Friday, July 06, 2007

Better Know A Movie: Transformers

Warning: this movie is about giant robots from outer space that transform into various vehicles and machines. It's also based on a line of toys from the 80's. If either one of those things bother you, please stop reading now!

While I'm firmly aware that Transformers is probably too low-brow for the lawyer Dudes (and honestly, The Dude probably helped make the toys when he was a kid and Head Dude probably made money selling them to other kids), I still have hope that Undude will love this movie. I've always considered myself the Committee's man of the people at any rate, and this is entertainment for the masses at its finest.

The setup is fairly similar to the 80's cartoon: the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons have been waging a long war that eventually devastated their home world of Cybertron. Their attention has turned to Earth because the All-Spark, the one thing that can turn the tide of their war, crashed here years ago. Armed with ridiculous amounts of firepower and the ability to blend in by changing forms to mimic human technology, the next stage of their battle is about to begin here, much to the initial dismay of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) - a descendant of the first human to make contact with the mechanical aliens.

That's really all you need to know, as this is not a film aiming for the Oscar crowd. It's a popcorn movie for the current generation, brimming with eye-popping visuals but unencumbered by the baggage that the summer's early big-money flicks (Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3, POTC: At World's End) brought to the table. It strikes just the right balance between action, suspense and humor, doesn't take itself too seriously, and even manages not to overplay the obligatory romantic subplot. And love him or hate him, director Michael Bay was born to helm this movie.

If you need to be entertained and don't mind giving your brain a little bit of a rest, go see this movie immediately, because there won't be another one that succeeds in the same way for a while.


ThadisRad said...

I've been nervous about this movie for 18 months, thinking it was a bad idea from the get-go. I loved the toys as a kid (two of my fondest Christmas memories involve Transformers... though none can top that first Nintendo), loved the show, and have not wanted to see it botched by a live-action movie helmed by a director I have no respect for. But if a man like The Franchise can get on board, maybe I've been wrong. Still, I just look at the trailers and something feels wrong. Plus, this movie seems to negate Optimus Prime's heroic death in the cartoon movie, easily one of the most traumatic moments in cinema history.

Next week my explosion-laden entertainment dollor will be spent on Die Hard 4. Yippee-kay-yay-Dudes! But your review has moved Transformers up from "never see" to "wait for DVD" status.

And thanks Franchise for bringing this blog back to normal Americans who don't spend all their time reading political biographies and watching arthouse documentaries.

The Franchise said...

I can still remember when my brother Nate and I got our first Transformers: I got Wheeljack and he got Prowl. We ended up with a ton of them, as that was the time when my parents were freshly divorced and buying us more stuff than usual to try to feel less guilty.

I was also a fan of the cartoon and the animated movie, so I was prepared to want to hunt Bay down after this. But it really was quite good, and hearing the voice of the original Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) in this movie helps connect you to the old one. It's also pretty amazing that a movie based on a property that is 20-plus years old comes off feeling so much fresher than the numerous sequels that invaded the theaters earlier this summer...

Head Dude said...

Man, I had to shut my door because I couldn't stop giggling at Undude's crack about biographies and documentaries.

Funny how grown men of our era all have the same highlights -- getting their first Nintendo and their favorite Transformers (in my case Optimus Prime followed by Omega Supreme). Somehow Gobots didn't carry the same cache.

Fortunately, I stopped watching the cartoon before Optimus's unjust demise.

The Dude said...

I have never watched any episode of the Transformers. I was in my room reading biographies of Ronald Reagan back in those days.

William Regal would say that DudeSpin has been besmirched by the discussion of such a low-brow film like Transformers.

The Franchise said...

Bah, the greatest thing about the Dudes is their diversity! I love big-budget summer blockbuster-type movies... and this was a good one. I also like the more intellectual discussions on here. That both can exist on the same blog is what makes DudeSpin great!