Transformers Movie Review
Michael Bay being attached to this franchise made a couple of my friends nervous, and for good reason. He gave us the Bad Boys series,
Miami Vice and The Island, and his contribution showed; slow mo sequences, outrageous fighting scene angles, gravity defying, intense car chase scenes, gun fights, the list goes on and on. And seeing his contribution, people might think that it’d be a whole two and a half hours gun fest in slow motion. You won’t be further from the truth.
An origins storyline of sort, which is all the rage nowadays with comics to movies adaptations, it chronicles the arrival of Optimus Prime and most of his more memorable comrades from the Generation 1 TV Series. While a far departure from the real Generation 1 storyline, eschewing the storyline of the Autobots and Decepticons arriving on earth 4 million years ago, the storyline they’ve used here is well compressed for the average movie goer today.
The Allspark, a device that gives life to Cybertron, and sustain said life, was lost to the depths of space when a civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons erupted. The Allspark somehow lands on Earth, with Megatron following suit. He crash lands in the North Pole, and has been held in cryostasis the entire time until the events in the movie.
While convenient to the masses and they can dive in into the story immediately, fans of the cartoon series and toy line, which I can say almost all of us, are going to be a bit miffed at the liberties taken with the story. While it would have been cool to have the original storyline, the confusing and sometimes contradictory continuity with the different seasons of the TV series would be a hard sell to the average Joe. After all, they’re coming for the action sequences.
And action sequence they will have. Gone are the lasers, and in come the bullets and missiles. Gatling guns materialize out of a bot’s hand, while some body parts firing off missiles, all while going through acrobatic routines that would even shame the most agile of spider monkeys. They duck and roll, run and jump, and causing general destruction to the fictional city, blasting bullets back and forth and firing off heat seeking missiles. By the one hour mark, I bet you’ll have action sequence overload not seen anywhere else before.
It’s this overload that takes away your amazement the fifth or sixth time you see an Autobot or a Deception transform back and forth between their two modes. The first few times you see Scorponok chasing the human characters, Bumblebee transform into a robot, or Optimus Prime transforming from a totally awesome truck to a totally awesome 20 feet tall robot, a sense of giddy excitement comes over you. It’s euphoric, even teetering on arousal. Towards the end of the movie, the action picks up so much that you can’t savor the robots animation anymore. It’s just two hulking mass duking it out in the middle of downtown.
I’m not saying that the whole theater didn’t appreciate the animation sequences, which, giving credit where credit is due, ILM did a spectacular job by the way. 38 hours to generate a single frame is mind boggling to say the least. It earned the standing ovation at the end of the showing; and I wholeheartedly agree. I yelped in glee at the first sight of Optimus Prime, that’s how excited I was, and I will not retract that yelp for anything in the world.
The selection of Autobots and Decepticons portrayed in the movie are purely for the purpose of making it easier to digest, and even satisfy fan’s demand for their favourite ‘bot to appear. While Soundwave won’t be making an appearance for instance, due to the fact that they want to explain the mass shifting in future sequels (!), Starscream is a perfect choice as he has the biggest fanbase for a Decepticon, next to Soundwave. Even updating the vehicles they all transform to seemed like a blasphemous move at first, but you can forgive them for making the vehicles much more easier on the eyes.
Shia LeBeouf is a perfect actor to fill the role of Sam Witwicky, becoming the comic relief of the movie, while Megan Fox supplies the eye candy department. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson are the military jarheads and John Voight deserves a mention as well as the US Secretary of Defense.
The best thing about the whole movie was that they’ve made an effort to sticking to the original material as best as they can, even to the point of getting the original voices for the original cartoon TV series to reprise their roles for the movie. They even went so far as to include Optimus’ famous energy Ax in once crucial scene. It was fun picking out and pointing out what you remember from your childhood in this movie.
I’m giving this movie 8 Energon Cubes out of 10.