Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Than Meets The Eye


A big "sorry I didn't listen to you sooner" shout-out to the readers who had encouraged me to go see Transformers when it was in theaters this summer. I finally watched it on DVD and thought it was awesome - I bet on the big screen it was that much better.

The first twenty minutes or so of this movie had me absolutely captivated. The action never really let up, but that opening scene was the best I've come across in a long time. WOW.

For those of you who never played with the Transformer toys back in the day, they are basically cars and trucks that "transform" into either evil or good robots. Robots that can talk and kick ass, that is! The good guys are called Autobots and are led by gruff-voiced Optimus Prime. The bad guys are Decepticons and are led by meanie Megatron. Can you see why I was more than a little skeptical about how the movie would be?

Anyway, in the big-screen version, the Transformers have come to Earth for reasons I will not give away. The good ones team up with a nerdy high schooler played by Shia LaBeouf, who just so happens to befriend the hottest girl in school (played by Megan Fox) while all the drama is unfolding. Then you've got Josh Duhamel playing an Army officer based in the Middle East whose team keeps getting attacked by the alien robots. Trust me, it works. The fact that everyone in the movie is a decent actor helps greatly.

The thing I couldn't get over in this film was how extraordinary the special effects were. I'm going to make a statement that is sure to cause gasps of shock and possible outrage, but I'm going to proclaim that the effects in Transformers were even better than those in the Lords of the Rings trilogy. Because despite how life-like Gollum looked in those movies and how cool some of the battles and sets were, there were more than a few scenes where I can remember thinking, "That looks fake." I never thought that once in Transformers. When the machines were transfiguring between robots and cars, it was mesmerizing. Whoever worked on the CGI needs a raise! When I walk my dog at night now, I'm glancing around nervously at all the parked cars lining the street because I think they may rise up and squash us, that's how real the effects were! Or maybe that's just how crazy I am.

There are definitely some cheesy parts in the 143 minutes, and times when I caught myself thinking, "I can't believe I'm engrossed in a movie about the toys my brother used to play with over 20 years ago!" or "I feel kind of silly sitting here watching all these monster truck robots talk to each other." But as IGN critic Todd Gilchrist said best, Transformers is "one of the few instances where it's OK to enjoy something for being smart and dumb at the same time, mostly because it's undeniably also a whole lot of fun."

When I was looking at the movie's web site, I found this awesome thing - similar to the Snakes On a Plane site where you could have Samuel L. Jackson call a friend, you can have Optimus Prime call someone! I tried it out and listened to the message and was dying laughing. So, if you want to scare the crap out of anyone in particular, have Optimus Prime give them a ring.

Until today, I was not aware that there are already plans for a 2009 sequel, with all of the main cast members on board. Since I don't have a car, I'm a little less worried about being abducted or chased by a vehicle that is actually an evil Decepticon. But for those of you who do have cars, I would treat your wheels a bit more nicely, just in case.

- e

3 comments:

cynthia said...

i've been meaning to watch the dvd my fiance just bought of transformers because everyone i know loved it. his best friend even had optimus prime call us the other night and it was hilarious. guess i really need to watch it ASAP!

CHRISTA said...

YAYY! I'M GLAD YOU FINALLY SAW IT AND AGREED. YES, I'M THE ONE WHO KEPT SAYING HOW GREAT IT WAS. I SAW IT TWICE IN THE THEATER AND HAVE ALREADY WATCHED THE DVD TWICE SINCE I BOUGHT IT THE DAY IT CAME OUT! EVERY TIME I WATCHED IT, I SAW SOMETHING I DIDN'T BEFORE. I TOO, WAS TOO OLD WHEN THE TOYS CAME OUT (BACK IN THE DAY) AND NEVER DREAMED I'D EVEN LIKE THIS MOVIE, BUT IT'S GOT SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE-AWESOME SPECIAL EFFECTS, HUMOR, ROMANCE, ACTION...AND SHIA DID A GREAT JOB! I READ SOMEWHERE THAT MICHAEL BAY SAID HE WASN'T DOING A SECOND ONE BECAUSE OF PARAMOUNT NOT PUTTING THE FIRST ONE OUT ON BLU-RAY DISC, HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT IT?

e said...

Christa -

Yes, Michael Bay is definitely "in." He gave this interview to E! Online just last week:

http://www.eonline.com/movies/reelgirl/detail/index.jsp?uuid=03ff539b-dffa-4d60-ad7b-084f510128a7

(If the link doesn't work, just trust me, he's doing it). It is scheduled for 2009 still.

Yay!

- e