(This comment was deleted by IMDb based on an abuse report filed by another user, so I'm guessing it was pretty abusive; maybe it spoiled some aspect of "the plot," if you can call it that, for some poor soul)
I think it was about four or five words into the opening narration when we burst into laughter. "Before time began..." Ouch. When a film can't go 5 seconds without a cliché, it doesn't deserve to be watched, at least not with a straight face.
Michael Bay's Transformers is hilariously awful, a sub-Ed Wood affair all the way through, a camp classic in the making. If Bay is the new Edward D. Wood, Jr. then Transformers may be the new Plan 9 from Outer Space. Let me count the ways:
1. Incoherent narration/ incoherent plot? Check.
2. Laughably bad dialogue? Check.
3. Pompous aliens with inexplicable plan to conquer Earth? Check.
4. Day turns to night in an instant? Check.
5. Copious use of military stock footage? Check.
6. Epic numbers of continuity errors? Check.
7. Dramatic confrontations solved via fistfights? Check.
8. Dramatic scenes that fly straight out of left field? Check. ("I'm so glad I got in the car with you.")
9. Formerly respectable older star sinks to a new low? Check. (Poor, poor Jon Voight)
10. Incredible overacting that is obviously encouraged by the director? Check.
11.Character who cannot speak for no apparent reason? Check.
12. Rampant stereotyping (not just the racial ones but stuff like cops acting dumb, doing a lot of shouting, and eating doughnuts, and military officials being all secretive one minute and spilling said secrets the next)? Check.
13. Characters with a lot of face time who end up playing no important role in the "story?" Check. (What useful purpose did Duhamel and the troops in Qatar serve after the first ten minutes?)
14. Heavy handed social/political commentary/references? Check. (eBay, eBay, eBay;imagine how much trouble could have been avoided if they'd just BOUGHT THE DAMN GLASSES OFF OF EBAY!)
15. A flying saucer catches on fire then crashes? Check.
16. Sudden flashes of light appear from nowhere and knock characters over? Check.
17. The action in some shots is hopelessly muddled? Check.
18. A character's hilarious death scene is matched only by his hilarious eulogy? Check.
19. The action halts suddenly so that someone can explain the back-story? Check.
20. Random bursts of laughter fill theater during screening? Check.
21. Gaps in dialogue perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque commentary? Check.
22. Inevitable cult following? Check.
Only these three things are missing, keeping it from true Ed Wood greatness:
1. No giant octopus. (Though Scorponok comes pretty close.)
2. No transvestites. (It has the prefix "trans-" in the title, though.)
3. No ludicrously campy speech made by the main villain. (Just " I AM MEGATRON!!!", which is plenty campy but not much of a speech.)
Maybe these'll be in the director's cut.
Except, of course, Ed Wood's movies had heart; even at their worst they feel like more than exercises in feature-length product placement. Bay doesn't have anything even remotely resembling a heart in his chest - that's why he's not even in Wood's league as a bad director, no matter how many laughs his terrible films get. And at least Wood's films didn't cost $150 million to make.
I'm a Transformers fan from way back. I've got an Optimus Prime and a Megatron atop one of my bookshelves. I have ancient videotapes of the fondly remembered cartoon series and a copy of the 20th anniversary movie DVD. I had worried that this film would damage my childhood memories beyond repair, like Star Wars Episode I did. But the film is just TOO bad and TOO stupid to have any real effect on me. The old animated movie, bad as it is, mops the floor with this one. If anything, it is a more mature(!) and entertaining work. The music in the old movie is terrible, but it fits. The music here is just terrible.
There are good points, but none anywhere near enough. John Turturro is the only actor who escapes this mess unscathed - his great over-the-top performance suggests that he actually understands how Z-grade the script he was given was. He's a lot of fun to watch, even as he's quickly reduced to a non-entity by the plot mechanics. Turturro is a great actor and this part only serves to elevate his status in my eyes. I hope he got a serious paycheck.
I can't stand CGI as a rule, but the special effects here are moderately convincing, at least in those rare moments when the camera isn't performing idiotic cartwheels to obscure them. I honestly like the models for the new TFs (the Autobots, anyway - I can barely tell the Decepticons apart), but the fact that they have little personality isn't so endearing.
Maybe the sequel will be up to the lofty standards of Ed Wood's Night of the Ghouls. But I doubt it.