Dialogs: Transformers 2: Electric Boogaloo

Dialogs is an ongoing feature at Ninja Dog Corps – discussions of the various nerdy topics we love (or hate) oh so much. Each of the Ninja Dogs bring a different angle to the argument, and it should be interesting to see how we weigh in on each subject. Today, we’ll be looking at Transformers 2, in honor of the recent home video release.
You’ll notice that we each saw the movie at different times, and we threw down our thoughts soon after watching it.

First up we have John, who saw the flick at a midnight release.

so. many. robots. so very awesome. watching it again in imax.

ignore the scathing reviews and bad press, the reviewers are really just reaching out for things that don’t belong in an action movie let alone a Michael Bay helmed action movie.

yes, if you really want to get down to it, the movie is held by a thin plot. but like i said, it’s a Michael Bay action movie – one with giant robots beating the shit out of each other. it’s not supposed to be some hyper intelligent drama that draws you into each scene. it’s frigin’ robots in disguise duking it out. why spoil the fun of that basic premise?

so yeah: megan fox + other hot babes + fair amount of humor+ robots in disguise + optimus going ape shit and owning everyone + devastator + soundwave x lots and lots of explosions and action = awesome.

and sorry, i just read roger ebert’s review and it pretty much solidifies my stance that all reviewers suck and whatever they write is bullshit. make a “dumb action movie,” they want more intelligence; make an “intelligent movie” and they want more action.

haha. sorry. go see it. seriously. beat someone for their ticket if you have to, but go see it.

Next up we have Eshwin

I just saw it folks, and I consider myself a fairly intelligent and critical person, as well as being a nerd, albeit one who is not as into Transformers as some.And I fucking LOVED this movie!I was going to see it this coming Monday and again with you guys, and I will see it both of those days because I loved it so much. When Maria and I found out about the tragic end of the King of Pop, we decided to say fuck it and just go watch Transformers.

Here’s my reasons, without spoiling anything, of why I liked this film and also some small problems.

The main issue with Transformers 1 was the over-filling of senseless and pointless human narratives who were basically cartoons. This would not have been a problem, if the sheer abundance of pointless gags didn’t outweigh the screentime of the Transformers, who were little more than speaking props.

While I’d still care for a lot more screen time and relationship building and characterization for the autobots, the essential motivation and plot of this film is far more centered on the Transformers. The generally simplistic nature of the humans plays well with the still simpler robots, who to their credit, display a lot more character than they did before.

Of specific note, Bumble Bee expresses a far greater degree of character than he did before, and for once, Starscream and Megatron play out their unique tensions onscreen as well. Optimus has a bit more attitude and things to do as well, and I rather enjoyed his interactions with humans aside from Sam. There is far more Transformer mythology here, including the origins of the Transformers and the real reason the Autobots and Decepticons are at war.

The robot fights here are very well choreographed and shot, and must have been very, very complex to organize into the practical world. And there are a lot of them. Also, in the cartoon, Transformers fight in a variety of non-urban landscapes. We get to see that in full effect here.

Dramatically and narratively, I have no issue with the simplistic nature of the story. Firstly, the essential robot story here is no less complicated than an episode of the cartoon or the animated Transformers movie. The inclusion of a few new characters who weigh in for good exposition only make it better. In fact, I would give it some nerd cred for getting a little geekier than it was in the first movie. Also, the inclusion in the middle of a real sense of evil winning and the world being somewhat devastated worked in this kind of simple story, and is not to be overlooked as enough of a dramatic push to make the fights much better.

My only problems are, as I said before, the same old human gags abound in this, including Michael Bay’s obsession with absolute sluts and facile 7th grade sex jokes. While the first half of the movie establishes the Transformers as being bigger players in the human narratives, the last half of the middle act mired itself in human heroics … however, these are short lived and also, not that bad. I actually liked John Turturro’s role this time around a lot more. My last problem is the slight, short lived blasphemy in the first going on second incident in which the film suggests an aspect to Transformers that in my opinion, pose a conceptual threat. Thats all I will say without spoiling anything.

Besides that, yes, the robots could have been bigger characters again, but this is a significant improvement and the mythology and inclusion of more awesome fights and actions pieces make this less of an issue. I liked this movie a lot.

oh yeah … Volvotron is in this movie, although he is basically just a part of Devastator and has yet to grow into his own as the pensive philosopher he will no doubt become in the third or fourth film.
And here are my two cents

SOOO I finally got to see Transformers 2. I have to admit, I went into the movie with some pretty high expectations, part of which can be attributed to the immense amount of BULLSHIT that I’ve had to put up with to see this thing.

