Transformers is a live-action movie released by DreamWorks in 2007, with Executive Producer Steven Spielberg and Director Michael Bay. The story follows the Transformers' arrival on modern-day Earth and their interactions with the human race, as they search for the life-giving All Spark and continue their ages-old civil war. The movie is a new imagining of the Transformers brand, drawing on past Transformers fiction but also distinct in its own right.
The principal cast members are Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, and Megan Fox, with Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving as the voices of the Transformers' iconic leaders. About 75 percent of the film's character designs and visual effects were created by Industrial Light and Magic, the effects-wizards behind the Star Wars films. The remaining 25 percent were done by Michael Bay's company, Digital Domain.
Originally slated to release in the summer of 2006, the film arrived in US theaters on July 3, 2007, and hit UK theaters on July 27 and French theaters on July 25. It premiered in Australia on June 12, 2007, and was released there and in a number of Asian countries on June 28, 2007. An extended cut of the film featuring footage not in the original was released to IMAX theatres on September 21, 2007.
* - Brawl is named "Devastator" in the film itself, but "Brawl" in the toyline and most of the supporting media. Plot summaries and such will reflect whichever name is relevant to that being described.
Length: 144 min (original theatrical)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: Dolby Digital / DTS / SDDS
- PG-13 (USA/MPAA)
- ? (Japan)
- 12A (United Kingdom)
- PG (Canada; British Columbia)
- G (Canada; Quebec)
- PG (Canada; Alberta/Manitoba/Nova Scotia/Ontario)
- PG (Taiwan)
- IIA (China; Hong Kong)
- PG (Singapore)
- G (Philippines/MTRCB)
- U (France)
- U (Malaysia)
- M (Australia)
- M (New Zealand)
- TE (Chile)
- 10 (Brazil)
- 10M (South Africa)
- 11 (Denmark)
- K-11 (Finland)
- 11 (Norway)
- 11 (Sweden)
- 12 (Germany)
- 12A (Ireland)
- 12 (Netherlands)
- M/12 (Portugal)
- 12 (South Korea)
- 12 (Switzerland)
- 13 (Argentina)
- 14 (Peru)
- 12 (Poland)
- B (Mexico)
The movie features Sam Witwicky, a plucky teenager who just wants a cool car, but gets more than he bargained for. The beater he and his father take home is actually Bumblebee, an alien robot from the planet Cybertron, who plants Sam down in the middle of a civil war between Bumblebee's benevolent Autobot comrades and the evil Decepticons who threaten the galaxy's peace. Both sides are after the All Spark, a mysterious artifact that landed on Earth ten thousand years ago. The approaching robot-against-robot battle is a coming-of-age moment for Sam, who learns the meaning of his family's motto, "No sacrifice, no victory."
The film begins with the history of Cybertron's destruction at the hands of Megatron, and his quest to obtain the All Spark. Megatron discovers the All Spark on Earth, but crash-lands in the Arctic Circle, becoming frozen in the ice. Captain Archibald Witwicky and his crew of explorers stumble upon Megatron's body in the late 19th century. Megatron's navigational system is unintentionally activated, and Archibald's eye glasses are imprinted with the coordinates to the All Spark's location. Sector Seven, a secret organization of the United States government, discovers the All Spark and builds the Hoover Dam around it to mask its energy signal. The still-frozen Megatron is moved into this facility, and is reverse engineered to further advance human technology.
In the present day, the rest of the Decepticons — Blackout, Scorponok, Frenzy, Barricade, Starscream, Bonecrusher, and Devastator — have already landed on Earth and assumed the disguise of Earth vehicles. Blackout and Scorponok attack the U.S. SOCCENT Forward Operations Base in Qatar in an effort to use the military database to discover the location of Megatron and the All Spark, but they do not succeed. A small group of survivors under Captain William Lennox wander through the desert and are followed by Scorponok. The Autonomous Robotic Organism (shortened to "Autobot") known as Bumblebee is also on Earth, disguised as a 1977 Chevrolet Camaro, and looking for Sam Witwicky, the descendant of Captain Archibald Witwicky. As soon as he locates Sam, the two quickly begin to bond as Bumblebee helps Sam try and woo his crush, Mikaela Banes. Sam is unaware of the fact that Bumblebee is an alien, until he witnesses Bumblebee transform and send out a homing signal for the rest of the Autobots.
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary John Keller oversees the investigation into the attack in Qatar. After Blackout's failure, Frenzy infiltrates Air Force One and attempts to download all information relating to "Project Iceman". However, Maggie Madsen, one of the technicians studying the Decepticon infiltration signal, discovers Frenzy's actions and convinces the Pentagon to take down the Defense Network, halting Frenzy's download. When Air Force One makes an emergency landing, Frenzy slips into Barricade, and discusses his discovery of Archibald Witwicky, who has seen their language. Using an internet search, they discover that Sam's glasses will lead the Decepticons to the All Spark. Frenzy and Barricade begin tracking Sam's location. Back in Qatar, the army rangers are attacked by Scorponok, who take refugee in a nearby village. Calling the Pentagon and getting air support, they discover that the Decepticons are vulnerable to high heat weaponry such as sabot rounds. Using this information, the soldiers inform the Pentagon that they now have a weapon.
Barricade confronts Sam, demanding Archibald's glasses. Bumblebee, who is following Sam, transforms and battles Barricade. Mikaela, who is also following Sam, is caught in the crossfire, but Bumblebee is able to defeat Barricade, while Mikaela decapitates Frenzy, who is still functioning and hides in Mikaela's purse as her cellphone. Bumblebee takes Sam and Mikaela to rendezvous with the rest of the Autobots. The Autobots—Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ironhide, and Ratchet—land on Earth and take on the forms of several Earth vehicles. They all meet in a dark, secluded alley, transform in front of the two amazed humans, introduce themselves and tell of the reasons they had to come to Earth to Sam and Mikaela. Meanwhile, Maggie made a copy of the intrusion signal and shows it to her friend Glenn Whitmann, who discovers a message with the signal about Sector Seven, Captain Witwicky, and Project Iceman. However, the FBI arrest Glenn and Maggie, who desperately tries to convince them not to go to war with the wrong country.
