Transformers, The (2007)

Rated: PG-13 Grade: CCBC=C

Directed by: Michael Bay, maker of Bad Boys 1 and 2, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and the Island.

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachel Taylor, Andthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Bernie Mac, and the voice of Hugo Weaving.

Summary: Sam is an outcast at school, but things start looking up when his dad buys him a way cool car and the hot girl in school starts paying attention to him. Unbeknownst to him, the car is actually an alien robot being, one of the good robots called Autobots, who have come here to fight the evil robots, called Decepticons, and prevent them from capturing a very powerful source of evil technology, the AllSpark. Explosions, lots and lots and lots of Michael Bay explosions, ensue.

Entertainment Value: C Unlike many film critics, I actually like Michael Bay movies. But this was not half as satisfying as I hoped it would be. There were two main problems. One, the plot never made sense to me, even in retrospect. Two, what should have been the strongest part of the movie, the robot transformation and battle sequences, were impossible to follow visually. Was it fun? Yes. Was it as good as I expected? No.

Superficial Content: C Drugs/Alcohol A, Sexuality B, Violence C, Language C, Illegality B. Lacking blood and gore, the violence is sanitized military action, but it’s still pretty much the constant essence of the film. There are some sexual situations including a rather pointed discussion about masturbation, and Megan Fox’s body is certainly the focus of many parts of the film. Language is about what you’d expect in a PG-13 film, just clean enough to not be R.

Significant Content: C Although the movie is clearly advocates secret government conspiracies, it also very clearly affirms the valor and goodness of American military men. Parents and school teachers are clueless and inept. The good themes are basically about responsibility, sacrifice, and doing what is right for the greater good. On the bad side, secrets are regularly kept from authority figures (parents), and violence is pretty much the solution to everything.

Artistic/Thought Value: C In this case, more definitely turned out to be less. Even though I recognized that massive time and effort went into designing the robot sequences, in the end it just became an incomprehensible jumble of action. Besides, if the Transformers can change their essence (as Bumblebee does), then why not become tanks and planes like the Decepticons instead of just trucks and cars? I was never a big fan of the original cartoon Transformers, so I came to this with no real expectations. Even so, I was disappointed. Michael Bay is a visual genius, which is why I wished he would have done better here. He was certainly the right director, it’s just that something went wrong between hiring him and the final edit. Oh yeah, and the goofy clich├ęd use of expressions by the “super-advanced” Autobots was dumb, not charming.

Discussion Questions:
  • Do you see any characters in this movie representing Christian values? Are any of them representative of Christ Himself?
  • Compare the view of technology given in this movie with the view in other movies, such as The Matrix or Terminator or Blade Runner.
  • Optimus Prime has evaluated humanity and declares them worthy of saving. Do you agree? How would something like that be decided?
  • Do you see any parallels between the two groups of robots and the sides in the war on terror? Consider that one of the primary guiding principles of the Autobots is to protect innocent life.
Overall Grade: C By far not Michael Bay’s best effort, but even his failure is still decent.

No comments: