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For the 1986 animated film, see The Transformers: The Movie.
Transformers
Transformers07
International Poster
Directed by Michael Bay
Produced by Steven Spielberg (executive)
Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Ian Bryce
Tom DeSanto
Don Murphy
Written by Screenplay:
Roberto Orci
Alex Kurtzman
Story:
Roberto Orci
Alex Kurtzman
John Rogers
Starring Shia LaBeouf
Josh Duhamel
Megan Fox
Tyrese Gibson
John Turturro
Jon Voight
Anthony Anderson
Rachael Taylor
Bernie Mac
Voices:
Peter Cullen
Hugo Weaving
Mark Ryan
Jess Harnell
Robert Foxworth
Charlie Adler
Reno Wilson
Darius McCrary
Music by Steve Jablonsky
Cinematography Mitchell Amundsen
Editing by Paul Rubell
Glen Scantlebury
Thomas A. Muldoon
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
United International Pictures
Release date(s) June 28, 2007 (Australia)
July 4, 2007 (USA)
July 27, 2007 (UK)
July 16, 2010 (3-D Released)
Running time 143 minutes
Country Template:FilmUS
Language Template:English
Budget $150 million[1]
Gross revenue $709,709,780[1]
Followed by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


Transformers is a 2007 live-action film adaptation of the Transformers franchise, directed by Michael Bay and written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. It stars Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, a teenager involved in a war between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, two factions of alien robots who can disguise themselves by transforming into everyday machinery. The Decepticons desire control of the All Spark, the object that created their robotic race, with the intention of using it to build an army by giving life to the machines of Earth. Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, Anthony Anderson and John Turturro also star, while voice-actors Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving voice Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively. Producers Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto developed the project in 2003, with a treatment written by DeSanto. Executive producer Steven Spielberg came on board the following year, hiring Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The United States Military and General Motors loaned vehicles and aircraft during filming, which saved money for the production and added realism to the battle scenes.

Hasbro organized an enormous promotional campaign for the film, making deals with hundreds of companies. This advertising blitz included a viral marketing campaign, coordinated releases of prequel comic books, toys and books, as well as product placement deals with GM and eBay. The film was a box office success despite mixed critical reaction to the radical redesigns of the characters, and reviews criticizing the focus on the humans at the expense of the robots. It is the thirty third most successful film released and the fifth most successful of 2007, grossing approximately US$709 million worldwide. The film won four awards from the Visual Effects Society and was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Editing. The film became the first in a series, it revitalized media interest in the franchise, and a sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was released on June 24, 2009. On October 1, 2009 a third movie in the series was announced for February 25, 2011. The MPAA Rated this movie PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Sci-Fi Action Violence, Brief Sexual Humor, and Language.

PlotEdit

The film opens with Optimus Prime, heroic leader of the benevolent Autobots, describing in a voice-over the destruction of the Transformers' home world, Cybertron. It was destroyed by the malevolent Decepticon leader Megatron in his quest to get hold of the All Spark. The Autobots want to find the All Spark so they can use it to rebuild Cybertron and end the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, while the Decepticons want to use it to obliterate the Autobots and take over the universe. Megatron had managed to locate the All Spark on Earth, but crash-landed in the Arctic Circle and froze in the ice. After stumbling upon his frozen body in 1897, explorer Captain Archibald Witwicky accidentally activated Megatron's navigational system and his eye glasses were imprinted with the coordinates of the All Spark's location, an incident that left him blind and mentally unstable. Sector 7, a secret government organization founded by President Herbert Hoover, discovered the All Spark in the Colorado River and built the Hoover Dam around it to mask its energy emissions. The still-frozen Megatron was moved into this facility and was used to advance human technology through reverse engineering.

In the present day, 2007, the group of Decepticons named Blackout, Scorponok, Frenzy, Barricade, Starscream, Brawl and Bonecrusher, have landed on Earth and assumed the disguise of Earth vehicles. Blackout and Scorponok attack the U.S. SOCCENT forward operations base in Qatar and try to hack into the U.S. Military network to find the location of Megatron and the All Spark. Their mission is thwarted when the base staff cuts the network cable connections. While Blackout destroys the rest of the base, Scorponok pursues a small group of survivors, led by Captain William Lennox and Sergeant Robert Epps, who have photographic evidence of the robots. Scorponok is eventually repelled and hides in the sand after the humans damage his tail. During this battle, the military discovers the only effective weapons against the Decepticons' armor are high-heat sabot rounds.

