Transformers (2007) - Two-Disc Special Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Science Fiction
Paramount, DreamWorks || PG13 - 143 minutes - $36.99 || October 16, 2007
Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2007-10-15

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Michael Bay
Writer(s): Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (screenplay); John Rogers and Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (story)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Kevin Dunn

Theatrical Release Date: July 3, 2007

Supplemental Material:
  • Director's Commentary
  • Our World Featurette
  • Their War Featutette
  • More Than Meets the Eye

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.


I wrote a review of the film when it first came out for the most part my feelings about it haven't changed much at all. I no longer have any expectations so I enjoyed it slightly more but it's still pretty bad. Still love Optimus and a couple of sequences with the Autobots and not much else. I like the score a lot more now. Not much else to say about it. If you've seen it, you already know how you feel about it and if you haven't, rent it.


One of the most common expressions that fanboys on the internet use when they hate or dislike a film based on an children's franchise they grew up with is "(insert name of famous producer/director/actor etc. here) raped my childhood!" It's kind of a silly expression but i'll tell you what, i'm gonna throw it out here today. Michael Bay didn't just rape my childhood last night. He rapted it, tossed it's salad, and made it his b*tch.

That's right, I’m talking about the Transformers. Director Michael Bay's big screen adaptation of the popular 1980's toy line and cartoon show. A show that I, a child of the 80's, not only grew up with but damn near worshipped. I knew the names of characters on that cartoon before I knew my own last name, address, or phone number. It's always been a dream to see a live action version of Transformers. That and the X-men. When I got the first X-men film, I felt like i was standing next to God. I wish I could say the same this time.

Now, let's be clear, I had already expected it to be not too much like the show or comics or what have you. This is not going to be a rabid fanboy bashing. But what we get here is still inexcusable.

In Transformers, the Autobots and Decepticons, two at war races of sentient robots from the planet Cybertron come to earth in search of the powerful AllSpark cube, a device that whoever obtains could potentially control the galaxy. Megatron and his Decepticons want to do just that and the Autobots seek only to stop him and protect the universe. In the middle of this cosmic war is Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) who just got his first car... that turns out to be Bumblebee of the autobots. What we get is two concurrent, somewhat intersecting storylines. One of Sam helping the Autobots find the allspark and the other is the military and government dealing with the threat of the Decepticons.

What works? Sadly very little but what does work, I believe, will be enough for most audiences. The fight scenes and action scenes are exciting. I can't take that away from Bay and company. These are exciting set pieces. Even bigger compliments go to ILM for doing an amazing job on the Transformers themselves. There was a scene about 45 minutes in where the Autobots introduce themselves to Sam that I absolutely loved because for those few minutes, I wasn't seeing big CGI FX, I was just seeing the Autobots. Hell, in some shots, they looked as if there were actual robots standing there! Amazing. Another big compliment goes out to the writers and Peter Cullen(the original voice of lead autobot Optimus Prime from the cartoons) for their stellar work here on Optimus Prime. Every time Optimus spoke or did ANYTHING I was a child all over again. He was so right that I didn't care about his silly looking lips or his ridiculous flame designs. He was just... Optimus. Shia LaBeouf is worth nothing for giving me more from him than I expected. He does a good enough job.

And now the negative and oh boy, where to begin? Let's start with the ridiculous human characters. With the exception of Sam and to a far lesser extent Sam's parents and Bernie Mac's character (all three of whom actually elicited some laughs from me) there's not a single character here worth caring about. All of them are cardboard cutouts and caricatures. John Turturro is so over the top that he's a cartoon, Jon Voight is just cashing a check, and the military (notably Josh Duhamel and Tyrese) do nothing but shoot at things. Megan Fox (hot as she is) is a silly, "Bayified" character who came from the wrong side of the tracks and is a good girl and blah blah blah. HORRIBLE. Then there's those silly hacker characters led by Anthony Anderson. Did they have any purpose in this movie whatsoever? I mean other than to deliver bad jokes and bad exposition dialogue? NOPE. That's strike number one.

