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Critical Analysis of Transformers the Movie

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There is an old saying that there is an 8-year-old child inside every person, “Transformers” is just the movie to bring out the kid in everyone. Big, loud and full of testosterone-fuelled car fantasies, Michael Bay’s actioner hits a new peak for CGI work, showcasing spectacular chases and animated transformation sequences seamlessly blended into live-action surroundings. There is no longer any question whether special effects can be made more realistic but the issue is whether disposable actors can be trained to play better with blue-screens. As a child I was intrigued by the cartoon “Transformers”. My friends and I use to go around being our favorite transformer; I always wanted to be “Optimus Prime”, the leader of the Autobots. Now through the advancement in technology in film making we have a few movies made that stem from this cartoon. In this critical analysis paper we will discuss several topics that make this film a great success. While this is a fictional film the audience can still believe that it could be real because of the advancements in technology.

In this action packed film it is very important to capture the audience’s attention through cinematography, storytelling that people can identify with and that intrigues the mind is very important. Secondly, by the use of multiple shots and editing the director/editors pieced together a high impact film. As for this film my strongest argument in this paper would be the use of special effects and editing in order to enhance the cinematography throughout this film. In my opinion and the opinions of other critics this movie was a huge success through all the high impact theatrics, special effects, and the quality of both physical acting and voice acting. I would like to go over a little dialogue from the beginning of the movie straight from the writer in order to paint the picture a little better. “FADE IN

A small planet glows in the light of its sun.
Suddenly, we hear a loud rumble, and see a thick, electronic mist behind the planet… Then, the electronic mist begins to engulf the planet, and we hear the horrible sounds of destruction. Almost like somebody, or something, is eating it.

Strange robotic creatures scramble around the planet in a wild panic. It looks like Pompeii must have looked as Vesuvius erupted.

The creature is KRANIX. We will meet him later on in a very different context, but for now, he is running from the ever-growing mist that threatens to engulf him. ANOTHER ANGLE – THE PANIC

As Kranix runs, another creature, ARBLUS, calls to him.
Transform and flee, Kranix! You must warn all you meet of the horror of Unicron! Suddenly, the pitiful creature is surrounded by the strange energy cloud and it looks like his body has simultaneously caught fire and been doused with acid.” (Ron Friedman) As the reader of this critique you may be wondering why he lead the first main body paragraph with the writer’s actual storyline from the movie. I believe it is very important to see how the writer actually writes the plot of the story in sequence from the beginning. This helps paint the picture for the rest of this research paper.

The first topic we will discuss is how the use of special effects and the quality of acting led to this films great success. Arguably the best special effects ever in a film, Transformers the movie gives the audience a thrill ride like no other. The use of special effects such as taking plain old cars and turning them into thirty foot robots, the use of sound effects in order to enhance the viewer’s ability to hear the vehicles transform, the use of music in order to establish moods and set tones of the movie, and every high impact fight scene was a theatrical nightmare. It took months and hundreds of engineers, editors, and computer programmers in order to make this film a success. There are approximately 630 visual effects shots in the film that had to be shot individual shots in order to capture the proper theme of the storyline. Technical advancements were made in environments, lighting, and simulation of physical effects and integration of CG characters in a real environment.

This movie was a true success through the use of well-known actors, and by using proper voice over acting throughout this film. Actors such as Tyrese Gibson (SGT Epps), Magan Fox (Mikaela Banes), and John Keller (John Turturro) just to name a few of the actors that made this movie a huge success. The reason acting played a significant role in the accomplishment of this movie was because they had to act without having the most significant actors being present, the Transformers themselves. All the acting conducted in this movie had to be conducted without the use of real robot actors and most by standing in front of blue screens. By the use of editing the theatrical scenes were superimposed into the background of the acting conducted. It took a team of editors and computer programmers in order to accomplish this mission.

This leads us into our second topic for discussion, the type and style of directing along with how this movie was edited. The director of “Transformers”, “Michael Bay”, is a very hands on director. He is known for his ability to tell challenging stories through his own unique abilities and the ability to put together a team of cast members that can pull off this type of film. No wonder Michael Bay needed a team of editors, who succeed in making the fight sequences exciting spectacles, though toward the end they all tend to become just a mess of flying wreckage and random explosions nevertheless the outcome is always predictable; yet the movements themselves remain unexpected. Sound is cranked up to mega-decibels; if the action does not generate stomach tremors, the bass lines will. Overly grand music used halfway through, during Bumblebee’s subjugation scene, seems to confuse it with the pictures climax. He used five editors and five different editing stations including his own in order to put this movie together.

By juggling the actors and the use of computer technology to establish the robot scenes the director was able to piece this movie together. Through the use of different angles, 360 degree shots, multiple shots pieced together this film was able to be created. One thing that this movie does incredibly well is the frame rate with slow or fast motion. During the action scenes of the movie, the camera rate tends to slow down so the viewer can get the full effect of the fight or the explosion. Time is slowed down as well as the frame. This is not only the special effects of the movies that adds great character, but also gives the movie great suspense. Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar and the crew at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) had the difficult task of bringing to life some of the most beloved robots from the Transformers toy line for the live action movie, Transformers. Farrar and ILM worked closely with director Michael Bay to create the look of Optimus Prime, Megatron and the others in the film. Another special concept that this film does well is the use of colors and lighting. The film tends to use flatter colors, such as grey, black, white, and washed out bright colors.

