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Why do people say that the Transformers movies have no plot and bad characters?

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Initial post: Oct 22, 2009 2:22:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 22, 2009 9:15:45 PM PDT
PlanetHell says:
I know this is very long but I would really appreciate if one person would respond and tell me how wrong I may be (open to anyone's opinions, though try not to be too mean).

Here it is:

Why do people say the Transformers movies have no plot, bad characters, and are about nothing but special effects?

Two movies that have grossed over 500 million and over 800 million respectively. A hugely popular franchise with a third installment coming in July 2011. And yet people say that Transformers and Transformers; Revenge Of The Fallen have no plot. Why is this?

First it's with Shia LeBeaouf. Apparently no one has ever watched any transformers cartoon or any anime (Transformers, all of them are American-Japanese produced). If they did, they would know that his character is direct on the spot (kind hearted and silly) for a main character for these movies. And then Megan Fox. Besides being hot, she's also a kind of mechanic. Considering Transformers frequently morph into cars and other vehicles, this works perfectly for various interactions.
What about their characters interactions? Isn't it cute when Shia LeBeaouf turns to Megan Fox and says, "I think there is more to you than meets the eye?" in the first one?
And the parents. The mother is hilarious as is the father, and comic relief is needed in a movie based off a toy line and cartoons. The father's comments (would say it but don't want to get the money amount wrong) about how much college will cost and the mother being angry about the government men playing with her flowers come to mind.
There was Jon Voight as the secretary of defense, and the girl with the accent trying to figure out what the frequency hacking computer systems was. And the soldier fighting for his life against a transformer that follows him and his men. And the guy who is tied to the pole only to reveal where Megatron and the cube are. It's only hard to remember names because there were so many characters who are decently developed and are more important than the transformers themselves.
All of them are well voiced, voices fit each character perfectly. There interactions with the human characters are the highlights of the movies. They are there for extreme, excellent special effects, but also provide an interesting story.

Now with the so called "no plot." Apparently robot-like creatures from space whose planet was destroyed by endless war with different sides (Auto bots vs. Decepticons) and are searching for a cube that can recreate their world is "no plot." Maybe not a strong one, but who wants to be moved by any of this when you can look at giant CGI robots fighting? Not to mention the interactions between human and robot/alien, which make perfect sense, like the conversation that goes:

"There such a violent race"
"Were we so different?"

The second one involves revenge of the decepticons (and more screen time). They want to use "The Fallen" to fight the auto bots that they lost too, and use some other device to blow up the sun, or rather, harness ultimate power. This includes a pyramid symbol tie-in. A revenge film? Sold.

So still not a "great" plot. But in comparison to some other movies that have been immensely popular, it's probably better than anything from the "Indiana Jones" movies (Holy Grail again?, magic rocks, melting face `ark', aliens), or a 3rd of the James Bond Movies (villains wants to destroy something, hot woman and action sequences, end movie).

Going deep into the special effects isn't worth the time. This is due to the fact that they are beyond anything seen in really any other movie or franchise. Every scene is a hundred percent convincing and just down-right amazing to look at. The colors, the construction, explosions (the boat scene in 2 being a highlight)...perfection has been reached with CGI only twice, and it was in these two movies.

There is also racial stereotyping, which I hardly see as being out of place with the exception of Skid and Mudflaps, who yes, are annoying and were a bad idea. Otherwise, a smart foreign girl, a hot causician girl, a African-American kid afraid of the FBI, an old guy as secretary of defense...doesn't this happen in just about every movie? I for one found it shocking to see the young kids out of high school being at the Pentagon (or was it the UN). If anything they are a slightly spin on the usual (Shia LeBeaouf comical and Megan Fox breaks away from being just the hot girl).
That said, the two transforms Skid and Mudflaps are pretty bad. They are annoying and bring nothing but less screen time for other, more interesting transformers.

But anything is really worth complaining to the extent most people have about these movies, it should be about the lack of character development for the Transformers. This goes to anyone who isn't Optimus Prime or Bumblebee. The 1st worked but with over like 27 transformers in 2, it's hard to see or believe that any of them (besides the two mentioned) are getting anything that could be called character development.

With that said, my mind is set and I have no idea why people say transformers had no plot, bad characters, and is nothing but special effects.

I only hope that for Transformers 3 (being made and will make lots of money regardless of negative comments) that the number of Transformers can be lessened or some can stay and leave and do something else while others get some attention to themselves.

Edit: I am very willing to listen to anyone's opinions. I know some of what I wrote sounds like I'm close-minded to opinions; I just mean that I have a standpoint that I would like someone to change.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2009 4:05:30 PM PDT
Gavin Lees says:
Don't feed the troll....

