No, this is not a film about robots undertaking a sex change.
Should we be surprised that Transmorphers is yet another product of The Asylum? No. Should we be surprised that it is helmed by Leigh Scott, director of The Penny Dreadful Picture Show, King Of The Lost World and Piranha Sharks? definitely not.
The opening title graphic is lifted straight from Bay’s film, only it animatedly transforms, a lens flare glides across it, and then it changes colour. This is called having your cake and eating it, then having another cake and eating that one too. Baking your own unique cake is something that would not even cross Scott’s and The Asylum’s minds, it seems.
As any good film should, Transmorphers begins with an exposition voice over, narrated the dulcet tones by a lifeless man who would probably provide a voice for the worst audiobook ever. “In 2009,” he begins, “we discovered life on another planet. A planet 20 million light years away.” The film cuts in some archival stock footage of a planet and Voyager, as if we are to believe that it has made it that far by 2009. or something.
Scott goes on to… did my disc just freeze? It just froze. Now it’s jumping every few seconds, as if the narrator needs to take a break just from speaking. After less than a minute of viewing, I am now at 21:08, I’m pretty sure I just saw the nervous nerd from Better Call Saul but there’s no telling now as a generic pair of soldiers who are putting in all the emotional range of two planks of wood begin to argue, presumably over the textural differences between discount Jaffa Cakes and the real thing.
It’s almost as if this disc doesn’t even want to put itself through this mess, instead screaming for the laser of my Playstation 4 to put it out of its misery and end its suffering. Upon ejecting the disc (which cost a whopping 50p from Cex, a whole 50p more than it was worth), I have used my Sherlock Holmes intuition and concluded that the previous owner set fire to the edge of the disc that is beyond saving, either that or the disc itself is also a cheap imitation that degrades quicker than the real DVD. Is this the future that advertisements on video tapes for the digital technology promised?! I was promised Wild Wild West in stunning quality.
You might think it’s a mercy that it doesn’t work. That I am going to merely take this as the blessing it truly is and go and watch Mad Max: Fury Road to make myself feel better about this current British heat wave. No. Where is it?! WHERE IS TRANSMORPHERS?! I WILL FIND IT! Cex owe me a whole 50p, but it would probably be over a pound to return the DVD by post, so it’s lose-lose. I shall continue delving deeper into mockbusters and return to this Bay-ish movie once I can find a copy that hasn’t tried to self-combust.
While I’m here, however, I have developed a new rating systems just for mockbusters. Instead of falling in the usual 1-10 bracket, these films deserve so much more. Or less. Probably less. A rating system that is more appropriate to this level of filmmaking. Films of mockbuster category will fall somewhere between 0.0 and 0.10. This levels out the playing field a little, lest all mockbuster be given the same rating of 1. Judging by the opening of Transmophers, it gets a 0.2. Look out for Part II.