Transformers and Friends

Last modified on July 8th, 2007

Today I met a few people down at the Paramount Theatre to watch the new Transformers movie. Rebecca, John Bollwitt, John Biehler and a few others (from the Facebook group we set up) all showed up to hear the infamous “cho-choo-cho-choo” transformation sound, and see Optimus up on the big screen again.

Rebecca Simpson, waiting to see the Transformers

What we immediately commented on is that despite 21 people replying and saying they were coming, only seven or so showed up. After discussing it for a while, we sort of came to the conclusion that it’s pretty easy to just accept an invitation on Facebook and then forget about it. Or perhaps people just get too many and it’s hard to keep up with them? Not entirely sure.. Maybe everyone just accepts everything they think they might show up to — “helping Duane move at 6am on a Saturday, you bet I’ll be there.”

Oh well, it was still a fun time. The movie was actually alot bigger than I thought it would be. I expected to see Optimus Prime and a few other transformers, but didn’t really expect them to be, well, like the cartoon Transformers they were. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Transformers storyline flushed out, and have the characters resemble, in spirit at least, the characters they used to be in the cartoon. The last time anyone really saw Optimus Prime (if you ignore a few resurrections in the cartoons) was his death in the 1986 Transformers Movie. Peter Cullen remarked after that they until that moment, he really had no idea just how popular Optimus Prime was.

When Optimus first shows up in the movie, crash landing after receiving a distress signal, and driving up to the main characters in the middle of the night, it really brought back old memories from the cartoon. It was great seeing him back on the big screen, fighting with honour, talking about how their race was as messed up as humans were long ago.

I found the editing rather sloppy however. Several plot threads are woven but never end up going anywhere. Scorponok attacks a base in Qatar, gets injured, and then disappears for the remainder of the movie. Megan Fox stops her vehicle at one point, looks upset, then suddenly does something completely different. The romance between the two main characters doesn’t entirely seem believable, but hey, as long as they had fun on top of that car at the end I guess it’s ok.

The special effects were pretty unbelievable. You actually believe you are seeing cars transform, walk and talk. They fit into their surroundings as well as 20 feet tall robot swould, that is crashing and wrecking things wherever they go.

I really liked the show actually, and I’d love to see them do another one with the holes in the first one kept in mind. I actually think it’s a really great series, and it’s promising that they didn’t screw the pooch completely with it. Even Rober Ebert gave it three stars, wishing he could in fact give it four:

Everything comes down to an epic battle between the Transformers and the Decepticons, and that’s when my attention began to wander, and the movie lost a potential fourth star. First let me say that the robots, created by Industrial Light and Magic, are indeed delightful creatures; you can look hard and see the truck windshields, hubcaps and junkyard stuff they’re made of. And their movements are ingenious, especially a scorpionlike robot in the desert. (Little spider robots owe something to the similar creatures in Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” and we note he is a producer of this movie.) How can a pickup truck contain enough mass to unfold into a towering machine? I say if Ringling Brothers can get 15 clowns into a Volkswagen, anything is possible.

The ending leaves open multiple opportunities for a sequel, the first of which is Optimus putting a signal into space, calling all Autobots to come to earth, and the second (which I missed but read about later) is a quick shot of Starscream at the end jetting out into space (apparently everyone forgot about him). So, I hope they make enough money that they’d at least consider a sequel.

2 responses to “Transformers and Friends”

  1. Beth says:

    I never watch the Transformer cartoons when I was a kid, but I loved playing with my friend’s brothers Transformer toys. And I really, really enjoyed the movie. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a sequel too!

  2. […] of seeing a killer futbol match this past Saturday, Rebecca and I caught the flick with Duane, John, and Travis downtown in a surprisingly half-full theatre. That only strikes me based on the […]

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