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Based on the Hasbro toy line that initially captivated kids in the 1980s, director Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS finds two warring bands of shape-shifting alien robots renewing their intergalactic conflict on Earth. While the Decepticons, followers of the malevolent Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving), strive to take over the planet, the Autobots, led by the valiant Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), are intent on protecting humanity. When young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) discovers that his new car is really the Autobot Bumblebee (voiced by Mark Ryan), it sets the stage for a massive giant-robot showdown. A shining example of the Hollywood summer blockbuster at its best, TRANSFORMERS combines stunning CGI effects and thrilling action sequences with drama, humor, and a touch of romance. Featuring a large cast that includes Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Anthony Anderson, and Rachael Taylor, the film is anchored by LaBeouf, who always displays an engaging Everyman charm, whether he’s running from colossal robots, interacting with his well-meaning parents (hilariously played by Kevin Dunn and Julie White), or pining for his gorgeous classmate (Megan Fox). While some TRANSFORMERS purists may be dismayed by certain aspects of this bold big-screen adaptation (Bumblebee is a Camaro instead of a Volkswagen), the movie balances its spectacle with an admirable amount of substance, giving it an appeal far beyond pre-teen boys and their nostalgic Autobot-loving elders.
Pretty much almost every male kid who grew up during the 80's were glued to their TV sets on weekday afternoons watching just one thing. They were watching one of the best cartoon shows on TV which also happened to be Hasbro Toys' most popular line of toys at that time. I am talking about Transformers. I know I was pretty much hooked on the show with its tale of good versus evil as the noble leader (who also happened to be a Mack truck) Optimus Prime led his Autobots against the evil robot that was Megatron and his Decepticons. It had lots of fighting, explosions and most of all, it had toys of every Transformer in the show for kids to re-enact such battles.
In 1986 the first Transformers movie (animated) came out and pretty much scarred every kid who was ever a fan of the show for life as their beloved characters actually died on-screen to make way for a new generation of Transformers. Let's just say that as much as I enjoyed the original movie I also hated it. It is now 2007 and Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg and ILM have concocted a live-action version of Transformers. To say that this movie has erased some of the bad taste left by the first animated film is quite an understatement. What we have in this live-action Transformers is nothing less than pure robot-versus-robot carnage and mayhem done so well that it more than makes up for the weak story and the uneven performances from the cast.
Michael Bay's hand truly shows as his handle on the sturm und drang he's well-known for matches well with the premise of giant alien robots fighting each other with no thought for collateral damage to populace and property. Unlike, his previous films he actually holds himself back from using his usual tricks of using low-angled slo-mo scenes too much and the ultra quick editing style which makes his movies sometimes difficult to keep up with. Again, it might be Spielberg's influence in addition to Bay actually growing as a filmmaker to thank for this. The action scenes wouldn't be as great as it was if it wasn't for the work of ILM and its team of computer animators. The Autobots and Decepticons look so real that they join Gollum and Davey Jones as fully-realized CGI-characters who blend into the scene as if they're made of real flesh and blood. In the case of the Transformers made of steel, oil and rubber. Their battles from the Hoover Dam all the way to the nearby Mission City didn't look artificial. There's a sense of weight and depth to the battle. It atually looked like the city with it's small humans was actually being ripped apart by these giant robots. Industrial, Light and Magic truly deserve every award they'll get come awards time. In the past it was said that a live-action Transformers would come off as cheesy and fake, but technology and the expert use of it by ILM's team of artisans has made it a reality.
Transformers really brings the word blockbuster and brings it like storm and thunder. There's no other way to say it than this was a movie which was a kickass rollercoaster ride with just enough human interaction to keep it from becoming cartoonish. It's not a perfect film as the weak script and uneven performances by most of the cast would show, but it's all balanced out by the work put in by Shia LaBeouf and the action scenes with the Transformers that this movie marks the highlight of the 2007 summer blockbuster season. Michael Bay has finally found the one film he looks to be tailor-made to do.
The film begins in the Middle East, and we find out quickly that one of our boys has a baby back home. That's never a good sign. Soon the base is attacked by a phantom helicopter that has the markings of an Air Force MH-53 Pave Low that was believed to have been shot down, and in the ensuing firefight the giant robot tries to break into the government's computers. Clearly, the alien threat is looking for something.
Back in suburbia, a teenager named Sam Witwicky is buying his first car to impress a girl way out of his league, and after an amusing scene with Bernie Mac he has in his possession a beat-down yellow Camaro with a hanging bee air freshener that says "Bee-Otch." The car just happens to drive itself and provide background music to impress said girl. You see, this boy had a grandfather who made an amazing discovery years ago, and one of his artifacts has some very important information on it: information that could turn the tide of a very old war between two sets of very large transforming robots.
