27 June 2007 | tnzk
Best summer flick of 2007.
I watched this film at an advanced screening in New Zealand. I loved Transformers as a child, but was not a die hard fan, so I did not complain over the changes. However, I had decent expectations for this movie as people were saying it's better than expected.
I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. However, it did fall a little flat on what I expected it to be. It's Michael Bay, ladies and gents, don't expect anything more.
Transformers begins with the reason for the alien robots' existence. How the all important AllSpark (essentially the life giver) was lost into the vacuum of space after the robots divided between good and evil. Falling onto Earth, a handful of these entities travelled the galaxy to find this all important device. Great premise, but how about the execution? Visually, the film is astounding. ILM have outdone themselves once again and have created top notch visuals for others to measure up to. The robots look real, feel weighty yet elegant, and with every Bay movie, there are explosions. And what beautiful explosions they are. This is complemented with a hit-and-miss musical score. At times, the score is cinematic brilliance. At other times, you wonder why Linkin Park was included, when sequences with emotional pieces are suddenly juxtaposed with the current Billboard Hot 100.
The acting is competent. I thought that with a cast mostly compromised of underwear models and hip hop artists, I would be disappointed. Shia LaBeouf (Sam Witwicky), Josh Duhamel (Cpt. Lennox), Tyrese Gibson (Sgt. Epps), and even Megan Fox (Mikaela) delivered surprisingly well. Even with Jon Voigt in the cast, you cannot see a distinct line in ability between the seasoned vet and relative new comers. But although the acting was top notch, it was severely hampered by the script.
The script, to put it frankly, does not take itself seriously. At all. Firstly, there was a lack of story. Autobots and Decepticons want the AllSpark. One wants to defend it. The other wants to use it. Battle. Fin. Secondly, I could not remember one scene that did not have some humorous one liner put in to make the audience laugh. Even in the most grave of sequences, did some joker blurt out something (admittedly) funny, making you wonder "Wait.... Earth's in danger, and you're cuing for a crash on the drums?!" Some of the script was clever, and in the parts which were appropriately funny, hit the nail on the head (Shia LaBeouf is a child prodigy in comedy).
Transformers. Everyone wants to know "What about the Transformers?". Well, personally, they were simply awesome. They could have been more 2D than they were and I still would have liked them. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Frenzy, Ratchet... Megatron, Starscream, Bonecrusher, Barricade and Ironhide -- they were masterfully put on film.
However, only two of those actually got a decent amount of character development -- Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. Bumblebee, being the first Transformer Sam sees, and Optimus, of course gets plenty of screen time being the Autobot leader. It's a shame that the Decepticons were only there to be the "bad guys", even Megatron. It would have definitely benefited the movie if all the robots were fleshed out and given some emotional attachment to the crowd. It doesn't, and this does have a few repercussions towards the end of the movie. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable to see them wreak havoc in different countries, and with the inevitable sequel, one can only hope that we get to know more about these "loveable" mechanical beings.
It is definitely the must see summer flick of the year, and whilst not Oscar material, it is one of the best 'popcorn' movies of recent times.
**Upon a second screening, I found the impact of the movie to remain just the same as the first. In certain aspects, that impact heightened. New score 8/10