Saturday, July 07, 2007

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The new Transformers movie, I am happy to report, is good. After this first viewing, I will even have it range over to 'great' status.

I am not a Michael Bay fan, I hated 'Armageddon' and 'Pearl Harbor.' Beyond my personal distaste for his work, Bay has a known reputation for being all about the 'bells and whistles' of special effects and explosions while ignoring things like story, and characters. In fact, when it was announced that Bay would be directing the new Transformers film, most Transformers fans, including myself, cried foul. In most fans' eyes it became a forgone conclusion that this movie would be a stinkfest, and the good Transformers name would be buried by a big budget, July 4th crapload. It turns out, I was worried for nothing.

In Transformers, Bay certainly showcases his flair for the dramatic, effects driven action sequences, but couples that with a solid telling of the Transformers rebirth into the world of pop culture.

As I read that back, I don't like the tone of this review so far. It's not accurate. By 'solid telling' I mean to say it was a blast to watch this movie.

The movie opens with the voice of Optimus Prime narrating the story of the Autobot and Decepticon struggle on Cybertron, and an explanation of what the All-Spark is while the camera flies through space, towards Earth. From there, it gets right into the action where a US Army base in Qatar is completely destroyed by a Decepticon. This action sequence let's you know that Bay and his team wanted to go 'balls to the wall' and they achieve it. The whole theater was instantly into this movie, you could feel the energy after that scene. When the shockwaves started getting layed down, I couldn't help but get sucked right into that. People were excited by what they were seeing.

A quick point, this is what I try to stress with friends who say things like 'I don't want to see it(any movie) on opening night, it will be too crowded' or 'I'll wait for it on DVD.' For some movies, yes, do that. 'Knocked Up' for instance is hillarious, but really, the 'big screen' aspect of it won't make or break that feeling for you. But for a movie like Transformers, get your ass in a theater seat and hope that you see it in a big crowd. For me, it's like a smaller scale version of seeing a concert or going to a wrestling show. I love getting wrapped up in the energy of a crowd, and watching Transformers was no different. Everybody cheered at the end of this one, that makes two straight movies for me, which pretty much seals the deal that this season of summer blockbusters did the trick for me.

Back to the movie, I won't give you an entire breakdown like I did for 'ROTS', but I'll speak briefly about a few things.

1. The first hour, some have complained about. I do understand that the wait for the rest of the action and characters to hit could've been cut down a little, but I enjoyed the development of Sam's character with Bumblebee and the girl. It helps explain exactly why Sam is so important to the grand scheme of things, and gets you attached to the characters. Without that slow build, I don't think Bumblebee getting captured and injured would mean as much.

2. It's awesome to see and hear Optimus Prime in this movie. He breaks out a sword and goes to town.

3. Megatron is only in it a short time, but manages to get some of the best, most fan pleasing lines in of any character. "No, it's just me, Prime." -- "You fail me yet again, Starscream."

4. The battles between the Autobots and Decepticons are awesome, plain and simple. When Starscream is going after the fighter jets, you will agree.

5. "One shall stand, one shall fall." Prime says it to Megatron, again.

I don't want to say too much else as I'd rather you see it. I enjoyed this movie a lot, which surprised me. This is yet another big budget movie with subject matter close to my heart, and it delivered more than I expected. Let me know what you all think.

Thanks for reading!


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