Published at: July 2, 2007, 6:53 a.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Spectacle. The word you'll be looking for is spectacle. Love it or hate it, this movie is pure, unabashed extravaganza, a jaw dropping assimilation of practical special effects, CG and traditional filmmaking blended together in such a way that it will completely redraw the lines of what we believe can be achieved on the screen. Like Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Independence Day and The Matrix before it, this movie will change forever what we think can and cannot be done within the medium. And on the whole it is going to go down in history as one of those movies. It is going to make insane money, sell an unbelievable amount of DVD's and be loved by the masses.
But us geeks, we're gonna be arguing about this one until judgment day.
Just as there is plenty right about this film, there is plenty wrong as well. And the line of demarcation is really going to come down to how you walk into this. If you can't fully wrap your mind around and really commit yourself to the idea that you're about to watch a film in which robots from another planet come to Earth and then transform into cool looking cars, jets and helicopters before transforming back in order to pummel the living shit out of one another, then odds are you're gonna have issues with what you might refer to as "The Plot." Personally, I refer to it as the thin and almost unimportant reason to explain exactly why robots from another planet come to Earth and then transform into cool looking cars, jets and helicopters before transforming back in order to pummel the living shit out of one another.
Fans of the original television series will recall there were essentially two possible plots to any Transformers episode. Plot one involved the Decepticons discovering a new way to make Energon Cubes, forcing the Autobots to have to stop them. And plot two involved the Autobots finding a new way to generate Energon Cubes, causing the Decepticons to try and stop them, forcing the Autobots to have to stop them from stopping them. Each episode ended with a melee which involved the same recycled shots of Transformers seemingly floating in midair while their blasters fired repeatedly. The Decepticons would run off with their tails between their legs – and if for some reason the Autobots were having a hard time stopping them, they would turn to their new recruit, a Transformer we'd never seen or heard from before but was, fortunately for us, available in stores that very week, who would aid in chasing the Decepticons off with their tails between their legs. In a word, it was FUCKING AWESOME!
Well, the plot to Transformers is a hell of a lot like the cartoon. Except without the Energon Cubes. It is THIN. It is far from complex. And it serves only to get us from action scene to action scene. And if you actually think for one second that going into a Michael Bay movie about giant fucking robots is going to have anything different – if you are somehow holding onto the delusion that there will be any kind of complexity in this – then you are about to find yourself sorely disappointed.
It is everything you ever dreamed a Michael Bay Transformers film could be. It is loud. It is visually arresting. And it doesn't slow down for one god damned minute. The action scenes are so rapid fire and intense that if you blink, you'll miss something incredible. Cars chase one another at 100 MPH, transform in mid-air, throw a few punches, then transform back and hit the ground running without missing a beat. Blasters lay waste to an entire regiment of soldiers with a single burst. Entire city blocks get destroyed as giant fucking robots literally tear each other apart, piece by fucking piece. You have never, ever, ever-ever, seen anything like it whatsoever.
And I tell you now, whether you like it or not, your jaw will drop – at least a few times.
It was awesome. It was like a big honking slice of Awesome-toast buttered on both sides with awesome. It was a double serving of Hell Fucking Yeah with a side order of OMFG. If you are pumped for this, if you are ready to embrace this, if you want nothing more than to see mind blowing action unlike anything you have ever witnessed, then you will shit your shorts and giggle like a fucking school girl.
The audience went absolutely apeshit for this. There were ooohs. There were ahhhs. Hell, at one point at least a dozen people loudly proclaimed in stereo "Here come the Autobots!" And this wasn't a 100% geek Drafthouse crowd. This was a standard multiplex crowd. You haven't had a crowd experience like this in a loooooong time.
So did anything else work other than the action? Sure. Of course how could I get away without talking about one of the most heartbreaking, hot pieces of ass to grace the screen in years? An ass so perfect and taut that when it bends over, I swear to god it makes a fucking heart shape. I am, of course, talking about Shia LaBeouf. Shia performs like a fucking champ. Even my buddies who didn't like this had to give it up to him. He carries the entire movie on his shoulders when shit isn't busy blowing up and he sells every god damned minute of it. Hell, this guy is acting opposite cars & robots and through his reactions alone are convincing us that they're real.
And when I talk about robots I mean of course John Turturro. I never thought I'd be writing these words, but when you're in a film with Anthony Anderson and he's acting circles around you, something has gone horribly wrong. Somewhere along the line someone convinced Turturro that he was in a children's movie and he interpreted that as if he were in an episode of Pee Wee's Playhouse - while everyone else was busy playing it straight. Even Anthony Anderson's shrieking and hollering was a wonderful respite from every painful John Turturro scene.
And there's a couple of sequences which might become legendary in arguments about this one, including an embarrassingly awkward Transformer relieving itself moment. It's also hard to be 100% serious about this when it has the single most blatant series of product placements since I am Sam. Cars, soft drinks, laptops and cellphones all readily find themselves at the center of both discussions and set pieces. But fortunately what doesn't work in this is far overshadowed by the moments that do. In a big way.
What it all boils down to is this: When someone tries to point out a logic flaw or the inherent silliness of a certain reaction, situation or product placement, you gotta ask yourself one question. Was that before or after the giant fucking robots from another planet showed up to kick the shit out of each other? Because if you can somehow manage your way past that conceit, and not any of the others, you've kind of missed the point.
This isn't a revelation. It isn't anywhere near a perfect film. But god damnit I had the best time watching it. It's an experience, and one you will not soon forget. I've got tickets to see this again tonight and I cannot wait. This movie is the reason they invented 30 foot wide screens to begin with. If you even think for a moment of catching this on DVD, you've entirely missed the point of it.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.