Transformers Movie: Leave Brain At Home
Being one of the avid watchers of Transformers as a kid, I grew up seeing Optimus Prime as the benevolent leader, Megatron as the no-nonsense arch-enemy, Bumblebee as the cute little yellow beetle and so on and so forth. I’ve been thinking of the right words to put into Coolay! while watching this. For one thing, I thought that Optimus Prime had never looked so good. For another, it was one heck of a funny movie! After seeing so many of my favorite Japanese entertainment icons get bastardized by Hollywood (among them Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and then there are those sentai wannabes like the Power Rangers), I was expecting major disappointment. Thank goodness most of the jokes (and the in-jokes) really got to me! The most hilarious lines were uttered by the protagonist’s parents, some by the robots themselves, and the others by some of the lesser supporting characters.
While the effects are completely in the 21st century, there were some things that they left well enough alone. One of them was the sound the robots make when they’re transforming. The movie was pretty close to depicting the personalities of the original animated bots, although the Decepticons, who are usually more colorful (what with the psychotic Constructicon-based Devastator and the whiny traitor Starscream) have been downplayed. They’ve focused mostly on Bumblebee, which isn’t exactly a bad thing, as he is the one who actually connects with the human protagonists.
The music rocks majorly. I actually enjoyed the mix of alternative, rock and a few classics like “Who’s Gonna Drive You Home?” thrown here and there — and I recognized the Linkin’ Park background music (“What I’ve Done”) — as they aptly describe all the emotions, struggles, and adventures going on. Every atmosphere, every scene, has been effectively set by the score. In fact, I even remember getting goosebumps.
As for the meat of the movie, there’s a whole lot of action involved. The old boring car chase scenes, which action flicks overuse, have now been beefed up. I’ll never look at cars the same way again. I’m a little miffed with the camera angles and animation, though. The animation is so fast sometimes that you get confused as to who’s beating up what. I understand that if this happened in real life, I probably wouldn’t know what hit me. But if I’m in a movie theater and I’d appreciate a bit of slowing down so I can grasp what I paid to watch. Having said that, I think the highest point animation-wise was that radio. He’s so fluid and cute, even if he’s annoying.
Many hardcore geeks might wail that Bumblebee is no longer a Beetle or that the Dinobots aren’t present in the motion picture. I am one of the less geekier fans, who were sad about the changes, but I’ve come to see that these made sense. I know that there are a lot of complaints, especially from movie buffs and real Transformers fans. It’s expected. Disappointment is always expected from a movie that’s based on something with a cult following. With this fact in mind, I decided to leave my brain at home and the penchant for overanalyzing at work. That’s how I managed to find myself entertained by the Americanized Transformers Movie. I mean, seriously, would you expect majority of today’s teens to connect to the 80s?
On a side note: I had one male friend who commented that the bodies of the robots weren’t proportional and that in real life, they shouldn’t be able to stand. I responded by saying that men want women with oversized melons for chests and still expect these women to stand up straight, too. I don’t see them complaining when women are depicted that way in animated features.