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Transformers Movie 2007


23 comments posted
[spoilers] Review of "Transformers"

(Good thing I just saw this last night so I can comment right away...! :D )
I agree wholeheartedly, Atom; this was an awesome film, and truly lives up to the spirit handed down through both anime and CGI (American-made "Beast Wars" & "Beast Machines") over the last two decades!
Perhaps my favorite moment in the entire film was when the Autobots deorbit in their Protoform bodies, find their vehicle disguises, and then collect around Sam and Mikaela and transform for the first time. I was in a smaller croud of maybe 30 last night, but I could tell that I was really the only one there who could appreciate what this film had done. In the beginning, I was the only one whooping when Decepticon Blackout changed right in the middle of a Middle East military base, and absolutely wastes everything. But then later when the Autobots assemble in the alleyway, the applause and cheering didn't really begin in earnest until Optimus Prime leaned down after the minute-long pan-and-scan transformation sequence and spoke. Then we all cheered together.
But it also had the earmarks of director Michael Bay as well. For example, I thought that the character design of Sam's parents was really the only low point I could find in the entire film; this is similar to some of the moments in "Armageddon". The scene in the bedroom with the +30'-tall Autobots 'dancing' around outside in the backyard to avoid being seen was funny (as it was intended to be), but the interaction between Sam and his parents was too forced, IMHO, to justify their confrontation even though it was necessary to add a little stress & humor to the search in the room. It was like they had no respect for him, and didn't trust Sam when he said everything was fine.
They should have had a line in there from Sam looking Prime right in the eye before the parents came in saying something to the effect of, 'You've been looking for the AllSpark for 10,000 years; I think that you can wait five more minutes.'
But then Bay redeems himself with the heart-tugging moment where Bumblebee is captured and pinned down by Sector 7. (*sniff* That was sad!)
The transformations themselves were like watching water in a river flowing through rapids- chaotic and beautifully crafted at the same time. They definitely have a Binaltech/Alternators feel to them- in that they are overly-complex in their changes to the point of ridiculousness, but again that is something that older collectors can appreciate all the more. The rumble-in-the-city climax (Abrams tank-turned-Decepticon Brawl is quickly becoming my favorite!) shared this in its choreography. And I'm also glad that none of the Cybertronians made back-steps to counter mass shifting like they always did in the past; it shows that no mater what they become, they are comfortable with themselves and know their bodies well in any shape.
I intentionally (and sometimes painfully!) held myself back [for a friggin' year!] from anything connected to spoilers so that I would have a fresh mind going in, and I was not let down. Only thing I might gripe about is the increased vulnerability built into the Cybertronians' bodies. Megs (aka Megatron) being frozen in ice for most of those 10,000 years shows this. I was reminded, however, of an episode in "Beast Wars" where the original Dinobot found himself in a glacier looking for a stasis pod alongside Optimus Primal, and commended with chattering teeth, "My servo fluids are within two degrees of crystallization!" Surely when (not "if"!) the sequel comes out, in order to retrieve the three larger Decepticons at the bottom of the Marianas Trench (good place for them!), a Cybertronian with deep-submergence capabilities will be needed. But regardless, I thought that all of them should have been relatively immune to humans' weapons, instead of early on finding out that "high-incendiary weapons" work on them; it kinda ruined that invulnerable/superior-construction/alien life form feeling that the series' have.
I mean, look at what happened to Jazz here-! That was unexpected! What's the point of introducing a field medic like Autobot Ratchet if he can't show the audience his skill in healing; all he really did in the movie was give Bumblebee back his voice at the very last minute! I mean, what the...!?
It was nice to see that, even though Megs didn't turn into a big cannon (instead, he changes into the Cybertronian-inspired jet), he did have a really big, powerful cannon that came out of his chest in the initial moves against Prime in the climax battle.
I give a big thumbs-up to this film. Well done!

One thing I would like to point out real quick is a discrepancy I found in the designs between the toy and movie Optimus Prime. (Like I said, I've avoided spoilers for the last year, including the toy reviews here.) The cannon on Prime's right arm on the toy does not appear in the movie. Instead, he has a long red/silver blade that shoots out from his right forearm. This is quite similar to the hand-held Energon sword he used in the '86 animated movie against Megs, but it is solid rather than being a 'beam sword'.

