Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Who would have guessed before this film went into production that TRANSFORMERS would be one of the most controversial films in the long history of AICN? We literally cannot post anything about this movie without it causing all sorts of geekquakes. And this... a test screening review? Well, first of all, whether it’s positive or negative, prepare for cries of “PLANT!” No matter what, it won’t be harsh enough for those who already hate the film, and it can’t be positive enough for those determined to love it. It seems oddly appropriate that a film with such clearly delineated good-and-bad-guys should inspire such a clearly delineated fan base. I’m just not sure who are the Autobots and who are the Decepticons. Either way, here’s your first reaction from someone who’s seen it, straight from the test screening in Arizona:
Harry and gang - Long time listener, first time caller... First, let me say, I don't know how to write a review so stick with me, I have a lot of thoughts in my head about this movie so this could be all over the place. But I just HAD to write in, I am currently the most happyest fanboy on earth! Here is the short version: I JUST SAW OPTIMUS PRIME IN AN ORGY OF KICKASSERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1) Screw you guys. The flames are cool. Nipples on batman = lame, flames on optimus = cool. 2) The robots in general are OUTSTANDING. I think ILM is doing them right? Whoever it is needs a raise - they look so real in the scenes its unbelievable (except frenzy or soundbyte or whatever he is. I’ll get into that later). They blend with the "real world" stuff so well, its awesome. 3) Optimus "lips" look bad and just piss me off. I can't imagine it will bother the general public, but anyone who has an attachment to "prime" will have issue with this for sure. There is no reason to give him lips. He speaks a few times with the shield up and it totally works….anyway. That is my only MAJOR gripe with the film. (but I doubt it's worse than "Cloudactus") 4) Shia Labuof is great as Sam Witwicky. I really wasn't sure how I would feel about him, but he nails it. He's got a great vibe on screen, I really wanted him "win". He's actually very funny as well. Great casting, he's legit. 5) Megan Fox (im sure that's no coincidence), I have no clue if she can act or not because I was fixated on her tits and ass whenever she was onscreen - pure sex (god bless you Michael Bay). I had to IMDB her after the movie because I had no idea who she is or what she had been in. I didn't care then and I don't care now. 6) Supporting cast is far better than I expected. Turturro is great as the quirky head of Sector Seven. The ladies in the audience im sure loved the beefcake tyrese and josh "las vegas" duhmel. Bernie mac and Anthony Anderson are very very funny in their small roles. 7) Action…seriously…you've never seen anything like this. Hate all you want on Bay, this is THE guy you want creating giant robot mayhem! And he does. Here is the long version: Last week I was at the Harkins Arrowhead Theater here in Peoria, Arizona to see Blades of glory. When I was leaving, some theater person handed me a flyer and asked if I wanted to see a test screening of an "upcoming PG-13 major release summer action movie" (or something like that, I can't remember). Being a movie geek, and a broke one, I was like "fuck yeah, free movie". I've never been to a preview or test screening or whatever before, so I didn't really know what to expect. All week I had been trying to figure out what it could be, my friend said "just pray it's not "Flatulence Four: taking a number two"" THANK GOD it wasn't…that would have sucked. I was thinking maybe Die Hard or maybe Pirates, but I honestly never thought I would be Transformers, I figured with all the CG that it probably wasn't ready yet. I was partly right. Anyway, i showed up last night at the same Harkins and the theater was packed, looked like a lot of families with kids and some scattered people around my age (I'm 28). After we sat for a few minutes I was looking around at the group of "reserved" seats that were taped off….and then I saw him….MICHAEL FUCKING BAY was in the house! Right then I knew what was up and I thought I was gonna SHIT! I didn't say anything to anyone…mainly because I didn't know anyone else there…but I knew… I couldn't believe my luck. there could have been some other cast or something there, but I didn't recognize anyone else in the audience. A few minutes after The Bay sat down ( I am an open Bay supporter (minus Pearl Harbor) so you can commence with your blind hateration below at anytime) , a very studio looking guy stood up in front of the theater and told us that "a lot of effects weren't done and the music was temp" blah blah. I didn't give a shit- I wanted the fucker to start! He finally says we are the "first audience