Posted on Oct 28, 2009 12:06:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2009 12:07:26 AM PDT
PlanetHell says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Nov 26, 2009 6:33:58 PM PST
M. Gaudet says:
Because Transformers Generation 1 fans hate what Michael Bay did to Transformers, they hate how orci wrecked both Transformers and star trek with cringe worthy dialogue and childish humor. But Transformers was never more than a long commercial to sell toys, even though Optimus Prime became a beloved character through the genius of Peter Cullen, and Megatron a villain fans loved to hate with Frank Welker as the one and only true voice of Megatron. I think transformers more than anything relied on children's imagination and the series was sold with great voice acting talent, i mean they sold some pretty awful and ludicrous scripts and made the dialog somehow work though as an adult it is mostly cringe worthy.

Posted on Nov 27, 2009 1:13:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2009 1:16:30 PM PST
Mrs. Garside says:
To answer the question.

Maybe because they have no plot and bad characters? Just a wild guess. . . .

Planethell, you sound like you're shilling for the studio. And, for the record, I loved that show whan I was younger. Michael Bay is the Antichrist.

Posted on Nov 27, 2009 1:33:59 PM PST
J. Unger says:
If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

The plot is incomprehensible. The dialog of the Autobots®, Decepticons® and Otherbots® is meaningless word flap. Their accents are Brooklyese, British and hip-hop, as befits a race from the distant stars.

Posted on Nov 27, 2009 1:39:15 PM PST
N. Nobel says:
Do all the other kids at your Junior High agree with you?

Posted on Nov 27, 2009 4:25:01 PM PST
Because it has bad characters. It doesn't have "no plot", it has a terrible and boring plot which is worse.

Posted on Nov 27, 2009 11:19:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2009 11:20:54 AM PST
T. Smith says:
The plot was "terrible" for Revenge of the Fallen because there were so many plot holes. I'll name a big one. If 8 of the 9 primes sacrificed themselves to protect the Matrix then how did Optimus come to be? If the 9 primes were the first transformers, and the Allspark created the Transformers (that's another one right there, the Allspark created all evil and savage Transformers even in the hands of good souls so how did the Transformers diversify to the point of civil war between good natured and evil? Evolution? I think I'm thinking a lil too much now) and The Fallen was the last one, then how did Prime come to be? Surely The Fallen wouldn't have let him come to be knowing that only Prime's could kill him.

So there you go, I will admit I did enjoy the spectacle of mindless explosions and transforming robots but to hold it in any other regards other than "BOOM, BAM, BANG, BING, TRANSFORM-CHINGCHINGCHINGCHING* Would just be taking the film too far. I see it like this, it made alot of money because it had what the people wanted, a show. I mean a spectacle, after a hard week you want to just relax and just drift away for a bit and this movie did it. Think about the Fourth the July or any fireworks spectacle, do you think the people who go to enjoy the show want to think about any complexity? They came to "turn off" and relax but the important thing is that they KNOW that that's all they will get.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2009 11:31:14 PM PST
RJP says:
This was the stupidest movie I have seen all year. The actors are just the worst Ive ever seen. After 20 minutes I could not watch anymore. This movie did very well in money but I guess that just goes to show you people have no taste. At least I only paid 1 dollar at a Redbox. I would still like my money back though.

Posted on Nov 28, 2009 12:41:04 AM PST
PlanetHell says:
I'll straight out admit how bad my defense was written, though if you get the point I mean it all. No I am not shilling for the studio. There are tons of movies released in this year alone (that Quentin Tarantino disaster) that make me want to beat everyone at the studios with a bat. This is not one of them.

I have to say that transformers fans don't like these movies because 70% of them think there G1 Transformers or other Transformers shows were made out of solid gold. Plus who wants to sit through another 2 1/2 hour snoozefest when you can watch "a show?". Movies are entertainment. There only moving when something sad happens, and even then 1/2 the time it has no point. Sam Whitwicky seemingly being dead in Transformers 2 was the only time I even remotely noticed someone had died all year.
This whole debate is pointless; I see that now. Still feel free to try and provide an actual reason why these movies are so bad. And please throw in comparisons to movies that are better because I don't really get it.

