There’s a certain group of people out there who know every single twist and turn of the Transformers franchise and will defend vigorously, until their death, (metaphorically, at least) the greatness of the movies. Don’t lie — you know who you are — all you fanboys out there. These are the people who bought the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie Blu-ray 30th Anniversary Edition last year when it came out. Then there’s a certain amount of people out there who just like a good action flick and don’t care too much about suspension of disbelief when they sit down in a darkened movie theater with a box of Whoppers and a 48 oz. Cherry Coke by their side. That’s most people, by the way. There’s also a certain number of people who revel in revealing all the plot holes, mistakes, mishaps and blunders any movie franchise accumulates. You guys know who you are too. You buy tickets to “event” movies just so you can find stuff to rip on. And finally there’s a select number of fans who stopped watching the franchise after the second movie because… well, because Megan Fox wasn’t in them anymore. You can count me a member of that particular group.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done my research and can’t point out some of the most ludicrous plot holes in the series. After all, Transformers is one of the biggest franchises in the history of moviemaking, with gross ticket sales in excess of $3.7 billion. Each successive movie, from the first one in 2007 to 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction has done better than its predecessor. A lot of people ripped on Age but I’m willing to bet that Transformers: The Last Knight will raise the franchise to new heights. In the meantime, here are 15 plot holes the size of Optimus Prime to tide you over until then.
15. Decepticons Deceive Themselves
So let’s start off with one of the burning unanswered questions of our time. It’s from the first Transformers movie from 2007 (not the cartoon movie). Basically what I want to know (and I’m sure you do to) is why the Decepticons are so dumb? I mean, I get that the bad guys have to screw up at some point in just about every movie ever made or we don’t get a happy ending, but seriously? Transformers introduces what are supposed to be some hardcore baddies, and instead of throwing everything into total disarray, they screw the pooch. I’m talking about the very beginning of that very first movie when those pesky Decepticons try to steal essential information off of a military computer. In the middle of a military base. By full frontal assault. Then, since this attack fails miserably, they later have to steal the same information in secret off of Air Force One. That attempt succeeds. So maybe, just maybe, they should have tried that option first? It’s just a thought.
14. How Fast Is Your Car?
There are plenty of scenes in all of the Transformers movies where man, woman, or machine is cruising around at top speed; it’s part of the whole gig when you’re trying to save the world with and against giant robots that are also vehicles. However, one particular scene in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen kind of takes the cake in the suspension of disbelief department. I’m talking about the scene where some of the characters see the air force and “good” Transformers land by the pyramids. A few minutes go by, and all of a sudden, everybody is in the same place. The problem here is that the characters were watching that landing from their vantage point at Petra, the ancient historical city so well-known to archeologists and Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade fans. Petra is in Jordan. The pyramids are in — ding, ding, ding — Egypt! Israel is between Jordan and Egypt. So basically everybody traveled hundreds of miles in cars at the speed of light to get there. Ahh, no…
13. The Fallen. Or Not
When we meet the “Fallen” in the same movie, he can’t do jack-sh*t, if you’ll excuse my French. “Why can’t he, Geer,” you ask? Well, he can’t do much of anything because he’s more than half-dead. Check that. He basically is dead because he doesn’t have any access to Energon, which, as we all know, is sweeter than high-octane jet fuel to Transformers. No Energon= no energy. Jetfire even says, in the exact same movie, and I quote, that Transformers “rust and oxidize, like my wretched self,” when they don’t have it. OK, so far so good. That seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Then Optimus Prime falls (insert sad face here, or somber music, or whatever) and suddenly, the Fallen is kicking butt all over the map like some robotic Bruce Lee. Wait, how is that even remotely possible? Optimus Prime is dead — there is no Energon! Did I miss something here?!!?
12. How’d He Do That?
This one might be my favorite Transformers screw up simply because it involves Mikaela, who, as we all know, was played by the otherworldly hot Megan Fox. So right away, the scene had my attention. I’m talking about the scene where the ever-cool Sam Witwicky (originally played by the out-of-this-world mental whack-job Shia LaBeouf) is having all of his innermost thoughts projected out of his mind and into physical reality. Since Sam has a serious jones for Mikaela, it should come as no shock that some of his most treasured and secret feelings revolve around her. One such image we see is off Mikaela looking all sweet and sexy by the motorcycle. There’s only one slight, tiny, niggling, eensie-weensie (OK, I’ll stop) problem with all of this. Sam wasn’t even with her then. He never even freaking saw her on the bike! He was only talking to her on the phone. I guess Sam has a pretty good imagination.
