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STUDIO: Dreamworks Video
RUNNING TIME: 143 minutes
• Audio Commentary by Michael Bay
• The Story Sparks
• Human Allies
• I Fight Giant Robots
• Rise of the Robots
• AUTOBOTS Roll Out
• DECEPTICONS Strike
• Inside the AllSpark
• From Script to Sand
• Concepts – Early sketch concepts of the robots.
It’s big f-ing robots, man! BIG. F-ING. ROBOTS.
Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, John Turturro.
Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), Bumblebee (Mark Ryan), Jazz (Darius McCrary), Ironhide (Jess Harnell), Ratchet (Robert Foxworth).
Megatron (Hugo Weaving), Starscream (Charlie Adler), Frenzy (Reno Wilson), Barricade (Jess Harnell), Bonecrusher (Jim Wood), Blackout.
The only thing that nerdy teen Sam Witwicky (LeBeouf) dreams of is getting a car. It’s his only desire…well that and Mikaela Banes, (Fox, aptly named), the hottest girl in his school. Circumstances eventually work out to where Sam buys a rusty yellow 1976 Camaro. Sam quickly discovers that his car is actually Bumblebee, a giant alien robot called an Autobot, that can masquerade as a car at will. Bumblebee and Sam form a fast friendship and Bumblebee helps Sam woo Mikaela. However, Bumblebee didn’t come to Earth merely to help Sam with his love life. He’s actually there as an advanced scout for the other Autobots who are on their way to look for the All Spark, a cube that can grant sentience to any electronic object, is the wellspring of life for all Transformers and the source of ultimate power.
Evil Transformers called Decepticons are already on Earth in search of the All Spark as well, and Sam learns that the key to finding it is his grandfather’s old spectacles from a hundred years prior. His grandfather was witness to the arrival of the Decepticons leader, Megatron, crash landing on Earth in search of the All Spark a century before and encoded the secret of his location on his specs. When the Autobots, lead by the noble Optimus Prime, who takes the disguise of a semi truck, arrive, it becomes an all out battle with a resurrected Megatron and the Decepticons for control of the All Spark, and the universe.
This is actually the exact same release that The Boss (not Springsteen) covered just one year ago. There have been no new special features since last year’s release, so everything Nick covered in his review pretty much haven’t changed. So why are we covering this again? Well, this is not a double dip per se, rather this is a re-dip, with one crucial new element included, which we’ll get to in a moment. In the interim, allow me to regale you with my take of the flick.
I agree with pretty much everything Nick had to say (both ideologically and for career reasons). Transformers was what Bay does best: make larger-than-life, bombastic movies where shit gets blowed up real good. The Transformers themselves are damn near flawless. I think they may be the most impressive technically rendered CGI I’ve ever seen in a movie. They’re sure a hell of a long way away from the occasionally flimsy plastic toys that I nonetheless would have killed a close blood relative to get back when I was a kid. About the only issue I have is that they may be too good if that’s possible. On more than one occasion in the final act, I had a hard time getting sense of what was going on because the level of detail on the screen was so intense.
I especially had trouble in that regard with Megatron. His design was cool, but he was probably the most complicated Transformer in the movie, and his battle with Prime took a couple of repeat viewings to get straight. He’s a Cybertronian jet in the movie, which is fine. I liked Bay’s explanation that he changed Megatron from a gun to avoid any size changing, which would have been cheating as he described it.
However, I think that Bay and company absolutely nailed Optimus Prime. If Prime didn’t work, then everything else in the film would have been moot. Having Peter Cullen back as Prime rather than Joe Voice Actor or a celebrity voice was the only way to go in my book. Prime is more than just a giant robot. He has a rare nobility for a cartoon character that goes all the way back to the original toon. That was the big mistake that the makers of Transformers: The Movie made: they didn’t realize Prime’s importance to the franchise. They thought they could off him and usher in the next line of toys based on the new Autobot leader. Then they realized their screw up and resurrected him on the TV series. Prime is integral and I’m glad Bay and company realized that.
As for the humans of the piece, that all fell together nicely too, especially Shia LeBeouf. So far I hadn’t paid all that much attention to him, but I think he’s worthy of the buzz he’s getting as Hollywood’s current It Kid. As Sam Witwicky he’s fun and instantly relatable. There’s probably a good deal of us who were him at that age, myself included. Although I never got Megan Fox as a door prize. John Turturro also was great; I was surprised to see him in this movie. Duhamel, Tyrese, and Voight were all fine as well. Kevin Dunn and Julie White as Sam’s parents came off as nothing but trite caricatures, however, and Anthony Anderson was pretty much doing every other character he always does. Bernie Mac put in an appearance and he was and is always a welcome sight. Transformers is a great, fun movie, and a true realization for us thirtysomethings who grew up with them.
As previously mentioned, this is a carbon copy of the two-disc special edition released last year. Technical specs are the same, the special features are the same, cover art is even the same. The special features, as Nick said, are all good. Very thorough and comprehensive.
So again, why was this version released? One very important distinction between this release and last years: