That's right, I just gave four stars to a Michael Bay film about giant, transforming robots based on an 80's toy line. The fact that I also own and love the 1986 animated movie should tell you a bit about the place Transformers held in my childhood esteem. Still, it wasn't just nostalgia that made me love this movie. OK, yes, that was a big part of it. I had very little hope that this movie wouldn't make the kinds of changes that invariably piss me off but, on the contrary, I was impressed by how respectfully the source material was treated. (And, really, the cartoon wasn't exactly Shakespeare--treating it as reverentially as people, including me, do is more than a little silly.) I particularly loved that Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, was brought back to reprise his role. But apart from merely appealing to my inner 7-year-old, there was plenty to appreciate as an adult. It goes without saying that the special effects and action scenes were top notch. The acting, though, was also quite good. Shia LaBeouf has a real talent for comedy, I think. What was even more surprising is how good the robots themselves were. Between the excellent voice acting and animation, the Transformers really did come to life for me, managing to make me both laugh out loud and get choked up. (OK, so I'm a little ridiculous. I can deal with that.) Of course, the film wasn't without its flaws. More than once I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the human technology in the film. (Giant, sentient, shape-changing robots? Yeah, of course that's fine. Connecting a 40's-era radio to a modern desktop PC in under five minutes with no schematics or specialized equipment? I can't roll my eyes hard enough.) And then there was the fact that, as usual, the producers picked a very pretty girl with absolutely no acting ability as the female lead. Still, at the end of the day it's an action movie--we can forgive it a few mistakes as long as the rest is suitably awesome. And it was.
Viewed: 7/7/2007 | Released: 7/2/2007 | Score: A