“Transformers” stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Anderson, John Turturro, and Jon Voight. Released on July 3, 2007, the film is about a teenager who gets caught in an intergalactic war between two factions of alien robots.
The film is directed by Michael Bay, who also directed films such as Bad Boys, The Rock, Pearl Harbor, and Pain & Gain. It is based on the toy line of the same name created by Hasbro. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the science fiction action-packed blockbuster, and to celebrate, I decided to look back at the film that fully reintroduced me to the Transformers brand. Upon its release, it was a major box office success, grossing over $700 million worldwide, and even though it gained a mixed reception from critics and Transformers fans alike, it was considered the best installment in the live-action film series compared to the other sequels that I will get to later on. I was about 13 years old when this film came out. It was during the time where I was finally old enough to see PG-13 rated films, both at home and at the theater. I like to respect the ratings system. I went to see it in the theater with my mother and, this may come as a shock to you, we had an absolute blast watching it. Because of that, we made sure that we see the other Transformers films together on the big screen. Let me remind you that this was before I started my career in reviewing movies. Looking back at this now, it does have its share of flaws, including plenty of Bay-isms, but I still find it fun to watch.
Unlike the animated Transformers film back in the 1980s, the Autobots and the Decepticons are pretty much seen as supporting characters with the main focus set on the human characters and their first encounters with the robots in disguise. One of those human characters is Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf, who discovers that his first car is actually an alien robot. The film also focuses on the military and their reactions to this type of situation, which I thought was handled very well by Michael Bay. While the human characters weren’t as memorable as the Transformers themselves, the cast did offer some likable performances to keep me entertained, especially LaBeouf and Duhamel. The voice cast who brought the CGI robots to life also did a very nice job with their performances, but the one that stands out the most has to be Peter Cullen as the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. Hearing his majestic voice coming out of Prime’s mouth is just music to my childhood ears. I can never imagine someone else voicing this character. Peter Cullen is Optimus Prime! When it comes to the action sequences, no one makes it more thrilling and exciting than Michael Bay himself. Sure, his storytelling has its issues, but his filmmaking style, such as the slo-mo scenes, and his direction are what made his films mindlessly entertaining for his audience, and this film is no exception. Even the robot-vs-robot sequences looked amazing to watch. The visual effects and the robot designs of the Transformers were also my personal highlights of the film as they successfully brought the robots in disguise to life in live-action form, and they still look amazing now 10 years after its release. As I said before, the film has its share of flaws despite its awesomeness, such as its running time. The film clocks in at about two hours and 23 minutes, which is typical for a Michael Bay film since he’s a huge fan of making long action movies. For a film like this, it could’ve been 10 to 20 minutes shorter so that people wouldn’t check their watches halfway through the movie. While the running time isn’t a big deal here, it can be for the sequels. Another issue with this film was its debatable use of humor, including some sexual humor, because apparently, they thought that Julie White’s masturbation line would make kids laugh. Admittedly, I did laugh at some of the humor that is used in the film, but it’s pretty understandable that it’s not for everyone, especially some die-hard fans of the source material. There were also some moments where the transitions felt rushed and disrupted the story’s flow.
Overall, Michael Bay’s first entry in the live-action Transformers series is pretty much what you expect from a Michael Bay film: lots of action, lots of explosions, lots of everything. The running time and its humor can be a bit of a bother to some people, but “Transformers” proves that there’s more to this movie than meets the eye thanks to its performances, Bay’s execution on its fun and thrilling action sequences, and its splendid use of visual effects. This movie still won’t change people’s minds on how they see Michael Bay, but when it comes to the film’s sequences, I still think that he was the right man for the job despite the fact that some of his films were panned by critics. If you’re a newcomer to the Transformers franchise, I would recommend watching the 1980s animated Transformers film before seeing this one, just to be safe. I would also like to say that if you like the live-action films for what they are, including this one, that’s completely fine. If you don’t, that is also fine, but please don’t be so negative and cruel to those who do. Be respectful to one’s opinion, and they’ll respect yours. Autobots, roll out!