When Sam is attacked by a menacing cop car by the name of Barricade and is saved by Bumblebee in his true form, he finds out that he's firmly in the middle of a brutal conflict that could destroy the planet. Bumblebee calls in the reinforcements, and we're introduced to the rest of the Autobots, including a gorgeously animated Optimus Prime who is again played by the incomparable Peter Cullen. If you have fond memories of the character, they won't be ruined here.
The movie switches between very vicious-looking battle scenes (watch for the showdown between Optimus Prime and Bone Crusher on the highway; it drew cheers from my audience) and some funny scenes with the human characters. The government stuff can be a little tiresome, and a menacing but apparently bumbling branch of the government called Sector 7 does very little except pad the running time. But the second you begin to get bored, there's another piece of fan service and a giant fight to pull you right back in.
The bar has been raised for special effects here: the Autobots and Decepticons feel heavy and absolutely real in every frame they're in. There are long, lingering shots of the models in full light, and I couldn't find a CGI character that pulled me out of the movie or made me think I was seeing something that wasn't actually there. This isn't only a special effects film though: it's safe to say the careers of Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel have been made by this movie, as they both provide exactly the film needs with expert, precise performances.
The scenes with the Autobots rolling down the highway in vehicle mode look great, and while the Decepticons don't have a lot of character development, StarScream does great in every scene he's in, including a breathtakingly-shot dogfight with a group of F-22 Raptors.
This is a must see if you're in the mood for a strong, loud summer movie. Fans of the Transformers and newcomers alike are going to have a lot of fun.
GO OUT AND BUY THIS MOVIE YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.
Hot-shot director Michael Bay has a knack for masking ill-formed movie plots by piling on blistering action sequences. "Transformers" is his best cover-up yet.
This remarkable CGI sledgehammer, a live-action takeoff on the animated TV series about battling alien robots on Earth that morph into gigantic mechanical beasts, packs a powerful punch.
The movie is fun, full of through-the-roof special effects, often intentionally ridiculous, wildly uneven, and has plot holes bigger than its most heroic 'bot, Optimus Prime. Thankfully, it also has Shia LaBeouf, a kind of everykid actor who has the screen presence to glue the whole thing together.
It takes Bay ("The Island," "Pearl Harbor") less than 10 minutes to scoot through the story's setup and get to the first reveal: a monstrous robot assault on U.S. troops in Qatar. It's a wild, chaotic scene with bullets, explosions, running soldiers and big tanks tossed about like toys.
A good half-hour or more later, Bay kicks the movie into overdrive with a spectacular desert attack by a giant scorpion. There are quick cuts, swirling camera shots, wide shots from a fly-by jet and a fantastic stuntman effect (watch for an Arab to be twirled in the air).
It's this sequence that cements "Transformers" as the most interesting action movie so far this summer. That there have been so many sequels this season only enhances its appeal. Bay is giving audiences something that feels completely new, a twist on many a 'toon fan's childhood memory. Fanboys will eat it up.
They'll likely also forgive the story line's simplicity and clunkiness. Characters are established, then disappear in the blink of an eye. The action can be so frenetic that it's sometimes hard to discern which is the good 'bot and which is the bad.
There are so many throwaway bits — our president shown only as a red-sock-wearing drawler hungry for Ding Dongs, a hacker stuffing doughnuts down his gullet — that they become meaningless.
There's plenty here that rings the usual action-film notes. Josh Duhamel is the fighting solider and caring new father who gets to perform a long attack-a-'bot body slide that's almost worthy of Legolas in "Lord of the Rings." Megan Fox (of TV's "Hope and Faith") gets to play a grease-monkey, take-action girl in the vein of "Charlie's Angels."
But there's also Shia LaBeouf. As in his earlier, successful "Disturbia," he takes marginal material, turns on the personality, becomes the kind of kid who's half-dweeb, half-hero and, with his newfound robot pals, pretty much saves the whole darned movie.
The interstellar battle between the Autobots and Decepticons rains destruction down on planet Earth as director Michael Bay adapts Hasbro and Takara's popular Transformers franchise into a big-budget, live-action summer tentpole extravaganza in this ambitious sci-fi action feature starring Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Bernie Mac, John Turturro, Jon Voight, and, of course, Optimus Prime and Megatron. Long ago, on the planet of Cybertron, a massive, powerful alien race divided into two factions, the noble Autobots, and the devious Decepticons. They fought for the sole access to a talisman known as the Allspark, a cube with the capacity to grant infinite power, and eventually the Autobots smuggled it off the planet's surface, hiding it in an unknown location on Earth. Now, hundreds of years later, the Deceptacons have come looking for it, and if the Autobots don't find it first, the Earth will be enslaved or destroyed by the evil aliens' use of its massive power. The Autobots don't know where the cube was hidden, but the information may be stored in the most unlikely of sources, as a gangly young Earthling named Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) who's just picked up his first car, has a strange connection to the Allspark's history, making him the unlikely ally of these enormous creatures, as they fight for humankind's survival and the chance to return home. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide