Published on July 9th, 2007 | by Chris1
(insert that funky mechanical sound here...)
I know what you're thinking. "Why are you posting a review of a film like Transformers on a War Movie Reviews site??!!!" The answer is simple, but takes a bit of explaining... "More than meets the eye" indeed! I should start off by saying that I never owned a Transformers toy in my life (really!) and didn't care much for the cartoon series... but none of that matters now!
The movie starts off at a fictitious military base in present day Qatar, where the evil Blackout attacks and hacks into the government network. From this point it was clear to me that I had to post up this review here. The action here is amazing, if a bit on the hokey side (hey it is Michael Bay after all.) Blackout's goal is to find the location of an ancient plot device energy source called "The Cube" or in TF jargon, "The All-Spark" that will enable the evil Decepticons to revive their long-lost leader Megatron and take over the universe.
Of course the benevolent Autobots have arrived to prevent this from happening. The result is a movie packed with more military hardware, war-room scenarios, and arguing generals than you can shake a rubik's cube at.
From the initial attack in Qatar, filled with flying tanks (do tanks bounce when thrown?) and small arms fire, the military action moves to a nearby village where the sand-digging TF (anyone have a name? I didn't catch it!) makes a last stand against a group of soldiers, and is nearly destroyed by a pair of A-10 Warthogs making a rather convincing low altitude run. Any time you get to see a pair of 'hogs doing their dirty work is a bonus in my book.
Then they call in the venerable AC-130 to finish it off, and amazingly they seem to get some of the details right! Circling around raining hot molten death on the alien menace, the Spectre blows a section of its tail off before it makes its underground escape. The battle is an intense one, with bits of nearby buildings exploding in flurries of cement shrapnel.
The final battle brings yet more military hardware into play, including an appearance by the Air Force's latest weapon, the F-22 Raptor. Of course the evil Star Scream has assumed this same identity, and takes down a few on his rampage.
There's lots of small arms action everywhere as well, but the big battle scenes are actually quite impressive in their carnage and destruction. If you want to call it that.
The rest of the story? Well, you know. It's your typical formula Hollywood fare. Boy meets (smoking hot) girl, they drive a robot car, get into adventures, that sort of thing. Throw in a dash of Area 51-ish top secret government agencies, a bit of nonsensical computer hackery (what was all that anyway? was it even needed?) and you've got a new action classic.
I will say this: This movie was definitely made for the stereotypical child of the 80's, like myself who are now in their 30s. I wouldn't recommend taking small children to see it, though. It's just a bit intense during the combat scenes, there is some language and a couple of scenes that might take some, well, explaining ("Mom!")
The only gripes I have about this movie relate to some of the robot battle scenes. The action is so fast paced and frenetic that the complex CG models of the TFs seem to disappear in a blur. It becomes really difficult to make out exactly what is going on. Even on the big screen.
And speaking of the CG, all I can say is wow. How cool was that?! I can't imagine the work that went into the modeling here, let alone the transformation sequences. The detail and complexity of each model is simply incredible.
So if you can put away your preconceptions of this movie and the franchise (what does this say about our society, when a 20-year old cartoon that was made to sell toys becomes a big-budget feature...), and enjoy watching modern military hardware duke it out with fantastic alien robots who double as everyday vehicles... then get out and watch this!! It's an excellent excuse to spend a Sunday afternoon at the movies munching some corn.
I'm giving this an 8/10. It could have been higher but I thought they put in *way* too many pop-culture references and product placements, almost to the point of being corny (The TF's browse eBay? And learned to speak from the Web? What?) Those will date this film severely in the long run.
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Summary: So if you can put away your preconceptions of this movie and the franchise, and enjoy watching modern military hardware duke it out with fantastic alien robots... then get out and watch this!!