July 02, 2007

Amateur Movie Review: Transformers

If you are between 25-35 you know about the Transformers. A massively successful toy line in the 80's, it spawned a TV series and an animated movie. The storyline never changes: massive robots from a dead world land on Earth, impersonate pick-up trucks and fighter planes, and beat the bejezus out of each other.

The movie hews pretty closely to the established Transformer mythos. Dead planet, centuries long war between the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons, Earth caught in the middle. As this is a Michael Bay picture – a Michael Bay picture based on a toy-turned-TV series, no less – plot isn't really all that important. All the Transformers are looking for the All Spark, a giant cube that can either return life to Cybertron or turn Earth into Cyberton, Jr. The key to finding this thing is a kid named Sam Witwickey (Shia LaBeauf) who has the coordinates to the All Spark encrypted on his great-grandfather's glasses.

Boy, that made even less sense after I type it.

Still, doesn't matter. This movie is about action and there is plenty of it. We have running. We have shooting. We have yelling. We have shooting while running and yelling and we have yelling while running and shooting. Sometimes we don't have yelling, just running and shooting. Always running and shooting. This movie runs a thousand miles an hour from the first scene (a US Army base in Qatar gets blown to smithereens by a Decepticon) and never, ever lets up. The effects are spectacular, from the CGI robots to the amazing car chase scenes (three of 'em!) and dizzying final battle through the streets of Los Angeles.

Not everything can be CGI, so there is a rather impressive human cast, led by LaBeauf, an enormously appealing young actor and old hands like Jon Voight as the square-jawed Secretary of Defense and a scenery-chewing John Turtorro as the head of secret government operation that knows about the robots This is Michael Bay's world, so the women are preposterously good-looking and there is a surfeit of gun-toting hero-types such as Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson as survivors of the Qatar attack.

Is it necessary to be a pop-culture obsessed Gen X type on a nostalgia trip to enjoy this movie? No, but it helps. There is a certain thrill the first time Optimus Prime come around a corner or when Megatron sneers “fleshling” like it's 1986 again, but it isn't necessary. This movie is just so damned much fun, anybody willing to buy into the concept will enjoy it.

Okay, look: this movie features giant outer-space robots with swords. Tell me that isn't cool!

Posted by Frinklin at July 2, 2007 11:45 PM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?