Sunday, July 15, 2007

Transformers - More than meets the eye

As a kid, I loved Transformers. They were better than GI Joe, they were better than MASK, better even than Voltron. Not quite as good as Lego, but hey - what is? My brother and I had a whole bunch of Transformers between us - he had Optimus Prime, but I had the five Aerialbots who combined together to make Superion, a much bigger robot. They were technically both Autobots but as we didn’t have too many Decepticons our battles were basically an Autobot civil war.

I must admit, when I heard of a Transformers movie I was sceptical. When I heard that it was to be live action rather than a cartoon, I was incredulous. So it was with some trepidation, and minimal expectations, that I went to see it tonight.

I was blown away.

This is the best movie I’ve seen since Revenge of the Sith - and, if I am to be perfectly honest, outdid even that movie in terms of its general excellence. Sith relied far too much on the green screen, and it showed. Transformers makes a huge use of CGI as well, but it is so seamless and realistic that you often forget that what you are seeing is the result of months and months of painstaking work, moving thousands of individual components on each robot to effect the transformation.

Bumblebee’s metamorphosis into a Camero rather than a VW Beetle was something I lamented, but having seen the movie I now agree that it added to his value rather than diminishing it. I’m still not sure about Megatron - the traditional Walther P38 into which he used to transform was a favourite of mine, whereas the new Cybertronian jet design will take some getting used to. And no Soundwave? Okay, they have Frenzy who fulfils that role, but I always liked the dynamic where you had the ever loyal Soundwave reporting on what the other Decepticons were doing to Megatron, and the rebellious Starscream who is always positioning himself to take over. Optimus Prime was awesome and probably the one who most closely resembled the traditional model.

Unlike the old toys, which as robots still looked very much like their pre-transformed forms, the Transformers in this movie look very robotic - perhaps a little too robotic, for my taste, but that is a purely stylistic and aesthetic thing.

Oh yeah, and Megan Fox? More like Mega-Fox if you ask me. Very nice.

Overall, however, the movie was extremely well done and I think that most of the 80s generation who loved the original Transformers will appreciate this film. We - and those who are being introduced to Transformers for the first time - will unite in our eager anticipation for a sequel - perhaps with Galvatron to lead the Decepticons this time?

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