Transformers (2007) July 26, 2009Posted by Dragan Antulov in Film Reviews.
Tags: Megan Fox, Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf
A Film Review
Copyright Dragan Antulov 2009
There are few filmmakers who are associated with the phrase “crimes against cinema” and even fewer have the “honour” of songs about how bad their films are. Michael Bay, who inspired many talented people to express their film criticism in such way, is going to continue provide such inspirations. His filmography, however, had some films that were less bad than others. TRANSFORMERS, spectacular 2007 adaptation of 1980s cartoon series, is one of better pieces of Michael Bay’s filmography.
The plot of the film begins when Earth becomes battlefield in a war between Autbots and Decepticons – two races of alien robots capable to “transform”, or, to mimic any part of ordinary machinery. While evil Decepticons want to conquer Earth and destroy humanity, Autobots led by Optimus Prime (voice by Peter Cullen) want to prevent them. In doing so, Autbots receive help from Sam Whitwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf), high school student whose ancestor accidentally found Megatron (voice by Hugo Weaving), leader of Decepticons, buried in Arctic ice. Young man is protected by Bumblebee, Autobot masked into car with whom Sam tried to impress his classroom crush Mikaela Barnes (played by Megan Fox).
Reason why TRANSFORMERS is better than average Michael Bay’s film is simple. Film based on a toy line is not supposed to burden scriptwriters with important and serious issues like penal system, human cloning, American pacifism or crime and punishment. TRANSFORMERS therefore couldn’t be taken seriously, so Bay didn’t need to try and predictably fail in such endeavour. Instead of that this film is taken as nothing other than an excellent opportunity to display the current state of CGI technology in Hollywood together with other, crude but effective ways to bring undemanding moviegoers to theatres during summer season.
Script by Roberto Orczi and Alex Kurtzman allows Bay to appeal those audiences – mostly teenagers – in more than one way. Apart from giant transforming robots fighting each other, this film features a nerdy protagonist with whom most of those audiences could identify. There is obligatory love interest played by one of the most attractive actresses of contemporary Hollywood. If the protagonist is too nerdy for some segments of the audiences, there is alternative in the form of two macho US supersoldiers played by Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson. Another addition is team of US computer super-experts which fills two niches – Rachael Taylor ais Australian supermodel trying to play superhacker, while Anthony Anderson provides one of two comic reliefs; the other is tragically underused John Turturro as the head of supersecret government agency. Bay, of course, can’t resist temptation to use as many explosions in the film as possible or to show off his good Pentagon connections in scenes featuring real military hardware like F-22 Raptors and V-22 Ospreys. There is also plenty of humour in the film, some lame, some effective, some unintentional and some hilarious, including the scene that describes President Herbert Hoover as one of unsung heroes of American history.
With so much content, it was inevitable for TRANSFORMERS to be overlong. The script also made some of the characters undeveloped or underused, especially in the case of Transformers who make their actual great entrance only in second half of film. To make things even worse, Bay still has problems in directing action scenes and his frenetic MTV-style editing also tends to make viewers miss some important details. This is especially evident in anti-climactic and anti-cathartic final showdown scene, during which robot battles don’t look as exciting as they should be.
However, due to very good and unusually inspired cast, few clever lines and some jokes that actually work, TRANSFORMERS is mostly pleasant viewing experience that would satisfy viewers, whether they were fans of the original Transformers universe or not.