After Blackout's failure, Frenzy infiltrates Air Force One to again hack into the military network, planting a computer virus. He finds the map imprinted on Captain Witwicky's glasses. While the Pentagon interferes with Frenzy's plan, he finds that Witwicky's descendant Sam Witwicky intends to sell the glasses on eBay. Frenzy and Barricade begin tracking Sam's location. Meanwhile, Sam buys the Autobot scout Bumblebee (also on Earth disguised as a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro[2]) as his first car. After Bumblebee helps Sam woo his crush, Mikaela Banes, he leaves at night to transmit a homing signal to the rest of the Autobots. Sam pursues Bumblebee, thinking someone is stealing his car, but is shocked to find his car is actually a giant robot, which he regards as evil as first. Sam then gets arrested, and in the police station, tries to explain to the police officer what happened, but the apathetic and impassive officer just assumes he's on drugs. When Bumblebee (in car mode) returns the following day, Sam flees, believing the car is stalking him. While out, Barricade attacks Sam and ferociously interrogates him about his grandfather's glasses. Bumblebee saves Sam and Mikaela and engages Barricade in battle. During the fight, Mikaela severs Frenzy's head but he transforms into her cellphone and hides in her purse. They leave to meet with the rest of the Autobot team — Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ironhide, and Ratchet — who have landed on Earth and taken the forms of Earth vehicles as well. Sam, Mikaela, and the Autobots return to Sam's home and obtain the glasses; however, agents from Sector 7 arrive and take Sam and Mikaela into custody. The Autobots intervene, but Sector 7 captures Bumblebee and sends Sam and Mikaela away.

Sam and Mikaela are taken to Hoover Dam, as are Lennox and Epps, under Defense Secretary John Keller's orders. Frenzy sends an alert to the other Decepticons and sneaks into the technology system, freeing Megatron from his frozen state. Sam convinces the Sector 7 agents to release Bumblebee so that he can deliver the All Spark to Optimus Prime. Frenzy's hacking has shut down government communications, but Keller and two hackers, Maggie and Glen, manage to establish a signal to the Air Force in order to support the Autobot-human convoy that has gone to nearby Mission City to hide the All Spark. The Decepticons attack; Bonecrusher, Frenzy, Jazz, Brawl and Blackout are all killed during the ensuing battle. Sam, who was instructed to put the All Spark into Optimus Prime's chest (subsequently destroying it and Optimus Prime if the battle went in favor of Megatron), instead chooses to ram the All Spark cube into Megatron's chest. The All Spark disintegrates, and its power obliterates Megatron. Optimus takes a fragment of the All Spark from Megatron's corpse, but admits that with its destruction, their home world Cybertron cannot be restored. The government orders the closure of Sector 7 and has the destroyed Decepticons dumped into the Laurentian Abyss. Lennox and Epps are reunited with their families, and Sam and Mikaela form a relationship. Optimus transmits a message to all surviving Autobots in space, telling them that they have a new home on Earth.

During the credits, Starscream, the only Decepticon to survive the battle, escapes into space.

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

"In all the years of movie-making, I don't think the image of a truck transforming into a twenty-foot tall robot has ever been captured on screen. I also want to make a film that's a homage to 1980s movies and gets back to the sense of wonder that Hollywood has lost over the years. It will have those Spielberg-ian moments where you have the push-in on the wide-eyed kid and you feel like you're ten years old even if you're thirty-five."
— Tom DeSanto on why he produced the film[3]

Producer Don Murphy was planning a G.I. Joe film adaptation, but when the United States launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Hasbro suggested adapting the Transformers franchise instead.[4] Tom DeSanto joined Murphy because he was a fan of the series.[5] They met with comic book writer Simon Furman, and cited the Generation 1 cartoon and comics as their main influence.[4] They made the Creation Matrix their plot device, though Murphy had it renamed because of the The Matrix film series.[6] DeSanto chose to write the treatment from a human point-of-view to engage the audience,[7] while Murphy wanted it to have a realistic tone, reminiscent of a disaster film.[6] The treatment featured the Autobots Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Jazz, Prowl, Arcee, Ratchet, Wheeljack, and Bumblebee, and the Decepticons Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Ravage, Laserbeak, Rumble, Skywarp and Shockwave.[8]

Steven Spielberg, a fan of the comics and toys,[5] signed on as executive producer in 2004. John Rogers wrote the first draft, which pitted four Autobots against four Decepticons,[9] and featured the Ark spaceship.[10] Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, fans of the cartoon,[11] were hired to rewrite the script in February 2005.[12] Spielberg suggested that "a boy and his car" should be the focus.[13] This appealed to Orci and Kurtzman because it conveyed themes of adulthood and responsibility, "the things that a car represents in [the United States]".[14] The characters of Sam and Mikaela were the sole point-of-view given in Orci and Kurtzman's first draft.[15] The Transformers had no dialogue, as the producers feared talking robots would look ridiculous. The writers felt that even if it would look silly, not having the robots speak would betray the fanbase.[11] The first draft also had a battle scene in the Grand Canyon.[16] Spielberg read each of Orci and Kurtzman's drafts and gave notes for improvement.[13] The writers remained involved throughout production, adding additional dialogue for the robots during the sound mixing (although none of this was kept in the final film, which ran fifteen minutes shorter than the initial edit).[17] Furman's The Ultimate Guide, published by Dorling Kindersley, remained as a resource to the writers throughout production.[17] Prime Directive was used as a fake working title. This was also the name of Dreamwave Productions' first Transformers comic book.[18]

Michael Bay was asked to direct by Spielberg on July 30, 2005,[19] but he dismissed the film as a "stupid toy movie".[20] Nonetheless, he wanted to work with Spielberg, and gained a new respect for the mythology upon visiting Hasbro.[19] Bay considered the first draft "too kiddie", so he increased the military's role in the story.[19][21] The writers sought inspiration from G.I. Joe for the soldier characters, being careful not to mix the brands.[22] Because Orci and Kurtzman were concerned the film could feel like a military recruitment commercial, they chose to make the military believe nations like Iran were behind the Decepticon attack as well as making the Decepticons primarily military vehicles.[23] Bay based Lennox' struggle to get to the Pentagon phoneline while struggling with an unhelpful operator from a real account he was given by a soldier when working on another film.[19] The scene is also show similarities to the film Heartbreak Ridge where characters call for air support using a phone and a credit card, which is itself reported to be based on true events.

Orci and Kurtzman experimented with numerous robots from the franchise, ultimately selecting the characters most popular among the filmmakers to form the final cast.[5] Bay acknowledged that most of the Decepticons were selected before their names or roles were developed, as Hasbro had to start designing the toys.[24] Some of their names were changed because Bay was upset that they had been leaked.[25] Optimus, Megatron, Bumblebee and Starscream were the only characters present in each version of the script.[11] Arcee was a female Transformer introduced by Orci and Kurtzman, but she was cut because they found it difficult to explain robotic gender; Bay also disliked her motorcycle form, which he found too small.[22] An early idea to have the Decepticons simultaneously strike multiple places around the world was also dropped.[15]

DesignEdit

File:Optimusfitsintruck.png

The filmmakers created the size of each robot with the size of their vehicle mode in mind, supporting the Transformer's rationale for their choice of disguise on Earth.[26] The concept of traveling protoforms was developed by Roberto Orci when he wondered why "aliens who moonlight as vehicles need other vehicles to travel".[27] This reflected a desire to move to a more alien look, away from the "blocky" Generation 1 Transformers.[28] Another major influence in the designs was samurai armor, returning full-circle to the Japanese origins of the toy line.[26] The robots also had to look alien, or else they would have resembled other cinematic robots made in the image of man.[29]

A product placement deal with General Motors supplied alternate forms for most of the Autobots, which saved $3 million for the production.[30] GM also provided nearly two hundred cars, destined for destruction in the climactic battle scene.[26] The military of the United States provided significant support, enhancing the film's realism: the film features F-22s, F-117s, and V-22 Ospreys, the first time these aircraft were used for a film; soldiers served as extras, and authentic uniforms were provided for the actors.[19] A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and Lockheed AC-130s also appear. Captain Christian Hodge joked that he had to explain to his superiors that the filmmakers wanted to portray most of their aircraft as evil Decepticons: however, he remarked "people love bad guys".[26]

FilmingEdit

File:Michael Bay 060530-F-4692S-014.jpg

To save money for the production, director Michael Bay reduced his usual fee by 30%. He planned an eighty-three day shooting schedule,[19] maintaining the required pace by doing more camera set-ups per day than usual. Bay chose to shoot the film in the United States instead of Australia or Canada, allowing him to work with a crew he was familiar with, and who understood his work ethic.[19][21][30] A pre-shoot took place on April 19, 2006, and principal photography began on April 22 at Holloman Air Force Base,[2] which stood in for Qatar.[19] To film the Scorponok sequence at White Sands Missile Range, a sweep was performed to remove unexploded ordnance before building of a village set could begin; ironically, the village would be blown up. The scene was broken down for the pilots flying the AWACS aircraft, who improvised dialogue as if it were an actual battle.[19][31]

The company also shot at the Hoover Dam and the Pentagon, the first time since the September 11, 2001, attacks that film crews had been allowed at these locations.[2] The external Hoover Dam scenes were shot before tourists arrived daily at 10:00 a.m., with shooting moving inside for the remainder of the day.[31] Production in California was based at Hughes Aircraft at Playa Vista, where the hangar in which Megatron is imprisoned was built.[31] Six weekends were spent in Los Angeles, California shooting the climactic battle, with some elements being shot on the Universal Studios backlot and at Detroit's Michigan Central Station.[2][31] The crew was allowed to shoot at Griffith Observatory, which was still closed for renovations begun in 2002.[2] Filming wrapped on October 4, 2006.[21]

Michael Bay returned to film at the same place he had previously shot for Armageddon for the romantic scenes between Sam and Mikaela. Bumblebee breaks down when Sam takes Mikaela back home at the same exact place where AJ and Grace spend the last day on earth before AJ goes to the Asteroid. In Transformers, we see this place once again at the ending of the film where Optimus Prime sends the message to other Transformers out in the Universe.

EffectsEdit

Spielberg encouraged Bay to restrict computer-generated imagery to the robots and background elements in the action sequences.[19] Stunts such as Bonecrusher smashing through a bus were done practically, while cameras were placed into the midst of car crashes and explosions to make it look more exciting.[31] Work on the animatics began in April 2005.[9] Bay indicated that three quarters of the film's effects were made by Industrial Light & Magic, while Digital Domain made the rest,[19] including the Arctic discovery of Megatron; Frenzy's severed head; a vending machine mutated by the All Spark, and the Autobots' protoforms.[32] Many of the animators were big Transformers fans and were given free rein to experiment: a scene where Jazz attacks Devastator is a reference to a scene in The Transformers: The Movie where Kup jumps on Blitzwing.[26]

"I just didn't want to make the boxy characters. It's boring and it would look fake. By adding more doo-dads and stuff on the robots, more car parts, you can just make it more real."
— Michael Bay on the level of detail he wanted for the robots[33]

