One of the most watched YouTube mash-ups of recent times is “Transforminators,” which — precisely no prizes for guessing — edits together bits of the two killer-robot franchises.
It’s one of those clever pieces of DIY new-media repurposing that makes you hope the person behind it (a) gets some sunlight occasionally and (b) one day lands a paying gig as an editor.
What it didn’t do, though, was actually make me laugh, as have other such motion-picture purees that recast “The Shining” as a romantic comedy or “Sleepless In Seattle” as a stalker thriller.
And that’s because it seemed rather plausible; like action figures from the same assembly line, the components of these movies do feel interchangeable.
That’s why last week when the envelope arrived bearing my invitation to the "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" preview screening — what really should be the blockbuster season’s equivalent of a ticket to Willy Wonka’s fantasy factory — my RSVP was “Non merci."
Now I’m not pre-emptively claiming the movie’s going to suck, or anything like that.
In fact, I’m sure that fans of the first one will get the big bangs they expect for the bucks they spend.
It’s just that I can’t summon the enthusiasm to try to be enthusiastic for this “event movie."
In the wake of “Wolverine” and “Terminator Salvation” — and even the harmless CG-overloads “Night at the Museum 2” and “Land of the Lost” — you might call it “blockbuster fatigue."
The “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” trailer doesn’t help, even though Michael Bay yesterday said that he’s holding the best stuff back from the “Transformers 2” trailer.
I’ll take him at his word on that one, but what is in there looks to be more of the same.
And, to be honest, I wasn’t that much impressed the first instalment.
The set-up was nice, sure. I dug the Spielbergian suburban touches, Shia LaBeouf’s Everydude tics still felt fresh and the initial desert action scene was killer.
I think it lost me around about the time the cool older version of Bumblebee became the new, slick and personality-free incarnation — a transformation that seemed to sum up the movie.
And while I’m as redblooded as the next guy, Megan Fox’s characterization kinda ended once she’d come out from under the hood.
(For a better indication of her ability to smoulder — and act — check out “How to Lose Friends and Influence People," which grossed about as much as a week’s catering spend on “Transformers.")
But where the first movie really screeched to a halt — at least for me — was in the action-overload finale, with its jumble of quick-cuts in which humans we were supposed to care about were lost amid the ever-escalating, logic-free “Bayhem."
“Transformers 2” trailer comes close to Bay parody in recreating all of this — and, last time I checked, Bay parody was Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s job.
We get those fiery streaks in the sky, smashing up buildings, straight outta “Armageddon."
There’s the US Naval Fleet under attack, a la “Pearl Harbor."
The comic touches — ouch.
Bumblebee rocking out to the Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited”?
Shia’s mom saying of his college, “I feel smarter already” — surely the only time those words have been uttered anywhere near a Michael Bay movie.
Remember Fox in that auto-eroticism scene? Well now she’s wearing even shorter shorts and she’s all over a hot and throbbing … motorbike. Apparently, this is how she entertains herself while the Shia’s away.
Then, after a “full-blown mental meltdown” Shia starts to see symbols left over from “Signs” or “Knowing” and, seemingly, becomes a cousin to Chuck from “Chuck."
This leads to the hilarity-inducing assertion: “Megatron wants what’s in my mind.”
I’m saying Megatron has some low expectations.
Bay even goes so far as to cast another blond Aussie ingénue in a minor role — fanboys who slobbered over Rachael Taylor’s high-heeled hacker last time should get a real blast out of Down Under’s Isabel Lucas.
But, obviously, all of this is just prelude to the main event, which is “Giant F—ing Robots” ™ “Blowing S— Up Real Good” ™.
Michael Bay yesterday wrote on www.shootfor theedit.com that he’d just put the finishing touches on the movie.
And that’s worrying because it means it happened in the wake of “Terminator Salvation” — McG’s attempt at out Baying Bay, in which even the explosions had explosions.
Now doubt the ever-competitive Michael Bay will have felt the need to reclaim his mantle, by turning the “Napalm Death” setting up to, say, 111.
Bay assured us that the differences between original and sequel were far more subtle and, ahem, character-based.
“The robot characters (42 in all), you really can feel empathy for them,” he wrote. “What is also very different is the sheer scale of the movie.”
Who we’re meant to feel for?
That’s the equivalent of six "Big Chills."
Or two "Love Actuallys."
And here’s how big screen attendees will experience these deepened robo-relationships:
“For IMAX, I created a slightly longer cut with more robot fighting.”
Defensively, Bay signs off: “Haters beware.”
That’s the problem — I’m not a hater.
On this one, I just can’t bring myself to care.