Since it first aired back in 1984, the Transformers have been idols for man-geeks to worship. Giant, super-intelligent robots from space that can change into cool looking cars, trucks and planes... what more could an adolescent boy want? If you grew up in the 80s as I did, you had heard about Transformers. Most likely you had some of the toys; I remember being particularly jealous of a kid who had the Optimus Prime with the attached tractor trailer. Maybe you were fortunate enough to see the 1986 film based on the TV show when it was released in theaters that featured the great voice talents of Orson Welles, Peter Cullen, Scatman Crothers and Judd Nelson(?).
The big question is, why was there all this demand for a live-action film almost 20 years after the show was off the air? Sure, there were a few attempts at rebooting the show for a new generation of fans but they never came close to reaching the popularity of the original series. Why make a film based on a cheesy 80s kids show? The answer: geeks never forget a good thing. Throw giant robots from space on the screen and we will watch the battles until our eyes glaze over, then we'll watch some more. I don't even really remember watching the show all that much but you can bet I remember seeing them everywhere. And when I heard that a live-action robot smackdown movie was going to be showing on the big screen, I couldn't wait to see it.
Even after I heard Michael Bay would be directing, I still wanted to see it as soon as I could, I mean Steven Spielberg produced it, he wouldn't let it suck right? When the day finally came and the lights came back on in the theater, I realized that I hadn't been blown away. I'm not sure how high my expectations had reached (someone said it was like seeing Jurassic Park for the first time), but they were not met.
I guess the robots of Transformers were pretty awesome, definitely the best special effects I think I've ever seen. Optimus Prime doing pretty much anything makes this movie worth the price of admission. Whether he's speaking about the rights of sentient beings with his commanding voice or absolutely destroying the face of a Decepticon while fighting in the middle of the freeway, Optimus rules.
Unfortunately most of the other transformers are horribly underused, each getting approximately two lines and one chance to show off their supposedly unique skills. Shia LeBeouf is great in the lead, all the other human characters are just fluff. Some are funny while most are annoying and useless, wasting screen time that could have been filled with more, oh I don't know... Transformers? The film is too long as it is and the plot sucks; Bay probably shot a 3 hour movie and only used the scenes that looked cool instead of the ones that helped the story make sense. Also, Michael Bay must be in love with military, the movie is full of slow motion shots of soldiers getting in and out of various assault vehicles, during the beginning of the film I thought I was watching one of those loud Army commercials.
Go see it for the robots and try not to cringe during the Michael Bay moments, you'll know them when you see them. I really hope they get someone else to direct the sequel. Also check out this Burger King commercial featuring the big 'O'.