On Thursday night, Jarren and I attended a special sneak of Transformers with our friends David and Devon. This movie is gonna be a massive hit when it opens next week, if the gigantic lines of people pleading to see it, were any indication. In the end, it’s a really entertaining if a little overlong, piece of summer popcorn fun. In ways that Spider-Man 3 tried too hard to be smart, Transformers requires you to leave your cynical brain at the door, and just enjoy the ride. Some quick thoughts on the film:
– This is easily the best Transformers live-action film directed by Michael Bay, that we could have hoped for. On paper, this whole idea could have led to complete disaster, but Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg have delivered on their promise to make it worth our 2 hours and 20 minutes.
– The visual effects are pretty astonishing. The seamless transformation sequences are beautiful, and the CG robots blend effortlessly into their real-life surroundings.
– Shia LeBeouf really is a Hollywood star of the future. He manages that classic balance between lovable nerd and striking hero.
– Michael Bay seriously must have it in his contract that he gets to hire all featured extras on his own time (presumably spent trolling Ibiza and St. Tropez). There’s an almost offensive array of beautiful women playing innocent bystanders, especially in the film’s climatic street battle. Jarren, not aware of Bay’s infamy for dating/casting models, even turned to me at one point and asked, “Why is everyone in this town strippers? Are we in Stripperville?” That said, we were both willing to forgive the casting of Rachael Taylor, as a code-breaking super-geek.
– For Transformers fans with secret love for the Decepticons, beware: this is an Autobot movie through and through. Megatron doesn’t even make his presence known until the climax. Expect more, I’m sure, in the eventual sequel (it’s left double-wide open for such).
– I found myself really taken with composer Steve Jablonsky’s score for the film. I had never heard of the guy (he’s primarily scored past classics like Ed Gein: The Ghoul of Plainfield), but he did a pretty good job of developing an action-film score that really stood out as unique.
– Hopefully co-star Megan Fox will now get a slew of movie role offers, and become hip to what the rest of us have realized: she’s engaged to Brian Austin Green.
– Yes, ladies, that is Tyrese playing a soldier with Josh Duhamel.
– All of the Autobots are now GM model cars, thanks to the wonderful world of product placement. Keep an eye out for a nod to Bumblebee’s original incarnation (he was a VW bug and now is a Camaro). Meanwhile, for the film, Optimus Prime is the same model big rig as the one in Spielberg’s Duel.
– There are a few subtle references to dialogue from the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie. And, while that film will always have a special place in mine and my siblings’ hearts, this new one is easily the better movie.