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Transformers

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(Sigh. And my toolbar vanished in Firefox once more… *switches to IE* )

So… After watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we decided to watch Transformers, since (1) Leen and I hadn’t seen it yet and Phaik didn’t mind seeing it again, and (2) we had the whole afternoon ahead of us anyway, since we watched the 11.15am screening of Harry Potter.

In short:

The Order of the Phoenix is no match for the Autobots. Transformers really does live up to all the hype. Practically everyone who’s seen it says it was good, so I figured I should check it out too. And they were all right. The military side story was a little “off” but it didn’t really disrupt the movie much. The transformations from vehicles to robots were super cool! b-)

Cars that steal themselves and Net-savvy robots
Both the Decepticons and Autobots come to Earth in search of the Cube (reminded me a lot of a Borg cube at the beginning), a.k.a. Allspark. The Decepticons decimate a US military base in Qatar, stirring up a frenzy back at headquarters. Meanwhile, not knowing that the location of Allspark is engraved/embedded on his explorer grandfather’s glasses, Sam Witwicky puts them up for sale on eBay. I tell you, those Transformers are really ‘up-to-date’. They traced Sam from that eBay aunction. It’s really funny to hear a giant Decepticon asking him, “Are you username LadiesMan217?” And when he asked Optimus Prime how they knew about the glasses, Optimus’ reply of “eBay” was just soooo hilarious. :))

When Sam gets a car of his own and it turns out to be Autobot Bumblebee… Well, that’s a joke on it’s own. His “car” goes off on its own, he chases it, calls the police and then later tells them that his car’s alive, making them think he’s on drugs. “My car stole itself!” Hahahahahah!

My favourite scene in the entire movie must be when the Autobots introduce themselves to Sam and Mikaela. I really liked how their personalities and roles came out in those few minutes. Optimus and his grand bearing, the way Jazz perched himself gaily on top of some other car (“This looks like a cool place to kick it!”), Ironhide’s wanting to show off his weapons array (“Do you feel lucky, punk?”), Ratchet’s matter-of-fact observations on Sam’s pheromone levels and the revelation that Bumblebee can’t talk because his vocal processes were damaged (I think he was more unique when he talked through the radio, really).
Then when Sam comments on the way they talk, Optimus Prime answers, “We learned Earth’s language through the World Wide Web.” LOL.

I felt that the buildup of suspense was really good, and the action sequences were pretty impressive. I was on the edge of my seat during the last, all-out Decepticon-Autobot battle. (Only it was a bit difficult for me to differentiate between Ironhide, Jazz and Decepticons sometimes, with all the explosions, smoke and action.)
It was sad that Jazz had to die, but at least Bumblee survived – though I wonder how his vocal processors suddenly got themselves repaired…

A long way from the galaxy far, far away
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) was revolutionary back when the original Star Wars came out. They’ve continued to impress with effects for blockbusters all the way until now. And they just keep getting better. No, actually, they’re there. They’re the absolute top now, in my opinion. When I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 3, I was already thinking, “This is it. The effects industry has arrived at the point where nothing is impossible. Nothing.” I didn’t just mean ILM, but I meant the industry as a whole. ( Grawp in Order of the Phoenix kinda made me doubt it a little, though. hahah ) But anyhow, ILM is the best I think. It’s clear in Pirates 3, and so very obvious again in Transformers.

Did you know – the scenes with the Transformers were so complex that it took 38 hours to render one frame? (Do the math. 1 second = 24 frames. 1 minute = 60 seconds. How long would it take to render even just five minutes of Transformers?) And apparently each of Ironhide’s guns has as many as ten thousand parts! I think even just opening the file would take eons…

I am in utter awe of the amount of work and detail put into the show by ILM. It’s almost frightening to think of how long it must have taken them to model, texture and rig just one Autobot or Decepticon. Knowing the process of animation and production from experience (even if just at student level) really makes one appreciate the amount of skill out there.

Man and machine
I didn’t have any particular quibbles about the cast. Thought Shia Lebouf did well. Megan Fox was okay. Pretty girl, and I’m sure the guys appreciated her attire. I just thought that if she dresses that way, she shouldn’t complain that guys don’t take her seriously (or whatever her complaint was).

But I guess I liked the machines better than the human characters. heheh… Can’t say which Autobot is my favourite either, since I like all five. Perhaps sliiight preference for Ratchet or Ironhide or Bumblebee, though. (Yes, Ming, I know you like Jazz.)

So…
To sum things up: It’s one of those movies that really lives up to its hype. Michael Bay did a good job. ILM was fantastic. And Transformers are cool. ;)

A last laugh:
It’s a robot. You know, like a super advanced robot. It’s probably Japanese.” – Sam Witwicky

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