Transforming childhood fantasy to movie magic

One of the evil Decepticons, Bonecrusher, attacks a bus on the highway.  The live-action version of the 1980s cartoon Transformers plays in the BLC this weekend.By Oliver Joszt

Some people say that there is a child within all of us. If that is true, then Transformers is just the movie to unleash that inner child.

Transformers brings back that nostalgic feeling with the shape-shifting toys, video games, comic books and cartoons most of us remember seeing while growing up. It does not proclaim to educate us, but instead it entertains in the best way that a summer movie usually does: big explosions and amazing Computer Generated Image (CGI) effects.

At first, Transformers plays like most typical movies. The likable geeky hero, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), wants a new car in order to become cooler and meet girls. Sam talks his dad into buying a car and ends up with a dusty, old, yellow Camaro. However, Sam’s Camaro is actually a Transformer named Bumblebee.

Sam finds out that Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and other Autobots have come to Earth in order to stop the evil race of alien robots, known as the Decepticons, from acquiring an all-powerful cube that could destroy humanity.

The plot may sound a little ridiculous, but when seen on screen, it really isn’t hard to follow. It is the common tale of good versus evil. The only important thing in a movie about alien robots are the impressive battle sequences.

Who better to take control of a movie of this caliber than two of the best-known CGI directors: Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay. They create an amazing show of the latest technological advances in cinema. All of the Transformers look flawless and very realistic. They not only transform robots into things such as cars and planes within a few seconds, but they also have them interact with real objects and real locations. No one can question the amazing detail that has been put into the creation of these effects.

LaBeouf has a geeky charm to him that works well in a movie dealing with alien robots. He brings tons of energy in order to make us believe that this world filled with Autobots and Decepticons is actually happening around him. He has enough charisma to make jokes, developing light-hearted humor in a movie filled with explosions and action.

Some people may complain about the unrelenting flow of product placement. However, making a movie of this magnitude and budget requires a lot of money. The movie wouldn’t be as impressive if it didn’t have as much money as it obtained through product placement.

Nevertheless, not every scene works in Transformers. The worst scenes come in the beginning of the movie when U.S. soldiers are in the middle of a desert in Qatar. They are aimlessly attacked by one of the Decepticons, giving the movie an uncomfortable feel, especially given our situation in Iraq. The movie trivializes the present-day war by adding alien robots.

Admittedly, Transformers doesn’t have much substance to it, but it isn’t supposed to be deep or provocative. It does not try to hide any moral message, nor is it a complex movie in which one needs to contemplate the complexities of the director’s motives. Instead, it entertains and astonishes the audience by blowing stuff up just for the sake of blowing things up.

The movie tries to be exactly what the series was intended to be and nothing more. The film is not just geeky, but gloriously geeky. So go wake up whatever part of you is still a kid and find that yellow Camaro that you always wished could transform and fight villains.

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