Then there's the Autobots. The Autobots aren't really bad as much as they're just disappointing. Bumblebee doesn't talk which is stupid. He talks through music which would've been fine for a little while but for the entire film, it's just grating. He has one line at the end and it's dumb. Bumblebee is not E.T.! Then there's the other three. Rachet, Jazz, and IronHide. IronHide and Ratchet AND Bumblebee are all British. Why? How does that make any kind of sense? I could see one but three? That's a nitpick but still. And Jazz? Jazz is "gangsta" talking which I didn't hate because it's an obvious nod to Scatman Caruther's voiceover work as the original Jazz but it just comes off here as kind of silly. The biggest problem with the Autobots is they're just underdeveloped as characters. All of them have some decent lines here and there but you just never care because Bay doesn't spend enough time doing anything to them except having them shoot things. One of them is even killed in the final fight and all one can do is shrug. That's just sad. Strike Two.

But the biggest crime of all? The one that really put me over the edge? The treatment of the Decepticons. There were absolutely wasted possibilities all over the place. Why do almost none of them show up until the last 25 minutes of the movie? Why is it only three of them speak English and the rest speak in some dumb Cybertron language made up exclusively for this film? Why does that little annoying robot exist? Why was Hugo Weaving hired to voice Megatron when he's so heavily filtered you can barely tell it's him and when he is there he's just spouting out clichéd "evil villain boss" dialogue. His first line is "I am Megatron" which made NO sense within the content of the sequence. There's not a HINT of characterization in ANY of these Decepticons. Where is the rivalry between Starscream and Megatron that made the Decepticons such popular characters? There's only one line in the whole film that hints at said rivalry. Hell, if Starscream wasn't going to be a major player he could've at least been allowed to say something when they had him smashing up military fighters and being the ONLY Decepticon to have any sort of fighting ability against anything. Strike Three.

I can't go without saying this one either. Many of the cartoons detractors claim it was nothing but a big toy commercial. If that's true, then the live action film is nothing but a thinly veiled Army recruitment film. Lines from Jon Voight like, "those guys never lose" -- or something along those lines -- in reference to the military along with the ridiculous idea that the military could actually defeat some of these Decepticons is absurd.

Is Transformers worth watching at all? Yeah. Like I said, the FX are good, Optimus is awesome and it's sort of exciting. But more than once. I'm not so sure. Even if you judge it as just a film and not a film based on a franchise you love, it's only average at best. I can't in good conscious recommend it and I hope if there's a sequel they get a director and team of writers who at least half way respects the material.


Audio commentary by director Michael Bay: This is by far my favorite feature on the set. I've not heard a Bay commentary before but they're quite a bit of something. The guy is somewhat of an ego-maniac, constantly lamenting about things that are there just because, "I’m the director and that's what I wanted". I dare you not to drop your jaws in shock when you hear his stories about "the chulos who painted Optimus" or "that french guy who did Frenzy". Bay talks a bit about the score and I was correct in my thinking that it sounded a bit too like Batman Begins at times (because Hans Zimmer did a couple of scenes here uncredited). Entertaining from beginning to end.

Our World featurette: Is a behind the scenes look at the development of the film from cast and crew to script as well as stunt footage. It's fun to watch how Shia LaBeouf obviously didn't know what he was into when he signed on for this film. The dog chase and he and Bay's argument in the Camero were highlights for me.

Their War: A featurette devoted almost exclusively to the Transformers themselves. How each one was chosen, how each one was animated, how they developed the real vehicles for the film, the works. To Bay's credit, I think part of the reason the Decepticons were so uninteresting was Hasbro (the toy company that makes Transformers) put too much pressure on him to get all the characters and their vehicles modes decided before they even had a script done.

More than Meets the Eye: Composed of a mini segment about the Scorponok attack on the military. It was pretty good. It's kind of disturbing how dangerous some of the stunts are though. Seems like there was a lot that could've gone wrong (and a couple of things did too as you'll see on the disc.). The other parts of this featurette are trailers for the film and an art gallery montage (which is really cool).



This film looks and sounds excellent, I thought. Bay's films have that kind of sunshiny glow to them at all times and you can see every inch of sweat dripping off of the human characters with ease.

I loved the audio too. Speaker-bustlingly delicious!


Transformers the film is simply... watchable. It's very well made and loud and exciting and little else. The DVD is great if you're a fan and if you're not, it's still an entertaining and informative affair. Not sure I would've bought the film, but it's worth a rental in the least.