Last Friday, my wife and I went out on a date to see the Transformers live-action movie. It was our semi-regular date night, which we don't get as often as we'd like. In addition, we don't usually get out to many movies -- there's just not that many that seem worth the time and money (around $10 per ticket, $5 per hour for the babysitter, plus any money we spend on dinner ... it adds up). But my wife knew I really wanted to see it, so she humored me and off we went!
As it turns out, this movie was everything I expected it to be: a good romp with plenty of action that allowed me to reminisce on my memories of watching the cartoon while satisfying some of my baser teenage instincts. Huh?, you may say? Well, read on.
As a kid, I loved the Transformers. Not just liked, but absolutely loved them. My parents didn't have a lot of resources, so I often would beg and plead and whine for a Transformer for the usual gift-receiving holidays. Only a few times did I actually get one, and there's one in particular that I still love and adore to this day (The G1 Jetfire, which design was blatantly stolen from the Robotech Veritech Fighter). I don't even allow my kids to play with it and it sits reverently on a shelf in my closet. One of these days I'll probably bronze it and mount it above my fireplace.
Anyway, back to the movie. It was pretty silly in a lot of good ways. The storyline wasn't unique or unusual (from a science fiction standpoint), and contained the usual plot devices one would expect to see, as follows:
-- Nerdy boy inherits important artifact from grandfather
-- Nerdy boy lusts after very attractive girl (VAG, for short) who doesn't know he exists and is way out of his league.
-- Nerdy boy and VAG get caught in the crossfire of very large robots (VLRs, for short) that somehow don't end up pasting the two of them to the sidewalk.
-- Nerdy boy and VAG end up as part of a government plot to keep the existence of VLRs under wraps, in the process discovering something using the aforementioned artifact that will allow them to later save the world.
-- Nerdy boy and VAG end up in the middle of even more crossfire between many VLRs, again somehow not getting pasted to the sidewalk.
-- Nerdy boy is able to escape the biggest, baddest VLR in a footrace.
-- Nerdy boy dispatches the biggest, baddest VLR using the aforementioned discovery, thereby saving the world.
-- Nerdy boy and VAG get together.
Along the way, there were plenty of things that annoyed, such as a mother whose every utterance was cringe-inducing, slow pans across the fenders of various automobiles, and even more slow pans across the fenders of the VAG intermixed with shots of the nerdy boy biting his knuckles in sexual frustration. There is no doubt, however, that these things appeal to the two primary target audiences for this movie, namely teenage boys and early middle-aged boys who grew up watching Transformers (that'd be me).
But there were also plenty of things that I loved, too. Each and every time a Transformer did it's thing, I wanted to put it on super-slow-motion and zoom in on every frame. The action scenes were well done (not overdone, as is often the case with this type of movie) and the story didn't even have that many plot holes.
I did have to suspend my disbelief whenever the Transformers changed because, apparently, there's no such thing as conservation of mass (or volume, as far as constant-temperature solids are concerned), and I was a little perplexed about why the main plot device, which creates new Transformers, would always create mean and nasty little buggers (which were quite humorous, in many cases, though).
Nevertheless, I did quite enjoy the movie. It's not one I'll buy to put on my shelf, as it's got plenty of morally ambiguous content that I don't want to keep in my home, but I'll probably rent it someday so I can do the super-slow-motion/zooming that I was desperate to do in the theater.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Well worth watching twice.
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