Oh, for the love of Primus...
The first one I really enjoyed. The second one was pretty bad. The third one was up there as one of the worst films of 2011 that I've seen (it was only pipped at the post by "Your Highness" in my opinion... and maybe "Green Lantern").
I'm an avid Transformers fan (ask my wife) - I literally grew up with Optimus Prime. I've collected every incarnation of the comics (it's how I learned to read and draw - and subsequently become an art teacher years later), watched the cartoons from G1, G2 (with it's fancy-pants digital bits), Beast Wars, Beast Machines, The Cybertron Trilogy, Animated, Prime. I collect the figures (mainly Optimus Prime but I have begun to diversify). I've bought multiple versions of the '86 film, I have the extended '86 soundtrack (which is on pretty high rotation on my iPod - I heart you Vince DiCola), I also have the soundtracks for the first and second live-action films. I have bought the various Ultimate Guides and even bought the Transformers: Vault the moment I laid eyes on it at my local comic store. Why am I telling you this? Because of what I am about to write and I KNOW people are going to accuse me of not being a "true" Transformers fan just because I dare think something that is about Transformers is (Shock! Horror!) rubbish.
I have seen some sh*t in my time but this movie almost takes the crap-frosted cake. I mean, seriously? That's the best storyline you could come up with? That's the best acting you could get out of your thespians? Nothing but over-exaggerated caricatures and lame clichés? That's what you wanted, Bay? Throughout the whole three films you have had access to some pretty good actors and you don't really give them anything to do, anything to work with. You just blow sh*t up around them and tell them to yell a lot. And if they're not yelling then they're running so you can get the right money shot on the overly well-endowed young lady with the poorly supporting bra, or they're acting like hyperactive, sugared-up kids with too much red cordial running through their systems. Oh, and did I mention the yelling?
Okay, sure, have some lighter, funnier moments. Humour is an excellent juxtaposition for the serious, dramatic parts. Unfortunately, the drama was hackneyed and played out as just filler between disjointed action pieces. I mean, really? Did you just happen to throw random scenes at a wall and then use those that stuck, in the way that they landed? Did you just mine the Transformers' history and just randomly pick which bits to incorporate with no thought about how to do it effectively to create a cohesive (and intelligent) story?
I know, Michael. You're a "big bang" type of guy and you want to give the audience as much bang-for-its-buck but sometimes having a quiet, well-acted scene without cheesy dialogue and an even cheesier sh*tty slow song can actually have more "oomph" than all of your special effects explosions combined. This isn't a new concept, it's been around for years. It's called "story" mixed in with a bit of "drama".
I'll be honest, I wasn't going to see this film at the cinema. I was going to wait until it was out on DVD. Possibly even 'new-to-weekly' DVD or (probably) just wait til it was shown on TV. Why? Because I knew that the guy who helped write the second film was writing all of the third one. And the second film sucked pretty badly. So I had accepted in myself that I was not going to see the third film on the "big screen".
Alas, against my better judgement I ended up letting a friend convince me to go. So I went in with no expectations. Anything should have impressed me. Unfortunately, even those non-existent expectations weren't met.
This pains me because I am a pretty hardcore Transformers fan and I will forgive a lot (and when I say "a lot" I mean: "Shane McArthy"). I just couldn't this time. I couldn't walk out of that cinema thinking "Well, it was worth the cost...". It just wasn't. It wasn't worth the admission and it certainly wasn't worth the (considerable) time invested.
I now hear whisperings of a Transformers 4. Please, for the love of Unicron, don't. Or, if the producers feel the need to do it then get someone else to direct. Get Spielberg himself to do it. Or James Cameron (he does "epic blockbuster" pretty well). Or the guy who did Empire Strikes Back (the best movie out of that whole series) - if he's still alive. Just get Michael Bay and Ehren Kruger away from it.