Find Me At Screen Rant

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Than Meets The Eye

More Than Meets The Eye
July 10, 2007

It pains me to admit this but have to say, at this point in summer 2007, Transformers is my favorite movie so far. Of course, I know it's a really dumb movie and there are a lot of better movies out there. And I can't even really say I love or even like all of Transformers.  I've seen it twice and second time around, I was twice as bored at all the Pentagon scenes and just about everything in the movie that didn't have an Autobot, Decepticon, Shia LeBeouf or Megan Fox in it.  Despite all of that, and the numerous things wrong with or dumb about Transformers, it's my favorite so far because of Sam, Mikaela and Bumblebee.  I just love the scenes with the three of them.

When I read the leaked Transformers screenplay last year, I thought all of the moments where Bumblebee uses pop songs to "humorously" play off Sam trying to hit on Mikaela were terrible.  I'd have bet the farm it was a shitty idea in what read like a shitty script and it would never work.  Which is why I was stunned at the way those moments did work.  Sure, it's dumb comedy, but it plays and it's entertaining. Shia makes the scenes work, all the way through to his dropping her off at her house, telling her she's "more than meets the eye" and browbeating himself for saying such a stupid line.  But the best stuff came later, first when Mikaela and Sam collide and they both get inside Bumblebee for the big car chase with Brawl.  The fact that they were both terrified and screaming, "We're gonna die!  We're gonna die!" was right on.  That's exactly how they should be reacting.

Even better was after Sam and Mikaela beat Frenzy the evil Microsoft Word paperclip and looked up in awe at Sam's car, which was now a 20 foot tall robot.  That moment, which is Spielbergian in origin and in execution, was kind of just about brilliant.  It might even be the best moment I've seen so far in a motion picture this year.  They got the sense of wonder of that moment exactly right, including Sam's speech as he asks Mikaela to get in the car with him (The Call to Adventure, says Joseph Campbell).  And then getting her to sit on his lap as Bumblebee drove himself.

At that point, Sam Witwicky was the single luckiest boy in the world.  He somehow fulfilled the two greatest wishes an adolescent boy can have: to have your own car and to have the girl of your dreams.  Plus the best bonus ever: his car can transform into a robot.  He has his own robot.  And that robot took him and his gorgeous girl to meet even more robots.  Even the musical choice underlining the scene was well chosen.  (Yeah, it's The Goo Goo Dolls, sure, but it works.)  It gets even better for Sam when Mikaela calls his car crap -- Bumblebee kicks them out and then redesigns into an even cooler car.  Holy Christ, how lucky can Sam get?

I'm not so old nor am I at all so curmudgeonly that I don't remember being seventeen and having my first car and my first girl.  Hell, I wrote a movie of my own about it.  I remember what that was like.  I knew what Sam wanted and I wanted the same thing.  In a way, I was Sam.  My car was even yellow.  But it sure as fuck didn't transform into a giant robot.  Still, car, girl, robot, these are the dreams of an adolescent boy (hell, they're still the dreams of the 30+ old single man) and Transformers makes them real.

All the rest of Transformers that works, the robot fighting, Optimus Prime, Sam saving the world, the nice piece of business I'm glad they gave Mikaela in the final battle where she heroically drove the damaged Bumblebee so they could destroy Devastator, it was all icing on the cake for me.  Even all the stupid shit in the movie, and there's a lot of it, none of that matters to me.  Transformers gets a pass despite it all.  To me, the scenes with Sam, Mikaela and Bumblebee carry the entire movie the way Bumblebee carried Sam and Mikaela at the end as they made out on his hood while Optimus, Ratchet and Ironhide watched.  Those Autobots are pervs.

And that's why I loved Transformers.  Also, Megan Fox is ridiculously hot.  I can't wait for the DVD so I can skip past all the crap and just watch the good stuff.