Wednesday, July 04, 2007
On the satisfaction that comes with gloriously surpassed expectations
Okay, so the thing about opinions is that they're subjective, so there's not a lot that can make an opinion wrong. With that in mind, I won't try and pretend that Josh at Martians Attacking Indianapolis (BBNE) was wrong in his thorough panning of Transformers, just that we really did see different things. Or maybe it's just that we were looking for different things.
When I say that I just saw the movie, I mean that I just got home fifteen minutes ago from the 11:00 p.m. showing and remain so thoroughly pumped that there's no point in trying to go to sleep. It was just that awesome. I had a fantastic time, and the small but enthusiastic group of friends with whom I saw the movie gave it equally glowing reviews. A movie like this, I think, draws most of its value from its sheer capacity to entertain, and this movie was over-damn-flowing with entertainment.
I'm not gonna lie to you: The extended periods of steadicam were enough to make a girl yarkish, and the director seemed rather unable to decide which branch of the military was being represented by the dudes in BDUs. Also, the writing in the very first scene (and, to be honest, several other scenes) wasn't terribly convincing to me, nor was the delivery. So, see? I can be objective.
And objectively, this. Movie. Rocked. My. Ass.
Let me count the ways:
- The very first scene gave me Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and Amaury Nolasco all sweaty and cammi-ed up. It was hard to believe that the movie could get better from there, but it did.
- Shia LeBeouf sold the hell out of every single scene he was in. I'm reluctant to spoil, because I want you all to run out and see this movie for yourselves, but if you're young enough/old enough to remember geeky alienation at school, the joys of one's very first car (no matter how crappy), young unrequited love, or the first time your planet was invaded by alien robots, you'll identify fully with this guy. And in terms of comedic timing, line delivery, all those little throwaway lines, facial expressions, everything, he was a joy to watch every time he was onscreen.
- The special effects were incredible. Doug remarked on the way home that rendering the robots must have been a real task, because unlike the cartoon, this had to have some element of realism. They had to be able to account for every single piece of that car/truck/plane/helicopter/boom box when it transformed into a moving robot. And they did it. And it was awesome. Good CGI, in my opinion, is when you never sit back and say, "Wow, that's just what an alien robot would look like" - because it's clean enough to convince you that you're looking at an actual alien robot. This CGI was beyond good.
- Optimus Prime: "My bad."
- I actually cried during the movie. I did, I'll admit it. One of the perks of being a girl is that I can get away with that sort of thing. When the Autobots first gathered and unfolded, when that red and blue truck pulled up and I knew right away what it was going transform into and then it did, when Optimus Prime spoke for the first time, I teared up. I don't really know why. I'm thinking it was a combination of the skillful CGI and the childhood nostalgia; basically, what I was watching onscreen was escapist joy from my childhood in wholly realistic and convincing living color before me, and I welled up.
- Another time I teared up was during (spoiler? Perhaps) the car chase between Bumblebee and Barricade. I don't know why that made me teary, though. Car girl. Can't explain it.
- No smooching in the heat of battle. Seriously, who has the time or the inclination to make out in the sooty, smoky, filthy, greasy, sweaty middle of combat? When such a potential moment arose, one of the young theatregoers behind me said aloud, "Oh, come on. Just don't." And the characters obligingly obliged by... not.
- This movie was surprisingly feminist, and not in an anvilicious, beat-you-over-the-head kind of way. The romantic opposite (and this might be the slightest bit of a spoiler) is not only a stunning young woman but also a gearhead (and a brunette, which matters to some of us). And one of the code breakers mainly responsible for figuring out what, exactly, is going on with the alien robots is a young woman. And these young women do things beyond the usual female role of standing there, looking pretty, screaming, getting fetchingly dirty, and kissing the hero after he saves the world. These women contribute to the action of the film in a significant and non-contrived way, and I really enjoyed that.
- Funny! Lots of funny moments. The movie is really funny.
- They set themselves up for a sequel. This is important to me because I absolutely need to see another Transformers movie. Perhaps with so much of the crucial exposition taken care of in the first movie, there'll be room for a leetle more character development in any sequel(s), but rest assured that I'll be there on opening night.
As a matter of fact, I'll probably - make that definitely - see this one again, because I just had so much fun. I totally respect Josh's opinion on the movie, and God knows he has a lot of experience as a reviewer in both a professional and amateur capacity. My far more homespun approach asks one question: Did I have a really great time? And the answer, in this case, is an enthusiastic hells yes.