Now, for a little backstory. On me, that is.
When I was a kid, I watched the cartoon, played with my Transformers, and all was good. I didn't have very many of of those robotic heroes, but I loved 'em. My friends had more and I got to occasionally, you know, watch them play with them.
Of course, over the years, the Transformers and I have grown apart. You know how it is. They had about a billion different incarnations and me, well, I eventually discovered booze and girls. I still always had a special place in my heart for the First Generation, though.
Ok, maybe a little about the movie now.
So, the Transformers movie doesn't exactly feature the first gen Autobots and Decepticons, but I don't think you could bring their blocky appearance to the big screen in a live-action movie and be able to sell it. So, they've been redesigned again.
But that's ok, the movie does a good job of capturing the feel. And, with Peter Cullen voicing Optimus Prime, just as he did back when the cartoon first hit the teevee, I was occasionally taken back to being a kid again and revelling in moments of sheer awesomeness.
It's sad, though, that this isn't an awesome movie. The plot's alright. It definitely laid the groundwork for a sequel or two, and that's not a bad thing. However there were more than a couple of plot holes that you're either left to fill in on your own, or just sidestep altogether. Some of the jokes were obvious and flat, others were obvious and still funny. All in all, the script could have been better.
The directing is, well, it's done by Michael Bay. Some of his Super Action™ shots work, and some of the more serious dramatic choices left me wondering if the film was directed by one of the On The Lot contestants. All in all, though, it's probably Bay's best work.
This movie was at least half about the people, as opposed to Transformers. Some of my fellow geeks were a bit miffed about this, but they fail to recognize that that is what has to be done to introduce the Transformers as characters and not just special effects, to the general populace. You have to give a frame of reference, and you do that through the eyes of human characters that you can identify with. Now we're all set up for a rockin' Transformers 2.
So, fortunately, the acting was all pretty good. Shia LaBeouf (oy what a name) does a great job as the human star of this movie. (I'm pretty excited that he's been tapped to be in the 4th Indiana Jones movie. I think he's gonna complement Harrison's Indy very well.) The movie's hotness, when not supplied by CGI, is brought by the stunning Megan Fox. Jon Voight, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese, Anthony Anderson, and aussie girl, uh, Rachael Taylor all gave good performances.
The performance that was dragging down the average though, was John Turturro's. What the fuck? He was a completely unbelievable cartoon. When you have giant, transforming, alien robots battling for the fate of Earth, your believability needs to come from your actors. However, nearly ever scene with Turturro sucks. The thing is, Turturro is a good actor. So, what then? I lay the blame here at Bay's feet. (It makes sense, and it allows for another shot at Michael Bay's lack of skillz.)
To sum up my thoughts on this movie in a single sentence: Optimus Prime rocks, and I will buy this DVD as soon as I can.
PS: This remarkable rambling review is accompanied by a Yelp review of the theater.