STUDIO: Dreamworks
MSRP: $36.98
RUNNING TIME: 143 Minutes

  • Audio Commentary by Michael Bay
  • The Story Sparks – Steven Spielberg discusses his love for the
    franchise and early concept art for the film. Explores how the writers
    adapted the cartoon into a live-action movie and why Michael Bay is the
    perfect director for the film.
  • Human Allies – A look at how the actors were selected and their experiences on the set.
  • I Fight Giant Robots – An exploration of the military training that Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson underwent for their roles and the various stunts that the actors were asked to perform.
  • Battleground
    – A piece on the senior officials from the Department of Defense and
    Air Force who consulted on the film to give it authenticity and the key
    locations that the U.S. government provided access to.
  • Rise of the Robots – Explores the interaction between Hasbro designers and Michael Bay to bring the toy line roaring to life.
    Roll Out
    – Michael Bay discusses working with Chevy and its designers
    and the modifications that were made to the cars seen in the film.
    – The film’s military advisors discuss the "toys" they allowed
    the production to borrow: F-22 Raptors, Ospreys and A-10 Warthogs.
  • Inside the AllSpark – ILM’s digital artists discuss the challenges of bringing the TRANSFORMERS to life.
  • From Script to Sand: The SKORPONOK Desert Attack – An in-depth look
    at the making of this particularly epic and challenging scene from
    initial storyboarding through production and visual effects.
  • Concepts – Early sketch concepts of the robots.
  • Trailers

The Pitch

The robots have arrived but they are in disguise. Cue automobiles with Groucho mustaches.

The Humans

Shia LeBeouf. Megan Fox. Josh Duhamel. Tyrese Gibson. Jon Voight. John Turturro. Glenn Morshower. Bernie Mac. Hugo Weaving’s Mouth. Peter Cullen’s Mouth.

Sex God/Director

Michael Bay.

Transformations were happening but not the kind the male audience members were expecting.

The Nutshell

Devin’s Review.
Jeremy’s Review.

The biggest son of a bitching summer movie of ever!

Michael Bay delivers what has got to be the new high water mark for large scale entertainment with his larger than life interpretation of the classic 80’s franchise by leaving no opportunity to mine sizzle from untrounced. And for the most part it’s a beautiful thing. Transformers is a loud, manipulative movie that skirts the parameters of logic and what we’re supposed to consider good at every corner and somehow manages to make it work. Beginning with a bang and then evolving into a mixture of a personal E.T. type story and Emmerich disaster film before becoming an all-out assault on the senses Bay’s film manages to transform from being a supergeneric enterprise into being a remarkable marriage of the film medium and the evolution of the digital art form. For anyone who’s watched an anime wondering what it’d be like to see giant robots battle onscreen without limitations, look no further. For anyone who’s read a comic or seen a cartoon and assumed they’d never be able to realize it with film, look no further. For anyone who wondered if Michael Bay was as legit as the other A-list directors we all ogle on a yearly basis, look no further.

The Lowdown

If you need to know the story of the Autobots and the Decepticons, well you must be attractive and in good shape…

The world of Cybertron was rocked with war and intrigue as the mighty Autobots led by Optimus Prime faced off against the villainous Megatron and his Decepticons. The battle ruined their world so they sought elsewhere. Guess where? That’s right, kids. Earth. Sol 3. The place with all the tits.

The DVD showcases Alice Krige’s audition for the film.

Though the Transformers have been on Earth for some time, which is revealed over the course of the story (credited writers are CHUD friend John Rogers and writing team Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci), the catalyst for the conflict here occurs when a helicopter lands at a military base in the Middle East, becomes a robot, vomits out a miniature spy robot, and proceeds to fuck shit up. Before the base goes down, a few brave and loud soldiers (including Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson) get evidence of the thing and retreat across the desert to alert their superiors. They do and thus begins a conflict that involves soldiers, hackers, robots of good and bad persuasion, and one very charismatic young man.

Sam Witwicky, or more to the point Shia LeBeouf. I’ve always liked the young actor but he does so much to provide goodwill for the film in his performance that it’s easier to just gloss over some of the sillier moments simply on the force of his charm. Sam’s introduced as a twitchy and well-intentioned young chap willing to do whatever it takes to get a lady (a trait that has ruined many of my relationships with old best friends, but I digress) but we soon discover he’s linked to the item that controls the fate of the tranforming robots and thusly… humanity.