Sam, Mikaela, and the Autobots then return to Sam's home to retrieve the glasses. However, agents from Sector Seven arrive to take Sam and Mikaela into custody. Reggie Simmons, the agency's director, reveals that Mikaela has a criminal record and threatens Sam with life imprisonment, at which point the Autobots disable the convoy and rescue the teens. During the retreat, Sam and Mikaela are recaptured, and Bumblebee is also apprehended, against the pleas of Sam who assures the agents—to no avail—that he means them no harm. Prime orders the Autobots to let them go, unwilling to use deadly force against the humans. At the Pentagon, a virus Frenzy uploaded during the Air Force One hack causes a global communications blackout, while Keller is finally informed of the Decepticons. After Bumblebee's capture, Optimus uses the glasses to locate the All Spark at Hoover Dam, and declares that if they cannot defeat the Decepticons, he will merge the Cube with his spark.
Sam, Mikaela, Keller, Maggie, Glenn, and Lennox's unit are brought to Hoover Dam, where they are shown the frozen Megatron and the All Spark, while Frenzy slips away. Locating the All Spark, he sends out an alert to Starscream, who mobilizes the rest of the Decepticons. Due to Starscream's attack and Frenzy's sabotage, Megatron begins to revive, and Sam convinces the Sector Seven agents to release Bumblebee so that he can get the All Spark to Optimus Prime. The Decepticons chase the Autobots, who now possess the All Spark, into Mission City.
Glenn, Maggie, Keller, and Simmons manage to contact the Air Force and direct F22s to Mission City. An ensuing battle results in casualties for both sides, including Jazz, who is killed by Megatron, while Bumblebee is crippled in an explosion. As Lennox orders Sam to take the All Spark to a building to be removed from the city, under escort from Ironhide and Ratchet, Megatron and Optimus Prime battle, while the soldiers remain to fight Devastator. Mikaela drags the injured Bumblebee away from the battle with a tow truck, but goes back, with Bumblebee's weapons killing Devastator. Ironhide and Ratchet are incapacitated by Starscream, and Megatron joins the pursuit.
Sam's helicopter is destroyed by Starscream, and Prime challenges Megatron. The battle is fierce and dominated by Megatron. Blackout attempts to assist Megatron, but is killed by Lennox and the Air Force before he can engage. Starscream hides among a raptor squadron, destroying three fighters. Despite this, the Air Force and Lennox's rangers manage to inflict serious damage on Megatron, but he is still functional, and heading toward the Cube. Finally, with both Prime and Megatron weakened, Prime beckons Sam to shove the All Spark into his chest, destroying them both, but Sam instead takes the riskier action of shoving the All Spark into Megatron's chest.
Optimus thanks Sam for his courage and for saving his life, while Bumblebee, who has regained his voice, asks permission to remain with Sam, which is granted. In an attempt to cover up the existence of the Transformers, Sector Seven is disbanded, while the remains of the Decepticons are cast into the Laurentian Abyss. And though Megatron is dead, the All Spark's destruction leaves the Autobots unable to restore Cybertron. With no other home to go to, the Autobots decide to stay on Earth, and Optimus sends out a signal across space in an effort to locate any surviving Autobots, while Sam and Mikaela begin a relationship. Starscream, one of the Decepticons that survived the battle, leaves Earth.
"Before time began, there was the Cube. We know not where it comes from, only that it holds the power to create worlds and fill them with life. That was how our race was born. For a time, we lived in harmony, but like all great power, some wanted it for good, others for evil. And so began the war - a war that ravaged our planet until it was consumed by death, and the Cube was lost to the far reaches of space. We scattered across the galaxy, hoping to find it and rebuild our home, searching every star, every world. And just when all hope seemed lost, message of a new discovery drew us to an unknown planet called...Earth. But we were already too late."
- —Optimus Prime's opening narration
"Look, can you do me a favor—can you look out the window for a second? See my father? He's the guy in the green car? Let me tell you about a dream, a boy's dream, and a man's promise to that boy. He looked him in the eye and said "Son, I' gonna buy you a car, but I want you to bring me two-thousand dollars and three A's." OK, I got the two thousand and two A's. OK, here's the dream. Your B minus? Pfff! Dream gone. Kaput. Sir, just ask yourself...what would Jesus do?"
- —Sam Witwicky negotiates a better mark for his Family Genealogy project
Bobby Bolivia: "What with the semi-classic nature of the vehicle, slick wheels and custom paint job—"
Sam: "The paint's faded!"
Bobby: "Y-yeah, but it's custom."
Sam: "It's custom faded?"
Bobby: "Well, it's your first car, I wouldn't expect you to understand." [turns to Ron] "Five grand."
Ron: "No, not paying over four. Sorry."
Bobby: [turns back to Sam] "Kid, c'mon, get out, get out of the car."
Sam: "No, no, no, you said cars pick their drivers!"
Bobby: "Well sometimes they pick a driver with a cheap-ass father—out of the car."
- —Negotiations over the car at Bolivia's Finest Quality Used Cars and Petting Zoo
[Sam's car leaves in a puff of black smoke]
"Wow...you are so cheap."
"It's his first car... supposed to be like that."
- —Judy Witwicky comments on the car's condition to Ron
Capt. Lennox: "I need a credit card! Epps, where's your wallet?"
Sgt. Epps: "Pocket!" [fires gun]
Lennox: "Which pocket?"
Epps: "My back pocket!" [fires gun]
Lennox: "You got ten back pockets!"
Epps: "Left cheek! Left cheek! Left cheek!"
- —Calling the Pentagon from Qatar gets complicated.
"Ready, heat's coming!"
"What, BRING IT!"
