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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Movie Review:Transformers

Premise:A pair of teenagers get caught in the middle of a alien robot war for the Allspark.

Cast:Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, Meagan Fox as Mikaela Banes, Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, Jess Harnell as Ironhide and Barricade, Robert Foxworth as Ratchet, Darius McCrary as Jazz, Josh Duhamel as Captain Lennox, Reno Wilson as Frenzy, Jon Voight as John Keller, John Turturro as Seymour Simmons, Tyrese Gibson as Robert Epps, Rachel Taylor as Maggie Madsen, Anthony Anderson as Glen Whitmann, 
Hugo Weaving as Megatron, Kevin Dunn as Robert Witwicky, Julie White as Judy Witwicky, Michael O'Neill as Tom Banachek, William Morgan Sheppard as Archibald Amundsen Witwicky, Charles Adler as Starscream, Bernie Mac as Bobby Bolivia

Director:Michael Bay

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor, and language

Genres:Action, sci-fi

Notes:Posters taken from IMP Awards and belong to 20th Century Fox.

Pros:Nice CGI.

Cons:Flat characters. Bad acting. Storyline could use work.

Sam is living an average life. He just getting his first car, which turns out to be an alien robot searching for the Allspark. Things get more exciting (and dangerous) from there.

Let's get one thing straight:This film is not meant to make you think. It's not supposed to tell a great story. It's intended to entertain you with explosions, clumsy teens, giant robots, and a hot actress.

In spite of the title, it's not really about the Transformers. It focuses mainly on the humans. Most of the early stuff is about Sam, his car, and his awkward crush on a hot girl. When it's not showing you Sam's failure at life, you're seeing a group of soldiers who survived a Decepticon attack. The back and forth nature of the two might be awkward for some viewers.

The acting is not great. Shia LeBeouf won't impress many viewers with his geeky youth routine here. Meagan Fox does okay in the acting area, but she's mainly here to show off her body. Fans of the G1 cartoon will be happy to hear Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime once again.

The characters aren't particularly compelling. Most of them are stereotypes (one guy is a fat, black, nerdy guy who scarfs donuts, talks like a black stereotype, and is still a virgin), or just not that interesting. The Decepticons are pretty cool, though. I also like Captain Lennox, although he gets less screen time than Sam and company.

So in summary, watch it if you need a mindless distraction for a couple hours.

Sex:Guys appear shirtless. Mikaela wears outfits that bare midriff, cleavage, leg, etc. Sam's buddy calls her an evil jock concubine and calls "bros before hos." She admits to having a weakness for guys with big arms and attractive butts. Her boyfriend call her his little bunny. In one scene, she looks under the hood of Sam's car while he takes a good look at her sweat covered skin. While she explains that a certain part of the engine makes the car go faster, he ogles her midriff and says "I like to go faster." Bumblebee plays songs about sex to "help" Sam seduce her. A government agent calls her "you in the training bra", and makes a remark about hot criminals. Sam talks her into sitting on his lap for safety reasons. Ratchet takes a sniff and says Sam's pheromone indicate he wants to mate with her. They eventually make out on top of Bumblebee while the other Autobots are present. Sam's parents have an awkward conversation with him after he mom asks if he was masturbating in his room. It ends when Mikaela stands up and introduces herself. Sam has a magazine called Busty Beauties under his mattress that his uncle gave him. He also mistakenly makes an innuendo when he offers to give Mikaela a ride home (she eventually ends up sitting in his lap). His eBay username is LadiesMan217. Frenzy attacks him and manages to forcibly remove his pants. He references the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin and calls a car that.
A nerdy guy tries to argue his innocence by shouting he's still a virgin. A soldier yells at his buddy to remove his phone during a firefight. He specifies it's in the pocket on his left cheek. An agent is forced to strip to his boxers and tank top. Sam's classmates giggle when he says "seamen" and "sextant."

Violence:Expect to see explosions, gun fire, car chases and casualties of both humans and transformers. The opening scene has a transformer destroying a military base. A robot gets torn in half. Another gets stabbed. Yet another is overloaded, frying his circuits. Mikaela slices a Decepticon with a saw. Robots wrestle and demolish structures. Government agents tackle and manhandle people. A transformer slips underground and pops up to attack people. He uses his tail to impale humans. Throwing stars kill several people and a transformer. A flamethrower proves dangerous to a Decepticon. Optimus Prime rips an enemy's head off.
Bumblebee sends out a pulse that shatters nearby car windows. He's electrocuted. Autobots crash like meteorites. Frenzy gets his head removed (which doesn't kill him) and kicked a ways. The Autobots accidentally trash Sam's yard and demolish a few power poles. A Decepticon chases Sam and threatens him. A flashback shows Sam's disastrous tryout for the football team; he claims he was doing research for a book on the connection between football and brain damage. Dogs chase him. He pulls Mikaela off her bike, crashing it. He himself crashes his mom's bike twice. A car nearly runs him over. A cop sees Sam looking at his gun and dares him to try something. Sam's mom threatens to attack agents who tear up her plants and drag off her dog.

Drugs and Alcohol:Sam carries painkillers for his dog, which gets him in trouble when he's arrested. He insists he isn't on drugs and even asks if the cop is. Sam's parents drink wine with dinner. A soldier speaks fondly of watching baseball with a hot dog and beer.

Language:"Motherf**ker" is half-way said a couple times. Also "G*d", "fricking", "b**ch", "crap", "a**", "a-holes", "s**t", "p*ss", and "d*mn". A woman flips her son the finger. Humans are called insects and maggots.

Gross Humor:Sam's dog pees on Ironhide's foot. Later on, Bumblebee copies this on a less-than-sympathetic government agent. When told his baby daughter laughed, a soldier jokes if they're sure she didn't just fart. A car dealer introduces himself as Bobby Bolivia, like the country without the diarrhea.

Spiritual:The most significant bit is the Allspark itself. It's said to have existed since the beginning of time. It grants life to the transformers both implicitly and onscreen. A guy says his mother could see things and so can he. His buddy quips why doesn't he use those voodoo powers to get them out of there. Since part of the movie takes place in the Middle East, we see people in clothing commonly associated with Islam. The Autobots examine a temple-looking building. Megatron is referred to as a harbinger of death. Decepticons say things like "All hail Megatron", and "I live to serve you, lord Megatron."
Trying to get an A, Sam tells his teacher to ask himself what would Jesus do. He calls his car Satan's Camaro. A guy calls his home his place of zen and peace. A radio broadcast Bumblebee uses mentions visitors raining from heaven. A guy shouts that the meteor strikes (actually Autobots landing) is better than Armageddon. The Witwicky dog is named Mojo and at one point Sam scolds him, calling him bad Mojo. Briefly (blink-and-you-miss-it), an unlikable character wears a cross necklace. The credits song mentions "Let mercy come and wash away what I've done".

So what did you think? More than meets the eye? Or just a piece of junk?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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