ILM created computer-generated transformations during six months in 2005, looking at every inch of the car models.[34] Initially the transformations were made to follow the laws of physics, but it did not look exciting enough and was changed to be more fluid.[35] Bay rejected a liquid metal surface for the characters' faces, instead going for a "Rubik's Cube" style of modeling.[19] He wanted numerous mechanical pieces visible so the robots would look more interesting, realistic, dynamic and quick, rather than like lumbering beasts.[19][33] One such decision was to have the wheels stay on the ground for as long as possible, allowing the robots to cruise around as they changed.[36] Bay instructed the animators to observe footage of two martial artists and numerous martial arts films to make the fights look graceful.[19]

Due to the intricate designs of the Transformers, even the simplest motion of turning a wrist needs 17 visible parts;[2] each of Ironhide's guns are made of ten thousand parts.[33] Bumblebee uses a piece below his faceplate as an eyebrow, pieces in his cheeks swivel to resemble a smile, and all the characters' eyes are designed to dilate and brighten.[36] According to Bay, "The visual effects were so complex it took a staggering 38 hours for ILM to render just one frame of movement;"[2] that meant ILM had to increase their processing facilities.[37] Each rendered piece had to look like real metal, shiny or dull. This was difficult to model because the aged and scarred robots had to transform from clean cars. Close-up shots of the robots were sped up to look "cool", but in wide shots the animation was slowed down to convincingly illustrate a sense of weight. Photographs were taken of each set. These were used as a reference for the lighting environment, which was reproduced within a computer, so the robots would look like they were convincingly moving there. Bay, who has directed numerous car commercials, understood ray tracing was the key to making the robots look real; the CG models would look realistic based on how much of the environment was reflecting on their bodies.[26] Numerous simulations were programmed into the robots, so the animators could focus on animating the particular areas needed for a convincing performance.[37]

MusicEdit

Template:See also Composer Steve Jablonsky, who collaborated with Bay on The Island, scored music for the trailers before work began on the film itself. Recording took place in April 2007 at the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City, California. The score, including the teaser music, uses six major themes across ninety minutes of music.[38] The Autobots have three themes, one named "Optimus" to represent their friendship with Sam, and another played during their arrival on Earth. The Decepticons have a chanted theme which relies on electronics, unlike most of the score. The All Spark also has its own theme.[39] Hans Zimmer, Jablonsky's mentor, also helped to compose the score.[19]

Cast and charactersEdit

HumansEdit

  • Shia LaBeouf stars as Sam Witwicky, the teenager who unknowingly buys Bumblebee as his first car. The character is based upon the mechanic Spike from the television series,[31] but the nickname was considered inappropriate because the character's profession was dropped from the adaptation.[40] Bay wanted Sam to be an average Joe, and not a geek. He initially considered LaBeouf too old, having only seen his performance in Constantine, but he was bowled over by the actor's enthusiasm.[19] A Transformers fan,[5] LaBeouf also reminded the filmmakers of the young Tom Hanks.[20] He worked out five days a week for three months and gained twenty-five pounds of muscle to prepare for the role, but realized during shooting that his role required agility rather than strength. LaBeouf performed his own stunts, including a scene in which Sam clings to a statue as Megatron approaches, with only a safety harness to protect the actor. "There are action stars who wouldn’t have been as dumb," he joked.[2]
  • Megan Fox plays Sam's crush, Mikaela Banes, whom he woos with Bumblebee's help. Mikaela is mechanically skilled because her father was a grease monkey and former car thief. Fox had previously auditioned for Bay's production of The Amityville Horror. To encourage a tough performance from Fox, Bay often threatened to repeatedly film takes at night so she would appear frustrated and tired.[19] Fox gained ten pounds of muscle during shooting to support the physicality of the role.[2]
  • Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson play the soldiers/airman, United States Army Special Forces Captain William Lennox and United States Air Force Combat Controller Technical Sergeant Robert Epps, respectively. The characters are part of a seven-man Joint Special Operations Command team in Qatar, who survive Blackout's attack on the base. Lennox has a wife and newborn daughter in the United States. Duhamel and Gibson were fans of the toy line as children,[5] and Gibson paid the filmmakers so he could be in the film.[31] They spent three days in boot camp to prepare for the role. Gibson met combat controller Ray Bolinger, and spent time learning technical terms and military code to make his dialogue sound convincing.[5]
  • John Turturro plays Agent Simmons, an arrogant and paranoid Sector 7 agent. Bay wanted Steve Buscemi for the role, but he was busy, so Turturro, whom Bay had wanted to work with ever since seeing The Big Lebowski, was cast instead.[19] Turturro gave a slapstick performance, which was intended to be in contrast to the serious military scenes, so that a sense of fun would not completely disappear.[22] The actor claimed to have based his performance on the director, although Bay stated he couldn't see anything of himself in Turturro's performance. A backstory was fashioned for Simmons, explaining his family had served in Sector 7 for generations, giving him a "mother's boy" personality. Bay cut these jokes as they were too crude.[19]
  • Rachael Taylor plays Maggie Madsen, who assists the Department of Defense in decoding the virus left by Frenzy. She realizes that those hacking into the government's data files cannot be human, due to the ease with which they made the attack. The writers had initially envisioned Maggie as quirkier and more cyberpunk.[22] The filmmakers opted for Taylor's natural Australian accent to give the film a global sensibility.[2] She found many of her scenes difficult because of the high heels she wore.[31] It is unexplained why she disappeared from the rest of the film after Frenzy accidentally kills himself.
  • Anthony Anderson plays Glen Whitmann, a computer hacker and friend of Maggie. He too, without explanation, disappeared from the rest of the film after Frenzy defeated himself.
  • Jon Voight plays the United States Secretary of Defense John Keller.
  • Michael O'Neill plays Tom Banachek, the head of Sector 7's Advanced Research Division.
  • Kevin Dunn and Julie White play Sam's parents, Ron and Judy.
  • Amaury Nolasco and Zack Ward play ACWO Jorge "Fig" Figueroa and First Sergeant Donnelly, respectively. They are two soldiers who survive the destruction of the SOCCENT base and trek to rescue alongside Lennox, Epps, and other soldiers. Donnelly is impaled by Scorponok and Figueroa is wounded by a rocket fired by Scorponok.