- —Lennox and Epps giving the green light for Strike Package Bravo to attack
Jazz: "What about Bumblebee? What can't just leave him to die! And become some human experiment!"
Optimus Prime: He'll die in vain if we don't accomplish our mission. Bumblebee is a brave soldier. This is what he would want.
Ironhide: "Why are we fighting to save the humans? They're a primitive and violent race."
Optimus Prime: "Were we so different? They are a young species. They have much to learn... but I've seen goodness in them. Freedom is the right of all sentient beings... You all know there is only one way to end this war: We must destroy the Cube. If all else fails, I will unite it with the spark in my chest."
Ratchet: "That's suicide! The Cube is raw power—it could destroy you both."
Optimus Prime: "A necessary sacrifice to bring peace to this planet... We cannot let the humans pay for our mistakes. It's been an honor serving with you all. Autobots, roll out!"
- —The Autobots discuss their next move.
"Humans don't deserve to live."
"They deserve to choose for themselves!"
"Then you will die with them! Join them in extinction!"
- —Megatron and Optimus Prime have some mid-battle banter, Transformers style
"Give me the All Spark, and you may live to be my pet."
"I'm never giving you this All Spark!"
"Oh, so unwise..."
- —Megatron and Sam Witwicky have a tense moment on a Mission City rooftop.
"With the All Spark gone, we cannot return life to our planet. And fate has yielded its reward: a new world to call...home. We live among its people now, hiding in plain sight...but watching over them in secret...waiting...protecting. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there's more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here...we are waiting."
- —Optimus Prime's closing narration
- Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
- Executive Producer: Brian Goldner
- Director: Michael Bay
- Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy
- Story by: Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci and John Rogers,
- Screenwriters: Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci
- Music by: Steve Jablonsky
- Visual Effects by: Industrial Light and Magic, Digital Domain
- Production Designer: Jeff Mann
- Lead Robot Illustrator: Ben Procter
- Illustrators: James Clyne, Tim Flattery
- ILM Visual Effects Supervisior: Scott Farrar
- Art Director: Alex Jaeger
- Animation Supervisors: Scott Benza, Dan Taylor
- Animators: Charles Alleneck, Keiji Yamaguchi
(winners of the California On Location Award for "Production Company / Location Team of the Year for Feature Films")
- Supervising Location Manager: Ilt Jones
- Location Managers: Michael J. Burmeister, Fermín Dávalos, and Emre Sonmez
- Key Assistant Location Managers: Michael Wesley Aycock, Leann Emmert, Perri Fichtner, Ronald M. Haynes, Jonathan Hook, Kathy McCurdy, Manny Padilla, Lisa Patton, Rob Swenson, Marta Tomkiw, and Scott Trimble
- Additional Key Assistant Location Managers: Brooks Bonstin, Alexandre Chen, Michael Chickey, Martin J. Cummins
- Assistant Location Managers: Ces Hardy and Amanda Harrington
- Location Scouts: Stuart Raven Barter, Richard Klotz, James Lin, and Keith Nakata
The 2007 Transformers film has more than one 'cut.'
- The worldwide theatrical release was essentially identical all around the world with a few minor exceptions.
- The IMAX edition of the movie features two minutes of additional footage in the form of slightly extended scenes and very brief new scenes. Added material includes the following:
- Before heading to the lake party, Sam is shown picking Miles up at his house. Miles derides Sam's choice of car colors.
- After Sam is questioned by the sheriff at the police station, he is given an anti-drug bumper sticker and shown the "This is Your Brain on Drugs" PSA starring Rachel Leigh Cook.
- After abducting Sam and Mikaela, Agent Simmons uses a device to monitor Sam's pupil dilation while interrogating him in the truck. He also remarks that he has "been there" when it comes to women with criminal records.
- Upon arriving at Hoover Dam, Simmons remarks colorfully that it is "Area 50". A few minutes later, he lists the nicknames of all the U.S. Presidents to have toured the facility.
- In Mission City, Lennox acquires short-range radios from a gun-toting, but easily-flattered, pawn shop owner.
- A novel about the truth behind humankind's first venture into space and how that event is related to the Transformers' presence on Earth, both past and present.
- A four issue limited series comic book from IDW Publishing, released before the movie's debut. It chronicles the events which bring the Transformers to Earth.
- Interlude (also originally published as Transformers Movie Prequel)
- A short comic book by IDW, produced in cooperation with Target, available (online) from Target's website and (in printed form) at BotCon and in theaters, following Bumblebee's early search for clues on Earth.
- Planetfall (also originally published as Transformers Movie Prequel)
- A mini-comic by IDW, produced in cooperation with Target, available (online) from Target's website and (in printed form) as a Target exclusive bonus pack-in with the Movie DVD, showing the Decepticons' arrival on Earth.
- A mass retail release that contains reprints of both Planetfall and Interlude (now with individual story titles) in collected form.
- A not-really-animated animatic version of IDW's Prime Directive prequel comics, voiced by some of the actors from the movie, the game and a bunch of other people. Included on a Wal-Mart exclusive bonus DVD available with the Movie DVD.
- A monthly comic published in the UK by Titan Books, featuring new adventures set before the movie in its initial six issues (in addition to reprints of stories originally published by IDW).
- A (possibly ongoing) series by IDW that contains reprints of the previously UK-only stories by Titan, two per issue.
Some dialog in the film contradicts the prequel material, specifically pertaining to the years in which the frozen Megatron was moved from the Arctic to Hoover Dam, and exactly when the Decepticons arrived on Earth.
A sequel to this film is in production and is scheduled for release in 2009.
- US: October 16th, 2007 (DVD, HD-DVD)
- Australia: November 1st, 2007 (DVD)
- United Kingdom: December 3rd, 2007 (DVD,HD-DVD)
- Target and HMV UK: transforming Optimus Prime display case.
- Best Buy: Robot Heroes Cliffjumper and battle-damaged Optimus Prime.
- Wal-Mart: Transformers: Beginnings "animated" prequel material.
- Borders: "Making Of" book.
- Circuit City: password unlocking 15 minutes of exclusive online behind-the-scenes featurettes, covering the voice recording sessions, prop construction, stunt work, and early CG tests and animatics.
The movie set multiple records when it opened, including biggest opening week gross for a non-sequel ($155.4 million), biggest Tuesday release gross ($27.4 million), biggest July 4th gross ($29 million), and the biggest foreign film opening in mainland China ($3 million).
The movie closed domestically on November 8, 2007, during which time it took in $319,071,806. (Domestic gross accounted for $310,578,372 before the IMAX version's release.) As of November 15, 2007, it has earned a worldwide gross of $702,918,603. It currently sits at spot #19 in the "most domestic gross" list of movies, though this listing is not adjusted for inflation. When taking inflation into account, Transformers just ekes in at spot #95.
Critical reception was hit-and-miss, more positive than negative but not by a lot, though it's sometimes hard to tell how many negative reviewers were more interested in criticizing Michael Bay in general over the movie itself. Otherwise, the most common negatives involved it being a generally think-free "spectacle"-style movie; even those who rated the movie positively noted it was a pure "popcorn" movie meant to wow its audience with CGI and explosions rather than make them think (Richard Roper noted in his "thumbs up" review "it has no nutritional value"). Whether one considers that a good or bad thing for a movie and if the movie was enough fun to overcome that is, of course, highly debatable. The other main culprit, again noted by many of the positive reviews, was its long running time, particularly the overly-chaotic, often hard-to-follow final big-bang extended ending action sequence. (Roger Ebert noted that this sequence was what made him give the movie three out of four stars rather than the full four.)
Transformers was nominated for three Oscars, in the fields of Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Achievement in Visual Effects. The sound awards went to The Bourne Ultimatum, and the visual effects award went to The Golden Compass.
Currently, two sequels are planned, with Shia LaBeouf and Peter Cullen signed for both. Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, and the two screenwriters have also returned. Filming for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen began in June 2008, for a planned release date of June 2009.
- The Autobot computer generated models consisted of 35,592 total pieces, 7,435,478 polygons, 95,247 rig nodes, and 20,258 texture maps. If laid end to end, the pieces would stretch 3.11 miles.
- For all the robots combined, there are 60,217 pieces of geometry, 123,509,502 polygons, 144,341 rigging nodes, and 34,215 texture maps.
- The events of the movie span 4-5 days.
- Within the movie, neither the Autobots nor the Decepticons are referred to as "Transformers".
- As confirmed in the audio commentary on the movie DVD, director Michael Bay has a brief cameo as an innocent bystander getting flicked against a taxi cab by Megatron.
The movie contains a number of nods and winks to previous iterations of Transformers, primarily from Generation 1. Some of these were included in direct response to urgings of the fans; others originated with the production crew.
- The basic story set-up is similar to many iterations of the Generation 1 story -- two warring factions, the noble Autobots and the power-hungry Decepticons, arrive on Earth, having left their devastated home planet, the war-torn mechanical world of Cybertron.
- Many of the featured Transformers are re-imagined versions of characters from Generation 1. Optimus Prime and Jazz in particular are similar in physical form and characterization to their movie incarnations. The original versions of Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, Ratchet, and Ironhide differ in appearance but fulfill story roles similar to their Movie versions.
- Though the characters are new, "Frenzy", "Scorponok", "Brawl/Devastator", "Blackout", "Barricade", and "Bonecrusher" are all names that have been used on Transformer characters before.
- Blackout's symbiotic relationship with Scorponok originated as an interpretation of Soundwave and his cassette troops. Frenzy's transformation into a portable stereo is likewise an homage to Soundwave's cassette deck alternate form.
- Sam shares his last name with the main human allies of the Autobots in the original Generation 1 cartoon. Like Spike before him, he's closest to Bumblebee.
- The Autobot faction symbol seen on Bumblebee and others is basically unchanged from its Generation 1 appearance.
- The All Spark takes its name from a concept originally introduced in Beast Machines.
- The original G1 transformation sound pops up several times during the course of the film, such as Blackout's first conversion sequence (though truth be told it sounds more like it's being broadcast from a loudspeaker.)
- In his first appearance, Bumblebee parks next to a yellow Volkswagen Beetle—the alternate form of G1 Bumblebee.
- When instructing the Autobots to escape Sector Seven and when they later head for Hoover Dam, Optimus Prime delivers his catchphrase from the Generation 1 cartoon, ordering them to "Roll out!"
- Prime references "the spark within my chest". Sparks—the life-force that makes Transformers alive—have been an integral part of Transformers fiction since Beast Wars.
- Although the Transformers' primary energy supply, Energon, does not make a physical appearance in the film, an SUV's licence plate bears its name, the SUV thrown through the air during Megatron's rampage in Mission City.
- Optimus Prime's line "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" is the quote from his original 1984 toy's bio. At least one of the reasons for the inclusion of this line was because it won in an online contest conducted by Paramount in late 2006, named "Make Prime Speak".
- The scene in which Jazz yanks aside Devastator's tank barrel is a direct homage to a similar sequence from TF:TM involving Kup and Blitzwing.
- Prime's line "...one shall stand; one shall fall" comes from the 1986 animated The Transformers: The Movie.
- Ironhide's complaint that Mojo "leaked lubricant" on his foot references a line spoken by his Generation 1 namesake in the first episode of the original cartoon, in which he famously exclaimed "Leakin' lubricant!" Supposedly, this in turn was based on the original character outline written by Bob Budiansky, as the extended version featured in issue 2 of Marvel's The Transformers Universe profile book mini-series stated that he "refers to what he considers excessive talking as 'leaking lubricant.'" (The abbreviated version of the character description featured on the original toy's packaging did not contain this phrase.)
Cast and crew signing on
Originally, producer Don Murphy had intended to produce a movie based on another Hasbro property, G.I. Joe. However, following the US invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, a movie entitled "G.I. Joe" was no longer considered viable, so Carol Monroe, who was in charge of Hasbro's movie department at that time, suggested doing a Transformers movie instead. Tom DeSanto joined the project as a second producer and wrote a treatment that he and Murphy tried to shop around for a while. (The treatment would eventually remain entirely unused, but DeSanto would try to get a writing credit regardless, even though none of the screenwriters had ever actually seen his treatment.) The movie was officially announced for the first time in June of 2003.
Steven Spielberg signed up as executive producer in 2004, while John Rogers was confirmed as screenwriter in November of the same year. In February of 2005, Rogers was replaced by by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who drastically reworked Rogers' original script. Spielberg tried to convince Michael Bay to direct the movie in late July of 2005, but Bay initially declined, having no interest in a "toy movie". He later changed his mind after attending "Transformers school" at Hasbro, but decided to make the movie "realistic" and accessible for adult viewers.
A few days after a list of names of the human cast had been leaked on the internet, Shia LaBeouf was confirmed as the first cast member. Producer Don Murphy, Hasbro and the screenwriters all favored Peter Cullen and Frank Welker as voice actors for Optimus Prime and Megatron. Bay had both audition, but only hired Cullen, while preferring Hugo Weaving as Megatron. However, Welker still gets to voice Megatron (alongside Cullen as Prime) in the video game adaption of the movie, Transformers The Game, as well as in Transformers: Beginnings, an animated (sort of) version of IDW's prequel comic mini-series that was available on a Wal*Mart exclusive bonus disc included with the movie DVD.
Sponsors and partners
In addition to acting as a licensor, Hasbro also actively participated in the development of the movie, starting with an introduction into the world of the Transformers, called the "Transformers School", for everyone involved, including Michael Bay. Hasbro also had a say in the depiction of the Transformers in the movie, the selection of the voice actors, naming the characters, working on the robot designs and the inclusion of "easter eggs", but no veto rights. According to screenwriter Roberto Orci, Hasbro was more interested in an adequate adaption of the Transformers concept rather than only marketing the toyline. Nevertheless, Hasbro urged Michael Bay very early on to decide upon the Transformers characters to be used in the movie and their vehicle forms because of the long production run of the toys, even though the script wasn't completed yet by that point. Hasbro and Takara then created the toys based on the designs developed by Industrial Light and Magic. Aside from this, Takara wasn't involved in the creation of the movie at all.
Unlike other Transformers toylines (except for Alternators), Hasbro and Takara don't share the full rights to the movie toys: Paramount and ILM hold the rights to the robot designs, while the vehicle modes were licensed by companies such as General Motors (Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide and Ratchet), Saleen (Barricade), Force Protection Industries (Bonecrusher), the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Blackout) and the Lockheed Martin Corporation (Starscream). Only Optimus Prime didn't require a license, since his vehicle mode in the movie was heavily genericized, and all manufacturer logos were removed. TakaraTomy even identifies the Leader Class toy as a Kenworth W900 instead of a Peterbilt 379.
Even though Hasbro didn't directly profit from the box office revenue, owning the Transformers brand allowed them to profit more from the toys than from licensed brands such as Spider-Man or Star Wars. In addition, Hasbro was able to give out over 240 licenses to third party companies. In the USA alone, Hasbro had sold more than three million toys from the movie line as early as July 2007, while Wal-Mart had earned more than five million $USD with the movie Transformers at the same time. A lot of the movie toys were frequently sold out at many stores ("drought") due to a mix of popularity, stores underestimating said popularity (and thus not ordering enough toys), shipping problems in China and scalpers.
The United States Military supported the movie by providing vehicles and soldiers. The vehicles included an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter (Blackout), several F-22 Raptors (one of them serving as Starscream's alternate mode), two A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets, an E-3 Sentry AWACS plane, an AC-130 Spectre gunship and two V-22 Ospreys. Therefore, Transformers is the first movie to feature real, non-CG F-22s. Real soldiers trained with the actors who played military personnel and were also featured as extras in the movie. Michael Bay even allowed them to improvise lines to make their military dialogue sound as "realistic" as possible. In return for their cooperation, Bay gave the military a say in their own depiction in the movie. The military, in turn, views the movie as a new form of recruitment.
Aside from advertising the Transformers toyline, the movie also features product placement for other companies, such as Apple, Yahoo, Burger King, Nokia, Panasonic, eBay and Hewlett-Packard. The machines given life by the Allspark include an Xbox 360 (including the original startup sound) and a Mountain Dew soda vending machine. In addition, the movie also features other Hasbro brands, such as My Little Pony and Furby (the latter being a property of Hasbro's subsidiary Tiger Electronics). Furthermore, all Autobots, with the exception of Optimus Prime, have vehicles provided by subsidiaries of General Motors as their alternate modes, which saved Michael Bay $3 million of his budget.
Many of these cooperations are mutual: Burger King offered the obligatory Kids Meal toys based on the movie characters for the movie's theatrical launch, and General Motors and Mountain Dew ran TV ads under the titles "Transform Your Ride" and "Transform Your Summer", respectively. According to producers Ian Bryce and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, however, some of these brands, such as eBay, were not originally included as part of a sponsoring deal, but had been part of the script from the beginning for story purposes on the writers' behalf. For the DVD release of the movie, meanwhile, additional "Cisco" logos were added into the movie that had not been there yet in the theatrical version.
- Three quarters of the CG effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic. The other quarter was done by Digital Domain, a company Michael Bay bought shortly before signing up to the Transformers movie.
- As seen in the bonus material for the Movie DVD, at least some of the ILM designers are actually Transformers fans. One of them has his entire office decorated in more Transformers toys than a lot of "regular" fans might own.
