Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rickey Reviews "Transformers"

Let’s take some time to discuss that giant robot move Rickey and Adam saw last night. We’ll preface this column by saying that this review is pointless. You're already going to see this, aren't you? Rickey probably couldn't even convince you otherwise. Nor would he, because he’s still pretty excited about it—it’s that good. It’s the very definition of a summer blockbuster. This flick is everything that Spidey 3 or Pirates of the Caribbean 3 should have been. Just don’t go in expecting anything remotely ephemeral. Because let’s face it, if you’re expecting to find deep philosophical meaning at the root of a Michael Bay flick about warring robots then you just might need to reevaluate your movie-going priorities.

And as movies go, this is one of the most entertaining ever made. On the Kaboom! Scale of 1 to 10, this vicious bastard clocks in at a 19. Rickey’s a big fan of Michael Bay’s work and make no mistake, this is his opus. What can we say? The man was born to make a movie about giant robots hitting each other. Is it a big ad for a certain Detroit automaker? Indeed it is. Is it also an unabashed, flag-waving valentine to the U.S. military? You betcha. Does it exemplify everything that is loud, brash, and indulgent in American culture? Sweet fancy Moses, does it ever. And in no way whatsoever should that ruin your enjoyment of this big fireball of a movie.

In one scene, Starscream, a badguy robot plane, goes completely apeshit and transforms in midair, hopping from one terrified U.S. fighter jet to the next, pummeling each one as it moves along. And it’s jawdropping. We won’t ruin any more of the action or set pieces in the film, but suffice to say, you’ve never seen anything like the shenanigans that go down in this movie. True, those rare moments in “Transformers” when stuff isn’t exploding generally aren’t very good. Overall, Rickey didn’t care much for the plot, which involves something called a Life Spark, some funky glasses, a drugged up chihuahua, secret government agencies, and a convoluted attempt to convince the audience that a ridiculously attractive Australian model is an elite hacker.

But did we mention that scene with the robot fighter jet wreaking havoc in the skies? That alone is worth your $10.50, and it’s the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to those misbegotten madmen at ILM, the effects are flawless and these giant transforming robots have a real sense of weight and believability to ‘em. Rickey would compare watching movie to the first time you saw “Jurassic Park.” It conveys a similar sense of awe. In one scene, a bystander actually utters the phrase “this is 100 times better than ‘Armageddon!’”. Now let’s say you’re a movie director… precisely how large do your balls need to be in order for you to insert self-praise of one of your previous movies in your latest offering? Positively massive we’re guessing. And this is why Michael Bay was the right guy for the job.

Look, you like to occasionally nosh on fast food, right? Watching this is the cinematic equivalent: a true guilty pleasure. Think of this as the “Road House” of giant robot fighting movies. This movie is better than any of us deserve. Or maybe it’s exactly what we deserve—take your pick. If summer blockbusters like these truly do represent the decline of Western Civilization (as some critics have suggested) then we’re all too happy to embrace the end times. Last one out, turn off the lights. Rickey awards “Transformers” 9 out of 10 possible stolen bases.

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Smitty said...

That's it. Smitty will go see this movie and will revel in the violence. The first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan? Genius. The fight scene on the freeway in the second Matrix movie? Sublime. The giant robot suits the guys wore in the Matrix that shot arm-sized shells rapid-fire? Smitty wants one for Christmas.

I will see this jet-pummelling scene.

Rickey Henderson said...

Well the freeway fight scene is actually pretty short. The real fireworks happen right after that. The entire movie is essentially a big build up to the crazy finale.

sideshow bob said...

Autobots, roll out!

AmyV said...

I am utterly excited and I've never even played with Transformers. It looks positively awesome and this review only cements that.

To all those who deride this movie, saying it's form over substance, I say this:


Adam said...

May I also suggest a double shot of bourbon before the show too.

Rickey seems to forget the good parts of the story...

Rickey Henderson said...

Good call Adam. Rickey had totally forgotten that part. Movie theaters with bars in 'em are a winning combination--mildly belligerent is definitely the best way to view this movie.

Egan Foote said...

When is the Gobots movie coming out? Egan always preferred those to Transformers.

However, it was Voltron that always gave Egan a tingly feeling... kind of like the feeling of being held hostage for 52 hours during a bank robbery.

Egan, out.