Minor roles include Peter Jacobson as the humorless high school teacher Mr. Hosney; Bernie Mac as Bobby Bolivia, a used car dealer from whom Sam purchases Bumblebee; Tom Lenk as a member of Maggie's hacker team; Rick Gomez as a Sheriff who attempts to apprehend Sam after finding his dog's pain pills; J.P. Manoux as a Witness, Brian Stepanek as a Sector 7 agent, and Glenn Morshower as Colonel Sharpe[41], an officer at the SOCCENT base. In a deleted scene in the Blu-ray version of the movie, "Fig" is seen dying after getting wounded by Scorponok, but his character was made to stay alive in the finished movie, and he was even offered to reprise his role in Revenge of the Fallen, which he had to refuse due to scheduling conflicts.[42]

AutobotsEdit

  • Peter Cullen voices Optimus Prime, the altruistic Autobot leader who comes to Earth to destroy the All Spark in order to end the war. Don Murphy decided after discussions with fans on his website that they wanted the surviving voices from the original 1980s cartoon series, The Transformers.[6] Cullen described reprising the role as easy as "slipping into an old pair of very comfortable shoes that you haven't worn for a while", and was grateful to the fans for wanting him back.[43] His performance consisted of much improvisation with Bay, and portraying the traditional heroism of the character as well as bringing a sense of humor.[44] Bay told the animators to seek inspiration from Liam Neeson to inspire Optimus' body language.[19] Optimus transforms into a Peterbilt truck built by truck designer Dave Porter of Wright City, MO. The original cab over design was rejected because that would only transform into a twenty-feet tall model of the character, whereas the filmmakers wanted him to stand twenty-eight feet tall.[19] Optimus has red flame artwork on his blue body. This was a compromise between Hasbro, who wanted to retain the character's iconic red chest, and Bay, who felt red alone would not photograph well.[26] Hasbro had previously rejected designs of Optimus which were too blue.[26] Optimus' head was built on set as a prop.[19]
  • Mark Ryan voices Bumblebee for the character's two lines at the end of the film, when he regains his voice. For most of the film's duration, Bumblebee communicates with radio soundbites because of his damaged vocal processor, but his throat begins healing after Ratchet fires a regenerative laser when they meet again on Earth: this was not clarified on screen, and Orci feels that Bumblebee being healed by touching the AllSpark is also a valid explanation.[17] Before being cast in the role, Ryan had acted as a stand-in for the robots during filming, reading out their lines.[45] The decision to make Bumblebee silent was inspired by Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, to show that his bond with Sam was beyond words.[46] The filmmakers had considered using lines from various Paramount films, including "I feel the need for speed!" from Top Gun, but decided such lines would be too obvious.[47] Credited clips used in the film include John Wayne from El Dorado and Nichelle Nichols as Uhura from the Star Trek television series. A full scale puppet of Bumblebee was also used for the film. The animators modeled Bumblebee's performance on Michael J. Fox.[2] Bumblebee transforms into a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro, and upgrades into the 2009 model.[2] Bay rejected the character's 1980s form of the Volkswagen Beetle, as it reminded him of Herbie the Love Bug. Hasbro did not mind as long as the car remained yellow. In reference to his original form, the Beetle is parked next to Bumblebee when Sam is buying him.[26] The modern Camaro was chosen for its friendly appearance,[2] while the old model was chosen to show that Sam's father could only buy him the cheapest car he could find. In the film, Bumblebee upgrades because Mikaela calls his choice of form a "piece of crap Camaro".[26]
  • Darius McCrary voices Jazz, a lieutenant who develops a fondness for urban culture. McCrary said he was honored to follow in the footsteps of Scatman Crothers, who voiced Jazz on The Transformers. "When I was actually [recording], I really did feel Scatman's presence," he said.[48] Mark Ryan had tried out numerous voices for Jazz, including a Sean Connery impersonation, before McCrary was cast.[45] Jazz transforms into a modified Pontiac Solstice, a car the director felt was too small, but he decided not to argue with GM.[24] Hasbro felt it was still a "cool sports car" reminiscent of his original Porsche 935 form.[26] The screenwriters chose to kill off Jazz as they felt he was the most likable character after Optimus and Bumblebee, although they did not have time to make it effective due to budget constraints.[17]
File:Transformersvehicles.jpg
  • Jess Harnell voices Ironhide, who transforms into a modified GMC TopKick C4500 medium-duty truck. The character is a cantankerous weapons specialist. Peter Cullen also voiced Ironhide on television and auditioned to reprise the role.[49] When Harnell was voicing the character on set, he used a Southern accent as Cullen did.[45]
  • Robert Foxworth voices Ratchet, the team's medical officer. He transforms into a search and rescue Hummer H2. The writers had wanted to keep his original ambulance form, but the producers wanted something else. Hasbro did not mind if the character was either an ambulance or a fire apparatus.[9]

