"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SNMR 7.11: "Transformers"

Before we begin: Happy 10th birthday, M!!

Since M's birthday happens to fall on a Saturday this year, I decided to let him pick the movie that I would review for today's column. He did a good job. Thanks, M.

GREEN'S PLEASE DON'T RUIN MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES REVIEW:

"I bought a car. Turned out to be an alien robot. Who knew?" deadpans Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), a slacker high school kid trying to raise cash to buy a car, by selling his grandfather's possessions at school and on eBay. Driving his "new" Camaro, he attracts the attention of Mikaela (Megan Fox), a super hot popular girl at school. Turns out one of his grandfather's possessions is more important than he realizes. Because of this, Sam is sought out by two groups of sentient robot aliens who have been at war for centuries in a quest to posses the All-Spark, a life giving cube of power.

Elsewhere, the Defense Department computer system is being hacked at the highest levels during a cover up attack on a US Military base in Qatar. The Secretary of Defense, John Keller (Jon Voight) recruits a team of young computer experts, led by Maggie (Rachael Taylor) and her friend Glen (Anthony Anderson) to help stop the hackers.

Optimus Prime and the Autobots, along with Sam and Mikaela, join forces with Maggie, Glen, Secretary Keller and the survivors of the Qatar military base attack to battle Megatron and his evil Decepticons to try and prevent them from getting the All-Spark.

I'll freely admit that I purposefully stayed away from this movie during its theatrical run two years ago because I really didn't think that it would be any good. Plus, I remembered watching the Transformers cartoons as a kid in the mid 1980's and owning many of the toys and didn't want to ruin the nostalgia of it.

This past summer, M asked me if we could see the sequel in the theater. I reminded him that we hadn't seen the first movie, so what would be the point of seeing the sequel first? Coincidentally, around that time I happened to be shopping with V and M at one of the stores where I buy a lot of my DVD's and saw the two disc version of Transformers for around $10. I knew that was a good price and, bowing to my weakness for inexpensive DVD's, caved and bought it.

We watched it that night and thought it was cool. Somewhat grudgingly I had to admit that I was impressed. With Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay as executive producers and with Bay directing, I should have realized this would be a well made and fun movie. The special effects, especially the mind-blowing transformations of the robots into their earthly vehicular forms and back again, are stellar.

The screenplay, written by ALIAS alums Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, has a better than expected storyline, hailing back to the 1980's cartoons. We get a good back story while bringing out the human elements. Of course, with a special effects laden movie like this, the story and actors play second fiddle to the CGI action sequences, battle sequences and explosions, which the actors generally acknowledge.

The cast has a good mix of veteran actors and up and coming stars who work well together. One thing I thought was very cool - that the same actor who voiced Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) for the 1980's cartoon was brought back as the voice of Prime in this movie, further linking the animated and live action versions.

The special features DVD has some excellent behind the scenes interviews with many of the cast and crew mixed with short featurettes on how some of the scenes were created. I always enjoy this stuff and would have liked to see more of it on the disc.


**** out of *****

Transformers (2007, PG-13, 143 minutes), starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Anhony Anderson and Peter Cullen (voice). Story by John Rogers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Screenplay by Roberto Orci and Robert Kurtzman. Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay. Directed by Michael Bay.

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