I finally saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen today.

In some ways it wasn’t as awful as I’d heard, and in some ways it was worse. On the plus side, it had giant robots blowing stuff up, and they put more thought into the story than I expected them to. And there were certainly good moments spread throughout the film. On the minus side, the visuals were so complex that they were hard to follow. That’s a problem I had with the Transformers’ designs in the first film, too — they look insanely cool in still shots, but start them moving and you end up with two clouds of shrapnel fighting each other. Plus Michael Bay has a very different sense of humor than I do, which didn’t help. And amazingly enough, the movie was tedious. I don’t know how you can possibly take a movie about giant robots and explosions and make it dull enough that I checked my watch at least five times during the film.

In summary, I’m glad I waited for the second-run showing and only spent $1.75.

Remember Alien vs. Hunter and other films with ripoff titles like Snakes on a Train? It turns out that Asylum has actually done a sequel to Transmorphers (yes, they went there): Transmorphers: Fall of Man.

DVD case for Transmorphers: Fall of Man

As if the original title wasn’t enough, they actually played on the title of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen when they did their own sequel!

And yes, that does say Bruce Boxleitner on the box.

Several months ago I was browsing the local Blockbuster video store for a movie to rent, and I stumbled across one that made me laugh out loud. It’s the title on the right, and you’ll see why if you compare it to the rather more well-known title on the left.

I mean, seriously, look how carefully they tried to match the source material.

  • The title, Alien vs. Hunter, as close as possible to the original Alien vs. Predator, carefully using only descriptive names.
  • The logo design, with the TLA (three-letter acronym) in large type and the full title in small type below it.
  • The layout on the packaging, with close-ups of the two creature’s heads, one on each side.
  • The monochrome design, using green instead of blue.
  • The creature designs, one with an elongated head and nasty-looking teeth, the other wearing a mask.
  • Even the font on the full title is similar.

I have to admit I haven’t watched either of them, so I have no idea whether this attention to detail pervades the actual movie. But I can seriously imagine someone not paying close attention picking up the wrong movie by mistake.

On the same trip, I found another video called Transmorphers — by the same production company, it turns out (big surprise) — but they didn’t try nearly as hard to match the packaging to anything Transformers-related. Still, for a good laugh, look through the titles of movies by The Asylum — I think Snakes on a Train may actually trump both titles.

I finally got out to see Transformers today. Yes, I grew up with the cartoons, the toys and the comics. Yes, I even collected every comic book from the original Marvel series through the Generation 2 series (including the prologue in G.I. Joe) through the first round from DreamWave. But somewhere along the line I just lost interest, and ultimately sold off my entire collection. (On eBay, actually.)

But still, there’s some sort of primal thrill—at least for anyone who grew up as a boy in 1980s America—in seeing giant robots fighting each other. So I finally decided to catch it while it was still in theaters.

It was better constructed than I expected. They had a plausible reason for the Autobots and Decepticons to be on Earth, and they were very good about following up on exposition. Every gun that appeared on the wall was eventually fired, down to Sam’s eBay auctions, with one exception: I really expected them to blow up Hoover Dam.

Which brings me to the biggest gap in logic. SPOILERS follow, for anyone who, like me, has been living in a cave. Continue reading