DecepticonsEdit

  • Hugo Weaving voices Megatron, the Decepticon leader who crash-landed in the Arctic years ago in his quest to obtain the All Spark. When he is defrosted, he keeps his original alien jet form out of vanity.[26] Frank Welker, who played the part on television opposite Peter Cullen, auditioned to reprise the role. Bay considered his voice too soft and felt it would be disrespectful to ask Welker to change it. Weaving's voice had been the inspiration Bay gave to his animators for the character, and the character's voice had become that of Weaving in the director's mind. Weaving recorded his lines in Australia, directed by Bay through iChat.[19] The deviation from Megatron's 1980s Walther P38 pistol form was done to avoid morphing. Orci and Kurtzman also felt it would be "the equivalent to Darth Vader [becoming] his own lightsaber and having someone else swing him around".[26] Fans disliked leaked images of the character's head design, so it was redesigned during filming. The prototype design had a much narrower face than the one seen in the finished film.[26] Optimus calls Megatron his brother; Cullen interpreted this line literally,[50] but while the writers state this was the case in early drafts, they consider the line in its final context to be metaphorical.[22] Megatron serves as the primary antagonist of this film.
  • Charlie Adler voices Starscream, Megatron's second-in-command. Despite being a popular character, his role is limited because of the film's running time.[22] A post-credits scene of him escaping Earth was added because audiences at test screenings wanted to know what happened to him.[19] He transforms into a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jet, which is the successor to his original form, the F-15 Eagle. This keeps the character's role as the powerful and technologically advanced air commander.[26]
  • Reno Wilson voices Frenzy, a small and vicious spy who transforms into a GPX BCDW9815CNP boombox, and later into a mobile phone. For most of the film, Frenzy speaks in Cybertronian and has only a few English lines. He was primarily animated by one man, who gave the character quirky movements: Bay could tell which shots were not done by him and felt the character totally changed in those scenes.[19] A puppet was also used on set.[2] Frenzy was originally meant to be Soundwave, but the writers decided to rename him because he was significantly different from the original character.[26] Other names given to him during production include Boombot[51] and Soundbyte[52]. Also, in early scripts, before Bay determined there would be no mass shifting in the movie, Frenzy — called Soundwave at the time — could turn into a humvee.[53]. His vehicle transformation eventually became the character we now know as Barricade.[26]
  • Jess Harnell voices Barricade, a Saleen S281 police car, whom Frenzy guides to Sam. The character was inspired by the G1 Autobot Prowl, because the writers thought a Decepticon displaying authority would use the police car form.[26] Frenzy ejects from a flap in Barricade's chest when he attacks Sam, which was presumably added during post-production. Takara and Hasbro had designed the flap for his toy and were unaware ILM had taken inspiration from their depiction of the character.[54][55]
  • Jimmie Wood voices Bonecrusher, who attacks Optimus on the highway to Mission City. The animators modeled his fighting styles on hockey and football players,[19] and his alternate form of the Buffalo H Mine-Protected vehicle was modified with a larger fork.[26]
  • For Brawl, the crew chose to use an M1 Abrams tank prop built for xXx: State of the Union.[2] The character was intended to be named Brawl (which appears on all the merchandise), but a subtitled Cybertronian line reads "Devastator reporting". It was not fixed despite recognition of the error.[56]
File:MH-53 Pave Low landing during filming of Transformers at Holloman AFB 2006-05-30.jpg
  • Blackout, a Decepticon who transforms into a MH-53J Pave Low III helicopter, with his minion Scorponok attaching to him. Soundwave had been considered for this role,[57] with Ravage as his minion,[46] but Hasbro insisted Soundwave have a music-based role.[9] Scorponok was chosen after the writers discovered him in the pages of The Ultimate Guide and felt he was appropriate to the setting. A model of his head and tail was built, while primacord explosives were used for his ripple movements in the sand. This was potentially dangerous to cast members, generating genuine terror in the actors' performances.[58] During production, Blackout was preliminary named Incinerator[59], Grimlock[53], Devastator[60] and Vortex[61], being referred to by Ben Procter as the Transformer with "the most name changes during development".[62]

Air Force Maj. Brian Reece played Blackout's hologram pilot. Reece was talking to Bay while filming at Holloman Air Force Base in May 2006, when one of Reece's men "walked by singing that stupid Team America song". Reece gave what he called a "death glance", and Bay chose him to play Blackout's hologram when the robot makes his attack. Reece was later called to Los Angeles, where ILM scanned his head and took pictures of him in different costumes for other scenes. Reece wore a fake moustache.[63]

