MOVIE REVIEW: Transformers
When this summer hit, only one image popped into my head, and it wasn’t a black spider, a drunk pirate, or a dorky kid with glasses. All I saw since day one was a semi truck that turned into a 50-foot robot. So as you can assume, going into the film my expectations were a little high, and you had better believe they were met with bells on.
Seeing as this film is truly the ultimate summer blockbuster (thanks, Mr. Bay), I’m going to have to break down this film like I do all others with the acting, the plot, and of course the one thing that ties the entire movie together: the effects.
Starting with the worst note and working our way up, the acting wasn’t the worst I’ve seen in a Bay film, but wasn’t exactly Gone with the Wind. I don’t know about you, but I expect when I’m going to see a movie about giant robots from space, I want Gone with the Wind.
Putting aside my disdain for Shia LaBeouf, I was just like every other fanboy out there on the Internet that rolled his or her eyes when the list of cameo’s for the flick got released. Bernie Mac’s presence in the film was completely superfluous, other than about eight seconds, his entire sequence should have gotten well acquainted with the floor. As well as John Turturro’s scenes. Turturro plays the cocky secret government agency role very well, but after about 10 minutes, it becomes too much to handle, and he needs to go away. When doing the entire exposition scene of Megatron and the plot-focusing All-Spark cube, there was no need for a cocky government type. Just faces of awe.
LaBeouf and Megan Fox did a decent job of playing the frightened kids… at first. But once the imminent threat of world domination became second priority to LeBeouf’s parents finding him alone in a room with a girl, the film kind of lost its head. As scary as chracter actor Kevin Dunn can be, a gigantic robot with a sword is far scarier. Finally, Jon Voight, Josh Duhamel, and Tyrese “Hero For Hire” Gibson played roles that were both aiding in the “Bay” way of showing the how disasters effect people on a human level, but these characters were effortlessly forgettable in comparison to the robots.
The dialogue is one big thing I had a problem with. I understand getting lines like “you’re more than meets the eye” and things of that nature into the movie are pretty necessary with a fan base as big as this one, but almost ALL of LaBeouf’s lines were pretty horrible. Other than that, all of the Transformers back-story, the only other major dialogue was a whole lot of “Oh SH!T, A GIANT F&*$ ROBOT!!!”’s, and those were fine.
On a smaller note, the voices and dialogue of the robots were pretty much spot on. Looking at the voice talent that was brought in for these roles (Bryan Cox, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, and yes, proto-ComicMixer Mark Ryan) I expected to be able to distinguish each voice. But the truth is that after the modulation to make them sound more “robotic,” everyone pretty much sounded like Peter Cullen, which I’m not complaining about.
Moving onto the plot of the film, I don’t think they could have done a better job bringing the concept of the Transformers into a sufficiently realistic light. The basic idea of the movie is that the Decepticons land on Earth looking for the All-Spark Cube, and typically wreak havoc on the U.S. military and basically the entire government. This means that we have a good hour and change before we get a look at the Autobots and Optimus Prime. This builds the idea of helplessness and accentuates the heroism of the Autobots, which is exactly what every superhero movie should be. Nobody wants a hero when there’s no villain. This makes the final fight sequence even more epic in proportion to what happens in the beginning of the film.
By far the best aspect of the film was the effects work interaction between the real people and the not-so-real robots. My biggest fear was that the CGI animation of the fight and transformation sequences would be too fast, and all we would see was a blur of twisting metal. But the one thing that made this movie as great as I think it was that the CGI sequences were so seamless, you would believe that a Camero could turn into a robot. Even the fight scenes were slowed down in I-dare-say a “Matrix-esque” way, so that we got every aspect of these epic battles. Even the interaction between the robots, cars, and people were unbelievably realistic. I not once took a step out of the fantasy due to the poor effects, and that is what made this flick More Than Meets the EYE. (There, I said it…sorry, guys)
Overall, other than the complaints made above, I only wish the soundtrack had less of a Billboard Top 20 feel and more of epic orchestral feel. But looking at Bay’s other films, he’s pretty much made each song from his movies a Number 1 hit for an inordinate number of weeks. I give the flick a proud 9/10, and can’t wait for the (now green lit) sequel to follow.