11. The Dark Side Of Celebrity
Here’s an interesting point from the third movie in the franchise Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. Some of you out there might think it’s a minor quibble, and I should get over myself. But honestly, it’s driving me nuts. We all know who the glorious Sam Witwicky is (originally played by the “crazier than Joaquin Phoenix” Shia LaBeouf), right? He’s only the guy who basically saves the world all by himself at the end of the first two movies. So how come, in movie three, nobody seems to know who the hell he is? I mean, like, nobody even recognizes him! It’s not like he’s gone all recluse like Howard Hughes or J.D. Salinger. (Look it up people!). Nope. He’s out there trying to land some work, and not only can he not get a job; he’s basically persona non grata. I don’t know about you, but for me…That. Doesn’t. Make. Sense.
10. Optimus Prime: Murderer
So apart from the awesome Sam Witwicky (originally played by the clinically insane Shia LaBeouf — I can do this all day) who else are the major good guys in these movies? Why, that would be Optimus Prime, the great and noble leader of the Transformers. Optimus Prime is, of course, the strong moral compass for the good robots and a staunch defender of the good. His archenemy is the totally evil Megatron. Sentinel Prime also pops up in the third movie as a real bad robot-dude allied against Optimus Prime. But — and this is a big but — near the end of Dark Side of the Moon, Megatron actually saves Optimus and lets him know they should co-exist for a while as they need the other to survive. Optimus responds by taking a monster axe to Megatron’s head and ripping out his innards. Umm, Optimus? Aren’t you the good guy? What gives?
9. Optimus Prime: Murderer Again
Just in case you thought that Optimus Prime’s beheading of Megatron was some sort of mistake (“whoops, I didn’t mean to decapitate you with this axe!”), he pretty much does the same thing to Sentinel Prime a bit later. If you’ll remember, when Optimus gets the upper hand on good ol’ Sentinel, Sentinel falls to his knees and begs for own life. He even admits that he has been mistaken and intimates that he will turn over a new leaf (or gear shaft or whatever) if he is allowed to go free. Of course, Optimus is the good guy in our storyline. So he would never grab Sentinel Prime’s weapon out his own hands and shoot him twice in the head, right? No he wouldn’t. Not ever. Good guys just don’t do that. Until they do. Which Optimus did. Why? Well, I don’t know why, to tell you the truth. Sorry.
Sometimes, scriptwriters for movies try to outdo themselves by having their characters use famous quotes and phrases that the writers think show how “serious” or “important” they are being. In other words, the writers like to show off to everybody how smart and knowledgeable they are. That’s great — when it works. But what happens when the writers themselves get a touch confused? Such is the case in Dark Side of the Moon when Sentinel Prime announces, to support his plan to enslave billions of humans to serve thousands of robots, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Now, everybody has heard variations of this famous phrase before; it’s not like the writers made it up for this particular character. But I’ve gotta say, Sentinel, I don’t think those writers paid much attention to what the quote really means since I’m pretty sure you got that one backward!
One of the major elements of the third movie is that the Autobots all come out of “hiding” when they are finally “needed” in order to turn the tide of battle, save the world, and protect the American way of life. Or at least, they’re supposed to do something along those lines. There’s only one problem with all of this, but it’s one heck of a big problem. There is no surprise! How could the Autobots have been secretly amassed waiting to shock their enemies (which is supposed to be the master plan of Optimus Prime) when everybody already knows they are around. They know because Bumblebee has been cruising around out in the open for the whole movie. The Decepticons knew he was there; therefore, they knew all of the other Autobots were, too. Great job on that one, writers.
