Saturday, July 07, 2007

"More Than Meets The Eye"

The Transformers movie?

I was always more of a G.I.Joe guy than a Transformers fan, so I had no real expectations, but this big, summer spectacle hit the right geek notes and even managed a few nice little character flourishes.

And although he's being humble about it, I will gladly give all the credit for any sparkling nuggets of intelligence in the flick to John Rogers.


I especially liked the skillful way in which a sharp distinction was made between the hooah grunts of the on-the-ground military and the not-quite-villainous-but-misguided secretive military industrial complex led by John Turturo. I'm gonna go out on a limb and give Rogers some geek creds for that smooth move. Because, you know, he hates America so much.

Other highlights:

The Middle East battle sequences were some of the best in the movie.

Big Michael Bay 'splosions.

Julie White as Sam's mom was hilarious. Kudos to the whole team for making the human family stuff funny and not so annoying.

Megan Fox. Nice job, casting folks.

And of course, as soon as you hear Peter Cullen booming, gravelly voice say, "I am Optimus Prime..."

...well, if you ever watched the cartoon as a kid, you'll get little geek goosebumps.

Also, the (machine-)man-crush friendship between Bumblebee and Sam totally works and melts your geek heart.

Although, it is a bit disconcerting to think that Sam and Mikaela are totally getting busy on Bumblebee's hood. While all the Autobots watch.


I mean, I know they were going for that sentimental/poignant/happy ending, but it still leaves the audience with an almost creepy image of two teenagers snuggling on the hood of their giant robot friend, using him as a love seat, while automated alien robots silently leer at them in the setting sun. Creepy.

Yeah. There were some logic problems, not the least of which was - aside from giving Sam some end-of-the-movie heroics - why would HE have to run the Cube to the top of the building when the GIANT FLYING ROBOTS are far better suited for the job?

And, um, why would they keep Megatron and the Cube in the same place? Seems like a pretty big risk, if something went wrong. Moreover, while I love the idea of a secret base under the Hoover Dam...come on. You need to keep Megatron frozen. Why would you bring him to the desert?

Also, I kind of wanted Megatron to be a little more well-defined. And a little more distinctive.

By the way, Jazz getting ripped in two? The black dude always dies...

But still, a great summer action flick with plenty of big 'splosions and giant robots kicking ass and some genuinely nice character moments. Oh, and it's FUN.

Now, I know some conservatives have jumped on the bandwagon because the Autobots have come here to protect humanity from evil. Some have pointed out that Optimus Prime's belief that "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" sounds just like the President!

Except, that's from 20 years ago. From the cartoon. You know, that thing that caters to children. And expresses ideas in universal, simplistic, easy-to-understand terms. For children.

I think it's less that the cartoon character speaks like "W" and more like "W" speaks like a cartoon character.

At least he picked a good one to model himself after...

Also, at the end of the movie, the government SHUTS DOWN the super-secret Sector 7 for causing more problems than they, you know, Rogers kind of reminds you where he stands on the issue.

While we're on the subject, John Rogers is taking donations for Fisher House, which provides homes for the families of wounded service members. He's matching donations.

Read his stuff. Make a donation. Support a good cause. Do some good.