- Physical props and set pieces were built for several of the Transformers' robot modes. Full body props for Bumblebee (the 2009 Camaro body) and Frenzy were used for scenes that involved direct interaction with the human cast. The Bumblebee prop (with detached legs) was also used for the scene where he was strapped to a tow truck. A set featuring the frozen lower half of Megatron's body was also built. The rest is assorted bits and pieces, such as a part of Optimus Prime's leg (including a wheel) and an unpainted, entirely blue version of his head plus a small part of the upper chest, and various semi-random chunks meant to represent the remains of the destroyed Decepticons dumped into the ocean (some of the parts meant to represent pieces of Blackout even feature markings found on a real-life MH-53 Pave Low helicopter).
Changes before, during and after production
A lot of details about the movie changed during the pre-production phase (and even still during production and post-production):
- The script was originally supposed to center around the Matrix, but because the studio wanted to avoid association with the Matrix movie trilogy, it had to be renamed. For the longest time, the working name was "Energon Cube", which neither the fans nor producer Don Murphy were really happy with. Ultimately, it was renamed into the All Spark for the final movie; however, the name "Energon Cube" is still used in Alan Dean Foster's novelization of the movie, and was also used by Shia LaBeouf in a CBS interview immediately before the movie's official theatrical launch.
- One of the Autobot characters in the early Kurtzman/Orci drafts was Arcee, who would have turned into a motorcycle. Even though Hasbro developed a toy based on the designs for the character, Arcee was dropped from the script and replaced with Ironhide: Kurtzman and Orci didn't want to spend time explaining the purpose of "female" Autobots, and Michael Bay considered her too small as compared to the rest of the Autobots. Despite what fans commonly assume, however, the scene during the final battle in Mission City where Lennox uses an abandoned motorcycle for his assault on Blackout wasn't added to the script until after Arcee had already been dropped from the script; however, had she not been dropped, she would have been that motorcycle.
- Other Autobot characters considered by Orci and Kurtzman were Hot Rod, Wheeljack and Prowl. The last was eventually dropped because Orci and Kurtzman preferred the idea of "a Decepticon in disguise as a police vehicle".
- Kurtzman and Orci tried twice to include Soundwave in the movie. The first attempt was supposed to turn into a helicopter, but Hasbro rejected that notion and insisted that Soundwave's alternate mode should have something to do with music. The character was then renamed multiple times, among those names being "Grimlock", "Vortex", "Devastator" and "Incinerator". The character eventually ended up as Blackout.
- The second attempt would have infiltrated the CIA headquarters in the form of a "portable stereo" and then transformed (and size-shifted) into a Humvee for his escape and tracked down Sam. However, Kurtzman and Orci eventually decided that the character didn't really do Soundwave justice, so they decided to change his name and save Soundwave for the sequel. The character went through some other working names such as "Boombot" and "Soundbyte" and eventually ended up as Frenzy. In addition, for the "vehicle" part, a separate character was created who eventually ended up as Barricade.
- Other Decepticon characters considered by Orci and Kurtzman, aside from Soundwave, were Shockwave and Ravage. The latter was originally supposed to be a minion of helicopter Soundwave, who would have chased Lennox and his crew through the jungle after the attack on their base. However, when the scene was changed from the jungle to the desert (and Soundwave was no longer Soundwave), Ravage was replaced by Scorponok.
- Because of the long production run of the toys, Hasbro urged Michael Bay very early on to decide upon the Transformers characters to be used in the movie and their vehicle forms, even though the script wasn't completed yet by that point. As a result, many of the Decepticon characters in particular were chosen somewhat hastily, and aren't really based on established Transformers characters aside from their names. The tank used for Brawl (aka "Devastator") was a recycled prop originally built for the movie xXx: State of the Union, while the mine protected vehicle used for Bonecrusher caught the filmmakers' attention because of a giant photoshopped fork depicted on the manufacturer's website.
- Other Decepticon characters featured in an early draft, aside from "Grimlock" (helicopter) and "Soundwave" (portable stereo/Humvee), were Brawl as a Jeep, Frenzy as a Piranha III mortar artillery vehicle, Onslaught as a mobile missile launcher, Octane as a tanker truck, and three jets named Blitzwing, Starscream and Devastator (a cargo plane, a 747 jet and F-16 fighter; the script doesn't say which is which). Instead of having been hiding on Earth for a while, they would have arrived there during the movie after having been summoned by Soundwave. It's possible that the Piranha III later evolved into Stryker/Wreckage.
- The "evil police car Decepticon" that replaced Prowl took over the "vehicle" portion of the second character originally conceived as Soundwave (which eventually became Frenzy). His vehicle form was originally supposed to be a Ford Crown Victoria, while his working name was "Brawl". Eventually the character ended up as Barricade, with the vehicle mode being changed into a Saleen S281 "Extreme" Mustang, because Ford didn't want one of their cars used as a "villain". Therefore, Barricade sports no "Ford" logos in the movie.
- Another Decepticon character intended to be in the movie had the working name "Stryker", named after his vehicle mode, a M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle. It's possible that he had evolved from a character named "Frenzy" featured in an early script draft, who would have turned into a Piranha III. The character ultimately never made it into the movie, but Hasbro later turned the design into a toy regardless, named Wreckage.
- Michael Bay also considered having a Transformers character turn into an aircraft carrier, but eventually scrapped that idea for cost reasons. Orci and Kurtzman included the character in one of their drafts of the script, and artist Tim Flattery created concept art.
- Working names for the tank Decepticon were "Demolisher" and "Devastator", the latter of which had also been a working name for Blackout at one point. Even though Michael Bay confirmed in May of 2006 that this was not the final name, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman confirmed the final name to be "Brawl" in April 2006, and Hasbro used that name for all their toys based on the movie character, he identifies himself as "Devastator" in a subtitle in the movie itself. According to a fan who attended the Australian press conference, Bay had decided to use that name regardless, while Hasbro considered the name in the movie a "continuity error", and Orci even claimed that he and Kurtzman had pointed out said "error" in the editing room twice.
