The director, Michael Bay, stands in the middle of the theater on the night of the screening and yells, “I’m here to make sure that it’s fucking loud!”
Created at Skywalker Ranch with Steven Spielberg, the audience soon realizes why Bay wants to make sure the volume is set to 11.
“We created new sounds that have never been heard and actually reach into your gut before it hits your ears,” comments producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
The storyline is another big part of the theatrical event.
“We wanted to make sure that people who didn’t know anything about Transformers could get into it,” says Bay. “We were trying to figure out what the real story was here, and then Steven [Spielberg] said, ‘It’s a story about a boy and his car.’ We all agreed and went from there.”
The film follows Sam “Spike” Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) as he finally gets his first car. But the ride is definitely more than he bargained for.
“Getting a chance to hop into the world of a toy that I played with as a kid was a dream come true,” LaBeouf says.
This is the same sentiment of Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor and Anthony Anderson.
“Everyone that grew up with these,” relays Duhamel, “is besides themselves.” And if you want to know what toys he liked the most, “The Decepticons. They were just cooler.”
Commenting about his choice of film locations for his $150 million movie, despite all of the other countries begging him to bring it outside of the U.S., Bay says, “I wanted to make this movie, like all my others, right here in the U.S. I got to make it here in L.A., to use my crew and make my movie the way it should be.”
To make sure production stayed stateside, Bay took a huge pay cut to ensure the film remained within the same budget as if it were completed elsewhere. This also allowed Bay to go to “Transformer’s School.”
“The guys at Hasbro told me if I was going to make this movie, I had to learn everything there was about Transformers. I read every comic, played with every toy, saw all the cartoons and even the movie,” laughs Bay.
And it shows.
Diehard fans have been taken care of graciously. The selection of robots on both sides is excellent, and there are a few special parts in the flick that will make you cheer, if you really know your Transformers history.
But the most impressive and important aspect of this larger-than-life experience is that they make sure to have Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, take the reigns once again as the leader of the Autobots.
The theater erupts with a roar as his voice is heard for the first time. I felt like I was back in grade school all over again.
Voicing some of the other characters are Jess Harnell as Ironhide and most impressively, Hugo Weaving as Megatron. Weaving is best known for his roles in two of the biggest trilogies ever, Agent Smith in The Matrix and Elf leader, Elrond, in Lord of the Rings.
There isn’t enough room to write about how awesome this movie is: comedic roles filled by Bernie Mac and John Turturro; drop-dead gorgeous, ass-kicking female leads; real military personnel in all of the battle scenes, with special use of the F-22!
But it’s the special effects that will stay with you long after the movie ends. “Never before has anything like this ever been done,” concludes Bay. “We pushed the envelope and refused to settle for anything less than impossible.”
And he’s right. The movie takes the youth of a nation and brings it to life. We played with these toys for years, we created the battles with our own imagination, and they’ve done it exactly the way I dreamed it would be done.
Fanboys, buy your tickets early and roll out!
Transformers releases in theaters July 3.