Honestly, the story is very familiar to anyone who has seen their share of event flicks or comics and had the film not been populated with a nice array of talent and some of the most luscious eye candy ever, the kid-friendly but disbelief raping premise would scuttle the whole mix. LeBeouf does a good bit of the heavy lifting with his down to Earth performance which in turn makes the hammy and fun work by John Turturro and the actors voicing the robots acceptable and fun. If everyone was in ham mode, it’d have been a transforming train wreck. Because some of the cast took it upon themselves to elevate the material, all benefit.

Also, though the film is familiar in almost every way, a lot of work has been done to make each moment shine. There’s a very focus-grouped feel to this, everything is polished whether it be a line of dialogue or a background performer. The film is very tight despite its looseness, if that makes any sense at all.

The filmmakers’ exhaustive attention to detail was showcased in every frame and piece of text in Transformers.

Of course, no one should ever go into a Transformers movie expecting cuting-edge storytelling and depth. The Transformers fan base is built of people who grew up on cool toys and a fun but dumb cartoon series. This isn’t Tolkein. It’s not even Lucas. Shit, it’s not even Raimi. It’s robots who turn into cars and boomboxes who shoot audiotapes that become little flying pains in the ass. In a way it’s perfect. It’s free of all the layers whose absence enrages fanbases. It’s a pure and appropriately lightweight concept, proven ever more so when you discover that the American version of the cartoon and toy line pretty much added most of the mythos and limited depth the series had in the first place.

It’s why a film like this was perfect for the summer of 2007. Everyone was so caught up in existing franchises where the stakes were so high and the desire to be satiated was so unrealistic, a Michael Bay showstopper ended up eclipsing the rest. In my mind. I’m sure some of you people thought Live Free or Die Hard was amazing, and I am sad for you.

Truth in advertising is rare but brilliant.

The bottom line is that Transformers works. It’s nearly seamless in its usage of top notch special effects delivered by people and a support staff who know how to maximize the result. It’s one thing to see an amazing transformation from automobile or aircraft into a robot and it’s another thing altogether for them to move and interact with their environment and each other. These things have mass to them and seeing them tear a city up or grapple on a bridge is truly breathtaking. The sound effects work, the editing, and the stunt work that allows their collateral damage to exist in the real world all service that. Michael Bay is a master at using these elements as well as surrounding himself with the right people and this is his crowning achievement thus far. So, whether or not an audience member is at peace with their inner film snob enough to enjoy a flick like this, the fact remains that Transformers is a lovely loud product of the next generation of event moviemaking.

Plus, Bay uses a ton of great character actors who we love and trust as men of influence. People like Michael O’Neill, Glenn Morshower, Chris Ellis, Michael Shamus Wiles, and Brian Stepanek [in every commercial ever]. These guys should have their own show.

Also, my favorite moment in the film features no robots. Just a terrific verbal exchange between LeBeouf and the awesome [and sometimes mistaken for Sam Rockwell] Rick Gomez. Fun.

I love it. It’s isn’t as resoundingly rewarding as the summer movies of my youth but it’s a brash and ripped younger cousin and I’m on board this ride for as long as it lasts.

So Michael Bay shot this? Huh.

The Package

There are quite a few versions of this sucker coming out, but the version to get (unless you’re grabbing a next-gen version) is the special edition. At the top of this article you will see the expansive array of featurettes enclosed and having watched every last one of them I’ll tell you that this film is a tour de force of amazing technicians at the top of their games and the breadth of their work surprised even a jaded special features watcher like me. Amazing stuff. So much attention to detail. So much great work.

That said, the real gold on this DVD is the commentary by Michael Bay. The guy can hold attention like few others. Sure, there are times when the ego comes to the fore but the guy goes off for the entire running time of the film, sharing intimate stories about his cast and crew, dissing other films (I loved what he had to say about the reason the prequels’ effects were a bit dodgy at times), his producer Steven Spielberg, and a host of other things. It’s a very entertaining track and it made me go from a closeted Michael Bay fan to a flaming out-in-the-open supporter of the guy.

I cannot see how or why they’d double dip this. It’s that in-depth and that damned good.

8.2 out of 10