The transformers, however, stand out in the frame of the shot; such as Bumble-Bee with his shocking yellow. Other colors that also stand out are blue and red. The cinematographer also does a great job with the lighting in the cities; making it very bright and intense just like the fights. The director and editors use of lighting throughout this film greatly enhanced the storyline in this film. The fight scenes were clearer and concise through the cast’s ability to use lighting to focus the audience’s attention on the main fight scenes. The use of music and sound effects is another great aspect of this film. During the hostility scenes in the movie, between the Autobots and the Decepticons, the music is more upbeat and intense. However, during the more romantic scenes between Sam and his girlfriend the music is slower and romantically intense. These different types of music add to the mood of the movie and give it great character.

The use of explosions in this film however muffled out many of these films fragile moments and insinuated the fight scenes. The use of special sound effects when the transformers transform greatly enhanced the audiences ability to visualize the robots transforming from vehicles to robots or vice versa. The use of real engine sounds, flying jets/helicopters, and weapon sounds intensifies the movies action scenes. By allowing the robots to have their own voices and allowing Bumblebee to communicate through the use of his radio was very creative and allowed the audience to fall in love with this protective robot. This is why I believe that sound effects, visual effects, and acting are the greatest aspects of this film.

The third topic I would like to discuss is why the story line and the acting were important in capturing the audience’s attention in this film. The story line in this film was very important because it was developed in a time of war and had to be realistic in nature. This movies storyline was developed in accordance with the cartoon series but with its variations in order to gain the audience’s attention. We have to keep in mind that they are no longer trying to gain the attention of children but grown people as well. The plot of the story begins with evil robots are after Sam or rather, a discovery made by Sam’s ancestor, an Arctic explorer. Thanks to introductory narration by good Transformer “Optimus Prime”, know what’s going on before Sam does. The planet Cybertron was ravaged by a civil war between the good Autobots and the evil Decepticons. In their search for an all-powerful cube called the All-spark, both sides learn that super-evil Megatron crashed in the Arctic a millennia ago, and with him the All-spark.

Sam’s great-great-grandfather’s cracked glasses hold the key to its location. Meanwhile, U.S. Soldiers in Qatar have been attacked by a helicopter that transforms itself into one nasty robot, destroying everything in its path while an offshoot downloads top-secret files from the computers. Secretary of Defence John Keller, calls an emergency conference to analyse the data, but one of the small robots has already hacked into Air Force One’s computer. The planet Cybertron was ravaged by a civil war between the good Autobots and the evil Decepticons. In their search for an all-powerful cube called the All-spark, both sides learn that super-evil Megatron crashed in the Arctic a millennia ago, and with him the All-spark. The above is the plot of the story and where the story takes place. By the use of good storytelling and by branching off of the cartoon version of the storyline the writer, director, and various other cast members can make this film a huge success.

In this movie actor selection was very important because they had to get actors that were able to act without interacting with major characters in the film, the robots. They also had to select the right voice actors for the robots themselves but first they had to select the proper transformers that they wanted to have in this movie. The principal cast members are Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, and Megan Fox, with Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving as the voices of the Transformers’ iconic leaders. About 75 percent of the film’s character designs and visual effects were created by Industrial Light & Magic, the effects-wizards behind the Star Wars films. The remaining 25 percent were done by Michael Bay’s company, Digital Domain. As stated before in this paper the acting is a critical piece to making this movie a great success. The careful selection of the voices for the robots took precision. The voices had to be right and fit the robots and what they stood for. Autobots and Decepticons alike had to have voices that utter leadership and confidence.

Lastly I would like to cover is how this film has impacted society and why films like this are very important. If the release during America at war and having this movie associated with war and being released on the United States day of independence July 4, 2007 was perfectly timed for a consumer run on already popular Transformers figures, comic books, videogames and cartoons. This film has a great impact on society through continuing to create a kid in everyone. This film allows grown people to watch a film and remember the kid in them. It promotes creativity and imagination. Through the introduction of films like this that push the envelope of the advancement of technology it keeps everyone pushing for the next great project. This type of film benefits everyone in that it inspires everyone at all levels to keep challenging themselves and others to keep creating greater projects. This movie has also made millions of dollars through the use of selling the story to the public. Through the use of toys, comic books, and videogames this movie has impacted the world’s population in many different avenues. I think in a more positive manor rather than a negative manor.

In conclusion we have discussed various topics and critical analysis about the action packed movie “Transformers”. We have discussed topics like cinematography, directing, editing, acting, storytelling, genre, the overall textual themes of this film, and most importantly sound/visual effects used in this film. Even though this film is considered a fictional film the greater population can relate to this film because of the advancements in technology through decades. We have seen people invent thousands of things people in the early 1900’s would consider impossible to create. What will stop someone form making a giant robot in the future? We have also discussed how this film effects the population through everything from our childhood interaction with the cartoon to the release time and era. Through my research and reading multiple critics analysis of this movie and my personal opinion I believe that this movie pushes the boundaries of reality. This movie also tests the imagination and allows people to release from their daily activities and have the ability to dream and be a kid again. I would have to say that this movie was an overall success.


Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. This text is a Constellation™ course digital materials (CDM) title. Ron Friedman (1986). http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/transformers.html . Sunbow Productions, Inc. 380 Lexington Ave. Suite 1105 New York, N.Y. 10168

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