Transformers (film)

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This article is about the 2007 live action film. For the 1986 animated film, see The Transformers: The Movie.
Transformers
Transformers07.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Bay
Produced by Don Murphy
Tom DeSanto
Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Ian Bryce
Screenplay by Roberto Orci
Alex Kurtzman
Story by John Rogers
Roberto Orci
Alex Kurtzman
Based on Transformers 
by Hasbro
Starring Shia LaBeouf
Tyrese Gibson
Josh Duhamel
Anthony Anderson
Megan Fox
Rachael Taylor
John Turturro
Jon Voight
Music by Steve Jablonsky
Cinematography Mitchell Amundsen
Edited by Tom Muldoon
Paul Rubell
Glen Scantlebury
Production
company
di Bonaventura Pictures
Hasbro
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures (United States)
Paramount Pictures (International)
Release dates
  • June 12, 2007 (2007-06-12) (Sydney premiere)
  • July 3, 2007 (2007-07-03) (United States)
Running time 144 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[1]
Box office $709,709,780[2]

Transformers is a 2007 American science fiction action film based on the Transformers toy line. The film, which combines computer animation with live-action, is directed by Michael Bay, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. It is the first installment of the live-action Transformers film series. It stars Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, a teenager who gets caught up 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 Autobots intend to use the AllSpark, the object that created their robotic race, in an attempt to rebuild Cybertron and end the war while the Decepticons desire control of the AllSpark with the intention of using it to build an army by giving life to the machines of Earth. Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Anderson, Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor, John Turturro, and Jon Voight also star while voice actors Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving voice Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively.

The film was produced by Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto. They developed the project in 2003, and DeSanto wrote a treatment. Steven Spielberg came on board the following year, hiring Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to write the screenplay. The U.S. Armed Forces and General Motors (GM) 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, Burger King, and eBay.

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, Transformers was a box office success.[2] It is the forty-fifth 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 Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. The performance of Shia Labeouf was praised by Empire, and Peter Cullen's reprisal of Optimus Prime from the 80's was well received by fans. A sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, was released on June 24, 2009. Despite extremely negative reviews, it was a commercial success and grossed more than its predecessor. A third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, was released on June 29, 2011, in 3-D and went on to gross over $1 billion, despite mixed to negative reviews. On February 13, 2012, Paramount Pictures announced that a fourth Transformers film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, would begin production with Bay returning as director. It was released on June 27, 2014.[3]

Plot

Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, narrates the collapse of the Transformers' home world, Cybertron. It was rendered uninhabitable by war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Led by Megatron, the Decepticons are searching for the AllSpark so they could use it to take over the universe. The Autobots want to find the AllSpark so they can use it to rebuild Cybertron and end the war. Megatron managed to locate the AllSpark 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 eyeglasses were imprinted with the coordinates of the AllSpark's location, an incident that left him blind and mentally unstable. Sector 7, a secret government organization created by President Herbert Hoover, discovered the AllSpark 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, the Decepticon known as Blackout attacks a U.S. military base in Qatar in order to find the location of Megatron and the AllSpark. He tries to hack into the files of the computer base but is stopped when the base commander cuts the computer hard lines. Captain William Lennox and his team manage to escape from the base and search for help. Back in the United States, Captain Witwicky's descendant Sam Witwicky buys his first car, which turns out to be the Autobot scout Bumblebee, who tries to help him woo his crush Mikaela Banes. Later, Sam catches a glimpse of Bumblebee's true form when he signals the other Autobots.

On Air Force One, another Decepticon named Frenzy infiltrates the plane and tries to hack into the network again, only this time is more successful until he is stopped by the U.S. intelligence operatives before he can retrieve the file information. Frenzy is then picked up by his partner Barricade, and they pursue Sam after discovering he has the glasses with the AllSpark's coordinates. Witwicky is rescued by Bumblebee, and Mikaela also learns of the Transformers' existence. Bumblebee fights Barricade and manages to subdue him while Sam and Mikaela decapitate Frenzy although he still survives and disguises himself as Mikaela's phone.

Meanwhile, Scorponok, who was sent by Blackout, fights Captain Lennox and his team, killing one of them and injuring another. During the battle, Scorponok is forced to retreat when he gets injured by sabot rounds fired on him by the U.S. Air Force. Lennox and his team then return to the United States and report their findings on the Decepticons to the Pentagon.

