When it comes to producing a comic book or cartoon movie, the cast and crew get one chance to get it right. They need to be able to appeal to the legions of fans that have followed the series from its inception to whereever it is at the time. They also need desperately to appeal to potentially new fans that the film will create.
In the case of Transformers, they succeeded. Now, I should note that I am a long-time fan of the “robots in disguise.” I began when I was in fifth grade by watching the cartoons and collecting the toys. Soon I was collecting the comics and cherished every single new edition.
So when I learned that the movie was coming, I was concerned. I was concerned that it would be screwed up. Truthfully though, I was anxious. I was anxious to see the joys of my childhood on the big screen, and so were my two boys.
So when the July 3 opening date rolled around, we loaded up and headed to the theater. We took our seats and prepared for what could possibly be an absolute flop — or not. Admittedly I avoided reading any reviews for this movie.
The movie began well enough and progressed interestingly. Aside from noting a few Hollywood changes, I was enjoying it. Then came the meeting with the first Transformer, Blackout, and my jaw hit the floor. Even the sound they used to indicate the transformation was dead on! Holy crap! Here were the Decepticons blasting away a military base in Qatar.
I just kept thinking, “when are the Autobots coming to rescue these guys?” Of course it didn’t happen and I was okay with that.
So now off to the United States and Sam Witwicky. Sam is on a quest to get a car and a girl. Purchasing an old Camaro from a less then honest used car salesman (Bernie Mack), Sam drives off in what Transformers fans know to be Bumblebee. The personality of the car is cool but it gets better when it finally transforms into the robot we all love.
As the rest of the Autobots make their way to earth (Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Ratchet, and Jazz) the movie really picks up. Small fights involving Bumblebee and the Decepticon, Barricade, as well as Soundwave and the U.S. government, prepare the viewers for the ultimate battle at the end. The showdown between the Autobots and the Decepticons (Megatron, Starscream, Devestator, Blackout, and Bonecrusher) was intense. It was like the Matrix meets the Transformers with an amazing display of acrobatics by giant robots. Autobot medic Ratchet slugs it out so hard that any fighting medic would be proud.
The whole movie is packed with fun scenes like Bumblebee leaking lubricant (peeing) on government agents and all the Autobots doing their best to hide from Mr. and Mrs. Witwicky.
The special effects and booming explosions electrified the captive audience as time and time again my four-year-old grabbed his ears. Speaking of four-year-olds, during the main confrontation, when Optimus Prime finally shows up, my boy jumped out of his seat and cheered! I don't mean silently pumping his fist but truly raising his hands and yelling for joy — I think I was doing the same inside!
This movie did everything I hoped it would do and nothing I feared. It changed the story line some and made modifications to the robots themselves (Prime was a snub nosed semi). More than any of that, though, it gave a Dad and his two boys the chance to cheer about something together and walk away smiling.