I know this is a bit off-topic, but... Is there another American-remake of Godzilla on the way...??? I saw a promo before "Transformers", but what else could be big enough to knock the Statue of Liberty around like that!?
CollectionDX Staff

EVA_Unit_4A's picture
Posted by EVA_Unit_4A on 10 July, 2007 - 18:47
Re: OP's gun SPOILER

Well, it's possible that Prime's blade was more memorable than the gun, and I just don't remember it being used. I've only seen [the movie] once, so I may not have registered it, being overwhelmed in a theater 'n all... S'like watching "Star Wars Ep.III" the first time- there's just sooooo much information that you just have to see it more than once to pick-up the details... whether it be a good film or not. I just find it odd that Prime uses a blade in the movie, but the toy [review] has a gun instead with no mention of the blade.
I do remember Ironhide and how trigger-happy he was; that was funny!
Something else that I may have missed was [police car] Decepticon Barricade's fate. Did he join the climax battle, or was his end left open intentionally; I can't remember...?
One thing I did miss that wasn't in there was some more banter/debate/argument between Megs and Starscream- I was expecting a little more play/friction between those two. All that happened to that effect was, right after penetrating the dam, Megs just called him an idiot.

BTW, did anyone stay for the credits? Did'ja see Starscream burn out of the atmosphere for space? Going for reinforcements [for a sequel]... or a coward's escape?
CollectionDX Staff

EVA_Unit_4A's picture
Posted by EVA_Unit_4A on 10 July, 2007 - 21:46
Excellent movie for fans and non-fans alike!!!!!

I have to admit, I'm a semi-fan of TF(cuz I haven't seen the old G1 cartoon or own a lot of TF figs), but the Transformers movie took me by surprise! At first I thought it was going to be a bad idea and hated the designs of the TF's, but the designs grew on me, and upon seeing the film, I really got into it! The action took me by surprise and was well done especially w/ the designs! At first I thought the plot was okay, but I didn't realize until now that the point of TF as well was an ordinary boy becomes a savior for mankind and Cybertronians.But for nitpicks, character development was kind of weak. Yeha we got to know how Sam's family was like and his girlfreind's history, but I feel Sam was the ONLY character that actually changed and no one else( I felt his girlfriend was just "there" in character).But this is probably the first movie in a potential trilogy. In conclusion, I recommend anyone fan or non-fan to watch this. It has comedy, action, and romance, as well as robots!!! I'm noticing non-fans like the film as well and it's great!!! Overall I give the movie a 5/5 for action and 4.5/5 for plot!

chogov9's picture
Posted by chogov9 on 10 July, 2007 - 22:08
Transformers and Cloverfield

I thought the movie was better than I initially thought it would be, but not as good as everyone is saying. It was funnier than I expected. I'm glad I saw it but I wouldn't see it again. Beyond the fact that it has giant robots, it didn't seem any better or worse than most other CGI-filled sci-fi action films.

They didn't show that trailer when I went, but apparently it's for a movie called "Cloverfield". While it sure did seem to be Godzilla (there is a new US film in the works), I've heard that this is actually something to do with Cthulu. Either way, it's definitely one to keep an eye on.

"This must be settled the way nature intended....with a vicious, bloody fight!"
Onyx Blackman
Principal, Flatpoint High

NekroDave's picture
Posted by NekroDave on 10 July, 2007 - 19:17
The World Will Believe Robots Can Save The World

Words cannot express the quality of this film.

Michael Bay's (spoiler free) Cameo Hint: B-52

Gunpla Rob's picture
Posted by Gunpla Rob on 10 July, 2007 - 21:10
Couldnt disagree more.

I think it’s great that people are flocking to see the new Transformers movie. It only widens the fan base and ensures a brighter future for a franchise that I have always had a soft spot for. I must say that I disagree with your opinion that the movie is better than the original cartoon. The original series was envisioned and written by talented cartoon and comic book writers who gave the robots personalities and relationships. It’s true that the quality of the G1 show was not always consistent, yet it deserves credit for taking more risks than any other cartoon I know. We are all entitled to our own opinions.

