SEB 30 Second Movie Reviews: Transformers.

I should start off by saying that I absolutely hated the original Transformers cartoon series which debuted back in 1984. Perhaps it was because I was in my mid-teens and could see the fact that the show was little more than a 30 minute toy advertisement. It didn’t help that there was very little continuity not only in the cartoon series, but with the back story created for the toys and for the comic books all of which you can read up on if you’re so inclined in the Wikipedia entry for Transformers. The point is, I hated the Transformers and the only reason I was familiar with any of it was because I had a couple of friends who loved it for reasons I couldn’t begin to fathom.

So it probably comes as no surprise to learn that I loved the 2007 live action Transformers movie which we just got back from seeing. I think the reason the movie worked for me where the cartoon series didn’t is because they appeared to have taken the ever popular thought experiment of “what if X were real” and applied it to the Transformers. They then did everything they could to make a movie that would allow you to suspend your disbelief enough to sit back and enjoy the ride. Truth be told when you stop long enough to really consider the plot of the movie it ends up being pretty standard stuff for the genre and is little more than cheesecloth that won’t hold up too well if you prod it too much. The movie makes up for this by rarely giving you a chance to stop and consider the plot too carefully.

This is accomplished by putting some of the most realistic looking giant robots you’ve ever seen in very real looking environments blasting the bejeesus out of everything around them every chance they get. The humans are, of course, horribly outclassed by the foe they’re facing, but not entirely powerless against them and though they take heavy losses in each encounter they still put up a good fight and play a critical role in the battles that take place. That alone made for a refreshing change from the usual storyline where the humans are ineffectual and completely dependent on the good guys to defeat the bad guys. In fact it seems pretty clear that without the timely interaction of more than a couple of the human characters the good guys would’ve lost.

I won’t bother going into detail on the plot because it’s really not that important, but the basic gist of it is that there’s some ultra-powerful cube that’s been on the Earth for a very long time which has the ability to give life to machines and both the Autobots (the good guys) and the Decepticons (the bad guys) want it and one 16 year old boy that is the main character of the movie just happens to have the key to finding it and as a result much mayhem ensues. Unlike the cartoon series, lots of people die in this movie. Nothing particularly graphic, but it’s hard not to have a healthy body count when you’ve got giant robots knocking each other through skyscrapers and blasting the shit out of everything in sight.

I wasn’t going to go see this movie simply because I didn’t care for the TV series, but repeated viewings of the trailer and the enthusiastic reception of some other folks I know convinced me to give it a go. Considering some of the complaints about the movie I’ve heard from folks who were fans of the show it may very well be that the less you know of the original cartoon the more you’ll like the movie. If you’re looking for a little mindless entertainment with some amazing visuals you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better at the moment. I give it four stars out of five.

10 thoughts on “SEB 30 Second Movie Reviews: Transformers.

  1. I just watched Transformers today… As a huge fan of the original series and the Marvel comic book, the only thing that really bothered me about this film was the name of the Decepticon tank being ‘Devastator’.

  2. Unlike the cartoon series, lots of people die in this movie.

    In the original 1986 animated movie (which acted as a transition from seasons 2 and 3 of the television series), we witness no more than 5 Autobots die – a couple of notable ones quite brutally, in fact – no less than 30 minutes in. Other Autobot corpses are displayed during that first half, with a minor handful of characters biting the bullet throughout the rest of the runtime.

    Just tossing that out there for digestion.

  3. Moloch, it is true that General Motors has been having a field day with the coup they managed to pull off by having all the hero cars being represented by GM products—Bumble Bee should have been a VW Beetle for example—but that bothered me less than some of the other very gratuitous product placement in the film

    WI, I was aware that some of the Autobots died previously, I believe Optimus Prime even bought it for awhile, but I was speaking of the humans. I can’t recall a single person dieing as a result of any battle in any of the cartoons.

  4. WI, I was aware that some of the Autobots died previously, I believe Optimus Prime even bought it for awhile, but I was speaking of the humans. I can’t recall a single person dieing as a result of any battle in any of the cartoons.

    Ah, okay. Gotcha.

    *doesn’t care about puny humans*

  5. I can’t recall a single person dieing as a result of any battle in any of the cartoons.

    I don’t think anyone did in the cartoon series (and there was only two humans in the original film), but in the original cartoon, the Decipticons did get drunk from consuming mass quantities of Engergon… Doubt you’d see that in a cartoon nowadays.

  6. I can’t recall a single person dieing as a result of any battle in any of the cartoons.

    A little off topic but i’ve noticed that (in video games) important characters (the ones you’re told most about) are much less likely to die, or take a lot more killing. The low-level grunts and civies on both sides get hacked through because nobody really cares, this is pretty much how I felt about the tsunami – you (I) can’t honestly care for who you don’t know.

    When one person dies, it’s a tragedy, when 10 million die it’s a statistic

    – c&c;red alert

  7. I was a tremendous fan of the original series and movie.  I really liked this movie.  They did a good homage and updated the movie well.  I was able to ignore the advertising…well except for the fact that Jazz ended up as my favorite car…I’ve wanted that car for awhile now.

    Of course at the end I kept laughing at the stupid mistake that they made….not the movie makers…just the US government in the movie.  I had all kinds of fun with this movie.

  8. I wonder if the Theater will give me a discount, now that I know the ending:( I was going to root for the Transformers…

    KILLEM….KILLEM ALL…LET GOD SORT THEM OUT smile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.