Before I continue, I must apologize to my brother (who likely will never read this anyway) and my brother-in-law (who will). But when your wife, the least geeky person you know, says that she owes you for helping her study for an exam and is actually willing to go see Transformers with you and is still willing to go even after you give her multiple chances to opt out, you go. That's just how it is.
When you look over during the movie and see her laughing when she should laugh, cheering when she should cheer, scowling at the bad guys, and otherwise legitimately enjoying the film, it's a good thing. A very good thing.
As for the movie... loved it. Yes, it's a big-budget, blockbuster-infused, popcorn-fest of a film directed by one of those men that serious moviegoers should never like (Michael Bay) because they tend to strip movies of their legitimacy as an artform, but I did. And I admit it proudly.
I really dug the plot and the way things were played out. Basically, it's a story about robots on Earth trying to find the source of their power that was lost during a war on their now-defunct planet. The Autobots want to stop the Decepticons not only from finding it, but from destroying the human race in the process.
One great thing is that they limited the number of Transformers on each side of the battlefield. I believe it was five each and that was about it. For the Autobots, we had Optimus Prime, Jazz, Bumblebee, Ratchett, and Ironhide. For the Decepticons, it was Megatron, Starscream, Barricade, Bonecrusher, and Frenzy. I remember all the Autobots as being part of the first incarnation of the series and the same goes for Megatron and Starscream on the bad guys side. Something about Barricade strikes a familiar chord. But, who the heck were Bonecrusher and Frenzy? I also think the boom box was supposed to be a shout out to Soundwave, although his actual name was never mentioned and the 'bot he transformed into was simply one of the grunt drones, so I'm not sure it was actually supposed to be him.
It was a bit too long in some areas and could've been edited down to shorten the overall two-and-a-half hour runtime. However, when the action kicked in, it was on like Donkey Kong. The battle scenes were intense, things got destroyed, the filmmakers were not afraid to kill both humans and robots, and the special effects were fantastic. Seeing Bonecrusher "skating" down the highway actually looked like it was real. And the film was clearly fun for all ages so far as I could tell from the little kid seated behind me cheering the entire movie.
For a Transformers nut like myself (I collected the toys, read the comics to a certain point, and watched the cartoon), it was nice to see that they did maintain some aspects of the original storyline -- the Autobots did everything in their power to protect human lives, the Decepticons did not, Bumblebee (at right) was the first to make contact with a human, Optimus Prime was a truck, Jazz was a sports car, Starscream a jet, Ratchett an ambulance. But some things did change. Bumblebee was supposed to be a VW Beetle not a Camaro (yes, the filmmakers had a deal with GM, clearly, negating the chance to make a key character anything but a GM vehicle; although they did take a jab at their rival by making the bad guy cop car, Barricade, a Ford Mustang) and Megatron a pistol not some funky jet, but I suppose I can deal with these minor variances.
And then, of course, there was the game of who's who that could be played throughout the film. We had Aaron from 24 (Glenn Morshower), the wheelchair-bound guy from The Unit (Michael O'Neill), Alan from Dave (Kevin Dunn), Dave from What About Brian (Rick Gomez), Brian Austin Green's fiancee (Megan Fox), Mr. "Hello, Mr. Anderson" from The Matrix (Hugo Weaving), and Eddie Winslow from Family Matters (Darius McCrary), among a bunch more. It was a lot of fun to see who we could spot.
All in all, though, it was a fun time at the show. One I would recommend for just about anyone out there looking for high-octane fun.
Next up, ideally, will be Live Free or Die Hard. Woo hoo!
Thank you, sweetie, for once again catering to my inner geek... and enjoying it yourself, as well.