"Dinobots, destroy Devestator!"-Optimus Prime TFTM

Goldenage's picture
Posted by Goldenage on 11 July, 2007 - 00:56
Re: Couldnt disagree more.

I couldn't agree more with your disagreement. (huh?) ;)


I thought the original cartoon was fun...but since it's "just" a cartoon (animation being a medium children are used to), it's hard to be "visually spectacular". This movie tried to recreate that fun AND be visually spectacular. I think they sorta pulled it off.


I mean, honestly, I loved the first half. The humor was fun and innocent (except for Bernie Mac's miserable cameo--more on that later)...and the introduction of the Transformers was absolutely HUGE!


The second half seemed to be where everything went to the pooper. John Turturro's character was AWFUL. His inept villain dialog was so utterly out of place with all the humor that had previously been established. The previous humor was all situational and relied on well-delivered lines and silly situations. Turturro's character was like a bad stand-up comic, by contrast.


The hacker subplot was also horrendous. Why include it at all? Who knows. Gorgeous blonde hacker, huh? Oh--my mistake--"subject matter expert". Yeah. I felt like she and Mikaela just walked off a Maxim shoot.


As for the special effects, like I mentioned, in the first half, all the robots just seemed BIG! Their introductions were meant to look larger-than-life, and most of the shots involved wide-eyed humans for scale and impact. By the second half, however, the novelty wore off. I mean, you'd think things would get more exciting now that the robots were fighting, but I didn't really feel that way.


Sure, there were a few amazing shots like Megatron flying with Prime holding on through the building, and Ironhide using his cannons to vault over the screaming babe in the street. But for the most part, many sci-fi movie-goers are fairly spoiled. We're used to frenetic special effects there was little *wow* factor for me.


Oh, and as for the final fight, itself, "fujishig" of TBDX sums it up well: "The humans did most of the work. Ironhide and Ratchet took a nap for a large chunk of the final battle. Otherwise, Optimus gutted Bonecrusher, but Scorponok, frenzy, and Blackout were taken down entirely by humans. Brawl/Devastator was taken down by Bumblebee with human help. Megatron takes everything Optimus can dish out, then gets felled by human jets (though there is the possibility that Starscream fired on him) and a human."


That's kinda lame, doncha think? I mean, I woulda liked more...I be involved in the final fight. I mean, they got so few lines as it was throughout the movie. I know, I's supposed to be a human story now--not a robot one. But in this regard, I just feel like the original '86 movie, for example, was just more interesting. [Aside: and don't get me started on Sam just shoving the cube into Meg's chest to save the day!]


And there's one more important point that needs to be made about the movie. The racism. The writers certainly made some...interesting...choices for character development in the movie. Rather than rehash my entire argument, I'll just post this link to a blog entry that sums up my thoughts rather beautifully.


This may sound like I'm over-analyzing a 2-1/2 hour toy commercial, but it's NOT a case of over-analysis. I go into a movie expecting--hoping for, even--that 2-1/2 hour toy commercial. Along with it, though, I also get smacked with more than a few established negative racial stereotypes of people of color...while the white characters and robots(?) are relatively normal [sure, Turturro's blithering gov't stooge is far from normal--quite annoying, in fact--but his character also isn't an established racial stereotype].


Anyway, give that blog entry a read. If you have feelings/thoughts about it, tell someone. Seriously. Pretty much every person of color I mention this movie to had the same response...yet very few of my white friends did. Hmmm. I'm guessing it's not a coincidence! ;)


But all in all, don't get it twisted: sure, there was unexpected racism and other annoying factors like I mentioned above...but I still feel that the movie was VASTLY better than I had originally expected when the film was first announced. I'd say the movie was aiight...a must-see, to be sure...not a BAD movie...just not a particularly good one. I got to see it with Nekrodave, who introduced me to my first drive-in theater experience! That, alone, made the trip WELL worth it (along with seeing TF in a double-feature with Live Free or Die Hard!).



Sanjeev's picture
Posted by Sanjeev on 11 July, 2007 - 11:00
I agree with your agreement

I agree with your agreement of my disagreement. I also noticed some of the character choices which you mentioned. In terms of the finale, is it me or were there robots standing around doing nothing in the final action sequence?

