Transmorphers (2007) / Sci-Fi-Action
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG-13 for sensuality, violence and language
Running time: 86 min.
Cast: Matthew Wolf, Amy Weber, Eliza Swenson, Griff Furst, Jeff Denton, Thomas Downey, Shaley Scott, Michael Tower, Alexandra Boylan, Elissa Dowling, Marat Glazer, Kristen Quintrall, Sofie Norman, Danae Nason, Monique La Barr
Director: Leigh Scott
Screenplay: Leigh Scott
Transmorpheeerrrrrrrsssss...rip-offs in disguise!
Named and released to no doubt coincide with the big budget release of Transformers (probably hoping people will confuse the two) in the theater, this cheapie straight-to-video knock-off should only be viewed by those who intend to laugh at the cheesiest of sci-fi releases out there. Now, normally I don't mind a so-bad-it's-good experience once in a while, but this one proved too boring to have to endure for long, and although it isn't a long film by any means, without a moment of interest at any point within the film, this is a very boring way to spend 90 minutes of your life.
Nearly all of the film takes place in a post-apocalyptic future that has seen an alien race of robots, who supposedly come from 20 million light-years away (humanoid in appearance despite being made long before humanity existed), take over Earth for reasons unknown, trying to kill all humans, also for reasons unknown. Apparently, these robots kill off anyone that isn't 20-something and attractive, as that constitutes the bulk of the cast. These remaining humans, when not dying their hair or making sure their make-up is applied before each day of battle, are trying to stave off the robot invasion as much as possible in a scenario that somehow has the fate of the entire planet in the balance, despite the fact that all of the action takes place in about one city block. Having fought the changeling horde for hundreds of year, all of the major revelations take place within days on how to fight and defeat them.
Transmorphers is a cheap-looking, third-rate attempt to ride the coat tails of a blockbuster summer release, hoping that our clueless moms and dads will be in the video store one day, see the name, and think, "Hey, didn't our little Billy say he really wanted to see this Transfmorphmers movie? Let's rent or buy it for him!" Parents, if you don't want little Billy to think you're the lamest parents ever, please, make sure you really inspect the package before taking it to the front of the video store.
Writer-director Leigh Scott appears to be making a career trying to fool the daft members of the public into buying his z-grade crapola by confusing them with big budget releases of quality. In 2005, the year of the release of the King Kong remake, he released the similar King of the Lost World. In 2006, around the time of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, he came out with Pirates of Treasure Island. The same year, around the time of the release of Eragon, he released Dragon (there is only one letter difference). He kicked off this year confusing people who wanted to see the remake of The Hitcher with The Hitchhiker. And now, Transmorphers...
So, what can you expect to see if you're unfortunate to find yourself with a copy of this flick? Basically, a bunch of no-name actors who are probably just happy to find work speaking to each other in faux-military jargon about what they are going to do about the robot invasion. As if that's not tedious enough, there is plenty of soap opera-type love triangle stuff, involving lesbians and androids. It's no wonder there are no children around when the few humans we have left on Earth aren't capable (or even trying to) reproduce.
In this way, it's similar to Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers, which featured a bug invasion that has an attractive cast fighting and getting it on with one another, but at least that film was a satire with good special effects and some genuinely funny scenes. Transmorphers uses mostly CGI animations to depict the robots, while the actors play mostly to things going on out of the shot, so that we aren't always sure that they co-exist with the robots except for a handful of moments where they blend the two. It's never convincing, and all of the acting and special effects are reminiscent of the days of Full Motion Video cut scenes for video games you probably remember laughing at years ago.
A plot development occurs early on where a former baddie who cryogenically frozen is de-iced in order for the humans to have a fighting chance. Mitchell (Wolf) is like watching Bono try to play Riddick -- a contemptuous bad-ass who refuses to follow orders while he kicks major ass. Sadly, even this angle is ditched in favor of the feeble romance and self-sacrifice, and despite a few potentially interesting plot developments for the characters, by the time they occur, you're so turned off by the film, you will have already turned off the film altogether.
Unless you want to recreate your own live impromptu version of "MST3K" with you and a couple of drinking buddies in the living room of your own home, I can't think of a single reason why anyone would willingly subject themselves to a film this terrible. Nearly every character, plot point, and costume design is lifted right out of well-known movies done infinitely better, so really, there's just no reason for this film to even exist. Are there really that many people out there that this movie can fool into a purchase just off of the similar name and subject matter? Given the fact that Scott hasn't stopped churning out these pale imitations, perhaps there are more than anyone could suspect. Perhaps humans really shouldn't co-exist with technology if we're going to use it in order to subject ourselves to a migraine-inducing assault on our minds and sapping of our souls like Transmorphers.
Unless you really need an extra DVD case, there's no reason to purchase this from its inevitable destination of the $1 clearance bin at your local video store.
©2007 Vince Leo