Transformers (2007)

Rated PG. Our Ratings: V – 7; L – 4; S/N – 4

Transformers

If the theme of Transformers, directed by Michael Bay, were to be distilled into a single statement, it would be this: There is “more than meets the eye” to the human race. The pun throughout the film, of course, is the fact that this quote comes directly from the old Transformers theme song—“Transformers, more than meets the eye…. Transformers, robots in disguise!”

Unfortunately, this theme is communicated only a couple of times in a few lines of dialogue. Other than that, the movie is little more than giant robots smashing each other.

Don’t get me wrong. As a 34-year-old white male—and having spent countless hours playing with Transformers as a Jr. Higher in the mid-80’s—I’m more than happy to watch Optimus Prime and Megatron duke it out in the streets of downtown Los Angeles! In that sense, the movie definitely delivers!

But in terms of depth—well, there really isn’t any. And the few attempts at thematic substance only sound hokey and preachy. I’m talking about such lines as Optimus Prime referring to humans as a “young race” that has a lot of potential. Or the exchange in which Megatron says that humans deserve to die and Optimus Prime says that humans deserve the choice whether or not to die. It was during those scenes that I found myself thinking, “Less talking; more smashing, please.”

In a nutshell, the film is about a young man named Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) who buys a car that turns out to be an Autobot. He and Mikaela (Megan Fox), his high school crush, are then thrown into the middle of the war between the benevolent Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by the brutal and power-hungry Megatron.

In the end, the good guys win, of course, with just enough open-endedness to leave room for Transformers 2.

The cast also includes Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson as soldiers who survive a Decepticon attack while stationed in Qatar, Jon Voight as the U.S. Secretary of Defense, John Turturro as Agent Simmons, Anthony Anderson as computer hacker Glen Whitmann, and Bernie Mac as used car salesman Bobby Bolivia.

For Reflection/Discussion
1) Is it true that there is “more than meets the eye” to the human race? What kind of a first impression would we make on a race of alien robots? What kind of an impression do we make on God?

2) Do you think the human race tends toward evil or toward good? Why? What evidence do you have for your conclusion?

3) Do you think God sees potential in the human race? What kind of potential?

4) What do you think is God’s greatest hope for humanity?

Reviewed by Markus Watson, Assoc. Pastor, Union Presbyterian Ch., Union, KY