. "Dinobots, destroy Devestator!"-Optimus Prime TFTM

Goldenage's picture
Posted by Goldenage on 11 July, 2007 - 12:33
Nice point about the racism.

Nice point about the racism. I sometimes think you're a little overly sensitive to stereotypes, but it's certainly warranted here. Each instance taken on it's own probably isn't too bad, but when you've got so many in one film, it's tough to ignore.

Fortunately, later that night Tuvok hit the screen to show how to act without black stereotypes (or personality of ANY kind)! LOL

"This must be settled the way nature intended....with a vicious, bloody fight!"
Onyx Blackman
Principal, Flatpoint High

NekroDave's picture
Posted by NekroDave on 11 July, 2007 - 13:51
transformer movie

Maybe I read too many books or something but the movie was the tale of two cities, 1st half was well written and interesting the second half was absurd and pointless...anyone else have a problem with them taking the Cube to the city for pick up or just constant fighting with no plot, it was like the writers got fired half way through production and they let a 10 year old finish directing, ala-matrix 3--fire, fire, have crazy situations happen, then I was laughing at was megatron talking to sam instead of killing him and grabbing the cube...

AJProDie-Cast's picture
Posted by AJProDie-Cast on 11 July, 2007 - 21:10
Finally Saw it...

Finally got out to see the movie last night with the wife - she actually really liked it.

Overall, I liked the movie a lot. I thought it was well done, fun, and entertaining.

I do agree with a lot of the criticism stated above. The hacker subplot was useless, both Jon Voight and John Tuturro's characters were worthless. The plot point about taking the cube into the city.. WHY?!?! that was just stupid.

But this is not a movie that you want to over-think. It's not citizen Kane, and it's not going to win any awards for acting. If you come into the movie expecting giant robots smashing each other, you wont be let down. The CGI was great, and I thought the music choices were excellent.

Of course, I have some additional criticisms. Like many others, the new designs grew on me. But I found that they were animated so busily that it was hard to get a good sense of what most of them looked like because none of them seemed to stand still. Aside from Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron, you really don't get a whole good look at any of the designs. I feel I am only familiar with them because of the toy designs. I wish they would have slowed down a little and given some more face time with the robots. This goes even moreso for the Decepticons. I just remember these cool whirling masses of steel and sparks, but for the life of me, I can't tell you one face from the other, aside from Megatron. Megatron was unleashed too late in the movie, and the ever classic rivalry between Megatron and Starscream was hardly used. Also, Megatron's jet mode was only seen from far away and in short bursts.

I thought the plot point with Sam and the Allspark was pretty dumb as well. Yeah, lets give the source of life for all Transformers to a small, flesh creature, and then give him the task to somehow evade the most powerful Transformer there is. Of course, I also thought it was stupid for Megatron to try and "bargain" with Sam to get the cube? Just kill him and take it! How is it that he has been frozen for 70 years but still knows the stupid villain cliche's?

And in response to Sanjeev's cries of racism, I see your point on a few sides. But also, lets not overlook the white stereotypes - the wealthy white family obsessed with their lawns and their little dog. The bumbling incompetent White bureaucrat. The Spoiled guido with the spinning rims. The nerdy teacher with glasses. I haven't read the angryblackwoman's rant, but I saw some positive black stereotypes as well. How about a black guy being the worlds best computer hacker? How about the black military guy? I'm not saying those make up for the inequalities, but it wasn't all bad. And what about the Asians? In a movie about Giant robots (which originally were derived from Japanese toy designs), there were no Asian characters. In fact the only mention of the Japanese is Sam questioning the Autobots country of origin. How about a hot white chick being one of the best hackers in the country?

The film was not made with that kind of sensitivity in mind, and I think if you go into that with that mindset, you will be fine. I mean, it's a movie about giant transforming robots, not a spike lee film.

The film also left me with a few unanswered questions. Why dissolve Sector 7? They obviously know a lot about the Transformers, and as they said, they derived all of our modern technology from them. Does the general public know about the Transformers now? During the fight in the city and on the dam, they hardly kept a low profile. If that is the case, why maintain a vehicle disguise? If the allspark is gone, does that mean no new Transformers can be created? How did Sam know that the Allspark would create an energy beam that would "overload" megatron?