Sam and Mikaela soon meet Optimus Prime and his other Autobot partners Jazz, Ironhide, and Ratchet. They explain their origins to the two humans and insist on the urgency to get to the AllSpark first before the Decepticons, knowing that the Decepticons plan to use it to turn all of Earth's technologies into a new army of Decepticons and render humans extinct. The Autobots bring the two humans back to Sam's house to find the glasses, and they nearly reveal their existence to Sam's parents by accident. However, Sector 7 agent Seymour Simmons and his team find Sam and take his family away to a classified location after learning Sam came into contact with the Autobots. Optimus and the Autobots try to rescue Witwicky and Banes, however they fail and Bumblebee ends up getting captured along with Witwicky and Banes. The Autobots, however, retrieve the glasses and use them to find the AllSpark's location so they can destroy it before the Decepticons use it. Sam and Mikaela are taken to Hoover Dam, along with Maggie Madsen and Glen Whitmann, two hackers who were captured by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for trying to decipher the information Frenzy stole while working in the Pentagon.

Frenzy, who was transported to the dam while in disguise, finds the AllSpark and contacts the other Decepticons, Starscream, Bonecrusher, Brawl, Barricade, and Blackout. Starscream attacks the dam and Frenzy frees Megatron from his frozen prison, where he joins his cohorts into pursuing Sam and the Autobots. Bumblebee shrinks the cube to a reasonable size so they can escape with it. They then arrive at Mission City, where a large battle ensues. Working together, the Autobots and human soldiers defeat Bonecrusher, Blackout, and Brawl. However, Bumblebee is crippled, and Jazz is killed by Megatron. When Megatron begins to gain the upper hand in the fight, Optimus urges Sam to put the AllSpark in his chest, which will destroy them both. Instead, Witwicky inserts the cube into Megatron's chest, which kills him and destroys the AllSpark.

In the aftermath, the dead Transformer bodies are dumped into the Laurentian Abyss in the Atlantic Ocean to be hidden, the government orders the closure of Sector 7, and the Witwicky family is released from custody. Sam and Mikaela soon start a new relationship, and Optimus says that the Autobots' fates have given them a new home, Earth, and sends a message calling out all surviving Autobots to join them. In a mid-credits scene, Starscream escapes into space, presaging the events of the second movie.

Cast

Humans

Transformers

The Peterbilt 379 used to portray Optimus Prime
The Chevrolet Camaro used to portray Bumblebee
The Pontiac Solstice used to portray Jazz
The GMC Topkick used to portray Ironhide

Autobots

  • Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. Peter Cullen had previously voiced Optimus Prime in the original 1980s cartoon and was chosen to reprise his role, which was warmly welcomed by audiences and considered one of the film's best aspects.
  • Mark Ryan as Bumblebee, the young scout of the Autobots and best friend of Sam.
  • Darius McCrary as Jazz, the second-in-command to Optimus Prime.
  • Robert Foxworth as Ratchet, the Autobots' medic.
  • Jess Harnell as Ironhide, the Autobots' weapon's expert, and Barricade, a Decepticon who transforms into a police car.

Decepticons

  • Hugo Weaving as Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons. Originally Frank Welker (voice of Megatron in the original series) was considered but according to DVD commentary, Bay thought his voice didn't fit, so Weaving was chosen instead.
  • Jim Wood as Bonecrusher, the rampaging mine sweeper of the Decepticons.
  • Reno Wilson as Frenzy, a hacker for the Decepticons.
  • Charlie Adler as Starscream, Megatron's second-in-command. Adler had previously voiced several characters in the original series, most noticeably Silverbolt.

Production

Development

"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[4]

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.[5] Tom DeSanto joined Murphy because he was a fan of the series.[6] They met with comic book writer Simon Furman, and cited the Generation 1 cartoon and comics as their main influence.[5] They made the Creation Matrix their plot device, though Murphy had it renamed because of the film series The Matrix.[7] DeSanto chose to write the treatment from a human point of view to engage the audience,[8] while Murphy wanted it to have a realistic tone, reminiscent of a disaster film.[7] 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.[9]

Steven Spielberg, a fan of the comics and toys,[6] signed on as executive producer in 2004. John Rogers wrote the first draft, which pitted four Autobots against four Decepticons,[10] and featured the Ark spaceship.[11] Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, fans of the cartoon,[12] were hired to rewrite the script in February 2005.[13] Spielberg suggested that "a boy and his car" should be the focus.[14] This appealed to Orci and Kurtzman because it conveyed themes of adulthood and responsibility, "the things that a car represents in the United States".[15] The characters of Sam and Mikaela were the sole point of view given in Orci and Kurtzman's first draft.[16] 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.[12] The first draft also had a battle scene in the Grand Canyon.[17] Spielberg read each of Orci and Kurtzman's drafts and gave notes for improvement.[14] 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).[18] Furman's The Ultimate Guide, published by Dorling Kindersley, remained as a resource to the writers throughout production.[18] Prime Directive was used as a fake working title. This was also the name of Dreamwave Productions' first Transformers comic book.[19]

