At times, I wish Michael Bay's 'Transformers' had never been made. Megan Fox doesn't deserve the "career" that has skyrocketed due to her appearance as "random generic hot girl," and my intelligence didn't need to be insulted so thoroughly for an entire film's duration. Additionally, why one of my favorite childhood cartoons had to be utterly disrespected and misrepresented so viciously still stings just a wee bit. And where the hell was Grimlock, damn it?!
Another strike against the live action 'Transformers' film, without bringing the polarizing Michael Bay into the conversation? The fact that it spawned the "mockbuster" film series 'Transmorphers.'
With a 'Transformers' sequel in the works, 'Revenge of the Fallen,' it seems the rip-off series had to create a rival film to siphon off the popularity of the surefire blockbuster. Just one week after 'Revenge of the Fallen' hit theaters, the second 'Transmorphers' film, 'The Fall of Man,' was dropped on unsuspecting viewers.
The plot? There's a plot?!? Random machines are revolting against their users, and acting with a mind of their own. They begin to "transmorph," turning into killer machines, and seem to be trying to communicate with other machines on another planet. After the first few have been stopped, the day seems to be saved...until a rain of alien machines begins to take over the world.
Bad films shouldn't ever be this entertaining, even if only for train wreck value. I couldn't help but keep my eyes glued to the screen, waiting to see how thoroughly the film could butcher itself. It also doesn't help that parts of the story take place in my home town.
That's right. Living near Los Angeles does have its perks. Bakersfield may be immortalized in film for being screamed out by Tom Hanks in 'Cast Away,' or being the location of Arnold Schwarzenneger's nickname (The Butcher of Bakersfield) in 'The Running Man,' or as the place where Tom Sizemore got busted for possession, but there is no greater compliment than being mentioned in a film of this caliber.
Aside from keeping a keen eye out for locations I would know, or spotting shots that obviously failed for doubling as Bakersfield, it was tough to look away. When cop cars have improper license plate sequences and magnetic stick on labels (that say "police" in plain as day text), or when an address is told out loud, yet characters go to a different location, you know you're in for a fun ride. A ride that doesn't care where it's going, or where it went before.
There are so many things wrong with 'Transmorphers: Fall of Man' that it could easily double for a drinking game, where a shot is downed with every obvious failure. Sadly, any participant would die from alcohol poisoning. GPS screens are stickers that never change. Supposedly unmanned vehicles have obvious hands on the steering wheel. Shots from a fixed location come in from different angles. Explosions just ten feet away don't burn or get shrapnel on those around them. Best of all, the same clips of "Transmorphers" (who don't transform...they "transmorph!") are looped at times, like they were straight out of an Ed Wood film.
To be fair, the 'Transformers' films deserved to be desecrated in this fashion, and to that end, the half a star score could be interpreted as so many stars that the odometer rolled over on itself. There are no obvious paper towel roll gun barrels to be found this time around, but at least there is continuity between the 'Transmorphers' films in that both are akin to the movie equivalent of genital warts.
'Transmorphers: Fall of Man' is the first Blu-ray to arrive from "The Asylum" (Asylum Home Entertainment), with an MPEG-2 1080p transfer that is sure to turn heads...away from the screen.
Don't get me wrong, as I did notice an increased level of detail, but this seems to be more a curse than a blessing here. Did we really need to see a forest of nose hair clearly? Did we really have to see the film flaunting how utterly cheap it was on every level?
Outdoors and daytime shots were bathed in a yellow hazy tint, while darker moments suffered from dark blue shading. Skin tones are a victim of this onslaught of inappropriate coloring, never looking natural. The CG reminded me of the original 'Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' series, in a very, very bad way, with "robots" standing out like ridiculous sore thumbs, and CG vehicles for interactions with the machines sticking out even further. Any time a "Transmorpher" is on screen, there appears to be a veil of macroblocking artifacts surrounding them.
Speaking of macroblocking, there were two sequences in the film that have to be some of the worst found on Blu-ray. The entire picture starts to block and fade for an extended period of time, and these aren't tiny squares...they're absolutely massive. Ironically, the first appearance of this error occurs when Jake comes out to check on a bad tv signal. As if this disc needed any more reason to not buy it.
'Transmorphers: The Assault on Taste' defaults to a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is absolutely wimpy and pathetic, but the Linear PCM Stereo mix is a marked improvement in clarity and liveliness, not just volume.
That said, even the Stereo track is a bit pathetic. As if the dialogue weren't painful enough, it sounds quite bad, with random emphasis on words, a hollow sound at times in exterior shots, slurred words that are tough to comprehend, garbled yells, and a feedback undercurrent all cutting this redwood down to size. Better still, the score overpowers the dialogue at random times, making it even tougher to hear properly.
Gunfire and explosions sound absolutely pathetic, to the point that screaming obscenities at the screen could be justified. The LFE gets plenty of activity, little bumps here and there, though they are never appropriately timed with action, and are never really powerful. Also worth note, even in the Stereo mix, there were a few short moments of movement between channels.
The extras menu for 'Transmorphers: Fall of Man' includes the audio setup options for the film. Perhaps having a choice between 5.1 and stereo is an extra, and we shouldn't scoff. Perhaps this horribly laid out menu system forgot the setup tab. Either way...
See the star ratings. Obey the star ratings. Sometimes no further words need be said. 'Transmorphers: Fall of Man' is one of those films that is so bad it starts to be good again, only to get so much worse that it even ruins that. The only reason to buy this film is if one has a cruel sense of humor in their gift giving.