- Michael Bay decided to have Bumblebee not turn into a Volkswagen Beetle because he wanted to avoid similarities with Disney's Herbie, the Love Bug. Production Designer Jeff Mann originally suggested using a Dodge Super Bee as Bumblebee's alternate mode, but eventually Bay signed a deal with General Motors that saved him $3 million of his budget, which is why Bumblebee turns into a Chevrolet Camaro in the movie.
- Ratchet was originally intended to transform into a fire truck rather than a Search & Rescue Hummer. After being changed into a Hummer, he initially still retained a red and white deco, which later served as the inspiration for Hasbro's "Rescue Ratchet" redecos of the movie toys.
- After designs of Megatron had leaked on the internet, his head design was slightly revised following massive fan complaints.
- The studio had originally preferred the Transformers not to talk at all throughout the movie, a notion Hasbro heavily contested. Bumblebee still ended up being mute throughout most of the movie, which, according to Orci and Kurtzman, was inspired by Spielberg's E.T. and is supposed to signify that his friendship with Sam transcends words.
- Most drafts of the script started the movie with Archibald Witwicky's discovery of Megatron. In the actual movie, this scene was moved to a later point, shown as a flashback (actually at two points, split into two parts). IDW's comic adaption of the movie still has this as the opening scene.
- Also in one of the early drafts, the original reason for Mikaela's falling out with Trent was not because he wouldn't let his "little bunny" drive his car, but because she refused to let him drive after having drunk beer. Anvilicious much?
- In an early draft, Lennox and his crew would have defeated Scorponok with a simple grenade, which would have "dissolved him at a molecular level". The air strike would have never happened, and Lennox wouldn't have established contact with the Pentagon until around the time when Sam and Mikaela were apprehended by Sector Seven.
- In the same draft, Sam had left his grandfather's glasses at school. The Autobots would have distracted a security guard while Sam and Mikaela would have broken into their school. It would have been there that Sam would have learned about Mikaela's criminal past, and the scene would have ended with their arrest by Sector Seven.
- In some earlier drafts of the script, Optimus Prime was supposed to kill Barricade too after he had finished off Bonecrusher. That scene never made it into the final movie, and Barricade simply disappears with no explanation after Bonecrusher transforms; however, the scene still made it into Alan Dean Foster's novelization of the movie and IDW's comic adaption.
- Also in earlier drafts of the script, Megatron was supposed to kill Jazz by consuming his Spark. Again, this is only explicitly confirmed in the novelization and IDW's comic adaption of the movie, but not in the movie itself.
- Sunset occurs roughly every fifteen minutes. Possibly indicative of time passage, but a little too much to not warrant mention in the actual movie.
- When Sam's car breaks down and Mikaela gets out to look at the engine, she leaves the passenger door open. When the car restarts and Sam leaves to close the hood, the passenger side door is now shut. But hey, maybe that was Bumblebee.
- After scanning his new Concept Camaro alt-form, Bumblebee's robot body displays either battle-worn parts or brand new parts at random times for the duration of the film.
- After Bumblebee backs into a corner of the power plant to evade Barricade, there is a close up shot of him spinning his wheels to make his getaway. However, the shot of the wheels spinning is at a different location: the empty warehouse that Bumblebee and Barricade had raced through moments earlier.
- During the scene where Optimus Prime scans a truck for his new body, the passing truck has what appears to be an Autobot sigil on its grill, but the actual truck that Prime turns into at the end of the scene has a much wider, flatter symbol on the grill, quite possibly a Peterbilt sign.
- When Simmons replays Sam's "last words" recorded onto his cell phone, it doesn't match what he said in the scene where he actually recorded them.
- When the Autobots arrive to rescue Sam and Mikaela from Agent Simmons, Ironhide is the first Autobot to reach the damaged SUV and the other Sector Seven agents. Behind him, Ratchet is making his way towards the SUV, while Jazz and Bumblebee have their respective weapons drawn. However, in the very next shot, Ratchet's gun is suddenly in front of Ironhide, who is now making two short steps towards the SUV, while Jazz's gun has been replaced by his hand (which he uses to magnetically pull Sector Seven's guns away). In the shot after that, Jazz is just standing around sans Sector Seven guns, while Bumblebee wanders up and draws his gun...again.
- When Ironhide transforms and performs a somersault to dodge Brawl's missiles, he is seen rising first, then falling. At that moment, he is already almost at the ground, low enough to touch the ground if he stretched his arms. However on the next scene, he has gone much higher up, high enough to fire both the cannons on his arms then perform a midair somersault.
- When Lennox arrives as Sam and Mikaela are supposedly strapping Bumblebee with the tow truck's chains, Bumblebee is not actually there. When the shot changes angles to the other side of the truck, Bumblebee is sitting right beside the truck while Sam directs Mikaela to wrap Bumblebee in the chains. When Lennox tells Sam to evacuate the Cube, subsequent camera angles from this side of the truck are actually where Bumblebee was moments earlier, but he's not there again (it is unlikely the angle was meant to be from Bumblebee's perspective). When Sam starts to run off and Mikaela calls him back, Bumblebee is once again clearly not sitting beside the truck. In fact, the space he once occupied has the beige van he crawled out of, earlier in the battle.
- After Optimus Prime and Megatron land in the city streets after flying through the office tower, Megatron throws the Autobot leader a short distance away, causing him to land on a parked car. After Megatron forms his fusion cannon, Optimus Prime has suddenly moved further down the street and the car he crushed, along with the other abandoned cars, have vanished. Also, in this shot, Optimus' feet don't make craters or any visible mark on the concrete. Yet, when Optimus is running from the Sector Seven Agents, he's making huge craters while he is side-stepping cars. (This comes with weighing over four tons and running 40 miles an hour.) Additionally, Optimus stops at the intersection just in front of Megatron to pull out his Ion blaster in this shot, but when it cuts to a shot to the left-front of Optimus, he is only mid-way up the street, and there is a parked yellow cab at the curb which was empty seconds earlier. Funnily enough, this curb was where the crushed car was parked.