Michael Bay was asked to direct by Spielberg on July 30, 2005,[20] but he dismissed the film as a "stupid toy movie".[21] Nonetheless, he wanted to work with Spielberg, and gained a new respect for the concept upon visiting Hasbro.[20] Bay considered the first draft "too kiddie", so he increased the military's role in the story.[20][22] The writers sought inspiration from G.I. Joe for the soldier characters, being careful not to mix the brands.[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.[20]

Orci and Kurtzman experimented with numerous robots from the franchise, ultimately selecting the characters most popular among the filmmakers to form the final cast.[6] 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.[12] 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.[23] An early idea to have the Decepticons simultaneously strike multiple places around the world was also dropped.[16]

Design

The filmmakers incorporated valid physics into their designs, establishing the necessity for a robot's size to correspond to that of its disguise. The layout of Optimus Prime's robotic body within his truck mode is seen here.

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 U.S. Armed Forces 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.[20] 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]

Filming

To save money for the production, director Michael Bay reduced his usual fee by 30 percent. He planned an eighty-three day shooting schedule,[20] 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.[20][22][30] A pre-shoot took place on April 19, 2006, and principal photography began on April 22 at Holloman Air Force Base,[31] which stood in for Qatar.[20] 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.[20][32]

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.[31] 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.[32] Production in California was based at Hughes Aircraft at Playa Vista, where the hangar in which Megatron is imprisoned was built.[32] 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.[31][32] The crew was allowed to shoot at Griffith Observatory, which was still closed for renovations begun in 2002.[31] Filming wrapped on October 4, 2006.[22]

The film has been found to re-use footage from Bay's previous film Pearl Harbor.[33]

Effects

Spielberg encouraged Bay to restrict computer-generated imagery to the robots and background elements in the action sequences.[20] 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.[32] Work on the animatics began in April 2005.[10] Bay indicated that three quarters of the film's effects were made by Industrial Light & Magic, while Digital Domain made the rest,[20] including the Arctic discovery of Megatron; Frenzy's severed head; a vending machine mutated by the Allspark, and the Autobots' protoforms.[34] Many of the animators were big Transformers fans and were given free rein to experiment: a scene where Jazz attacks Brawl 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[35]

ILM created computer-generated transformations during six months in 2005, looking at every inch of the car models.[36] 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.[37] Bay rejected a liquid metal surface for the characters' faces, instead going for a "Rubik's Cube" style of modeling.[20] He wanted numerous mechanical pieces visible so the robots would look more interesting, realistic, dynamic and quick, rather than like lumbering beasts.[20][35] 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.[38] Bay instructed the animators to observe footage of two martial artists and numerous martial arts films to make the fights look graceful.[20]

Due to the intricate designs of the Transformers, even the simplest motion of turning a wrist needs 17 visible parts;[31] each of Ironhide's guns are made of ten thousand parts.[35] 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.[38] According to Bay, "The visual effects were so complex it took a staggering 38 hours for ILM to render just one frame of movement";[31] that meant ILM had to increase their processing facilities.[39] 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.[39]

Music

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.[40] The Autobots have three themes, one named "Optimus" to represent the wisdom and compassion of the Autobot leader, and another played during their arrival on Earth. The Decepticons have a chanted theme which relies on electronics, unlike most of the score. The AllSpark also has its own theme.[41] Hans Zimmer, Jablonsky's mentor, also helped to compose the score.[20]

Marketing

Hasbro's toy line for the film was created over two months in late 2005 and 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 "AllSpark Power", was set for release late 2007, which consisted of repaints and robotic versions of ordinary vehicles in the film.[42] The toys feature "Automorph Technology", where moving parts of the toy allow other parts to shift automatically.[43] Merchandise for the film earned Hasbro $480 million in 2007.[44]

Deals were made with 200 companies to promote the film in 70 countries.[45] Michael Bay directed tie-in commercials for General Motors, Panasonic, Burger King and PepsiCo,[46] while props – including the Camaro used for Bumblebee and the AllSpark – were put up for charity sale on eBay.[47] 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 genuine Transformers. The site featured several videos presenting "evidence" of Transformers on Earth, including a cameo from the original Bumblebee.[48]

Release and reception

Transformers had its worldwide premiere at N Seoul Tower on June 10, 2007.[49][50] 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.[51] 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.[52] The film was released in IMAX on September 21, 2007,[53] with additional footage that had not been included in the general theatrical release.[54]

General

"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[55]

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 considered the film to be spectacular fun, although Furman also argued that there were too many human storylines.[56] 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.[57]

The film created a greater awareness of the franchise and drew in many new fans.[58] Transformers' box office success led to the active development of films based on Voltron and Robotech,[59] as well as a Knight Rider remake.[60] 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.[61]