First there was last weeks turn around, and this week, now with the family (surprisingly my mom and dad wanted to see it), we were again faced with the show being SOLD OUT for the time we had wanted. Ultimately we got the tickets, and we finally got to see the movie, with even more retarded bullshit inbetween, but I’ll spare you guys that particular rant.

So with that in mind, I have to say that Transformers 2 was well worth the effort in seeing.

This movie has balls.

It’s flawed, and maybe in some important areas, but it fulfilled my criteria for the movie: A – It had shit loads of robots, B – not only did they fight but they even had some acting going on too C- human stuff never drags on for too long. It’s the type of movie that I imagine Transformers 1 wanted to be.

As you guys have mentioned already, I like how it acknowledges the greater world and mythology of Transformers. It was enough to make to peruse the Wiki to get caught up with The Fallen and the Dynasty of Primes.

I have no problem with the shifting and mutation of Transformers Lore and it’s details. Any conflicting details seem more in keeping with Transformers, given it’s various shows over the years have always seem to strike out on its own. At it’s core Transformers comes down to some essential elements, and by and large, this move gets that right.

I liked those two little “gangsta” robots. If you’ll remember from the first movie, the way Transformers come to understand our culture is through our media, they’re simply a reflection of our own cultural misgiving and failings. I find it more racist that people are reading into these characters as being “black”. Get over it.

Jar Jar Binks is also ok in my book.

I think one of my favorite bits was having Optimus Prime discuss with a Goverment liason the politics of having Transformers as allies to the US.

The characterization of Prime is probably my biggest sticking point though. He’s essentially the robot equivalent of The Punisher. Not only does he kill other robots, he does so in the most brutal fashion, ripping off heads, tearing away faces and punching through chests to grab hearts.

It made me think that maybe the Decepticons are misunderstood,

I can’t recall any Autobot being murdered in an equally vicious manner in this movie. Transformers 2 also makes the effort to show that not all Decepticons are even truly evil – the little RC Truck changes sides, and so does Jetfire. Perhaps more of these Decepticons are fighting for this side for their own personal reasons, and yet we have Optimus Prime more than willing to tear off arms and disembowel you without hesitation.

We also see that the main drive for The Fallen/Megatron and Starscream (chiefly Starscream) is actually to provide an energy source so that the hatchlings can live.

I’m sure you can look into all this more, and delve into what all this means. Is Optimus Prime an American? Or even more so, an American Soldier that shoots first and asks questions later?

But at the end of the day, it’s fun.

It’s best to simply enjoy the clash of metal robots and leave the more thoughtful discourse to Watchmen or Batman.

Michael Bay has found in Transformers, something that I think will become his signature series. He’s made tons of blockbusters but Transformers strikes me as something perfectly suited for him.

It occurred to me while watching this, that Transformers 2 is exactly how I imagined my toys would be fighting while I was playing with them.

I’d flip Optimus Prime in the air and while blasting Megatron ( well, more like Grimlock – I didn’t have Prime or Megatron), I’d set up ludicrous scenarios which I’d revise or even forget about halfway through, go off on weird tangents, and even better, introduce other toys (in the case of Trasnformers 2, army men) into the fray.

Transformers 2 has that kind of joyful, wild imagination.

It also had gigantic clanging balls. Like, huge robot balls.

How can you not give this movie an A+ just for that alone?

And finally, Eshwin once again

I hadn’t thought of the Decepticons/Autobots division as easily reversible, but don’t forget, the Decepticons, like terrorists, are against ‘us’ for whatever reason is justifiable to them and their own. So decapitating them is quite simply the American way.

3 responses to “Dialogs: Transformers 2: Electric Boogaloo

  1. So the consensus was … we liked it.

    Now that the Blue Ray and DVD are out, though, I find myself hesitating to buy them. And I wonder why.

    Oh, and the ‘conceptual threat to Transformers’ that I mentioned but could not get into due to spoilers, was the slut transformer. No, not a Transformer who was a robot with the personality of a slut, but an actual slut transformer, like, it transformed into a hot slut that was passably human. This is probably the most blasphemous part of the movie, and really is probably my biggest problem with the movie, because now you’ve taken Transformers and suddenly blurred the line rather jarringly with Terminator, Species, etc.

  2. Yeah I haven’t picked up the Blu Ray either. I recently saw it again whilst the other Ninja Dogs and I were playing heroclix.

    I don’t even have the first Transformers. I like these movies but I’m not itching to pick them up right now. A big thing for me is the watchability of a movie while I’m working. Transformers 1/2 is a bit too explosioney (in other words, distracting) for my purposes.

  3. If I get a chance, I think I’ll try and break up the mass of text in this post with a few pictures.

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