- When Optimus pulls out his Ion blaster, it's mounted on his back, but it wasn't there just seconds before in another shot. It also isn't there at any point after.
- When Optimus Prime is blasted by Megatron's fusion cannon, he goes flying into an office building, with his right leg going into the office itself and his right calf (back of the leg) facing the camera. However, when the shot is cut to the exterior, Optimus is hanging out of the office facing upwards, which is the opposite position he would be in according to the orientation he was in as he flew into the building.
- During the fight towards the end of the film between Megatron and Optimus, it is shown that Optimus is about the same size as Megatron in robot mode. Yet, in vehicle mode, Megatron is a great deal larger then Optimus is. Similarly, Starscream seems to be smaller than Megatron in robot form, leading to the logical conclusion that he is smaller than Optimus as well. Yet in vehicle mode, he is nearly four to five times larger, seeing as an F-22 Raptor is a great deal larger than a Peterbilt 379 tractor cab. And they say they don't have scale problems.
- See also: Mission City.
Not actually an error
- Sam and Mikaela, as well as Maggie and Glenn arrive at Hoover Dam on the same helicopter despite being from opposite ends of the country. Occasionally cited as an error, it is actually a narrative oversight, as it is likely that Sam and Mikaela were held in custody at a U.S. Air Base while waiting for Maggie and Glen to arrive with Secretary Keller's party by plane, then they all left for Hoover Dam together on the helicopters.
- Transformers at IMDB.com
- Transformers The Album
- Transformers 2007 film on Wikipedia
- Transformers CAPalert.com review
- ↑ The movie had some content cuts to meet the standards of some
oppressive regimesquaint "developing world" rating boards.
- ↑ Transformers received a "14A" rating in British Columbia, but an appeal by the studio successfully reduced it to PG.
- ↑ Robertson, Barbara (2007). Heavy Metal. Computer Graphics, 30(7), 12-17.
- ↑ Latino Review interview with producer Don Murphy.
- ↑ Rant by Michael Bay, deleted from his own blog, still mirrored on other sites
- ↑ Coming Soon announcing he movie.
- ↑ IGN confirming Rogers as screenwriter.
- ↑ IGN confirming Kurtzman and Orci as new screenwriters.
- ↑ John Rogers confirming that Kurtzman and Orci drastically rewrote his script
- ↑ Michael Bay's audio commentary on the Transformers DVD.
- ↑ IGN confirming Shia LaBeouf.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Don Murphy at the Canadian TransformersCon.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 BotCon 2007 Hasbro tour report.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 MTV.com interview with Kurtzman and Orci.
- ↑ Wizard Universe article about the production of the movie.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 "Hasbro and Paramount Partnership Panel" at BotCon 2007.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 IESB interview with Ian Bryce and Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
- ↑ Roberto Orci discussing Hasbro's involvement.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Entertainment Weekly interview with Michael Bay.
- ↑ TFormers interview with Don Murphy.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Edmunds.com article on the vehicles featured in the movie.
- ↑ TakaraTomy product page for Leader Class Optimus Prime.
- ↑ BBC reporting on Hasbro quarterly earnings for July 2007.
- ↑ CNN Money story on Hasbro sales.
- ↑ Wal-Mart employee Steevy Maximus reporting on sales figures for movie toys.
- ↑ Air Force Space Command article on the movie.
- ↑ Latino Review interview with Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel.
- ↑ First Lieutenant Micheal McNabb reporting his experience of working on the movie.
- ↑ Wired.com article on the movie.
- ↑ Allspark thread featuring comparison stills of the theatrical and DVD versions of the movie.
- ↑ CBS interview with Shia LaBeouf.
- ↑ IGN interview with Roberto Orci.
- ↑ Wizard interview with Kurtzman and Orci
- ↑ Allspark post recounting screenwriters Q&A.
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 Roberto Orci confirming various characters originally intended for the movie.
- ↑ Orci explaining why Prowl is not in the movie
- ↑ Roberto Orci confirming that Blackout was originally intended to be Soundwave.
- ↑ Post by Don Murphy at his message board.
- ↑ 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 Details from an early script draft summed up here, confirmed as authentic by Roberto Orci here.
- ↑ Unformatted script sample from first draft posted by Roberto Orci on Don Murphy's message board
- ↑ "Devastator" concept art at Ben Procter's online portfolio.
- ↑ "Incinerator" pre-production render at Ben Procter's online portfolio.
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 Yahoo webcast with Kurtzman and Orci, revealing the final names of the movie characters.
- ↑ "Boombot" concept art at Ben Procter's online portfolio.
- ↑ "Soundbyte" head study at Ben Procter's online portfolio.
- ↑ Roberto Orci confirming that Scorponok replaced Ravage.
- ↑ Entertainment News International article on the making of the movie.
- ↑ Early design for Barricade with working name "Brawl" shown during the BotCon 2007 Hasbro Tour.
- ↑ Unused design for "Stryker", revealed at the BotCon 2007 Hasbro tour.
- ↑ IGN roundtable with Michael Bay from the Australian press conference.
- ↑ Roberto Orci confirming that the aircraft carrier was in one of the drafts.
- ↑ Tim Flattery's concept art for the unused aircraft carrier Transformer: Image 1, image 2.
- ↑ Wallpaper at Hasbro's website calling Brawl/Devastator "Demolisher".
- ↑ Michael Bay claiming that the Transformers' names circulating were "aliases".
- ↑ Australian fan griffin-of-oz reporting from the Australian press conference.
- ↑ Hasbro Transformers Future Product Unveiling panel at BotCon 2007.
- ↑ Orci confirming the name "Devastator" to be an "error".
- ↑ Edmunds.com article on the classic Bumblebee Camaro.
- ↑ Early designs for Ratchet shown at the BotCon 2007 Hasbro tour.
- ↑ Don Murphy confirming that Megatron's head design was changed due to fan complaints.
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