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 re-released. He doubted the possibility, but said if it was retitled, he would call it Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.[62]

Critical reception

At the website Metacritic, the film has received a rating average of 61, based on 35 reviews, indicating that it is generally a favorably reviewed film.[63] Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 57% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 220 reviews.[64] IGN's Todd Gilchrist called it 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".[65] The Advertiser's Sean Fewster found the visual effects so seamless that "you may come to believe the studio somehow engineered artificial intelligence".[66] The Denver Post's Lisa Kennedy praised the depiction of the robots as having "a believably rendered scale and intimacy",[67] 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".[68] 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".[69] 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".[70] Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review, giving it 3 stars out of four.[71]

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",[72] 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".[73] 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.[74] James Berardinelli hated the film as he did not connect with the characters in-between the action, which he found tedious.[75] Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan found the humans "oddly lifeless, doing little besides marking time until those big toys fill the screen",[76] while ComingSoon.net's Joshua Starnes felt the Transformers were "completely believable, right up to the moment they open their mouths to talk, when they revert to bad cartoon characters".[77] Daily Herald's Matt Arado was annoyed that "the Transformers [are] little more than supporting players", and felt the middle act was sluggish.[78] 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".[79]

Box office

Worldwide, the film was the highest grossing non-sequel movie in 2007. It grossed $709.7 million, making it Michael Bay's third highest grossing film to date, with only the two sequels surpassing this amount.[2] It was also the fifth highest-grossing film of 2007 worldwide behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Spider-Man 3, and Shrek the Third.[80] 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.[81] It grossed $5.2 million in Malaysia, becoming the most successful film in the country's history.[82] Transformers opened in China on July 11, and became the second highest-grossing foreign film in the country (behind Titanic), making $37.3 million.[83] Its opening there set a record for a foreign language film, making $3 million.[84] 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.[85] In South Korea, Transformers recorded the largest audience for a foreign film in 2007, and recorded highest foreign revenue of the movie.[86]

In North America, the film had the highest per-screen and per-theater gross in 2007.[87] It was released on July 3, 2007, with 8 p.m. preview screenings on July 2. The U.S. previews earned $8.8 million,[88] and in its first day of general release it grossed $27.8 million, a record for Tuesday box-office gross until broken by The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012.[89] It did, however, break Spider-Man 2's record for the biggest July 4 gross, making $29 million.[90] Transformers opened in over 4,050 theaters in North America,[2] 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.[91] The opening's gross in the United States was 50 percent 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.[92] Transformers ended its theatrical run in the United States and Canada with a gross of $319.2 million, making it the third highest-grossing film of 2007 in these regions behind Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third.[93]

Accolades

Before its release, Transformers was voted "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet" at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards,[94] 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 (Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin), and Achievement in Visual Effects (Scott Benza, Russell Earl, Scott Farrar and John Knoll), but lost to The Bourne Ultimatum and The Golden Compass, respectively.[95] It received a 2008 Kids' Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie, but lost to Alvin and the Chipmunks.[96] The film received a Jury Merit Award for Best Special Effects in the 2007 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival.[97] 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.[98]

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.[99] Broadcast Music Incorporated awarded composer Steve Jablonsky for his score.[100] Entertainment Weekly named Bumblebee as their fourth favorite computer generated character,[101] while The Times listed Optimus Prime's depiction as the thirtieth best film robot, citing his coolness and dangerousness.[102] On the negative side, Jon Voight was nominated for Worst Supporting Actor (also for Bratz: The Movie, September Dawn and National Treasure: Book of Secrets) at the 28th Golden Raspberry Awards.[103]

Home media

Transformers was released in Region 1 territories on October 16, 2007, on DVD and the now defunct 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.[104] The Target copy was packaged with a transforming Optimus Prime DVD case and a prequel comic book about the Decepticons.[104] 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.[105] The DVDs sold 13.74 million copies, making the film the most popular DVD title of 2007.[106]

It was released on Blu-ray on September 2, 2008.[107] 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.[108] 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.[109] As of July 2012, in North America, the DVD of the film has sold 16.23 million copies, earning $292,144,274.[110]

Sequel

Again directed Bay, Taking place two years after Transformers. The plot revolves around Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), who is caught in the war between two factions of alien robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons. Sam is having weird visions of Cybertronian symbols, and is being hunted by the Decepticons under the orders of an ancient Decepticon named The Fallen (Tony Todd), who seeks to get revenge on Earth by finding and activating a machine that would provide the Decepticons with an energon source, destroying the sun and all life on Earth in the process. The film was a box office success despite receiving negative reviews from critics.

See also

References

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External links

Concept art