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Love it or Hate it: The Transformers Debate

In honor of one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Dinah and John battle it out over why the "Transformers" movies — thus far — is such a love-it-or-hate-it franchise. In spirit of these films, let's waste no time and get straight to ...

The Action

Why John hates it

Incomprehensible doesn't even begin to describe the action in the first film. The robots don't have any truly distinguishable body parts, so telling them apart is damn near impossible. I can recall one scene that I enjoyed (in the second film, just before Optimus "dies"), but that's about it. The rest of it blends together in such a generic and uninspiring way. Grade: C

Why Dinah loves it

The action is a stupid good time. From the moment that metal starts grinding, twisting, and reforming, my mouth falls open like a baby doll. If there is one thing Michael Bay knows how to do, it’s put together a dynamic action scene (with explosions, please). I loved in the second movie's opening scene as the robots in disguise are battling clandestine Autobots. Sure, they were living in peace minding their own business, but heck yes to a chase scene that could make even Optimus Prime need to take a breath. If there is one thing Transformers gets right, it is the loud, shaky, get-er-done, blow-it-up-even-if-it’s-not-in-the-way action. Grade: A


The Cast

Why John hates it

Shia LaBeouf just needs to go away already. The guy can't act his way out of a paper bag. He runs around like the best of them, but what else does he bring to the table? Maybe if they do an Even Stevens reunion movie, I'll be excited to see him. But between this and "Indiana Jones," it's just too much Shia. Megan Fox — or RoboFox as she'll be referred to going forward -- is pathetic on the acting front. Sorry, but I prefer my women with a little personality and some brains, so all the car washes in the world aren't going to make me care for her or her character. Everyone else in the series is a total throwaway (Josh Duhamel and Tyrese are supposed to be main characters? But they have nothing, nothing, NOTHING to do… Drives me crazy). Grade: C

Why Dinah loves it

The cast is just awful, especially Sam’s parents getting a spotlight in “Revenge of the Fallen.” This movie is not about humans its about robots fighting so spare me the June Cleaver on drugs bit and Sam going through puberty with his parents butting in. As far as RoboFox, John, I’d take her over the dumb blow up doll they replaced her with. It’s hard to believe a Victoria Secret model could be a downgrade. Grade: F

The Bots

Why John hates it

Bumblebee is cool. So is Optimus Prime. And there's no denying the robots look cool. My issue is that there are so many — especially near the end of the second film — that it's hard to keep track of them. And before you accuse me of having the recall skills of a third grader, Dinah, let me assure you that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I've heard from many others who agree that a tinge of red paint here and there isn't enough to make these big metal objects distinctive. Still, it's the least of my issues with Transformers. Grade: B

Why Dinah loves it

The freaking robots are awesome! No question, hands down, putting it all on the line, bloody cool. Optimus Prime is so money I would marry him. The way the Decepticons cannibalized their own to resurrect Megatron was dope. I even like the little jittery robot in small doses. Those two Ebonics-speaking goons from the sequel with cocked eyes and gold teeth have to go. And I hate to say it but down with Bumblebee and his car radio voice too. Give that robot back his voice and his dignity for goodness sake. And don’t get me started on how they killed off the “black” Autobot in the first movie; black people always die first. Arg! So you don’t know who is fighting who, who cares? The Autobots win. The ending is as predictable as the Holy Bible. Grade: A-

The Story

Why John hates it

This is where the franchise goes off the rails for me. To be fair, I don't remember much about the story of the first film. I know we were supposed to buy Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox as a couple… yeah, OK. I also remember a lot of metal-on-metal action. But that's pretty much it. The second film's plot is much more vivid. The Matrix of Leadership. The Great Pyramids battle. Sam's mom eating pot brownies…all pure gold. Really, that film was mind-numbingly stupid, and not in the fun way. It's crazy how bad it was, and I place the blame almost exclusively on the amazingly dumb storyline. Grade: F

Why Dinah loves it

You got me here, John; the story in number two was terrible. It was convoluted and basically made no sense. The writers were not intelligent — a child could count the number of plot holes. But number one was amazing. It was an origin story made short and sweet. Decepticons and Autobots are after one thing. They fight with one another along the way to get it. In the meantime humans are bonding and working jobs. Finally the Autobots win. If you need to jog your memory try *ahem* renting it. Grade: C

The Director

Why John hates him

Armageddon, The Rock, Bad Boys…Michael Bay knows how to make a decent action flick. And with Steven Spielberg behind the scenes, there's no reason these films shouldn't be well-made. Yet, both "Transformers" films are total throwaways when it comes to directorial prowess. Nothing Bay does leaves an impression (except maybe how poorly conceived the action is and how goofy each and every character is). Maybe that's what he's going for, and if so, bravo. But no number of fast cars, cheesy one-liners, and sexually suggestive RoboFox moments can disguise the fact that any semblance of good direction is totally absent. Grade: D

Why Dinah loves him

I disagree with his taste in women, but Michael Bay knows how to blow stuff up. This ain’t Godfellas, Schindler’s List or Pulp Fiction for goodness sake. It’s the “Transformers” franchise and I don’t care who is behind the lens. Enough said. Grade: B

The Fans Reaction

Why John hates it

I wouldn't say "Transformers" fans drive me crazy the way some other franchises' fans do. Twi-Hards are worse. So are "Hangover" fans. But the reaction to the first "Transformers" film was so positive, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe how many people were talking it up, and why in the world they wanted to see this film more than once. To each his own, I guess. I try not to let fan reaction bother me. Grade: B

Why Dinah loves it

I think all of the fans’ barrage of criticism of the first movie and the subsequent compromises Bay made to the sequel almost put this series in the grave. Some times movie heads need to sit back, relax and let creators create. Yes I agreed with many of the comments, but I don’t want them determining the direction of subsequent movies. That being said, this is a total popcorn lover’s movie. It is pure adrenaline and that is why people love it. In fact, add that to the reasons why myself, and millions of others can’t get enough of 300. Grade: B-

The Whole Freaking Franchise

Why John hates it 

Despite my disdain for the first two films in the Transformers series, I'm a little excited for this next one. Maybe it's just the lack of anything else exciting at the multiplex right now, but something about "Dark of the Moon" piques my interest. But my hopes certainly aren't too high. As you can see, this franchise just isn't for me. I don't like, well, anything about it. The action is generic. Any semblance of good acting is nonexistent. The story is dumb as dirt. Michael Bay seems lost and the franchises' fans are rabid enough to make any hater like me a little ticked off regarding the film's successes and maybe just a touch afraid to write something like this. But I'm not one to hold my tongue, Dinah. You can have your Transformers, for they just aren't my thing. Grade: C-

Why Dinah loves it 

I’ll go ahead and make two trips to the cinema to see "Dark of the Moon" in your honor, John. You don’t know what you’re missing. I cannot wait for the third movie, and quite frankly I want the story to continue in the vein of "The Fast and Furious" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." Heck, throw in the "Saw" series and let this robot franchise die a very slow death. I’ll enjoy every second of this 2.5-hour movie. Sure, I didn’t like the second one, but I fell in love with the original. My only real problem is the acting and some serious goof ups in the sequel, not enough to keep me out of the cinema. In fact, I already purchased a sneak peak. Grade: A-


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