I had a decided advantage going into the
In this version of The Transformers Earth is caught up in an age-old conflict between two factions of an autobot society. These sentient mechanical beings ravaged their own planet with war and now threaten to continue their struggle on a new battlefield: Earth. The bad guys are the evil robots called Decepticons. They see Earth as a new place to sow their seeds of destruction and humans as a minor infestation to be eliminated. The leader Megatron has been secretly kept in suspended animation by the government since the 1930’s. The good guys are a guardian group of robots called Autobots led by a bot named Optimus Prime. Both groups are in search of a cube structure that is more than a little reminiscent of a Borg cube, called The Spark. This cube contains the power of life that can be spread to any technological device to create new Decepticons. So our evil friends envision an Earth overrun by newly created bots from Earth’s own machines.
Of course, most of us came to see f/x and lots of them. You won’t be disappointed, as this film does it all. While the first hour of the film moves along rather slowly, there’s no doubt that the last hour of this film is one long action sequence after another. The final battle takes place with all of the explosions, weapons fire, and Transformer battles you could want. I wasn’t completely happy with the actual transformations, because most of them happen with alarming speed, so you don’t get to take in the dynamics of what part becomes what on the actual fighting robot. Again, I never saw the cartoons or the 1984 animated feature, but these Transformers come armed to the teeth, often literally. Mortars, lasers, and powerful bombs and missiles populate nearly every inch of these bad boys, and they’re not afraid to use them. The result is a wonderful culmination of mostly CGI mixed in with practical stunts and gags, with some miniature work as well. The final hour… well, that’s just showing off.
Finally I was actually impressed with the script. Often in films like these the alleged story is lost somewhere between f/x shots and no one seems to worry too much about it. I found this story built a solid foundation for all the mystery and mayhem to follow. Bay actually gives credit to his audience and gives them a complicated plot with plenty of B and C arcs going on to keep you happy between the action sequences. I don’t really know how this story fits in with the original Transformers lore, but enough was explained that I felt pretty comfortable that I knew who these things were and what it was they wanted to do. You do not have to have seen anything Transformers before to totally enjoy this incredible rollercoaster ride. When it comes to Transformers, as Sgt. Shultz might have said, “I know nothing,” but that didn’t stop me from, did I say, having a rockin’ time?.
Transformers is presented in its original release aspect ratio of 2.35:1. In a word, the picture was awesome. The f/x shots blended seamlessly with the live action, and there were no awkward quality jumps at all. The color was outstanding. The yellow Bumblebee stood out beautifully against many of the darker tones present in the film. Contrast and sharpness were nearly perfect. Black levels held great shadow detail and provided a nearly compression artifact free finish. OK, so there was some shimmer in a few shots, but you had to look really hard to catch it, and you should have been paying attention to the bots anyway.
There is a
All of these features can be found on the second of the 2-disc release of the film.
Our World: This nearly hour long feature can be viewed as a whole or broken into four segments dealing with: the story, actors, military consultations, and the battles. Even Steven Spielberg, one of the producers, is involved, as is pretty much everyone else in this rather inclusive feature. Hasbro talks about the line of toys, so you really get a solid look at the ideas from every angle.
Their War: Again you can watch it in chunks or all at once for an over an hour feature. This is really what you got the 2-disc version for. Here it’s all about the robots. You’ll get a peek into the voice actors and all the changes from the original concepts. Talk about product placement — wait till you see the GMC stuff here. I actually enjoyed the look at the All-Spark more than anything. I couldn’t help but expect someone to tell us that “resistance is futile”.
More Than Meets The Eye: There’s certainly a bit of overlap in these three rather shorter pieces. A lot of the conceptual stuff can be found here such as storyboards and early conceptual artwork. There are plenty of production stills and the like to be found here. Overall this stuff is a bit of a letdown after watching the nearly 2 hours of stuff from the previous two entries.