Monday, July 09, 2007

Movie Review: Transformers (SPOILERS)

It was nice to go see the movie I was most looking forward to this summer on my birthday (July 4th). I had heard the early good buzz on the movie before I went out of town earlier in the week, so I was pretty excited but trying to not be over-hyped about it. We ended up going to see it at the local Monster Screen (80 ft. wide/35 ft. tall) and my wife commented after the movie that it probably wouldn't have been the same had we seen it on a regular screen.

I think it is safe to say that Michael Bay did not end up "raping our childhood" (a common phrase used these days for 80s properties going to the big screen) as many people initially thought when they saw the new designs of the Transformers. In fact, I'd dare say that this movie was the best one I've seen this year. Granted, I haven't seen Live Free or Die Hard yet, but something tells me that won't be better than this. Yes, the dialog is hokey here and there, but overall it is the epitome of a summer movie: one that keeps you at the edge of your seat and keeps you entertained. On some movies this year (Pirates 3, Spider-Man 3 and Shrek 3) I've found myself looking at my watch many times, with this movie I didn't look at it once. This movie is not short by any stretch of the imagination (2 hrs., 24 min.), but I didn't feel bored once.

I have to say the best parts of the movies revolved around the Transformers themselves, mostly around Bumblebee. One of the best references to the 80s series is when Sam (Shia LeBoeuf) is looking for his car and the cars door slams into the nearby Volkswagen Beetle. Bumblebee was a Beetle in the original series, but VW wouldn't give the license to use the car, so Bumblebee was made into an old-style Camaro (and changes later to the upcoming new Camaro). I'm sure VW is kicking themselves now simply because Bumblebee is going to be the most popular of the Transformers toys. He was back in the 80s and with the upcoming Ultimate Bumblebee action figure coming (that looks awesome by the way) he can only get more popular in my estimation.

If you had told me when this was first announced that Bay could succeed at taking a loved 80s property and make it a really good and update movie I would have figured you were nuts. This is the guy whose last three movies (Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys II and The Island) all stunk and he really hasn't had a valid "good" movie since The Rock (or arguably Armageddon, although I know many hate that movie). In the end Bay proved all the naysayers wrong and did something many other people couldn't do: take a beloved 80s property and make a great modern day film about it.

Even though most of the Decepticons bite it in the end, including Megatron, I still see the possibilities for a sequel. During the credits we see Starscream flying out of orbit and probably back to Cybertron to recruit more Decepticons probably. There is still plenty of enemies to choose from, but no real leader outside of maybe Shockwave. They could always bring Unicron back and have him resurrect Megatron as Galvatron. The possibilities are endless for the Autobots as well.

In the end this movie was simply great and I hope lots of people go to see it. I think people that grew up with watching and reading the Transformers show and comics are probably going to get the most out of this movie, but I think anyone could sit down and like it.

Grade: Must See