So yeah, I had some faults with it, but in all it was a fun time. Go see it, just don't expect to have to use a lot of brainpower.

CollectionDX Admin

JoshB's picture
Posted by JoshB on 13 July, 2007 - 08:58
Just to be clear...

Josh, I agree with some of the other faults you've brought up, though I felt that many of these silly plot oversights (i.e., running into the city to "hide" the Allspark, Megatron's cliched villainness, etc.) could be forgiven because it was supposed to be a light, fun movie.


And as for my "cries" of racism, I know you, in particular, don't mean anything by the term...but it is a tad telling, isn't it? I mean, don't you find it curious that whenever a person of color tries to bring up a rational discussion of racism in order to raise dialog about something a bit off, it's viewed as "crying" by white people?


You've mentioned some other "stereotypes" of white characters in the movie. I'm honestly not so convinced that those are established negative racial much as fictional character archetypes that happen to be tired and banal. Can you honestly say that the stereotypes of those white characters you've mentioned are even remotely as racially-charged as those for the characters of color? Come on.


Sure, the black soldier wasn't so bad...but everyone else. Yikes! By the way, there WAS an Asian in the movie: the Indian phone support guy...who happened to be grossly insensitive and incompetent. Wonderful.


Seriously, give that blog entry a read. I noticed you referred to it as a "rant". Again, I'm sure you don't mean anything by that turn of phrase, but it's worth mentioning that it's hardly a rant. It's a measured, logical reaction from someone who wasn't expecting to be blindsided by pretty obvious racial stereotyping in a supposedly innocent movie.


But you're right that what we're discussing is far from a Spike Lee joint. I was certainly NOT expecting socially-conscious commentary from this movie! I was expecting big robots banging the crap outta each other...and for the most part, the movie delievered. It's just that, as is often the case with racism, ya just don't see it coming. Here I am, enjoying some nice alien robots bashing each other...then the minstrel show starts...



Sanjeev's picture
Posted by Sanjeev on 13 July, 2007 - 14:03
Y'know, they really aren't bad...

I was talking to my buddy the other day about the special effects in the TF movie--he was complaining about them going WAY too fast during the fight scenes, and there being just too many details flying around the screen to understand what was going on.


I've seen this effect before: Aliens Vs. Predator. By no means a "good" movie, to be sure! ;) But the whole damn thing was really dark and during the fights, you got to see flashes of...stuff...and a couple alien blood squirts.


Now, AVP came on tv the other day (don't ask why I was watching it!) when I noticed something: the action sequences were significantly more enjoyable than I remembered them being in the theater. It took me about a minute to realize it was simply because I could tell what the hell was going on!!


Just having all the action condensed down onto a small screen, I was able to take everything in and follow all the bone-crushing, human-slicing, alien-exploding action. It was actually pretty damn cool! (Not that I'd ever consider buying AVP...*ahem*)


As my buddy and I were discussing this, we began to wonder if a) the film effects editors are going over the shots over and over again just on small monitors (so they know the action inside and out...while never getting its incoherent effect on a big screen)....OR b) they're simply optimizing the film for home theater experience (banking on dvd sales, rather than movie ticket sales).



Sanjeev's picture
Posted by Sanjeev on 13 July, 2007 - 16:56
"Cries" "A public or general demand or complaint".

Sanjeev, this is exactly what I mean when I say you can be a little oversensitive. You're seeing racism where there is no racism to be seen. The word used in that context is perfectly appropriate. Complaining about racial stereotypes in a movie is not "crying", but nit-picking over this type of vocabulary is, imo. It's the sort of thing that makes me dismissive of ones entire opinion (speaking in general terms, not your complaint about this movie in particular.) I mean, if someone chooses to find negativity in something that is not inherently negative, well, to quote Theo Epstein "That says more about you than it does about me." :)

"This must be settled the way nature intended....with a vicious, bloody fight!"
Onyx Blackman
Principal, Flatpoint High

NekroDave's picture
Posted by NekroDave on 14 July, 2007 - 12:31

Sorry it's taken so long to reply, guys! It's actually funny--for those who don't know, Atom, Nekrodave, JoshB, and I are good friends offline. We've all had discussions like this--in person. I can imagine it'd be kinda weird for causal readers here to see such a discussion among seemingly random people on a website's comment sections!


