One of my major childhood fantasies, among cars and firearms, were robots. After watching countless Japanese robot serials and plans to buy those plastic kits from Bandai, I formed an imaginary 10-metre tall robot in my mind. He would always be around me, keeping me safe from harm, bullies and sometimes school.
When the first movie trailer came out last year for Transformers, I was excited like an electro-mechanical arm on an over-charged actuator. I could not imagine how cool and realistic director Michael Bay would bring my childhood robot heroes to life and among realistic scenes. Would it be completely computer animated? Luckily, that was not so…
Sacrificing my wife’s precious spa time (thank you baby!), I caught what is definitely one of my top five movies on 11 July 2007. It rocked and I was blown away!
The movie introduced a young man called Sam Witwicky who became involved in a war between alien robots from a distant planet Cybertron. He meets up with Bumblebee, disguised as a 1977 Chevrolet Camaro, who introduces him to the rest of his crew, the Autobots, including their leader Optimus Prime, a Peterbilt truck. Meanwhile, the evil Decepticons managed to track Sam, who is wanted by both sides as he holds the coordinates to the Allspark cube, an object of immense power that could change the fate of planet Earth. Sam later gets help from his crush, Mikaela Banes, US Army Special Ops soldiers, Department of Defense people, and several computer hackers to keep the Allspark from landing into the wrong robotic hands.
The computer graphics, meticulously rendered by Industrial Light and Magic, were very high quality and natural. One scene had Bumblebee at an industrial site moving and changing into the Camaro very realistically. I liked the natural movements of the Autobots when they were at Sam’s house, very likely done using live motion capture.
Try to get cinema seats at the back though, because most of the animation were at close shots, making it difficult to watch if you sit too close. The energy cannons and slow motion / kung fu styled shots are very cool and realistic. Excellent to keep a special edition DVD in the near future. ;)
Bumblebee developed a likeable character similar to the original cartoon series where he was very close to humans, but they decided to make his voice disabled for most of the movie. Optimus Prime was grand and realistic in his usual way, making him a very accessible hero that adults and kids will idolize. I was disappointed that Megatron did not morph into the Walther P38 pistol but an alien jet, but I guess it would make the Decepticons’ interaction in the movie restrictive. As a child, I loved to watch Decepticon Soundwave for his metallic monotonous voice, but he was not included in this movie.
Not to worry, as it has been confirmed that at least one sequel is planned in the future, which will definitely break movie records that this one has already set. Although it has become a very successful release for Dreamworks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, it is still a guy movie and for fans of the cartoon series. There are enough explosions, guns, vehicles, and military stuff than executive producer Steven Spielberg had ever been involved in. As such, I wouldn’t recommend kids below the age of 3 to watch, as they may get overly excited and violent after watching.
Of course, after watching the robot movie, I couldn’t miss checking out the merchandise like the toy collections from Hasbro and the video game. Check out the link below for lots of very impressive computer animation from “Transformers: The Game”. My possible target is the detailed and beautifully sculpted Bumblebee Unleashed figure, unless Sideshow Toys decides to take on the Transformers series with metal sculptures of the robots (hint!!!).
This movie deserves five Allspark cubes for a good balance of action, humour and drama, almost perfect and very realistic computer animation, impressive sound effects, and an enjoyable soundtrack. Even my boy adores the robots – he’s got Jazz and Barricade!
Internet Movie Database – Transformers
Wikipedia – The Transformers
Gametrailers.com – Transformers: The Game