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Article – Transforming Cinema


Posted September 19, 2014 by

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Transforming Cinema

Here’s a great question for everyone to ponder: Remember when movies were about telling stories? I ask this in reference to one franchise in particular, and that is the Transformers movies. Now obviously you immediately hit a wall. “But Jimmy,” you say, “these are movies based off of cartoons, and cartoons from the eighties nonetheless. How can you expect any more from a cartoon adaptation?” Well I’ll tell you. It’s all in the characters and their journey. As with any great film, if you’re invested in the people involved then you’ll be invested in their journey. In my opinion, what the Transformers film franchise has attempted to do is take the emotional investment that fans had in the characters of the original cartoon and toss them into random situations with the hopes that fancy CGI, poor excuses for comedic relief and a LOT of explosions might gloss over the fact that the films just flat out do not have any structure.

Now don’t get me wrong, I actually really like the first Transformers movie. It establishes everyone we’ll be dealing with and sets up a pretty decent story while not being too overwhelmed by action and personally, I was really looking forward to seeing future clashes between the Autobots and Decepticons on the big screen. Instead, it feels as though I’ve yet to see any more of said faction clashes. The films seemed to have shifted focus and given audiences consistently bigger adversaries who, for whatever reason, are constantly floating around? I’ve seen more giant destructive ships in the past two installments of the Transformers franchise than I have in all of the Star Wars films combined, and that’s saying something. In addition, the films seemed to have been in competition with each other over just how much destruction could be shown on screen at any given time. Boats being flung, skyscrapers being toppled, the list is endless and I’m sure the fictional residents of the cities involved in these battles are scratching their heads and wondering when their insurance provider will cover alien robot grudge match. I realize that untold destruction comes with a giant robot war. When the destruction is the selling point of the film, however, and not the reasoning behind the robot war, you’ve lost me.

Speaking of warring robots, has anyone else noticed that the Autobots have become increasingly more personable? They hardly even look like robots anymore in my opinion, and it leaves me with the feeling that the film would be better received were I watching human versions of these characters dealing with the problems presented without the tediousness of the tiny humans being involved. And to whoever decided it was a cute idea to give the robots metal beards, huge guts, jackets, cigars, swords and attitudes that reflect cultural and racial stereotypes, I say bravo to you. You’ve proven that any idea can be accepted when framed appropriately. On a similar note, I’m aware this has been said before but in a Transformers rant I just can’t let it go unsaid, giant robot balls. What? Why? No.

Now that I’ve pitched in my two cents regarding Transformers, I’ll leave everyone with a final thought. How long will it be until audiences realize that their money is being taken from them with this franchise? Speak up. Don’t let these continue to be pumped out sans regard to character development and story. It isn’t fair to moviegoers and it certainly isn’t fair to fans of the source material. In a film with a budget that rivals its amount of monetary destruction, audiences and fans can afford to demand a higher standard of storytelling and a more engaging character experience.



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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 19.25.18

Jimmy Janda
Freelance Contributor



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