Posted on Nov 28, 2009 7:04:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2009 7:05:52 AM PST
JOHN A S says:
Ok here goes. First of all PlanetHell raises a legitimate question: How can such a supposedly bad movie have made so much money? Is it just special effects? Doubtful. What PlanetHell points out surely suggests that there is something there. Obviously it's not for everyone and it seems that many responders are not even interested in examining the question. Complaints come when a movie violates someones expectations. Some might say it is bad because thay can't follow the plot or they just don't get it. Some may bring the oscar - if it's not drama it can't be any good - bias to their review. Some like myself have a lot of difficulty adjusting to the fact that the bad guys seem to have a awful lot of success in these movies. The first time I saw Transformers 1, I couldn't believe what a beating the good guys were taking. This is why a lot of people didn't like Superman Returns. Mosy people want to see justice and Superman coming to the rescue - not being almost beaten to death. Most people want to see the hero succeed. Same with the Punisher. A lot of people hated it because the main character really took a beating. It took almost three quarters of the movie before the good guy finally brought some justice. The second time I saw Transformers 1 (this time on blu-ray) I knew what to expect and I wasn't turned off by the bad guys winning. In fact, my jaw had dropped throughout the entire movie and I was blown away. The second one sounds very complicated and hard to follow like the third Pirates of the Carribean. I love the first two but find the third to be too complicated and I don't like the plot, but I still like the series. I personally think Transformers 1 is one of my very best blu-ray movies and am wondering whether I should buy rthe second or not. If it violates my expectations I probably will not like it the first time, like the second Ace Ventura which was very different from the first, but became a great movie once I figured it out. Same with Crank. The second was totally bizzare and a lot of people who loved the first one hated the second one. If Sam almost gets killed, I am probaly going to get the same Superman Returns reaction like who the hell wants to see this. Hopefully, it has a good ending or the third one will be positive for the good guys. So its all about expectations and following the plot I think.

Posted on Nov 28, 2009 9:07:26 AM PST
ttenchantr says:
The movies are just giant flimsy cartoons, with lots of 'plosions and pretty things to look at. No real plot or characters were called for and none were delivered. It is after all, a movie made in the last ten years.

Posted on Nov 28, 2009 7:38:47 PM PST
PlanetHell says:
If you haven't seen Transformers 2 you must. How anyone can say this movie is too complicated and hard to follow is beyond me. 2 hours and a half of a revenge war between robots on a human planet is not hard to follow.

I imply something is there. So what is there? Direct themes of just what humans are like. Everything the robots or humans do is a hundred percent what would happen.
For example when a army guy (was he a general?) says something about how America is going to handle the situation and a transformers says "This fool is terribly misinformed." In the first one a transformer says "There such a violent race," in which Prime responds "Were we so different?" The transformers are essentially us, what we will do to each other in the future. Problem is nobody wants to face this; Bay and the writers know it's true.
This is the point behind the special effects. And most teenagers get it because there (not one anymore since July) younger and they somehow comprehend the world better than adults. Point made clear finally.
There's also another one; notice that the villains work together better than the good characters. The appearance of the constructions and the forming of devastator was direct proof. They have no morals and thus can beat out the characters with conflicting ones.

Personally I don't see why the main character can't be beat up. It makes them human in some sense. C'mon; nobody is invincible. Nobody was mad at Batman Begins and Batman suffers tons of beatings and injuries while essentially becoming Batman.
Same with Bond; his invincibility was crumbled in the last three movies and nobody sees that to be so bad.

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 7:02:19 AM PST
Marcus says:
There are bad plots, weak plots, incoherent plots, but I do not believe there is such a thing as NO plot. It's just a lazy ineloquent way of bashing a film.

Anyway transformers was such a geek film. Geeks are the heros, the geek gets the HOT girl. It's made to appeal to those who are geek and not at all ashamed by it. Anyone else it's just going to enflame their own sense of superiority over geeks.

Still I thought at times there was so much going on screen that you couldn't tell what was going on.

Part 2 did have a very serious plot flaw. When the cube sliver was found the sensible thing to do would be to alert Optimus prime about it. Bumble bee didn't even question why all the appliances were coming to life. Yet none of that happened because it was inconvenient to where they were going with the story. You got to call them out on that.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 8:34:33 AM PST
BackToGood says:
With regard to the first TRANSFORMERS, Shia LaBoeuf and Megan Fox played the only 2 likable characters and I could get into their story. But, EVERY other character was either poorly scripted, stereotypical, or cliche or all of the above: the clueless parents, the wisecracking military unit whose mantra is to constantly tell the Hispanic to "Speak English", Jon Voight's DefSec with the unnecessary Southern accent, the superhot female hacker countered by Anthony Andersen's jive-talking, rap-loving "comic" relief hacker, and the worst offender, that weird Sector 7 douche played by John Turturro.

The 2nd one ROTF thankfully cut down on the stupid character quotient and the smaller cast was more tolerable, but it was just all action all the time, with absolutely no plot to speak of this time, or at least one as thin as the average fashion model.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 4:37:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2009 4:51:23 PM PST
M. Gaudet says:
I disagree Star Trek 2009 was a 2 hours of brainless action and had no plot, so yes it can be done. And no small coincidence the same writers wrote transformers revenge of the fallen, i'm still rofl over robot heaven.

