Last night Ben Wojdyla and I made our way over to Birmingham to take in a sneak preview showing of the new Transformers movie. This review is split into two parts — one that's safe and spoiler-free (starting here above the fold) and then the nitty-gritty of the film (at the bottom of the area in italics below the fold). Peruse the part below the fold at your own risk and may the maker have mercy on your non-robotic soul. Oh and the pictures, there's some LA preview pics in there and some pics the General gave us of some of the designers — oh, that first one's Brian Smith, he put the stripes on Bumblebee, and yes, that's the light-up Autobot t-shirt. — Ed.
For the next few weeks General Motors is the luckiest and most important automaker on Earth. Seriously. I'm not kidding. Forget the June sales numbers next week, forget the job losses, forget the gas-guzzling SUV's and trucks from the past ten years and a recent history of shoddily-built vehicles. None of that's important — at least for the next few weeks. That's because the General has an opportunity to be the most important automaker on earth — well, at least they will be to a very important demographic for GM — 18-35-year-old males.
And really, that's because watching this movie's like watching a 144-minute commercial for the General. But, if I were really watching a 144-minute commercial for GM, you'd find me face down on the floor of the theater after the lights came back because I'd have performed some form of ritualistic suicide after minute number eleven. But the reason I'm still alive and able to talk about my experience, and do it in such an exuberant way is because despite feeling sometimes like I'd spent hours watching that Michael Bay Super Bowl ad over and over again, I didn't. That was because deep down I understood that the driving scenes which seemed to come ad nauseam — interspersed with intensely visually stunning transformations and bot-battling of course — were nothing more than the realization of just about every scene of the Generation One Transformers. The only difference was in the cartoon, they weren't real cars. In the live-action movie however, they were — and necessitated a real automaker to play a role. In this case that automaker's General Motors.
It makes sense that Michael Bay would choose GM for this movie — he's worked with them in the past on almost every one of his movies and even on the previously mentioned commercial ( Hey, we're assuming the dude needed some cash, ok?). But what makes this arrangement so amazing is that GM didn't pay Paramount a single dime to get it done. That's right — not a single penny changed hands between the big n' beefy automaker and the big n' beefy studio. Sure, GM provided some in-kind contributions of concept vehicles and the like, and of course they've got their own marketing budget running their own marketing campaign — but unlike other automakers, they didn't drop a single pence into Paramount's pocket for the privilege of having themselves featured in a movie about good-guy cars that change into robots.
So all I'm saying is — this fell into GM's hands. So give the General a break when you see the shots of their vehicles every other second. Suspend disbelief for a moment and let yourself get transported back to when you were a kid and Optimus Prime was your latchkey surrogate father, and just let the memories flow. It may be what GM's hoping will happen to you — and the reason why I've said they're the most important automaker in the world over the next few weeks to men of my age and demographic — but, just because it's what GM wants doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. As two of us can attest — suspending disbelief for a few hours can allow you to have one amazingly fun ride.
And now — here's the plot spoilers and little stuff to watch out for that I wrote down while watching the movie:
-Automobile magazine gets a shout-out in the movie — in the form of Sam Witwicky carrying a copy of it in the car on the way to pick up his first car.
-The Decepticon tank's called "Devastator."
-Check out the Bee-Otch rearview mirror ornament in the old-school Camaro.
-One of the most funny car lines of the movie is when Sam calls Bumblebee "Satan's Camaro."
-I knew this was fiction at the point I saw a Saturn, Hummer, Cadillac and a Pontiac all in the same dealership.
-Best lines were a tie between "What's up bitches?" (Jazz) and "You want to lay the fate of the world on the kid's Camaro?" (Agent Simmons)
-Best car porn of the movie: Every dessert shot of the Autobots rolling out. Seriously, I got the chills every single time.
-Bumblebee loses his legs and has Megan Fox drive him around.
-Best scene of the movie: Mustang v. Camaro — seriously had a cargasm, then a robogasm, then a cargasm...epic.
-Megan Fox is hot.
-Jazz gets ripped in half by Megatron on top of a building and dies.
-Optimus has a power-sword, and he wields it like a mad sweet gladiator.
-"One shall stand, one shall fall..."
-Most important thing I have to say about this movie: I owe Michael Bay an apology — Bay delivers with a robotic tour de force unlike anything I've ever experienced. It was the best robogasm of my life and I'm going to see it again and again."
And that's all I've got to say about that.
Ad Watch: Transform Your Ride With A Robogasm Of Your Own!; Jalopnik Had A Transformers-Induced Robogasm; Help Jalopnik Decide What To Wear: Autobot Or Decepticon?; Classic Ad Watch: Remember When Michael Bay Just Directed Car Commercials?; Transformers Movie Update: We Have An Exclusive Robogasm With Ironhide, Bumblebee, Jazz And Ratchet; Josh Duhamel Looks Embarrassed Talking About Transformers On Today Show; Transformers Movie Update: Now It Really Is A GM Commercial..."Autobots Rollout" Site, New Video, Pics Unveiled [internal]