Reviewed by Susan Lloyd
"...the best of what summertime films are made of."
As I write this, Transformers The Movie has already grossed over 260 million at the box office, and after viewing the film myself I can see why. Fast paced, humorous and never dull, Transformers is the best of what summertime films are made of. But it is a film made strictly to entertain, and movie goers who are looking for something deeper than fast fun and well crafted special effects may be disappointed.
Director Michael Bay has done an exceptional job with the pacing of the film. One would expect a sci-fi movie to move along quickly, and Transformers does just that. The action begins quickly when a Decepticon (a transformer bad guy) attacks US military base in Qatar. After those intense opening moments, the energy and tension never really levels off throughout the film. Even times when plot needs to develop, the script is laced with clever wit and deftly delivered one-liners. The character development isn’t especially deep, but the story’s protagonist, Sam Witwiky (Shia Lebeouf) earns the viewer’s interest and sympathy quiet early on. Shia Labeouf handles this role with apparent ease, bringing an every man likeablity to the screen that is reminiscent of performances by Tom Hanks
Transformers has a story line that is easy to follow, but it becomes momentarily difficult to delineate between the good guys and the bad guys when the agents of Sector Seven are introduced. John Turturro, while completely competent in his role as Sector Seven’s Agent Simmons, is really a better actor than the role demands. He seems to have been brought in for the sake of adding a recognizable name to the cast. But he does bring the right amount of arrogant self importance to the role, and the contrast against LaBeouf’s unassuming Witwicky is well balanced.
Witwicky’s other character counter is Mikaela (Megan Fox), the stereotypical “hot” girl who is clearly out of Sam’s league. While LaBeouf may offer a character all guys can relate to, Fox gives all guys something to daydream about. Fox’s acting ability doesn’t equal that of Labeouf,’s but she’s a looker, and I hardly think the target audience (13-24 year old males) will notice her lack of acting chops. Casting this newcomer was a stroke of genius, however, and I expect we haven’t seen the last of Miss Fox.
We are treated to a cast of automated characters as well, and the real genius of this film is in the spectacular special effects. I’m not sure what percentage of this film was shot against a green screen, and it doesn’t really matter. The blending of real screen actor with that of computer generated “actors” is incredibly seamless. Part of the real appeal of this film is that characters like Optimus Prime (leader of the Autobots) and Bumble Bee (Sam’s Transformer guardian) are so realistic the viewer is able to enter into the fantasy of the film without being distracted by the unlikelihood that these events could really occur.
The film is rated PG-13 for violence, intense action, and sexual references. In the world of movie ratings, it’s possible for PG-13 movies to lean in the PG or the R direction, and Transformers leans slightly in the R direction. My twelve year old handled it beautifully though, and the movie provided an unexpected opportunity for us to talk about undeserved redemption and the value of human life. Parents can be thankful for the redemptive message of the film but must also be prepared to discuss Sam’s sexual interest in Mikaela, Mikaela’s sketchy past, and some blatant sexual references that may need explanation.
I thoroughly enjoyed Transformers, as did almost everyone I’ve talked to who has seen it this summer. You may not be able to catch it on the big screen before it has run its course in theaters, but put it on your list of DVD’s to rent in the future. And if you don’t have a big screen TV on which to watch it, find a neighbor who does and enjoy the summer fun!
WATCH THE TRAILER:
Susan Lloyd is a professional photographer in Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in shooting concerts. She holds a degree in Music Education and has worked as a worship leader and as a youth minister. She is passionate about all types of music and enjoys encouraging and supporting bands who seek to glorify God. She also loves movies, animals, traveling, and making new friends. She and her husband have three kids and have been married for nearly 17 years. More info about Susan's photography can be found at www.susanlloydphotography.com or www.susieq3c.wordpress.com