There is no plot if people like Michael Bay and JJ Abrams just cut and paste stuff willy nilly from other movies and try to have it all make some kind of sense, other than look at that neat cgi and those pretty explosions or how hot the women actress they chose was.

The first transformers was a ripoff of at least of a dozen other blockbusters and the same can be said of Pearl Harbor. Bay is a hack without the noise, explosions and cgi and 100% mindless action he would have no job as he cannot direct actors, write human characters you care about or draw you into an interesting story.

All visuals and eye candy and sound design and pyrotechnics, but no one cares to actually work on a script because just ask George Lucas the cgi will be so distracting you won't notice their was no story. But he forgot the best thing he ever said "A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing". And that is what 90% of modern hollywood crap cgi blockbusters are a special effect without a story. Nothing sums up the current trend better than that. The thing is they don't care as long as people are dumb enough to pay for tickets and buy the dvd's and they are making money, otherwise they would bother to actually write a competent script, cast decent actors and have a director who can actually direct actors and not greenscreens.

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 9:55:30 AM PST
"And please throw in comparisons to movies that are better."

Why don't you close your eyes and throw a dart? It could land on a Rachel Ray cook book and it's still better than this.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 10:56:28 AM PST
Yeah, I agree with the other people. I couldn't even sit through the atrocity that was the first film. It's Transformers.... there really isn't GOING to be a plot. It's about robots, so how can we have character development? Face it, these movies were put out only because of the special effects. If they made a 3rd Transformers I would only hope that it bombed and the people responsible for making it lose their jobs.

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 11:53:17 AM PST
Mr. Jumps says:
Why is it every cheeseball film has a "hardcore" girl as a first rate auto mechanic with a heart of gold? Snoozefest.

Why cant she just be a pregnant nympho, who smokes newports, & who has recently discovered the secret to achieving clean white teeth? Every now and again she can blurt out some strange hip hop drivel... "True as a wizard, just a blizzard, I ain't taken no crap I'm rhymin' and designin' with your man in my lap".

See my character is already way more intersting than the stereotypical movie mechanic girl.

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 9:19:23 PM PST
PlanetHell says:
Transformers 3 will never bomb. I'm suprised they haven't announced Transformers 4 yet. Face it; they will throw in dinobots, focus on the female transformers, insert unicron, and 2 hours and a 1/2 of humor and action sequences will ensue. Ok I admit that may be pretty much what it's all about, 1/2 of it.
The other half was already said a thousand times; what the transformers do or are forced to do is simply a CGI version of what all of humanity will one day do to each other. Period.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 8:01:45 PM PST
I saw both Transformers movies as well. I thought they were every bit as good as each other, but in different ways. While some points of the second's plot was a little weak compared to the first and the twin Autobot characters Mudflap and Skids seemed kinda stupid, but the increased focus on the Autobots and Decepticons with a lot more action thrown into the mix made up for the minor loss.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 8:52:37 PM PST
people say that because it's true of the MICHAEL BAY films.... the main characters are SUPPOSED TO BE THE TRANSFORMERS, but instead none of the robot characters ever speak or show any depth....

I am a TF fan, but the MB new films do not do right by the characters..... The Transformers take a back seat to the humans, AND THAT IS NOT RIGHT!!!!!!!!

one day a good film will be made... but until then G1 Transformers remains the most in depth and most complete TF story and characters....


Posted on Dec 3, 2009 9:42:21 PM PST
Micheal M says:
Some of the Michael Bay haters are more annoying then his fanboys are! I've seen the Transformer movies and they were okay action movies but I don't waste my time bashing the guy over and over cause they weren't what I wanted them to be. Some of the haters seem to be obsessed with the guy more then his fans are. They hate his movies yet they watch every one of them.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 11:11:13 PM PST
PlanetHell says:
True Michael Bay is constantly being bashed. I fail to see what is so bad about Pearl Harbor. A trillion people saw this movie and found it very said and moving. I'm not "in love" with the movie: I enjoyed it but not that much. Sorry If I offend anyone too much but no one cares that this movie made the Japanese "look bad." Attacking a base in Hawaii and killing ten of thousands of people was not only wrong, but extremely wussy (spelling?-don't know). So no there is nothing wrong with Pearl Harbor either.

Maybe most people don't get it or they don't like the concept, but the Michael Bay Transformers movies are essentially movies of "how humans would react," when encountering the transformers on our planet. After The Fallens' announcement on the screens in 2, who knows how people will react to that (and all the deaths) in Transformers 3. They want to explore every concept of reaction, serious or silly, government or everyday person.
Somehow I still keep coming up with another defense mechanism; if only i had the Matrix of Leadership...
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