They wasted a perfectly good movie...across three movies.
I'd have to say the overarching problem with the Bay film trilogy is wasted potential. If only Bay had looked at "More Than Meets the Eye", Part One--the first damned episode of G1--for at least two minutes, then the nit would have realized that you didn't need to have 45 minutes of human stupidity to pad out his movie.
Just watch the first two minutes, from 0:32 - 2:32. A little bit of backstory from the narrator, then...
Transforming robots fighting and escaping other transforming robots! Complete with explosions!
When do we see any Earth humans in MTMtE? Please note below:
At this point in the story the Transformers have been on planet Earth for 4 million years; both sides are scouting each other out. We have no contact with humans at all until 8:00 (8 minutes) into the clip; that contact lasts until 8:25 - 8:27--all of 27 seconds.
And we don't meet the human heroes of the story--in this iteration, Spike and Sparkplug Witwicky--until 1:08 into this clip:
(Note here that the "Sam" of this version already has a job.)
My point is not to say that G1 Transformers is epic storytelling. Taking off the fun Nostalgia Goggles and putting on the sophisticated Grownup Monocle, this series is just as cheesy and full of plot holes as Bay's movies. In G1's defense, though, I must state that it called itself The Transformers, and gave its audience (eight-year old cereal and syrup-sandwich eating boys (and girls))...
the Transformers. More than any of the Bay films combined.
It seems to me that if you were to edit out all the unneeded padding with various humans in Bay's trilogy: Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen, and the newly-released film Dark of the Moon; and restrict human-TF interaction to Sam, his love interest, and maybe those military dudes....
We'd have one good Transformers film by Michael Bay--instead of three bad ones.
Granted, it would still be a stupid Transformers movie--especially with these two in it:
But it's the humans that drag the films down further, across all three movies.
"Wait a minute," you, my dear reader, say. "You didn't watch any of these movies!"
I saw this:
After that, I didn't need to continue writhing in pain.
The above hulks of third-rate modern art sculpture posing for Michael Bay's camera are supposed to be Optimus Prime and Starscream. You know, two of the most iconic robots in the whole franchise, representing each faction.
The first one is forgiveable: That blue thing with flame decals could be Optimus--after a trash compactor had its way with him.
There's no excuse for Starscream, however. None. Not a single one.
I'm not even saying this as a Transformers fan. No. I'm saying this as a character designer: these robots look god-awful, and they animate like shit. (No, I will not post a clip!) They're too "busy", as it were--there's more detail on Ops and Screamer than necessary. Even with the power of Autodesk Maya on Bay's side, the robots will still have lots of twitching motors and gizmos, and movie viewers won't be able to tell who's fighting who.
There. That's my unsubstantiated, yet informed, opinion of all three Transformers movies by Michael Bay. I'm in the minority, but it's my blog, and I can cry if I want to.