Blog Post #3: Transformers
After doing some research on the special effects that went into designing Transformers I was shocked to find out that at the time the computer graphics used to make the transformations between car and robot were some of the most advanced that the movie industry had ever seen. When it came to the box office, Michael Bay's $150 million adaptation of the legendary 1980s cartoon series included nearly 50 so-called transformations. Hand-rendered metallic “uncorking” of real-life cars, trucks and helicopters represented uncharted territory for the experts at George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic Studio, each transformation took about six months to imagine and each was re-engineered the way that digital Hollywood does computer graphics imagery or CGI for short.
The special effects in Transformers blew my mind the first time that I watched the film, and in every sequel I am continually impressed. The plot is centered around robots from outer space that have infiltrated earth and blend in by transforming back and forth between vehicles. For example the robot named Bumblebee transforms into a yellow and black Camero and Optamus Prime turns into a huge eighteen-wheeler. The transformations are crucial to the development of the classic story and therefore had to be done up to the fans preconceived standards. Fanboys would not be impressed with some uncomplicated special effects. The expectation I feel helped drive the movie in a direction that would impress and surpass the publics expectations. The general reception of the special effects, specifically regarding the frequent transformations, was one of shock and awe and only positively effected the viewers.
Because a large portion of the film was subject to digital editing and computer animation the actors who interacted with the robots had to pretend to talk and play a scene with an entity that was not really there at all. Thought, according to Understanding Movies, “Some critics have complained that such acting is often cold and mechanical, with none of the human subtleties that can be found in scenes where performers are actually interacting (34)”. After re-watching some of the scenes with actor-robot interaction I feel that the special effects were only beneficial, and that the actors were professional and adaptive and overall performed commendably.
All in all I feel that the special effects only enhanced the film and made the viewing experience more enjoyable for all types of audiences. I confidently give the special effects 5/5 slurpees.