DVD
Transformers

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson
Paramount Home Entertainment
RRP: 19.99 / £24.99
DSL1532 / DSL1533
Certificate: 12
Available 03 December 2007


The first live-action film based on the enduringly popular "robots in disguise",
Transformers features the ultimate battle between good and evil, as the peace-loving Autobots seek to protect humanity from the evil forces of the Decepticons...

I was a little too old to be playing with Transformers toys when they were originally released, I'd just started to get interested in girls, but I do remember being fairly impressed at what a novel concept it was having a robot and a vehicle in one toy. So, I pretty much came at this movie knowing very little about the Transformers mythology. Sure I've read a few comic books and seen some of the Transformers animated episodes and movies, but I'm no expert on the universe in the same way as those who grew up on the toys.

Transformers is the first time that Hasbro's toy range has been transformed into a live action movie and this film has got something for everyone. There's cool CGI robot battles, loads of comedy and a good solid plot.

The movie starts on present day Earth. A group of evil Decepticons (Barricade, Blackout, Bonecrusher, Devastator, Frenzy, Scorponok, Starscream and Scorponok have landed on Earth in a bid to track down their leader, Megatron, who went missing on Earth after searching for the All Spark. They infiltrate the US military base in Qatar in a bid to find out where Megatron is. After Blackout and Scorponok fail to find the information they need, Frenzy hacks into the server on Air Force One to access the military database. Before his connection is terminated, Frenzy discovers that a map to Megatron's location is imprinted on a now dead explorer's glasses. This man's grandson, Sam Witwicky, is currently auctioning off these glasses on eBay. Meanwhile Autobot Bumblebee is also on Earth. And fate intervenes when Sam goes looking to buy his first car. Bumblebee is disguised as a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro, and makes sure that Sam buys him. Soon other Autobots Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Jazz and Ratchet arrive on Earth in order to stop the All Spark falling into the hands of the Decepticons.

I thought, after Jurassic Park, my days of being impressed by CGI was over - I mean, how can you top Jurassic Park? But, I was so wrong. I haven't sat and watched a movie, with my finger hovering over the rewind button in ages, but here I was constantly rewatching scenes just trying to get my head around how on earth the effects were accomplished and making sure I soaked up every single detail.

While this DVD release is available as a single or double disc package, we only received the single disc for review, so we can't comment on the content of the second disc. The single disc includes an interesting audio commentary with director Michael Bay as well as the original teaser trailer and a trailer for Iron Man. I don't know how I found the two trailers though. They are not listed on the menus and I only found them by accidentally hitting the next chapter button on my DVD remote control at the end of the movie.

Bay's commentary reveals many insights into the making of the movie. He admits to not really knowing much about Transformers before being asked to make the movie - and even went to Hasbro's "Transformers School" in order to get up to speed on the franchise. He also reveals that the art server had 39,000 attempted hacks in January 2006 - such was the interested in getting a first look at the production designs. He admits that his laptop, with an early copy of the script, did get hacked and leaked onto the Internet. And he reveals that he appears on screen briefly as the guy that Megatron flicks out of the way.

While, on the whole, this movie is pretty enjoyable, I did have a few issues. Firstly it's one big ad for Hasbro (they even get a Furby truck into one scene) and eBay, and secondly it's perhaps a little too long for the younger audience. In the end the last third probably has a few too many robot battle scenes (I can't believe I'm saying that - you can never have too many cool CGI fight sequences).

I also thought that Bumblebee's transformation, from the beaten up car to a more modern concept car, was badly handled. Bumblebee is in a tunnel and drives away from our heroes. He passes the car he turns into, and then rolls up in front of the heroes - where he left them. However, the scene as edited makes it look as though Bumblebee has transferred his robotic self into the car he is copying erasing the driver from existence in the process. There's an all important shot missing where we should see Bumblebee turn around and head back the way he came.

Bay states in his commentary that he wanted to make a movie that would be remembered by children in much the same way as he, and my generation, remember Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. On that score alone he has probably succeeded. I'm sure that a generation of young kids will grow up fondly remembering Transformers as one of the coolest movies of their childhood.

Pete Boomer

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£11.98 (Amazon.co.uk)
Single Disc Edition
   
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£15.98 (Amazon.co.uk)
Double Disc Edition
   
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£12.99 (Play.com)
Single Disc Edition
   
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£15.99 (Play.com)
Double Disc Edition
   
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£17.99 (Play.com)
Play Exclusive - Double Disc Limited Edition Steelbook & Comic Book
   
£12.99 (HMV.co.uk)
Single Disc Edition
   
£15.99 (HMV.co.uk)
Double Disc Edition
   
£22.99 (HMV.co.uk)
HMV Exclusive - Double Disc Limited Edition Transforming Optimus Prime Packaging
   
£12.83 (Asda.co.uk)
Single Disc Edition
   
£15.83 (Asda.co.uk)
Double Disc Edition
   
£12.83 (Thehut.com)
Single Disc Edition
   
£15.83 (Thehut.com)
Double Disc Edition

All prices correct at time of going to press.