The AllSpark is also shown giving life to a Nokia N93i phone, an Xbox 360, a Mountain Dew vending machine named Dispensor, and the steering wheel of a Cadillac Escalade. They are all portrayed as feral creatures, which Orci explained: "Prime intended to use the Allspark to repower Cybertron as it was intended. Megatron wants to abuse it by creating Transformers directly, which makes souless, primal Transformers."[17]

A character named Stryker, with a M1126 Stryker ICV as his alt mode, had been designed, but eventually didn't get used in the movie.[53][64] Michael Bay also considered a character turning into an aircraft carrier, which was dropped for cost reasons.[65] Orci and Kurtzman included the character in one of their drafts of the script,[66] and concept art was even created for it.[67]

ReleaseEdit

Transformers had its worldwide premiere at N Seoul Tower on June 11, 2007.[68] The film's June 27 premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival used a live digital satellite feed to project the film on to a screen.[69] A premiere took place at Rhode Island on June 28, which was a freely available event giving attendees the opportunity to buy tickets for $75 to benefit four charities: the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, the Autism Project of Rhode Island, Adoption Rhode Island, and Hasbro Children's Hospital.[70] The film was released on IMAX on September 21, 2007,[71] with an additional two minutes of footage that were not included in the general theatrical release.[72]

MarketingEdit

Template:See Hasbro's toy line for the film was created over two months in late 2005/early 2006, in heavy collaboration with the filmmakers.[28] Protoform Optimus Prime and Starscream were released in the United States on May 1, 2007, and the first wave of figures was released on June 2.[28] The line featured characters not in the film, including Arcee.[26] A second wave, titled "All Spark Power", was set for release late 2007, which consisted of repaints and robotic versions of ordinary vehicles in the film.[73] The toys feature "Automorph Technology", where moving parts of the toy allow other parts to shift automatically.[74] Merchandise for the film earned Hasbro $480 million in 2007.[75]

Deals were made with 200 companies to promote the film in 70 countries.[76] Michael Bay directed tie-in commercials for General Motors, Panasonic, Burger King and PepsiCo,[77] while props — including the Camaro used for Bumblebee and the All Spark — were put up for charity sale on eBay.[78] A viral marketing alternate reality game was employed through the Sector 7 website, which presented the film and all previous Transformers toys and media as part of a cover-up operation called "Hungry Dragon," perpetrated by a "real life" Sector 7 to hide the existence of "real" Transformers. The site featured several videos presenting "evidence" of Transformers on Earth, including a cameo from the original Bumblebee.[79]

ReceptionEdit

"From the king movie geek Harry Knowles of AintItCool.com to newspaper film critics and regular Joe (and Jane) comments, there is general raving about the mechanical heroes and general grumbling about the excessive screen time given to some of the human characters played by Shia LaBeouf, Anthony Anderson, Tyrese Gibson and Jon Voight. Optimus Prime, the leader of the good-guy Autobots, doesn't appear until midway through the film."
USA Today[80]

Transformers fans were initially divided over the film due to the radical redesigns of many characters, although the casting of Peter Cullen was warmly received.[26] Transformers comic book writer Simon Furman and Beast Wars script consultant Benson Yee both warmly received it as spectacular fun, but Furman argued there were too many human storylines.[81] Yee felt that being the first in a series, the film had to establish much of the fictional universe and therefore did not have time to focus on the Decepticons.[82]

The film created a greater awareness of the franchise and drew in many new fans.[83] Transformers' box office success led to the active development of films based on Voltron and Robotech,[84] as well as a Knight Rider remake.[85] When filming the sequel, Bay was told by soldiers the film helped their children understand what their work was like, and that many had christened their Buffalos – the vehicle used for Bonecrusher – after various Transformer characters.[86]

After the film's 2009 sequel was titled Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Roberto Orci was asked if this film would be retitled, just as Star Wars was titled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when rereleased. He doubted the possibility, but said if it was retitled, he would call it Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.[87]

ReviewsEdit

The film received "generally favorable" reviews from film critics.[88] Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 57% of critics gave the film positive write-ups, based on 207 reviews,[89] with a 68% rating from selected "notable" critics.[90] At the website Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 61, based on 35 reviews.[88] IGN's Todd Gilchrist called it Michael Bay's best film, and "one of the few instances where it's OK to enjoy something for being smart and dumb at the same time, mostly because it's undeniably also a whole lot of fun".[91] The Advertiser's Sean Fewster found the visual effects so seamless that "you may come to believe the studio somehow engineered artificial intelligence".[92] The Denver Post's Lisa Kennedy praised the depiction of the robots as having "a believably rendered scale and intimacy",[93] and ABC presenter Margaret Pomeranz was surprised "that a complete newcomer to the Transformers phenomenon like myself became involved in the fate of these mega-machines".[94] Ain't It Cool News's Drew McWeeny felt most of the cast grounded the story, and that "it has a real sense of wonder, one of the things that’s missing from so much of the big CGI lightshows released these days".[95] Author Peter David found it ludicrous fun, and said that "[Bay] manages to hold on to his audience's suspension of disbelief long enough for us to segue into some truly spectacular battle scenes".[96]

