Some More... Than Meets the Eye

A few days ago, I gave my negative review of the “Transformers” movie. It needs to be known that when I was going to see the film for the first time, I had recently finished reading “the official prequel novel,” Ghosts of Yesterday. Having the prequel so fresh on my mind overly tainted my view of the movie because it didn’t follow the tone OR the story that the book presented. My biggest complaint, still, is that if you’re going to release a movie and also have an “official prequel,” they need to work as a cohesive piece.

Today I went to see Transformers again, and upon a second viewing (where I actually got to see the final 20 minutes of the movie), I have a slightly different outlook on the film.

In my original review, I gave the film a 5 outta 10. I’m going to change that score to an 8. That’s right, I changed my mind, but I feel that I was justified in the original review based on my being ultra-nerdy and trying to be all up to speed on the story lines.

The effects were phenomenal – there was only a few times where some things didn’t seem right, but the blend of real objects intermixed with CG was amazing. The sound design was incredible – I don’t know what an Non-Biological Extraterrestrial sounds like, but chances are, it sounds like what they made it out to be. For most of the movie, the acting seemed real and the situations genuine.

While most of the movie was good, there were still some bad things, too. First off, I’m not too happy that Spielberg refers to the film as a “Family Film.” This tid-bit of knowledge is from the Wikipedia entry for the movie:

Michael Bay was convinced by executive producer Steven Spielberg to direct the film despite not being a fan of the series, to make his first family film.

I still have a little trouble with the continuity issues from prequel novel to the movie (I mean, who makes movies that loosely follow what a prequel establishes?). On the first page of the novel, it talks about the year being 1969 when Megatron is being moved to a secure base, in the movie, it was 1934 (probably to coincide with the actual time that the Hoover Dam was built). The slightest bit of consistancy goes a looong way.

How is it that no Transformer, Decepticon or Autobot, can detect the AllSpark from outside the dam, but when Frenzy finds Megatron and the AllSpark, he’s able to send a message to all other Decepticons? Seemed a little too convenient.

And what about Megatron’s first words after coming out of stasis – “I am Megatron!” First off, he’s been frozen since the late 1800s, if not longer. I doubt he learned the English language that quickly. Secondly, did he feel some sudden urge to tell everyone who he was? Ooo, ooo, maybe he was asked what his name was right before he froze.

In his review of the film, Matt Arado, of the Daily Herald, had this to say:

Director Michael Bay, one of the most commercially successful and critically reviled of filmmakers ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor"), can always be counted on for great-looking effects. And the Transformers here look stunning. Bay says that Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, was designed as having more than 10,000 moving parts, and you can see just about every one.

It’s shocking, then, that Bay relegates the Transformers to little more than supporting players. They stand around and do nothing for the painfully slow middle third of the film, replaced by sitcom-level comic relief - Optimus Prime says "Oops, my bad!" at one point - and a weak romance subplot.

He’s got a point. I think that the writers depicted all of the Autobots’ personas spot-on, except Prime’s. He’s always the serious one. I’m all for adding depth to a character that you already know, but according to the Wikipedia entry:

His (Peter Cullen) vocal performance consisted of much improvisation with Bay and bringing a sense of humor to Prime, as well as portraying his traditional heroism.

I know, nitpicking. But it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it. Seems like a LOT of other people are enjoying it, too. That’s a good thing for Dreamworks, seeing as they’ve already approved two sequels. Please, can you bring Soundwave back, ghetto-blaster style!?!

+ original post date: July 7, 2007 06:01 PM
+ categories: Movies, Pop Culture


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We took a field trip from work today to see the movie today I'd agree with your 8/10 review. It's a great action movie with just about the right number of corniness thrown in.

There were a few things that bugged me... I had a hard time getting the old VW version of Bumblebee out of my head. Scanning other vehicles/objects to take on their appearance seemed kind of random. Why wouldn't the Autobots scan fighter jets so they're not stuck on the ground?

Overall though, those little things weren't enough to detract from the action and fantastic effects.

** possible spoiler **
A lot of us noted how the only major character who didn't make it through the battle was a minority even robots can't get a break.

+ author: Kyle
+ posted: July 11, 2007 07:49 PM

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