Stumbling Toward 'Awesomeness'

A Technical Art Blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Critical Analysis

One of the Year’s Worst Films

Transformer’s 2 was rated by critics at around a 18% as shown on This is possibly one of the lowest ratings for a hugely expensive summer blockbuster that I can remember. This makes the movie less well reviewed than Species III, Rambo IV, or even Rush Hour III.

But it has now shown to have had the second largest opening weekend of all time; raking in over 200 million dollars domestically and 390 million worldwide in it’s first 5 days. This is within 1% of the current reigning champion, Batman: The Dark Knight. Paramount’s national exit polling revealed that more than 90% of those surveyed said the new movie was as good as or better than the first film. About 67% of moviegoers polled said the film was “excellent,” an even better score than that generated by Paramount’s “Star Trek,” one of the year’s best-reviewed movies.

The critics unanimously told their readers this film was trash, and word of mouth brought the film to within one percent of the Dark Knight. Hell, Transformer’s 2 was shown on less screens and even grossed more dollars per screen than the Dark Knight.

So how did a movie that so many flocked to see; nearly toppling the current reigning all time champ, get reviewed so viciously?

As reviews started to roll in, I saw an interesting thing happen. Some reviews were posted before people had seen the film, trashing the Michael Bay, and not really referencing anything from the film itself. (These were not logged as ‘top critics’ on the site.) But it initiated a torrent of others jumping on the hatewagon; beating their chests and scampering in competition to come up with better, more scurrilous, insulting, and defamatory witticisms trashing the director and his film. It became what I termed a giant ‘snoodBall’. Each critic seemed to feel that in order to stand out above the rest, he had to give an even worse, more scathing review. This led to professional critics actually printing things I just find ridiculous:

“I hated every one of the 149 minutes. This is so bad it’s immoral. Michael Bay is a time-sucking vampire who will feast off your lost time.”
– Victoria Alexander

“Michael Bay has once again transformed garbage into something resembling a film..”
– Jeffrey M. Anderson

“Transformers: The Revenge of The Fallen is beyond bad, it carves out its own category of godawfulness.”
– Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

Who can say they actively *hated* every minute of a movie? I was so surprised. I had seen an advance screening of the film here at ILM, and I knew it was no Citizen Kane, but it surely isn’t an 18%! It seems the reviewers are so disjointed from the public they serve. Apparently there comes a certain time when you simply cannot write a decent review for a movie that all your peers said was garbage, and that is when you are just adding to this gigantic hate machine and not really reviewing anything.

If the film would have been reviewed even a little more realistically (I mean come on, Terminator IV even has a 33%!) it would have easily had the 1% more to topple the Dark Knight; possibly becoming the worst reviewed #1 box office hit of all time.

posted by Chris at 5:00 AM  


  1. Yes the media is to blame for all our ills. Shame on them for making a product that may not be intellectually deep but pleases the marketplace.

    Comment by cb — 2009/06/30 @ 5:18 PM

  2. VFX overload, dumbed down story with ridicoulous acting.
    Nobody expected great acting or storyline to begin with but this movie was just a US army recruitment flic. I liked the first one, but this one is just TOO dumb

    Comment by JustAGuy — 2009/07/02 @ 1:49 AM

  3. The first one started as an OK-ish movie but quickly degraded into a really bad one. Typical Hollypoop garbage; heart and soul and the passion and talent for good story telling are totally missing. Needless to say I don’t want to even consider seeing Transformers 2.

    I’d guess people only want to see these movies because of the action and the visual effects. Everything else but the action is irrelevant. Just like in porn movies.

    Comment by Mr. Gee — 2009/07/03 @ 12:08 PM

  4. Saw it. It was summer box office trash and everyone buying a ticket knew it.

    And I must say, the following would not be nearly as funny if I hadn’t seen the movie.

    Comment by Matt Coohill — 2009/07/17 @ 7:45 AM

  5. Yes, it really WAS that bad. Come on: Turturro standing underneath totally needless giant metal robot balls?! That is trashy on an epic level, and very embarrassing to watch — I felt true shame to have given them money.

    T4 at least lacked the awful cringe-worthy embarrassment.. maybe it wasn’t great but it at least didn’t make me feel like a complete jackass for being in the theater.

    Comment by raigan — 2009/07/26 @ 5:08 AM

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