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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Our World' is the title encompassing the first section available on
the second disc of the Transformers (2007) DVD and features the
following four featurette's which can be viewed separately or in 'play
all' mode. This comment is similarly split up into four segments that
you can read in whichever order you prefer.
In 'The Story Sparks', Steven 'High Five' Spielberg explains how he wanted to do a 'Boy and his Car' story and why he thought Michael Bay was born to direct this movie. The Bayster himself was not so sure, especially when his people informed him that the then current script (which was still in mid-transformation as it were) was way to kiddie for him. Still, no one can say no to Steven, especially when you get the opportunity to blow up stuff (eye-candy Spiel calls it) all over the place. Unlike some directors who rely on computer generated explosions, Bay likes to do it all for real. This documentary proves this to be true as we see Shia LeBouff climbing over a car just seconds before it's forcefully flipped over. That kid should get an extra credit in stunts. Too bad most people will think the entire movie is CGI anyway, what with it being about giant robots. Clips from the original Transformers cartoon series are used throughout and boy do they look clunky and retro when you've just been watching the 2007 version. Still, at the time it was one of the most violent 'toons around (being non-living robots, they could get away with a lot more than say He-Man or Lion-O)
8 out of 10
Casting is the name of the game in the next segment, 'Human Alllies'. The ladies in the casting department keep referring to their director simply as 'Bay', so we will do the same from here on. Bay was looking to find people to do a lot of improvising to add to their 'ever evolving' characters, and found Shia to be a pro at this, what with his Disney background. Unfortunately for LaBouff, on his first day of shooting, Bay also let the vicious killer dogs improvise and nearly kill him. Keeping with this ad-lib trend, the supporting cast was filled with guys like Anthony Anderson and Zack Ward, who are simply unable to stop wisecracking. John Turturro on the other hand (who was Bay's second choice after Steve Buscemi) takes his part into pantomime territory with his OTT characterization. Makes you wonder how much of Kurtzman & Orci's lines actually survived. We can at least presumably that old pro Jon Voight, Ozzie Rachael Taylor and Megan Fox kept to the script. Megan had the most trouble adding lib, but then her main purpose was simply to look foxy and show off her midriff. They did not foresee her having trouble keeping a straight face when LaBouff started riffing' though.
8 out of 10
'I fight Giant Robots' is the customary military boot camp piece that every army movie has on it's DVD. Josh Duhamel, Transformers more traditional leading man and the rest of his crew get to learn all sorts of military abbreviations such as PPE and IBA and pick on Tyrese Gibson for not keeping up. Bay, who keeps emphasizing how good his relationship with the U.S. army is, even got most of the actual airbase crew to play themselves in airbase scenes (and got them all SAG cards and IMDb credits in the process). And even though tiny Shia didn't have to 'do a Christian Bale' and bulk up for his part, he still found himself in a precarious position clinging to a statue on top of an actual skyscraper suspended only by a cable. It's bad enough he didn't have enough cloud to demand a stunt double, but then he had to utter one of the stupidest lines ever: 'I'm never gonna give you the Allspark!". He'll never live that one down.
5 out of 10
Location is the name of the game in 'Battlegrounds', wherein all the major set-pieces and the places they were filmed get a mention. From the White Sands missile base created in the 1940's, passed the Hoover Dam to Howard Hughe's Spruce Goose hangar which houses the interior of the Dam, including a 30 feet high half of Megatron. Shia admits to sneaking back onto the set over the weekends with friends to show them. I'm not sure if that's such a wise decision of him to testify like that on film. Not that Bay could possibly treat the boy any worse than he had already been doing, as we see the unfortunate LaBouff being drenched by sewer water (or man-p*ss as he likes to call it) that is being raised up from the river because of helicopters passing under a bridge (all the other crew members are wearing protective gear, masks and goggles). If 'Our World' proves anything, it's that sometimes you do have to pay a price in order to become a movie star.
7 out of 10
Average: 7 out of 10
Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong
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