Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Trans"morph"ers

You guys. I had the hardest time writing about Transformers for Zoom In. (An assignment) Damn... it defeated me. I didn't even take one note. I tried to put myself in what I assume to be the right frame of mind --nostalgia about the autobots. But even that I could only half muster. The names Optimus Prime (the hero) and Megatron (the villain) were familiar but their numerous sidekicks were not. I was a teenager when the Transformers craze hit in the 80s so I'm a smidgeon too old for it. Still I tried: Before attending the movie I even played with a toy I was given many years ago by a friend.


I realize that it's not strictly speaking a Transformer toy but it's inspired by. Three yellow letters ...once you start fiddling with them, their parts fold open, pop out, and spin in surprise ways until they’re suddenly robots. I always loved them (they've been on my desk forever)

Even though I never got into The Transformers I did understand the joy of seeing a familiar object such as a truck morph into a fantasy object such as an alien robot. It's like magic only not since it's real. You can actually see the parts shifting until they form something else. An ingenious bit of construction that. But I couldn't get into the movie. The movie doesn't even capitalize on that simple thrill from its source material. You can't really see the transformations happening, other than in the standard CGI morphing sense. The robots might as well have been made of liquid medal like the T-1000 in Terminator 2 for all the speedy closeup shapeshifting.

A 'hell yeah!' from the audience I saw it with I freely admit. A 'hmmm, meh' from me. C / C+
(leaning towards a plus on account of Shia the Boy Wonder, arguably not since a certain ship sank has an actor so charismatically avoided being humiliated by horrific dialogue)

12 comments:

Marius said...
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Marius said...

Yeah, Shia LaBeouf is a rising star. There's no doubt about that. I'm slowly but surely falling in love with the guy. :)

I haven't seen the movie, but I've read that it may actually be Michael Bay's best film thus far. Um, yeah! Nothing complicated, just a fun summer movie.

Rob said...

Hm. I'd actually argue it's his WORST movie so far, but probably his most compulsively watchable. This movie is a tremendous piece of shit, but morbidly fascinating.

Kamikaze Camel said...

On Shia - He's a major cutie and I'm glad he's the latest hot thing because I've liked him since Holes (I occasionally think to myself "I should've nominated him for my awards in 2003")

On Transformers - Well, I wrote about it on my blog. It's proposterous, yes, but everyone involves knows it. And yes it's flawed, there are plot holes the size of a mack truck, but I'll be damned if it wasn't the most fun I've had at one of these big Hollywood movies in a long time. Yes, it's not about anything, but I'd rather it not be about anything and be content with it being a wild entertaining two hours, than have it attempt to be about something about turn into a grossly depressing character study. I just went in, enjoyed the stunts, the action, the transforming, the humour, the fact that cars are turning into robots and I had a blast.

It really did remind me of how I felt when I was younger and I saw Independence Day (funnily enough) at the cinema. Granted, I sort of hate that movie now, but that doesn't matter. I felt giddy and pumped up and all that jazz.

It's not trying to revolutionise anything, it's just a good time. And I know it's not cool anymore to be all excited about special effects, but those effects were astounding.

Anyway, that's enough. I'm just glad there's a movie that I liked instead of outright hate (Spider-Man 3) or am completely passive about (Pirates 3).

(sorry for being so long)

Anonymous said...

I'm a child of the 80's, so as much as I want to revel in a blast from my childhood with "Transformers" the movie, the adult in me sees this cast (MEH), this director (hack), and this serious, live-action take on something that shouldn't be so serious, and I'm left with a dilemma. Normally for crappy summer films, I'd just wait for it to air on cable or maybe see the DVD, but this is that kind of film that should be seen in theatres with a receptive audience. But that's also $9 out of my pocket for something that could really suck. Oh well, I'll read some more reviews and decide by Saturday.

Beau said...

shia was spectacular in this picture. i did not see that coming at all. your comment in comparison with leo might not be too far off, nat.

Luke said...

Oh. My. God. I have my own bunch of those "letterbots", too! E, L, O, T and V. (Not that they spell anything.) They've been among my favourite toys since as far as I can remember. I think I might have even believed they were actual Transformers when I was vewy little. =)

JP said...

Just got back. Boy was it bad. My review is up on my blog, if anyone cares.

Kamikaze Camel said...

"the adult in me sees this cast (MEH), this director (hack), and this serious, live-action take on something that shouldn't be so serious"

Just be thankful that none of the characters in this movie need serious psychiatric therapy like so many other characters in big budget movies lately.

And at least the cast here wasn't swallowed whole by some big inflated megastar that costs $20mil to hire when the people are only going to see cars that turn into robots.

Piper said...

I don't know what to think of all this. I have heard it's incredible from some but the word leading up to it was that it's awful. I'm going to see it sometime this weekend and then I will know more.

But I have to say that LaBeouf bugs. Not sure why, but he bugs.

Marius said...
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Marius said...

I just saw Transformers and I agree 100% with your review over at Zoom In.

Rc, I think you may be right, this may be Bay's worst film.

I was not impressed, but I still love Shia!