Despite the praise for the visual effects, there was division over the human storylines. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt liked "how a teen plotline gets tied in to the end of the world",[97] while Empire's Ian Nathan praised Shia LaBeouf as "a smart, natural comedian, [who] levels the bluntness of this toy story with an ironic bluster".[98] Ain't It Cool News founder Harry Knowles felt Bay's style conflicted with Spielberg's, arguing the military story only served as a distraction from Sam.[99] James Berardinelli hated the film as he did not connect with the characters in-between the action, which he found tedious.[100] Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan found the humans "oddly lifeless, doing little besides marking time until those big toys fill the screen",[101] while ComingSoon.net's Joshua Stames felt the Transformers were "completely believable, right up to the moment they open their mouths to talk, when they revert to bad cartoon characters".[102] Daily Herald's Matt Arado was annoyed that "the Transformers [are] little more than supporting players", and felt the middle act was sluggish.[103] CNN's Tom Charity questioned the idea of a film based on a toy, and felt it would "buzz its youthful demographic [...] but leave the rest of us wondering if Hollywood could possibly aim lower".[104]

Box officeEdit

Worldwide, the film was the highest grossing non-sequel movie in 2007. It grossed $709.7 million,[105] making it Michael Bay's second highest grossing film to date, with only the sequel surpassing this amount by more than $100 million.[1] The film was released in ten international markets on June 28, 2007, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the Philippines. Transformers made $29.5 million in its first weekend, topping the box office in ten countries.[106] It grossed $5.2 million in Malaysia, becoming the most successful film in the country's history.[107] Transformers opened in China on July 11, and became the second highest-grossing foreign film in the country (behind Titanic), making $37.3 million.[108] Its opening there set a record for a foreign language film, making $3 million.[109] The film was officially released in the United Kingdom on July 27, making £8.7 million, and helped contribute to the biggest attendance record ever for that weekend. It was second at the UK box office, behind The Simpsons Movie.[110] In South Korea, Transformers recorded the largest audience for a foreign film in 2007, and recorded highest foreign revenue of the movie.[111]

In North America, the film had the highest per-screen and per-theater gross in 2007.[112] It was released on July 3, 2007, with 8 p.m. preview screenings on July 2. The U.S. previews earned $8.8 million,[113] and in its first day of general release it grossed $27.8 million, a record for Tuesday box office attendance. It broke Spider-Man 2's record for the biggest July 4 gross, making $29 million.[114] Transformers opened in over 4,050 theaters in North America,[1] grossed $70.5 million in its first weekend, amounting to a $155.4 million opening week, giving it the record for the biggest opening week for a non-sequel.[115] The opening's domestic gross was 50% more than Paramount Pictures expected. One executive attributed it to word of mouth that explained to parents that "it [was] OK to take the kids". A CinemaScore poll indicated the film was most popular with children and parents, including older women, and attracted many African American and Latino viewers.[116]

AwardsEdit

Before its release, Transformers was voted "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet" at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards,[117] and at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, it was voted "best movie". It was nominated for three Academy Awards, in the fields of Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Achievement in Visual Effects.[118] It received a 2008 Kids' Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie.[119]

The film received a Jury Merit Award for Best Special Effects in the 2007 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival.[120] Visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar was honored at the Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on October 22, 2007 for his work on the film.[121] In 2008, the Visual Effects Society awarded Transformers four awards: for the best visual effects in an "effects driven" film and the "best single visual effects sequence" (the Optimus-Bonecrusher battle). The film's other two awards were for its miniatures and compositing.[122] Broadcast Music Incorporated awarded composer Steve Jablonsky for his score.[123]

Entertainment Weekly named Bumblebee as their fourth favorite computer generated character,[124] while The Times listed Optimus Prime's depiction as the thirtieth best film robot, citing his coolness and dangerousness.[125]

Home mediaEdit

Transformers was released in Region 1 territories on October 16, 2007 on DVD and the now denfunct HD DVD format. The Wal-Mart edition of the DVD included a shortened animated version of the prequel comic book, titled Transformers Beginnings and featuring the voices of Mark Ryan, Peter Cullen and Kevin Dunn, as well as Frank Welker as Megatron.[126] The Target copy was packaged with a transforming Optimus Prime DVD case and a prequel comic book about the Decepticons.[126] The DVD sold 8.3 million copies in its first week, making it the fastest-selling DVD of 2007 in North America, and it sold 190,000 copies on HD DVD, which was the biggest debut on the format.[127] The DVDs sold 13.74 million copies, making the film the most popular DVD title of 2007.[128]

It was released on Blu-ray on September 2, 2008.[129] In the first week, the two-disc edition of the Blu-ray was number one in sales compared to other films on the format. The Blu-ray version accounted for two-thirds of the film's DVD sales that first week, selling the third most in overall DVD sales.[130] On June 16, 2009, Paramount included a sticker on all new Transformers DVDs that contained a code to view exclusive content online from the first film and get a sneak peek at Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The content includes three exclusive clips from Revenge of the Fallen, behind-the-scenes footage from both films, and never-before-seen deleted scenes from the first film.[131] The film has earned approximately $281,737,576 in DVD sales.[132]

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External linksEdit

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Concept art

Template:Transformers Template:Transformers film series Template:Michael Bay Template:Steven Spielberg Template:Steven Spielberg productions Template:Featured article


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