STARRING: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox,
Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight, Bernie Mac, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Amaury
Nolasco, Kevin Dunn, Ronnie Sperling
2007, 144 Minutes, Directed by:
Transformers is the big summer action movie for 2007! If you
thought Spider-man 3 was fun, but just too damn
long and the same old story, then you need to see this movie. In fact, if you
wouldn’t dream of going to see Spider-man 3, you would still want to see this
movie. Transformers accomplishes something that few high-testosterone
movies ever do: appeal to chicks. My girlfriend sat open mouthed, grabbing my
arm to whisper, "Look! Look!” during the whole movie. But, that’s jumping ahead
. . .
The plot involves bad robots,
the Decepticons, and good robots, the Autobots. If you’ve seen the
Transformers trailer (and who hasn’t?), you know that Disturbia’s
Shia LaBeouf (Sam) is just your average teenage boy whose first car turns out to
be a sentient alien robot. What would otherwise be the heart-warming but dull
introduction to the story of Sam’s family life and buying his first car is
inter cut with a huge alien robot attack on an American base in Qatar. (For
geographically challenged Americans, Qatar is north of Saudi Arabia and east of
Bahrain on the Persian Gulf. Qatar's oil
revenues by the way gives it the highest per capita income in the world. If you want
more info, do what I did and check out the CIA Fact book online.)
Likable Las Vegas sidekick Josh Duhamel is captain of a Special Forces unit with sidekick bad-ass dude Tyrese
Gibson from 2 Fast 2 Furious. The furious cutting from the captain’s
story in Qatar to Sam in suburbia (not Disturbia) keeps the story moving.
The hero’s goal for the rest of the movie is to retrieve a magical alien artifact and keep it from the Decepticons, who would use it to enslave the Earth
by transforming our machines into an army of crazed alien robots. The plot is
simple and direct, with built-in stakes and urgency. Perfect for an action
picture. There's simply no time for weeping over breaking up with Mary Jane like Peter Parker
in Spider-man 3. It’s all go, go, go!
"There's no time for weeping over breaking up with Mary Jane! It’s go,
Within two minutes of the
opening credits we’re in Qatar flying in tilt-wing Osprey transports (the latest
in rad marine helicopters that look and fly like airplanes), scrambling F-22
Raptors, and under a big-ass attack. This is how an action movie is supposed to
work. Director Michael Bay gets to play with all the cool military toys thanks
to Pearl Harbor, which maybe didn’t thrill critics, but the Department of
Defense sure liked. Bay doesn’t like directing it fake with blue screen like
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The
military gear is expensive and there’s lots of it, lots more than Apocalypse
Now. It’s the biggest military coordination with a motion picture ever.
Battle tanks get blown around like confetti, and the shit is real . . . except for
blowing them up, of course. After all, an M1 Abrams costs $4.5 million . . .
SF movie fans will remember
Shia LaBeouf as the annoying kid with attitude in I, Robot
with Will Smith. (By the way, Spielberg has him in the upcoming Indiana Jones
4 movie.) I’m OK with Shia, but in real life Josh Duhamel would take his
girl in under ten seconds. Speaking of the girl, that’s Megan Fox, who totally
lives up to her last name. It’s impossible not to drool at Megan, wearing a
denim miniskirt, bending over to check under the hood of Sam’s temperamental
yellow Camaro (protector robot Bumblebee). Megan is Mikaela, the totally hot
out-of-your-league brunette next door, whom Sam would have absolutely no chance
to impress without the car. Megan has done some films, but until now was best
known for her supporting role on the TV sitcom Hope & Faith. She looks
hot and can act. Megan Fox is the total package.
Speaking of the car, I’d be
remiss not to talk about some of the most important actors in any giant robots
film: the giant robots.
Director Michael Bay kept
throwing the robots back to ILM demanding they look more real. Bay wanted the
robots absolutely photo-realistic. The robots look amazing, whether flying
through the air, burrowing through the sand, or running down the highway. The
alien robots hide in plain sight by transforming themselves into
The conversion process, from cars and planes to bipod
robots, is mesmerizing and convincing. As we drove home after the movie, my
girlfriend pointed to the big outdoor orange metal Picasso sculpture in Beverly
Hills, "It’s a Transformer!" Actually, that does look like a Transformer midway
through the process. The robots of Transformers are less anthropomorphic
than Sonny of I, Robot, more alien-looking. Although
usually incredibly cool, sometimes in the close-ups the Transformers
robots did remind me of nerdy robot Number 5 of Short
My girlfriend, who doesn’t like
any action films that much, was so wired on the drive home, like she drank
two cans of Monster. "I feel like I ran a race!" she said. That’s what an action
movie should be like.
Don’t miss Transformers!
- Robin Rowe
Ultimately, the movie's many action scenes will no doubt have small boys of
an impressionable age literally pee in their pants from sheer excitement and
teens thirteen years and older will appreciate our hero's American Pie-lite
teenage travails involving zits, his first car and accusatory parents. Anyone
wanting a movie with giant robots slugging it out won't be disappointed either.
If you're however desirous of a quieter time at the cinemas then it is suggested
that you check out something else instead . . .
— James O'Ehley
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