The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

The Future Becomes the Present: The Transformers

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

(For another CC2K take on this movie, click HERE

Image The future has become the present, and for this time traveling reviewer, that means I get to see where I was spot on and where I was completely wrong about my predictions for Michael Bay’s Transformers.  It may go without saying that if you want to avoid spoiler information, then you should stop reading right NOW, but I’m saying it anyway, SPOILER ALERT!  I just saw this movie, and I have to say that I am quite surprised at just how much I got right (I guess all those spoilers I gleaned from around the net paid off).  Also, I was pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was about my reaction to the movie as a whole.  I’ll get into that a bit later, but first let me address some of the plot points of this movie, comparing my predictions to the reality.


  • The Allspark & Arctic Expedition – So I was right in how the movie opens, with shots of space and a brief history of the Transformer race and the Allspark (or Cube, as it is referred to as both throughout the movie).  However, I didn’t expect that Optimus Prime himself would be doing the exposition.  It was a great touch, because Peter Cullen (voice of Prime) sounds fucking awesome, and the more we hear him the better.  The opening of the Arctic expedition I mentioned still happens, but doesn’t come into the movie until a bit later.  This is actually a good thing, because Bay jumps right into the action with the attack on the army base in Qatar.  It’s one thing to say, “An awesome action sequence follows in true Michael Bay fashion: loud explosions, tanks and jeeps flying through the air, and lots of yelling and gunfire…This is our first complete look at a transformation sequence and a Transformer in action, and it's stunning.”  But it is another thing entirely to SEE it.  It’s just so unbelievably AWESOME that I think I almost crapped myself.  If this movie doesn’t get nominated for an Academy Award for special effects, it will be a crime and a travesty.  Yeah, they are THAT good. 
  • Sam, Mikaela, and Bumblebee – The movie does cut from the Decepticon attack to introduce Sam Witwicky, his first car, which turns out to be the Autobot Bumblebee (a Chevy Camaro instead of a VW Bug) and Mikaela, Sam’s crush.  That scene where “BumbleBee decides to ‘help things along’ by playing songs through his stereo that send not-so subliminal messages to Mikaela regarding Sam,” occurs, and I was delighted that it came off much more amusing and much less cheesy than I anticipated.  And there is a sweet-ass car chase-turned-giant-robots-beating-the-crap-out-of-each other scene that I wasn’t expecting at all, and is just more action and amazing special effects in a movie full of them.
  • Sector 7 & Megatron – I was right that this ultra-secret branch of the government exists and stands in the way of Sam and the Autobots.  I was also right in saying that they have Megatron, but I didn’t see it coming that they also are in possession of the Allspark.  The Decepticons do mount a rescue mission to free Megatron and succeed, leading to the don’t-get-up-to-go-to-the-bathroom-even-if-it-means- risking-kidney-damage-cause-it’s-so-FUCKING-AWESOME climax. 
  • The Battle Royale – This is perhaps the biggest prediction that I made purely by myself, meaning I didn’t rely on any spoiler information from the World Wide Web.  It was also probably the easiest and most obvious, because I don’t think the writers, Spielberg, or even Michael Bay are stupid enough to NOT have Optimus Prime and Megatron go mono e mono (or the more accurate Spanish phrase “mano a mano”).  This is the highlight of a much bigger battle between the Autobots, Decepticons, and humans (who side with the Autobots, of course).  There are casualties on both sides, and the fight for control of the Allspark is resolved.  Since I’m revealing spoilers here, I’m going to say that I was relieved that Optimus Prime did not sacrifice himself to destroy the Allspark, something he vowed to do if unable to defeat Megatron.  If they are going to make a sequel, and I don’t see how they won’t, then Prime damn well better be in it.

OK, so up to this point I’ve mainly been talking about how ridiculously awesome I think Transformers is.  And I do.  Honestly, I think this is THE blockbuster of the summer.  This movie is what a summer blockbuster is supposed to be.  Is it perfect?  Not at all.  Is it a great film?  It certainly doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as The Godfather or Raging Bull, but in the genre of summer action movies it is better than most.  Even though Transformers clocks in at almost 2½ hours, I didn’t look at my watch ONCE.  Not a single time.  And though I feared Bay would somehow infuse this movie with groan-inducing moments of Michael Bayness, I think that I maybe groaned once.  And only a little at that. 

As I said, this movie isn’t perfect.  It’s definitely NOT “more than meets the eye,” as that would imply that it has some depth, is perhaps thought provoking or challenges you in some way.  It does none of those things.  The plot is a bit thin and has it’s share of holes, but as long as you remember that you are watching a movie in which giant fucking robots wreak havoc and destruction while beating the crap out of each other, you’ll be just fine.  As far as the performances by the humans go, they are actually pretty sound all around.  The one failing comes surprisingly from John Turturo.  He’s just so over-the-top as a high-ranking Sector 7 agent that it’s almost funny.  And not in a “ we’re laughing WITH you kind of way,” if you catch my meaning.

All in all, if you want to have a fun time at the movies this summer (and you were incredibly disappointed with Spiderman 3 and thought Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was a bad as you expected), pony up and see Transformers in a giant theater with a crowd of people.  It is an experience that I haven’t had at the movies in a long time.  And after seeing this movie I stand by what I said before, “I'm sure this isn't the last we'll see of the robots in disguise, and for this Transformers fan, that's definitely a good thing.”