War in toyland: Transformers (2007)
Transformers bewildered me. A 150 million dollar budget summer movie to enhance a 20 year old Hasbro toy line and a Saturday morning cartoon show? Produced in part by Steven Spielberg, Transformers blends together director
Still, as much as I was dismayed by the robotic acting and inflated story, there’s no denying the quality of the computer-generated graphics. While much earlier CGI tends to create murky action scenes, Transformers has crystal clear alien robots dangling like King Kong off the edge of sun-lit skyscrapers, and their metamorphoses into a jet, a semi, a Camaro, or even a beat box has the seamless grace of the ultimate adolescent turbo-fantasy.
One major storyline concerns young Sam Witwicky’s (Shia LaBeouf) humorous quest to impress winsome brunette Mikaela (Megan Fox). To that end, Sam’s dad buys him a yellow Camaro that is in actuality a heroic Autobot preparing for a worldwide battle with the dreaded Decepticons. The Decepticons have already destroyed an American military base in
In another plotline that has several close correspondences to Live Free or Die Hard, the
As much as I enjoyed the action sequences, the cheesiness of the Transformer dialogue kept getting in the way. When not metamorphosing or fighting, the Transformers stand around like dumb jocks on steroids, making wooden pronouncements like “I am Megatron,” “One shall stand. One shall fall,” “Fight for the weak,” and “Put the cube in my chest now.” One would think that whatever technologically advanced super-race that designed the robots would give them more witty things to say.
In the end, Transformers oddly combines top-notch cinematic savvy with a bunch of vapid toys, and the effect is weirdly disproportionate. Like a state-of-the-art paint job on a little red wagon, all of the razzle dazzle graphics emphasizes the limitations of the Saturday morning cartoons.