41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Overall, extremely enjoyable,
This review is from: Transformers (2007) [DVD] (DVD)First off let me state I am *NOT* a fan of the 80's Transformers. Even as a kid I never got into it, and the retro factor doesn't work me. I keep reading reviews from die hard fans who slate this for not being 'true to the original'. I have a few things to say to the biased people:
The moment I saw a 30 foot robot turn into a handheld pistol, I would of walked. Some things are acceptable in cartoons, this isn't acceptable in modern films. The cartoon versions would of looked rediculous if they were ported straight into this, and the constant Saturday morning cartoon villain vs hero archetype would NOT have worked. Basically what the old school fans wanted was the original Transformers film from the 80's to have a sequel. Average joe does not want to have to immerse himself in hundreds of hours of cartoons, comics, and toys just to understand a film. Get over it. Like many remakes nowadays, this HAD to evolve, like Spider-Man, X-men, Superman and Batman Begins. It's a 'reinvention' of a classic, not a remake.
Regardless of all of that, I was extremely excited about this film. I have no idea why, I can't explain it. Each trailer did just enough to whet the appetite, without giving away huge chunks of the overall experience (as is often a problem nowadays). With that said, I went into the cinema with low expectations, and was shocked and amazed in the best possible way.
Quick synopsis: the Transformers are a race of advanced robotic life forms from a planet outside of our solar system. They have been struggling with a civil war for thousands of years between two factions: Autobots, led by the heroic Optimus Prime, and the Decepticons, who are headed up by the evil Megatron. Both factions have to come to Earth in search of the Allspark, the cube that creates their form of life. The good guys want to keep it safe and restore their world with it, and the bad guys... well they wanna do bad guys things with it.
Transformers is one of those films you can just enjoy. You don't need to sit down and really think hard, read between the lines, or listen to commentary on the DVD afterward to fully understand. Bottom line - its a double barrel shotgun-o-fun aimed directly at your brain.
The first thing you have to do (and this helps) is suspend belief. At its core, this is quite simply a cartoon transfered and updated for the big screen. The robots have emotions, expressions, and yes, they have eye lids and lips. Not a big deal. I found this to be a bonus, as I loved some of the more comedic scenes involving the Autobots.
The cast is both the films strongest point and its weakest. Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox give excellent performances, whereas some of the scenes with Anthony Anderson and John Turturro are just plain annoying. I don't blame the actors at all, but more the fact that they had these terribly stereotypical roles to fill and had bad dialogue given to them.
Another problem is that this jam packed cast can make it feel like it's taking too many directions at once. You literally jump between scenes involving different sub plots involving Sam and Mikaela (Shia/Megan), the army guys, then to the hackers and the secretary of defense, and then suddenly back to the kids. The end result works, with all of the characters being involved in the final scenes together in some way or form, but it does make for a fairly exhausting track for your mind to stay on.
The robots are simply mind blowing. The CGI involved in this film was handled by ILM, famous for the work on Star Wars, and it shows just how far they've come from the 70's using stop motion techniques. One quote mentioned that 'Ironhide has more working graphical parts on his two cannons than some of the other robots have on their entire body', and it shows. The care and attention to detail is incredible, especially given the fact that these guys had a budget half of Spider-Man 3, which was overall a sub par film by way of effects (and in general, in my opinion).
Michael Bay is notorious for his use of 'big boom' work. He fills his films with as much real carnage as possible, using any excuse to blow stuff up. In this film? It works. Every vehicle shot is 100% real, without the use of added effects. From Humvees being thrown around in explosions to collisions on a highway. Even when the robots are duking it out and smashing up civilization in the process, it looks and feels real.
The only thing I can really complain about is it's length. It is a long film. That's not a problem to me, but I know a lot of people that I could show this film too that would become bored extremely easily during its filler segments. I also have a feeling it could of done with being made even longer, in a way - the robots didn't get as much screen time as the fans would of liked, but I suspect that was Spielbergs influence as producer, as he is all about earth shattering events revolving around a handful of people.
Bottom line? At the very least rent it. I got excited from a franchise I cared very little about, and it's totally turned me into a Transformers fan for life.
And don't get a pirate copy or a downloaded version - this film can only be done justice in full juicy glory of DVD quality. If you have HD capability, I envy you, because I think this may be the ideal film for some serious eyeball candy.
Extra tip: Watch after the credits roll for a sneaky bit of extra footage, leaving the film open for an almost certain sequel.