6. Sam Doesn’t Exist
We all know by now what Energon is. It’s kind of the most important piece of “alien” technology in the whole Transformers universe. Not only do Transformers not function without the stuff, but its back story of having been created by the supreme god of the Transformers, Primus, and being controlled by the good leader, Optimus Prime, makes it incredibly important. In other words, everybody wants it, and everybody needs to know where it is. That’s why after movie number two, the human race put Energon detectors freaking everywhere — so we would know if the Decepticons were around, duh! So how come good old Sam (originally played by — oh, forget it) can wear a wristwatch basically made out of the stuff and wander around U.S. government installations without anyone noticing? Oh right, because I already established: nobody ever notices Sam. Or maybe he’s just got really superior Rolex-cloaking technology on that watch…
5. Age Of Ridiculousness
So if we’re gonna talk Transformers franchise plot holes, we’re going to have to spend these last few entries talking about Transformers: Age of Extinction, the last film to be released to date. “But why, Geer?” you ask. “That’s my favorite movie in the whole series!” Well, because it’s got more holes than you can shake an Autobot at; that’s why. Let’s start with this one: our heroes (the human ones, that is) are fleeing. They absolutely must get away. We’re all rooting for them. Fortunately, they have this wicked, awesome car that basically goes at the speed of sound. (I know, I know. How?) But instead of sticking to that, during the chase scene, they all decide to hop out of this car and climb into a truck. You read that right: they traded an incredibly fast race car for a pickup truck. Umm, guys, I don’t think that’s gonna turn out well. Oh wait, look at that, someone died. Yeah, like I said, not gonna turn out well.
4. Poor Optimus
I’ve been throwing a lot of shade at the character of Optimus Prime in these pages. And do you want to know why? Because he deserves it. Now don’t get me wrong. Just like everybody else, I love me some Optimus. But you have to admit, the writers keep making him look, if not totally unbelievable, mostly unbelievable. Here’s a pretty wild case in point. We find out during the credits of movie number four that Optimus can fly. And not just fly, but seriously like shoot himself into space and take off like a starship. What’s up with that? Why didn’t he fly before? Ever? But most especially, and I know you were waiting for this, why didn’t he just grab that massive bomb intended to blow everything to kingdom come and fly off to another galaxy with it. Why, why, why?!!? Sorry, I may have gotten a little carried away there.
3. Optimus Must Be Sam
So we all know that Sam is basically the most invisible savior of the free world ever — nobody but nobody ever seems to notice him, right? Apparently, Optimus has been taking classes from Sam on how to, shall we say, blend in. In Age of Extinction, Optimus needs to hide out for a while to avoid being detected. This is usually not easy for any robot because humans have created massively efficient alien-tech detectors. But Optimus has no problem hiding under a barn when the G-Men come looking for him. Nobody ever even comes close to detecting him. What gives? They should have spotted him right away based on their previous use of the technology. It’s just weird when screenwriters force you to “believe” what you know is incredibly stupid. Oh yeah, there’s also the little bit about a robot the size of a four-story building hiding under a barn. That would only work if it were a barn designed to house, oh, perhaps — robots the size of four-story buildings.
2. Hey, We Humans Have ‘Bots Too!
OK, enough of all of these alien Autobots and Decepticons and what-not. We need to have some badass robots, too. Or at least that seemed to be the screenwriting plan for this movie. What they came up with were these cool KSI robots that could transform mid-air and re-materialize without having to worry about gravity or anything else. Isn’t that awesome? They sure do look it at first. Except… when said KSI robots go hunting for our heroes, who are on top of a building, rather than transforming and reappearing at the top of the building in like, a second, the dumb KSI robots climb the building. You know, for about half an hour. C’mon now! That’s not even remotely good screenwriting! I’m just embarrassed; that’s what I am. If humans can create super-robots that defy the laws of physics, why can’t we create smarter screenwriters???
1. He Who Shall Not Be Named
You know that character that I keep ripping on. I’m talking about the human one, not our guy Optimus. Well apparently Mr. W (and what kind of a name is “Witwicky” anyway?) is not only the least-recognizable person on earth, not only gifted with ESP or something when it comes to Mikaela, but also faster than Usain Bolt. What I mean by that is that every single freaking time he’s being chased by a robot, he outruns them. Every time. These are supposed to be awesome battle-bots imbued with superior alien technology, and yet, they can’t catch this guy. It’s like he has Flash-level speed. Where did he get that from? What really gets me about all of this, though, is that if one of them had just stomped on him way back when, guess what? None of us would have had to sit here and complain about all of the other plot holes. Darn it!