When I saw the first teaser trailers for Transformers, I was excited. Then, some time passed, and I saw the real trailer for the movie a few times, and suddenly things changed. Instead of being excited, I was concerned. Sure, it had big robots and a couple of high school kids observing said robots. More, it had explosions. But it seemed to lack any kind of soul. So I adjusted my expectations down a ways and decided it would all be okay. Except, the movie comes out and suddenly everyone is singing its praises all over again. Which kind of defeats the purpose of lowered expectations.
However, there is good news. It is, in fact, a really cool movie that I will be seeing at least one more time in the theater, and even more times than that would not surprise me. It has giant robots and explosions, sure, which was already enough to get me there the first time. It also has a good cartoonish blend of drama and comedy that hearkens back to the original show from lo these twenty years gone. Which, okay. If that sounds potentially dumb, it’s because parts of the movie definitely are dumb. But they’re dumb in a good-humored, summer action movie kind of way, and I have no problem with that at all.
Because what it also has is movie magic. The first time that truck rolls up to Sam the human protagonist and starts gravely explaining about the plot token that they’ve come to keep from the Decepticons, and it was the voice of Peter Cullen right out of my childhood? The absurd hilarity of the first spoken-by-robot line of the film? When Bumblebee meets Sam and pulls out a few stops to get chosen as his car? That stuff might not work for people who didn’t grow up on the show as I did, but the box office numbers seem to indicate there’s some pretty solid coolness here outside of the nostalgia set.
For people who like plot summaries: The giant robots split into two factions and had a homeworld-destroying war over the Allspark, a cube that provides life to machines. After the world destruction, it was lost in space. The war has continued throughout the galaxy as the factions search for it; naturally, it lands on earth. As do the Autobots and Decepticons, now that they have a good idea of where it is. Then, mirth, mayhem, and plot ensue!
And, yeah, that looks summer movie dumb, too. I’m not doing a very good job of explaining the difference, but there definitely is one to my eye. Maybe it’s nostalgia after all? Screw it, though. The important part is, it’s awesome. Did I mention the giant fighting robots and the explosions? I do know I forgot to mention that there’s an incredibly hot chick who furthermore likes to work on car engines, feeding into my Kaylee complex. Yay, that!