to see TRANSFORMERS!" There was a loud cheer in the theater, I looked around and many of the older moms/dads didn't quite get it, but their kids seemed to know the score. I saw two 15ish year old fat kids do a chest bump…alas, I had no one to chest bump- but I totally would have! So then the movie started, I have to be honest, I was smiling ear to ear- I was about to see the MOTHERFUCKING TRANSFORMERS before anyone else! FIRST, BITCHES! (never been able to say that before :) So, the movie… It opens with what looks like the surface of a planet, Cybertron, but it doesn't look anything like the cybertron we know from the cartoons. Its more like a rocky, mountainous wasteland, but alive…if that makes any sense. Then we hear a voice and I know this voice, OPTIMUS FUCKING PRIME- albeit he sounds older and more bassy than he did in the show. It was cullen for sure though. He tells a short back story about the AllSpark Cube and how it was lost during an epic battle and all transformers went searching the galaxy for it. We see the cube floating through space and coming up on earth where it starts a comet like decent through the sky. OP stops talking and the screen goes black and then : TRANSFOMERS logo comes up. That's the only credits, no laundry list of names that no one cares about, just a logo. Loved it. After the logo we are dropped into the desert where we come up on some army guys in the back of a helicopter as they arrive at a base in Qatar, josh duhmel, tyrese and that latino guy from prison break. After some army talk and Josh Duhmel doing a cutesy baby talk webcam thing with his wife and child (luckily this doesn't really play much of a factor in the movie) we see that there is an inbound helicopter that isn't supposed to be there…cue ominous music and then BRING ON THE BANG BANG! The helicopter lands and is surrounded by armed men and tanks- but fret not for helicopter guy, cause its Blackout and he came to bring the pain. This is the scene that is in the trailer, where he starts transforming and the army goes Michael Bay on his ass. Only this time it didn't cut away like the trailer- he transforms, stands up and gets to blowing shit up! The transformation is unreal, it looks SO FUCKING COOL! Gears shifting, metal scrapping, pistons doing pistony things and it had the TRANSFORMATION SOUND FROM THE CARTOON! It had a little geek chubby, I couldn't stop smiling. Blackout proceeds to fuck shit up and nothing the army does even slows him down. I recognized a few of the shots form the trailer like the tanks flying through the air and the EMP looking thing he does. The scene is like 3-4 minutes of him just wreckin shop on the base- it was fucking awesome. There was a part where tyrese is laying on the ground below him that was kinda lame, Blackout just looks at him for a minute giving his buddy time to shoot. But then he sprouts scorponok from his back and takes out a WHOLE AIRFIELD! I just remember thinking now THAT'S how you start a giant robot movie. We then go to a school where Shia is doing a show and tell kinda thing on his grandpa (this plays a key roll in the film but I wont ruin it with detail spoilers). This whole scene and the next two or three are all simply to set up the main story of Sam (Shia) getting his first car (bumblebee) and setting up the Shia/hot girl plot. As is my problem with most "origin" movies, theres a shit load of origin and not a lot of action for the first 30-40 minutes or so. Which is probably why I like spidey 2 better than spidey 1. Maybe its my fault for knowing too much about the world before hand. Whatever. So there are some really funny moments with Shia and the girl (ill call her Foxy). Foxy is slowly wooed by Shia with the help of Bumblebee via his radio. He doesn't speak at all, he talks through the radio….which sounds really lame, and is really lame for the first couple times but then it stopped bothering me and became kinda funny (intentionally) So back to the sam//foxy story. Sam and dad go to get sams first car, we then meet Bernie Mac as Bobby B or something like that. I took it as a nod to BumbleBee (BB get it?) Bernie is actually very funny in his small part, I wasn't sure id like it (after seeing in the TV spot) but I actually really liked him. Small part, big laughs. Sam gets BumbleBee ( and yes there IS a subtle nod to the origin as there is a yellow VW bug next to the camaro) this is a pretty funny scene as BumbleBee does things to ensure Sam takes him home. The movie overall is actually very funny, in a good way. Some really cheesy laughs that are more than tolerable, its got light hearted flavor throughout, but when its time to fight- they fight- Bay style. Shia's parents in the film are very well cast and they are really funny, much more so than any other Bay characters of the past in my opinion. It feels like this is the first time where he decided to embrace some elements of cheese and run with it. I am glad he did. It works, mainly because Shia is really really great as a semi-woody allen type kid, I was genuinely impressed with him throughout the movie. So it doesn't take long for Shia to find out that BB is not just a shitty old car, it's a big ass robot…he also soon finds out that there are bad big ass robots that need something from him. He gets chased by Barricade (the cop car) and BB comes to his rescue and we see the first Robot vs. Robot action….i was a little disappointed by this in the sense that it was shot in a way where you really never got a good look at either of them. After seeing the rest of the film I can see why, they wanted to save it, but when I was watching it it bothered me that I couldn't get a good clean look at the bots. Also during this time a small "boombox" robot is on Air Force one (unsure how he got there, wouldn't an x-ray see that it wasn't normal? ) anyway, he gets into the belly of the plane and starts hacking for info and then gets in a fight with some secret service agents. Frenzy (I think that's who it is based on internet info, they never really say) is a little bothersome from a viewer perspective. He is very shiny metal and doesn't blend with the background nearly as well as the rest of them---this COULD be one of those "not yet done" things, I hope it is. It was sometimes hard to tell what exactly wasn't complete CG wise. Sometimes it was super obvious and sometimes there were small hints that it wasn't complete. I'm not sure where this bots stands in that sense. I'll refrain from describing too much detail with the rest of the film because im not a fan of spoilers. Ill simply make some general observations. I consider myself a mid-core TF fan. I LOVE transformers and ive seen every episode numerous times (G1), the movie numerous times and have been waiting for this movie for the last 20 years, but I accept that certain things need to happen in order for the movie to be made. Some lure/history/canon needs to be re-written/ignored in order to make a film like this- I accept that. The robot design change, in my opinion, was the right choice. When you see it you will understand. The boxy designs from the cartoons simply would not have worked, they would have looked stupid and old. OP mouth…..thats a different issue- it sux. Period. I really wish the decepticons, namely Starscream, would have gotten far more screen time. He doesn't show up till near the end. He TOTTALLY fucks shit up and is THE bad ass of the decepticons, but I needed more- "I've got a fever, and the only prescriptions is MORE STARSCREAM!!!!!!" The rest of the decepticons (except megatron) are pretty much just fodder for the autobots to stomp on, which im fine with, that's all they were in the cartoon anyway. Megatron, even in his "cyberform" is pretty fuckin cool. When he eventually gets in on the fight he makes it clear who is boss. He never "scans" anything on earth so he stays in "cyberform" the whole movie….and yes I know it's called "protoform" but that term seems stupid to me. We do, however, get to see at least a glimpse of the SS/Megs dynamic. "you failed me yet again Starscream" was awesome!" Some of the voices I think were temp still as they were hard to understand. Megatron didn't sound at all like Hugo Weaving to me, but as I said, the audio may have been temp. Optimus Prime- sword arm- fuckin sick! That's all im gonna say about that. OP says more than a few of the "iconic" lines from the toon- there are many many nods and references to the history of TF, it's clear that there was a lot of thought into adding some "fan only" moments into the film that the general audience wont get, which was great. I'd say about 25% of the robot stuff was still temp and there was very little music/score in place so some scenes felt a bit slow and hard to keep up with, but I think once the FINAL movie is out in theatres those moments will be fixed. So to sum this all up: This is a Michael Bay movie. Make no mistake about it. You can see influences from Spielberg and a conscious effort to make this not just a blow em up bang bang movie (although I would have been fine with that). The last 30 minutes is non-stop robot destruction- I honestly couldn't tell you everything that happened because it was just so damn awesome I had a hard time even keeping up- i almost wish I hadn't seen it….because now I have to wait TWO MORE FUCKING MONTHS TO SEE IT AGAIN…explosions, destruction, robots flying through the air, shooting missiles and rockets from their arms- absolute insanity on city streets. This is what I wanted to see out of this movie. There are some things that you may shake your head at or roll your eyes during, but when you see the goods, the stuff WE ALL want to see, you let the other stuff slide. Or at least I did. Cardsfan34 p.s. Go suns, fuck the lakers p.p.s. commence hating……now!