Sunday, July 15, 2007

Optimist Primed! Transformers Review

Just over a year ago I posted about a live action Transformers movie on the horizon. Well, last night I went to see it with Pete, Katelin and Luke. It was an awesome time! Here's my review.

If you watch Transformers on the big screen this summer, it will probably be the biggest and loudest action flick you've ever seen - unless you're a time traveler from the future. As far as I know, there's been nothing else that even compares to a film of this overwhelming magnitude and pandemonium, with the conceivable exception of Jackson's King Kong. I couldn't help but laugh when another review I read compared this movie to two of director Michael Bay's previous big flicks - he said it had better acting than Armageddon, and was probably more historically accurate than Pearl Harbor. This time around, the explosiveness is back in full force with the addition of a couple heartthrobs and an avalanche of product placement. (That's putting it lightly - GM probably paid for half the movie, with smaller contributions coming from Apple and Hasbro.)

Featured in this film is up-and-comer Shia Labeouf, who is just beginning to get widespread attention, especially since his unexpected involvement in the upcoming Indiana Jones 4 has earned him Spielberg's affection. He's being hailed as the next Tom Hanks for his boyish good looks and apparent lack of gut-turning vanity. Oh yeah, and he can act. When the behemoth robots aren't body-slamming each other through skyscrapers and blowing stuff up, we're treated to Labeouf's entertaining, (no really, he's hilarious!) performance as the young man, Sam Witwicky, whose precious new car turns out to be a futuristic transforming space robot. He's a typical kid who loves his dog and lusts for the archetypal popular girl, played by the elegant Megan Fox. These two stars go nicely together, and their story, tied in with their guardian car-transformer "Bumblebee", create the heart of the movie that the audience can connect with.

Labeouf and Fox, pictured separately and in the middle of mayhem in Transformers, will probably be popping up more often.

Of course, to loyal fans of the old school cartoons, the real stars of the show are the astonishing robots such as Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, and the villainous Megatron and co. These and a host of other robots, who transform into everything from fighter jets to CD players, have found their way to Earth in an effort to reclaim a powerful artifact that will spell humanity's extinction if it falls into the hands of Megatron, (voiced by a computer-enhanced Hugo Weaving.) This violent struggle is brought to the downtown core of L.A., where the Autobots, Decepticons, and the federal army have an epic rumble that, for all its visual effect-grandeur, manages to stay centralized on Sam Witwicky. Transformers' triumph is that it makes no attempt to take its ridiculous and dorky-to-the-extreme premise seriously. Instead, it revels in this and takes it as far as it can. Another noteworthy upside is that this movie's pretty funny in those few moments when it's not rocking your socks off and blowing your mind.

It's tough finding decent screencaps, but this is one of Sam's first encounter with one of the Decepticons, named Barricade.

It'd be a shame to write a review without mentioning the awesome cinematography in this movie. I'm a fan of Bay's visual style, whose lighting techniques and colours and tones you might recognize from The Island. Extensively mobile cameras suck you into the action and almost throw you out of your seat. I also enjoyed the appropriately heavy soundtrack, whose frequent cocky electric guitar outbursts felt perfectly matched to the visuals. The big recognizable track from the film is Linkin Park's hit single "What I've Done". The attitude of the song helps them hit the nail on the head at the movie's finale. It's one of those things that gives you a juvenile thrill and makes you say, "Wow! Awesome!"

So here's the final verdict:

Transformers is the kind of movie that's supposed to bring out the teenager in you; that young buck who loves cars, planes, girls, explosions, and robot aliens. If you're thinking, "there's no way I'd ever find that appealing," then chances are you're right. It's probably not the kind of thing you take your mother to, but then again, I hope those old enough to get in to see this have stopped seeing movies with their moms anyway. But any guy with a pulse should love this, or any girl with a jones for Shia Labeouf. Here I go making stereotypical gender and age assumptions. So hey, prove me wrong. Go see this! Oh, by the way, don't even think about waiting until it comes out on video. The honest truth is, this will probably be a crappy movie from the perspective of your living room La-Z-Boy. All Hollywood films are meant to be seen in the theatre, and some, like this one, are actually not compatible at all with your average home entertainment system. If you don't catch this one on the big screen, you're missing out. I'm glad I didn't!



At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Rose said...

Awesome movie review. It's just like professional reviews I've read elsewhere. Keep up the awesome work! I want to watch this movie now. And I know the main guy from a Disney sitcom... Even Stevens. He's hilarious!

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Brillo said...

Thanks Rose.

Yes he is. =)


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