bumblebee and the rest of the Transformers so later needs to win her back. The robo-Apocalypse brings them together though once he saves her.

Racially Charged Robots? Since the twins were removed, there doesn’t seem to be any besides an Italian car having an Italian accent.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (AKA Baby Wants to Date, Daddy says No, And Robots Are Trying to Leave)

04

Small Object Plot Device? The Seed. Decepticons, Autobots, and other factions chase after this, destruction ensues.

Unnecessary Comedic Relief Characters? Stanley Tucci’s character has several scenes and an overall personality of a spoiled rich kid on cocaine the entire movie. TJ Miller is a (Surprise!) stoner that works for Mark Wahlberg’s character Cade, but is killed in the first 45 minutes or so. Cade does some dealing with an old man and his employee who are reminiscent of Bernie Mac’s salesman character in the first film. Thomas Lennon has two scenes that, if needed at all, could have been a bit more efficient.

Jerkwad Bureaucrats? Kelsey Grammer is a CIA operative that wants to kill the Transformers and isn’t nice about it while Stanley Tucci is the character described above in league with Grammer. One is killed while the other becomes a good guy.

Pointless Human Drama? Cade is a struggling junker/inventor, his daughter secretly has a boyfriend and wants to be a normal girl and go to college but fears her dad can’t take care of himself. They’re going to be evicted. Will the boyfriend and Cade get along with each other?

Racially Charged Robots? Japanese actor Ken Wantanabe plays a Transformer with a Japanese accent that also looks like a samurai. This was actually a joke I was going to make on a podcast upon hearing that Wantanabe would voice a Transformer but thought it was be too stupid. Evidently not.

"America, son. WHUT WHUT." -Cade Yeager

“America, son. WHUT WHUT.” -Cade Yeager

 

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