Transformers film is more than meets the eye

Ryan Haidet

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Credit: DKS Editors

Fireworks will be sparking in theaters this holiday in the form of a giant summer blockbuster like never before.

Transformers has arrived, and thank goodness, because the summer movie season has been filled with nothing but lame, boring wannabe blockbusters.

Pirates who?

When I heard of the concept of a live-action Transformers movie, I thought it would be the crummiest reel of film ever produced – I couldn’t have been more wrong. The special effects are unrivaled, and the transformation sequences, though overdone, are incredible. Once it’s been seen, it’s not necessary to show it 20 more times – but each time, it’s difficult not to marvel at the work and technology. The interaction between the live actors and the Transfomers is flawless. Sorry Star Wars fans, you’ve just been outdone.

The amazing action sequences compensate for the story, which isn’t anything fantastic – it’s one that has been done before: The unlikely hero who can never get a girlfriend crosses paths with something amazing and suddenly becomes the most important person in the world.

Shia LaBeouf strongly takes on that role in his best performance yet – and that’s not saying much, considering his previous work. Everything about his character works. His sarcastic, quick-witted actions and dialogue bring him to a whole new level.

Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) is a self-proclaimed ladies’ man who is trying to get a car to impress them. When he and his dad go to a used car dealership operated by Bernie Mac, Sam is told, “Drivers don’t pick the car, the car picks the driver.” Sure enough, a yellow Camaro keeps trying to catch his attention. What he doesn’t know is he has just bought a massive machine that will transform his life in order to stop the Decepticons (bad Transformers) from finding something hidden on the planet.

The new car has a mind of its own and communicates through the radio playing songs that fit the situations, which creates some hilarious moments. For example, when the girl he likes is walking home after his car breaks down, it plays “Baby Come Back.”

The fact that LaBeouf is great doesn’t necessarily transform other actors’ abilities. The girl he has a crush on, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), has good moments and dreadfully bad ones.

For a film with a lot of speaking parts, it steers clear of confusion. However (and I know I’ll be catching grief for this), it wasn’t necessary to have the Transformers speak all that much. It just added an element only children will likely enjoy. I was sorely disappointed at how they sounded and spoke (Ebonics for one of them).

With that said, director Michael Bay has likely made one of the best summer movies of all time.

It didn’t need to be as long as it was, but the movie converged numerous story lines, eventually bringing them all together into a finale like never before. It pays off.

I actually had never been in a screening like this before. The crowd was cheering, applauding and laughing hysterically. I guess seeing their childhood toys come to life brought something to reminisce about.

Forget the hot, summer sun and head out to Transformers – there’s something in it for everybody.

Contact features editor Ryan Haidet at [email protected].


Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight

Directed by Michael Bay

Distributed by Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor and language

Stater rating: ****½