The Transformers

July 3rd, 2007

The Transformers is the coolest movie I have ever seen. If I have to explain to you who or what Transfomers are, you’re in the wrong place, so I won’t try and do that. If I have to explain to you who Michael Bay is, or why some people raised a red flag when he took up the project of creating a live-action movie based on one of the most popular and influential cartoon and toy lines of my generation, well, you probably live in a cave. From the earliest reports, though, Michael Bay was hailed by people involved in the project as a True Fan, and this movie bears that out. Every element of how chameleonic robots whose every joint is reconfigurable and who have integrated wings, jets, wheels and weapons might move, both casually and at combat speed, has been lovingly imagined and meticulously realized. Autobots and Decepticons are distinct in their motivations and characters, and the unique qualities of the different vehicles and robots are exploited wherever possible. As a visual spectacle, the film is unparalleled. I saw this in one of the (still sadly rare) DLP theaters at the Cinemark Legacy in Plano, where any visual flaws would have been glaring, and there are simply none to be found. Beyond anything I’ve ever seen, this film integrates computer rendered effects flawlessly with live-action shots…you won’t be taken out of suspension by the fault of any visual glitch or seam. The premise of big sentient war-robots demands big crashes, spectacular chases, big fights, and big explosions, and every demand is met. The story is compelling, and the editing and direction do a good job of bringing a potentially global situation to the level of personal reality that makes characterization possible. Shia LaBeouf is just the right degree of nerdy social outcast and everyday kid to maximize his identification with the target demographic, but more importantly shows real talent and skill in his rendition of this role as an actor. In a film with lots of genuine humor, his comedic timing is excellent, but more importantly believable. His female counterpart, Megan Barnes, is perhaps slightly less believable in her pretty-girl/bad-girl/tomboy omnicapability, but she does well…and looks amazing. Jon Voigt is flawed only in that I can’t imagine any Secretary of Defense appointed by our current administration (and it’s clearly the Bush administration…you’ll see…) being so charismatic, effective, and even heroic. There are flaws, of course. John Turturro‘s performance is silly, over the top, and uncharacteristically unbelievable for this film, the “Giant Robots in the Garden” scene is way too long, and the closing song is old, over-played, and annoying…but the biggie is the abysmal utilization of ethnic and racial stereotyping in almost every instance where it was possible. The Hispanic soldier keeps talking in Spanish to his comrades, no matter how much they ask him not to. The African Americans, though, are really played out to their most extreme, and it will make you wince. I mean, for Christ’s sake, they “nobly” kill off the “black” Autobot! The one African-American who wasn’t a caricature was the Spec. Ops soldier, who did a good job of playing a competent soldier without any stereotypical hamming it up. So…is this fine cinema? No. Is it the all-around best movie ever? No. But it is still, without a doubt, the coolest film I have ever seen, and tremendous fun. I’m gonna go see it again, as soon as I can. You should, too.

2 Responses to “The Transformers”

  1. Transformers 2 out soon, cannot wait!!

  2. Nice Post, transformers rock! Keep up the good work. Bookmarked your site for future reference.

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