Hear that? That’s the sound of the suits at Paramount jumping for joy at the news that the “Transformers” DVD, in its first week of release, has already sold more than 8.3 million copies. In case you didn’t hear, that’s in its first week. That’s only DVDs sold in North America; the number will, without a doubt, go ballistic when it lands overseas. The 8.3 million its first week was more than enough for “Transformers” to beat DVDs of “Happy Feet,” “300” and “Night at the Museum” in their first week on the shelves. High-definition wise, the film sold 190,000 copies on the HD DVD format, Paramount having chosen HD over Blu-Ray. The 8.3 million units moved includes the 4.5 million sold on the DVD’s first day of release.
“I bought a car. Turned out to be an alien robot. Who knew?” deadpans Sam Witwicky, hero and human heart of Michael Bay’s rollicking robot-smackdown fest, Transformers. Witwicky (the sweetly nerdy Shia LaBeouf, channeling a young John Cusack) is the perfect counterpoint to the nearly nonstop exhilarating action. The plot is simple: an alien civil war (the Autobots vs. the evil Decepticons) has spilled onto Earth, and young Sam is caught in the fray by his newly purchased souped-up Camaro. Which has a mind–and identity, as a noble-warrior robot named Bumblebee–of its own. The effects, especially the mind-blowing transformations of the robots into their earthly forms and back again, are stellar.
Fans of the earlier film and TV series will be thrilled at this cutting-edge incarnation, but this version should please all fans of high-adrenaline action. Director Bay gleefully salts the movie with homages to pop-culture touchstones like Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Kong, and the early technothriller WarGames. The actors, though clearly all supporting those kickass robots, are uniformly on-target, including the dashing Josh Duhamel as a U.S. Army sergeant fighting an enemy he never anticipated; Jon Voight, as a tough yet sympathetic Secretary of Defense in over his head; and John Turturro, whose special agent manages to be confidently unctuous, even stripped to his undies. But the film belongs to Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and the dastardly Megatron–and the wicked stunts they collide in all over the globe. Long live Transformers! –A.T. Hurley
What are you waiting for? Run out and grab your copy of those Big F*ckin’ robots now.