Transmorphers (2007) – Ripoff in Disguise

If you’ve never heard of a little production company called The Asylum, consider yourself lucky. Now that you have, consider yourself warned. A purveyor of cheap rip-offs of big budget blockbusters, The Asylum preys on the ignorance of casual video store patrons and hapless parents with such deceptive titles as AVH: Alien vs. Hunter, I Am OmegaThe Day the Earth Stopped, and Sunday School Musical. Remember that disappointment you felt when you asked your parents for Pokémon cards and they got you Digimon instead? Take that disappointment and multiply it by infinity.

Now you’re beginning to comprehend the hell that is The Asylum’s “mockbuster” of Michael Bay’s Transformers, the bafflingly-titled Transmorphers. And yes, as hard as it is to believe, this movie is worse than Transformers 2 and 3.

This cash-grab crap fest hit video stores mere days before the theatrical release of the aforementioned first “Bayformers” flick, which means the filmmakers didn’t even have a chance to see the film they were ripping off. So they ripped off the Transformers movie trailers instead, then filled in the gaps by cribbing pretty much every decent/recent sci-fi film you can think of. What Aaron Seltzer & Jason Friedberg (Meet the SpartansDisaster Movie) are to comedy, Transmorphers writer-director-producer-editor (it’s usually a bad sign in a B-movie when a filmmaker’s title involves so many hyphens) Leigh Scott (The Da Vinci TreasureSnakes on a Train) is to sci-fi action. Scott’s attempts at cinema make Uwe Boll look like Ingmar Bergman.

It didn’t have to be this way. This movie’s got giant killer robots, a dorky scientist with a sexy android girlfriend, and hot twenty-something lesbians galore! All the ingredients needed to make the BEST. EXPLOITATION. MOVIE. EVER. How did they fuck that up?

I’ll spare you the usual in-depth analysis, as I’m not a sado-masochist…

Oh, who am I kidding? I live for this shit.

As told in a completely unnecessary introduction, in the far off year of 2009, the earth is invaded by robot aliens in poorly rendered polygon-shaped spaceships.

Believe it or not, this is the best effects shot of the whole movie.

The robot aliens (robaliens?) wipe out over 90% of humanity, and block out the sun… for some reason. You’d think they’d need the sun’s rays to recharge their solar cells or something.

Is this a screen shot from Transmorphers or Sim City 2000?

Transmorphers is more than just a rip-off of Michael Bay’s Transformers. It also rips off Michael Bay’s Armageddon.

After this awesomely underwhelming scene of global destruction, we’re treated to our first glimpse of an actual Transmorpher. It transforms – or should I say, “transmorphs” – from a poorly-rendered fighter jet into one of the worst CGI robots I’ve ever seen. And it only goes downhill from here.

They wasted most of their effects budget on an introduction that could easily have been explained away in a line or two of dialogue.

The remnants of humanity, now living underground (and made up almost exclusively of young female porn stars), plan a surprise attack against the robalien overlords. The military debriefing scene is a shamefully inept “homage” to far-superior films like Aliens and Starship Troopers. It is rife with clichéd lines like “Oh yeah, this baby’s gonna do some DAMAGE!” delivered by “actors” who look like they were just pulled off the street, or in some cases from the gutter. The characters are really underdeveloped. To call them stereotypes would be praising the screenwriter for his consistency.

The plan fails miserably, which is unsurprising considering the “plan” made little sense to begin with. And the “soldiers” have no vehicles, body armor, and in some cases, weapons. Either this future society is severely lacking in resources or the filmmakers barely had enough money to cobble this disasterpiece together. My money’s on the latter. We don’t even get to see any of the action, or any robots for that matter. All we get is bad set design, bad lighting effects, and even worse acting. When a soldier utters his dying words, “They’re changing,” we pretty much have to take his word for it.

After that exercise in lousy soldiering and even worse filmmaking, the military tribunal (made up almost entirely of MILFs) decides to thaw out criminal Warren Mitchell from Cryo-Freeze and so he can lead them, despite his criminal background. According to a Shatner-esque character I’ll refer to as Scary Cat Lady, “He’s the best… we’ve… got.”

Introducing Shaley Scott, most likely a relative of director Leigh Scott. Nepotism/acting/hair & makeup at its absolute worst.

The sexy General Van Ryberg tries to kibosh this. Mitchell’s leadership means she won’t be able to continue squandering the entire military budget on hair and makeup. They’ve been fighting a centuries-old war with almost no resources and they’re living in underground squalor – yet she looks fantastic. PLOT ALERT! After Van Ryberg sentenced Mitchell to Cryo-Freeze, she immediately seduced and married his wife!

What is it with the widespread lesbianism in this movie? Humanity’s on the brink of extinction, you’d think everyone would be concerned with increasing the population.

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