Harry has seen the ShoWest TRANSFORMERS Presentation!!!! Twice!!!! NICE!!!!
Hey folks, Harry here... Ok - so I've seen the 20-25 minutes of TRANSFORMERS footage that Michael Bay and folks unleashed on SHOWEST tonight. Only - I've seen it twice and at the Drafthouse.
The footage has the most finished look at the robots that is available thus far... but things like the voice work, the eyes and other tweaks - are still yet to be put in place. Having said that... I really liked what I saw.
In particular - the two Desert sequences. The first featured a group of grunts headed to a camp to cycle back to the U.S. It's a bit cheesy in that idealized look at the American troops that still pass out Chocolate to kids in a region - that long for the kid they have back home that they've never held and that are quirky in that quirky way. It happens to be the kinda cheese that I like. As these guys are settling in, we cut to the base's command center which has picked up an unidentified bogie that ain't sqawkin'. I love the military banter here - which on the page when I read it, fell as flat as a tortilla - but intercut with images of the coolest friggin military hardware in the world... I couldn't help but dig it. These new Ospreys just look massively awesome.
Now this is obviously the BLACKOUT scene that we've seen hinted in the trailer. After the copter lands - and begins the Transforming - the shit hits the fan quick.
I need to be clear about something. I love the original TRANSFORMERS movie, cheese and all. But I'm not a chapter and verse Transformer guy. What I am though, is a Giant Robot Geek - and this sequence with BLACKOUT... is Giant Robot Geekgasm material. The sounds it's energy weapons make are so awesome as to make the hairs on your legs tremble with their sub-bass sonics. It's killer. Mind you - the Robot voice stuff isn't in place, so I can't judge any of that - but BLACKOUT is blowing the fuck out of stuff left and right. He seems to be on an information scouting attack. Loading in all the military tech files and info on hand through the military system. And doesn't seem to want to leave survivors to tell the tale. The scene didn't play to completion obviously - and after a particularly awesome shot of troops being annihilated... the screen went black for a sec - before going to the next segment.
The thought hit me. Can you imagine if this happened? What if in Qatar - 350 troops or so and an entire base just suddenly got wiped out by a Giant Fucking Robot? The film played it for keeps - the attack is ruthless and intense. Me likey.
The next sequence seemingly feels like nothing to do with the first segment. It's in suburban America - and Shia's character has pulled up in Bumblebee with the tanned, slightly sweaty chested babe character. This scene is much more in keeping with the Transformers that I know. First off - it featured Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Ratchet and Iron Hide. It was playful and familiar from the Robot side - and from Shia's side too. He's terrified of his parents finding out about the Giant Robots outside - and is apparently looking for a pair of glasses that Optimus wants - that we know are not glasses, but some robot something. It could be the Maltese Falcon as far as we know, but most importantly - Optimus wants em.
The scene played out fun. I'm not a big fan of the Optimus mouth animation, I feel it distracts from the eyes - but this is actually a discussion that production is currently having. My vote is - a robot doesn't need lips - it has speakers. However, the animation on Bumblebee, especially a very nice "shh" moment works. And the kill the Taco Bell dog moment is geekily kinda awesome.
However the biggest moment of this scene - is when the Government Agents show up on scene led by John Turturro, who just rocks. He comes in and he's just... completely vibrant. A fully realized fun character. Think - a southern Jeffrey Combs from THE FRIGHTENERS - just not as overplayed. Reined in a bit. His scene with Shia's family makes me hope for a some nice tough Turturro action later.
Then the final scene features our grunts from the first section - high tailing it through the desert trying to find a way to communicate with their army to come get them. When Scorponok attacks.
This sequence is very cool. In particular - Tyrese shines here. They run into a village as the team begins laying down fire on Scorponok - while that scorpion robot throws all sorts of shit at the village. When Tyrese finally gets a connection with the Pentagon and the military aerial backup comes - it gets really fun. This is the stuff Quint saw filmed live - I'm sure he'll report on it from SHOWEST.
Here's the thing though. The robots kick a certain amount of ass - even in these low key scenes. None of this was Robot on Robot action. These will be the small scenes in this film - and they were satisfying. And the effects kicked ass even if they were nowhere near finished finished. All having tweaks left to be done.
I'm very curious to see how it all fits together. The highest complement is... it looks like a Transformers movie. Watching Giant Robots doing there thing was just exhilarating.
Saw a great movie at SXSW that I'll tell you about tomorrow - called MONKEY WARFARE. Kicked my ass HARD! Watch out for it!