TRANSFORMERS. A mind-blowing science fiction spectacle

Spectacle with soul.


18 May 2023

Looking at the names associated with the production – Bay, Spielberg, di Bonawentura – you could expect the special effects to reach a stunningly high level. But that in Transformers there will be this fleeting, subtle, magical “something”, thanks to which the film will not only remain an impressive, over two-hour firework, but will also gain a soul – well, it’s a really nice surprise.

Earth unexpectedly becomes the main battleground between two races of robots coming from distant space. The sinister Decepticons, led by Megatron, strive to obtain undivided power, while the heroic, good Autobots try their best to prevent them, while trying to save humanity from extinction. The standard plot, predictable in every way, inevitably leads to an equally predictable happy ending. Just like the obvious happy ending, in turn, leads to a whole series of sequels.

What happens on the screen for more than two hours crushes you into the chair, bombards the senses of hearing and sight, captivates, enslaves, crushes. And as a result, the question arises: how can a fairy tale about cosmic robots, suddenly changing into whatever they fall into, lead to a state of permanent euphoria and delight? That the special effects alone are not enough – it is known. So where is the phenomenon?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it hides in the element that could be least expected in this type of film – in naturalness. The giant robotic creatures that dominate the film exude such an incredible, almost magnetic charisma that it’s hard to believe that they are just a figment of the human imagination. After all, you can clearly find a whole range of human feelings on their metal “faces”. Megatron’s fury is clearly visible when he finds out that the Autobots have captured the coveted Allspark. Optimus’ annoyance as he waits for Sam futilely searching for his map-encoded glasses is almost physically tangible. And which of the viewers will not feel genuine grief and helpless anger when Bumblebee, captured by the agents of “Sector 7” searchlights, looks at him from the screen with his suffering-filled eyes-spotlights? Machines blend in perfectly with the human world, and it’s hard to believe that they are really just the product of computer simulations and the efforts of an entire army of technicians. The scenes involving robots are so natural that after leaving the cinema it’s hard to resist the impression that in a moment the passing car or the cell phone we are talking on will not turn into a nice, or quite unsympathetic friend from the distant planet Cybertron.

But it’s not just this less-real cast that deserves credit. The Witwicky family turned out phenomenally. Sam (Shia LaBeouf) – a teenager not very popular among his peers – leads with his parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) an eternal war of generations, known to everyone from the autopsy. Both sides of the conflict clash in an extremely cute, comical and intelligent way. And at first glance you can see that there is nothing else but mutual care and love. Dunn and White led their characters on point. They outlined them so touchingly that you can immediately see the feeling they have for their son and each other, but also intelligently and cunningly enough not to “oversweet” and grotesquely exaggerate the image of parents, who are no strangers to a sharp retort. On the other hand, LaBeouf – the undeniable star of the film – is getting stronger by the minute and captivating the audience. He doesn’t play the talkative, clever, intelligent and, as it turns out, brave Sam – he just becomes him. To make the screening even more enjoyable for the viewer, the creators decided to enrich Transformers with the roles of Jon Voight (Secretary of Defense John Keller) and John Turturro (Agent Simmons). Both gentlemen not only provide the audience with excellent entertainment, but they also have a lot of fun playing their characters.

Unusual and somewhat surprising naturalness is an undeniable advantage of Bay’s film, but what contributes to the phenomenal final effect is also the perfect proportion between all its elements. Nothing is too much, each of the ingredients is perfectly balanced and, if necessary, contrasted with the opposite. The pathos of the eternal fight between good and evil is slightly toned down with the right dose of humor, adapted to the needs of both the juvenile and the already quite mature audience. On the same principle, the splendor of special effects is juxtaposed with the phenomenal play of actors, who are links between the element of a kind of ordinariness, humanity, and the magic and extraordinaryness of robots. Even the electrifying, metallic-clear and eerie sound effects of the Autobots and Decepticons’ transformations are involved in this idiosyncratic game, clashed with Jablonsky’s wonderful, timely music.

And even though Transformers is a typically entertaining cinema and you can’t expect it to arouse moral anxiety or try to penetrate the complicated nature of the eternal fight between good and evil, it has that “something” that makes its magic last even after leaving the cinema . And that’s why we watch the passing vehicles in the hope that one of them will blink their headlights knowingly.



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