Transformers

July 21, 2009

This being the Summer of Robots, I went to see the new Transformers movie last night.

I haven’t seen the first movie, however this didn’t spoil my appreciation of the story because, so far as I could see, there wasn’t one.

But this isn’t necessarily a criticism.

Let me explain… There were many things I liked about the film. The special effects were superb, the pace was tremendous (there didn’t seem to be a spare scene or word of dialog that didn’t advance the action onto the next scene). Okay, the fight scenes went on too long, the pseudo sex scenes were tedious and the comedy grated, but there was something about the finished package that that hints at the future of the high concept science fiction movie genre. It was obvious that a lot of talented people had done their bit on this movie. It wasn’t their fault that their hard work was mangled by committee led film production.   If only the same amount of thought that went into the computer animation had been applied to making sure that the actual story made sense when the film hit the screen.

It didn’t even have to make that much sense. I’ve got nothing against watching a film where robots turn into cars and motorbikes as they fight evil robots. It doesn’t make any sense that robots should do this, but I don’t care. I’m happy to accept an Energon source from the distant past as a reason, far happier than having to listen to some pseudo scientific rationale. (Actually, I was more interested in why the bad robots were called Decepticons. Surely the good robots were also deceiving people? Is this just a case of your enemies being terrorists and your allies being freedom fighters?  But I digress.)

I’ve said it before: computer FX are incredible nowadays, and set to get even better. Some of the scenes in the film were breathtaking. This is almost a new artform, or at least it will be when they sort out how to apply it properly to the script, or vice versa.  I get the sense we’re at the same place that, say, comics were at fifty years ago.  Something new is happening in the medium, but it is being hampered by slavish attempts to copy what’s already there, not to take advantage of the new opportunities presented.