Anyway, I see your point about sensitivity, Nekrodave. I feel you. I've always made it a point to be real about oppression: all folks need to work on racism or internalized racism. I'm no exception and "sensitivity" is certainly one part of my internalized racism (can ya really blame a person of color for that?). When it comes to bringing up something I see as being racist, I've been accused of being trigger happy before. But if I'm "trigger happy", then the challenge I put forth to my white friends is to take an honest look at yourselves to see if you're "gun shy"! ;) My experience has generally been that the latter often out-weighs for former.


Just like Nekrodave and I were saying just the other day: white folks want to be able to hang out with people of color without having to worry about every little thing they say...and people of color want to be able to hang out with white people without being afraid to bring up racism, which is a harsh reality in our lives.


Anyway, I was trying to be clear above when I responded to Josh's post: I know him pretty damn well. Y'know, he was the very first guy I ever met among the Boston-area toy collectors! I'm not confused about him or our friendship! I DID want to raise dialog about the particular language he used. I've encountered actual bigots who used those sorts of words before, and I simply wanted to make it clear how those words come off in general to people of color.


I certainly know Josh doesn't take my comments as "cries" or "rants". He's sharp: he is open-minded, he asks tough questions, and he's not afraid to share his thinking. But if a random white guy just walked up to me and called what I was saying about racism "crying" or "ranting", I'd be very insulted. That's all I was trying to say, and I wanted it to be clear to casual readers here.


Awww...I luv ya guys, ya racist pricks!! Hahaa!! ;)



Anyway, what I *really* find interesting is that not a single hardcore Transfan has hopped aboard to comment on the film's gross disregard for ANY of the existing TF lore. I have a buddy who's pretty hardcore into TF and comics. After seeing FF2 this summer, he couldn't stop telling me how miserable the movie was...NOT because of poor acting, trite plot elements, or uninspired special effects--but because it simply violated so much of what had been established about the Silver Surfer and Galactus in the books! Ironically, after seeing TF, he just complained about the basic bad film elements that've been brought up before--nothing about the Matrix of Leadership, Primus, Vector Sigma, etc...


Go figure!


Oh, and Atom: I, too, hope to hell they release an extended DVD edition akin to the LotR films. Just like TF, I found the theatrical releases of LotR pretty *meh*...but I adore the extended DVD editions. They just make so much more sense and flow so much better. An extended DVD of TF could add much-needed humor to the second half...and more action involving some of the other robots in the final battle. Here's to hoping!



Sanjeev's picture
Posted by Sanjeev on 19 July, 2007 - 22:36
Alas, alas...

It seems that the flowing of metal and Energon in American cinema wasn't quite enough to win an Academy Award. (Has a Michael Bay film ever received/been nominated for an Oscar? "Pearl Harbor", perhaps?) The 2008 awards show has probably ended by the time I'm writing this. Transformers was nominated for three awards:

  • Best Achievement in Sound (went to "The Bourne Ultimatum")
  • Best Achievement in Sound Editing (went to "The Bourne Ultimatum")
  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects (went to "The Golden Compass")

As Louis Wu once said, "Tanj!".

(I bet a lotta people are scratching their heads over how box office-flop "The Golden Compass" got that one... So am I! )

Well, at least Jon Voight didn't earn it a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor, eh? (He was up for four different films in this same category for 2007!) But let's also hope it gains a little more respect in the Saturn Awards- where it's up for Best Science-Fiction Film and Best Special Effects. (Considering the crowd it's up against, I'm betting on the latter.)
CollectionDX Staff

EVA_Unit_4A's picture
Posted by EVA_Unit_4A on 24 February, 2008 - 23:40
1 word alone

it was awsome got it on dvd fav charater strascream he could of had more dialoge and arguments with megatron

jordanB's picture
Posted by jordanB on 9 May, 2008 - 15:08

love it over 7 swear words wishglen did actuly say mother f£*$%r

jordanB's picture
Posted by jordanB on 9 May, 2008 - 15:12