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...Note: This is about the live-action Transformers films. For the 1986 animated Generation One movie, see Transformers: The Movie.
The first in the Transformers Film Series
, live-action films
based on the long-running Transformers
toyline and television series. Produced by Steven Spielberg
and directed by Michael Bay
Our protagonist is teenager
Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf
). He wants his first car to impress "evil jock concubine" Mikaela (Megan Fox
), who turns out to be rather talented with cars
. He ends up getting a beat-up yellow Camaro. But it turns out the car chose him
; it's one of many sentient alien robots
who can "transform
" and disguise themselves as human vehicles. His name's Bumblebee
, an advance scout for the Autobots, a noble faction from the planet Cybertron and whose mission is to protect Sam from another faction, the evil Decepticons.
On another front, a US military base is attacked by agents of the Decepticons, with the sole survivors handling valuable information on who they are fighting and how they can stand a chance at fighting back. At the same time, a Pentagon analyst find evidence that there is a Government Conspiracy
that knows more of what is going on than anyone else. These plotlines converge as Autobot reinforcements lead by Optimus Prime
arrives on Earth and tells Sam's his family heirloom
holds answers to the location of the AllSpark
, a powerful artifact responsible for the Transformers' existence and lost for thousands of years. The two factions battle over it: the Autobots want to return life to their dying world, while the Decepticons seek to exterminate their enemies.
Here is the character sheet.
This film provides examples of:
- AM/FM Characterization: Bumblebee, the first Transformer our protagonist meets, actually has no real voice capabilities, and instead does all of his vocalizations through playing songs on his stereo. This is the trope cranked Up to Eleven.
- Brake Angrily: When Mikaela asks why Bumblebee turns back into a "Piece of crap Camaro." It seems that Bumblebee does this in retaliation with Sam thinking it's this trope. However it becomes subverted when he was just leaving them so he could find a better form to turn into.
- Bros Before Hoes: Inverted; Sam's friend reminds him of the trope, but he's kicked to the curb so Sam can go after Mikaela.
- Car Fu:
- A rather different case than usual — most of the Autobots turn into cars, who apparently know Kung Fu. For the first movie, in fact, Michael Bay instructed the animators to watch Kung Fu movies to get a feel for how they should move. According to the DVD extras, he even had martial artists on wire rigs filmed to visualize the combat movements of the Transformers in hand-to-hand combat.
- A more traditional case was Bumblebee's slide/drift in vehicle mode to knock down Barricade while rescuing Sam and Mikaela.
- Car Skiing: Bumblebee does this to scan and transform into the 2009 version of the Camaro.
- Chekhov's Gun: Optimus outlines a plan that the only way to destroy the AllSpark is by merging it with his own spark in his chest. The idea was that eliminating the AllSpark and Optimus along with it is preferable over Megatron getting it. Sam managing to execute that plan on Megatron was definitely seen as a Million-to-One Chance.
- Chest Blaster: Blackout's chest cannon, Frenzy's CD blade launcher.
- Composite Character: Bumblebee has the friendliness of the classic G1 Bumblebee but combines the visual "door wings" of Prowl and the frontline soldier role of Sideswipe.
- Deadly Fireworks Display: Blackout; Megatron, although to a much lesser extent.
- Decomposite Character: The role of Soundwave as the Hypercompetent Sidekick to Megatron was split between Barricade (the cop car) and especially Blackout (the helicopter), including their use of deployable minions of Scorponok and Frenzy. He was in earlier scripts, but the demands against Mass Shifting lead to the role being split up and, eventually, leaving him out altogether because it wouldn't have done the character justice.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The entire role of Lennox and Epps in the story was figuring out the most effective way of fighting against the Decepticons. They come to the conclusion that high heat sabot grenades do the most damage (besides heavy artillery from a gunship), although it's still Death of a Thousand Cuts from regular infantry.
- Destroy The Product Placement:
- Zigzagged with the licensed vehicle modes never getting destroyed (with the exception of Sideways in the second movie), with the destruction/killing ocurring only when they're in robot mode;
- Inverted with the Allspark animating a Mountain Dew vending machine and an Xbox, both of which start attacking passersby.
- E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The Decepticons' ability to infiltrate Earth technology is Hand Waved by stating that all modern tech was reverse-engineered from the captured Megatron, which would also explain why the AllSpark could be used to transform Earth's tech.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Mojo's collar.
Mrs. Witwicky: That's his bling!
- Explosion Propulsion: Ironhide uses his cannons to blast himself into a vault to dodge Brawl's missiles.
- Faking Engine Trouble: Bumblebee (who is the car) fakes engines problems to try and bring Sam and Mikaela together.
- Family-Unfriendly Death:
- Five-Bad Band: The Decepticons.
- Five-Man Band: The Autobots form one.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When he tries to attack Sam, Barricade disguises itself as a police car, with "To Punish And Enslave" written at the side (instead of "To Protect And Serve").
- Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: When Optimus catches Sam as he's falling from the skyscraper.
- Godzilla Threshold: The military plan to hide the AllSpark in Mission City.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Parodied when Sam asked the Autobots to back off from the house while he searched for the glasses. The Autobots transform into their vehicle modes... and sit right there in the back yard. Sam screams at them that it's not a truck-stop, and they have to hide in robot-mode. Optimus later invokes the trope in his message before the credits.
- Hollywood Hacking: The entirety of the slightly-less-than-awesome "signal processing" subplot.
- Humans Are Bastards: The capture of Bumblebee by Sector 7, which, coupled with them repeatedly blasting him with freezing chemical during and after the capture, has a definite feeling of torture. When Bumblebee almost shoots the engineers after they release him, it's hard to blame him.
- Some of this is even intercut with the rest of the Autobots questioning Optimus over why they should save us from the Decepticons, given how primitive and violent we are as a race. Optimus Prime reminds them that at one time, Cybertronians were Not So Different from us.
- I'll Kill You!:
Megatron: I'll kill you! Mine! Allspark!
- Kill It with Fire: Agent Simmons tries to kill Frenzy this way. It doesn't work.
Simmons: BURN SUCKER! BUURRRRRRNN!!
- The Load: Attempted aversion with Sam Witwicky, with the location of the Allspark is imprinted his glasses.
- Magical Negro: Used car salesman Bobby Bolivia attempts to act like this as a sales pitch.
- The Matchmaker: Bumblebee.
- Meaningful Echo: "No sacrifice, no victory."
- Men Can't Keep House: Sam's room, with his suggested Porn Stash.
- Meta Origin: The AllSpark is written to be described enough to explain their origins but vague enough to not answer everything.
- Mighty Glacier:
- Ratchet is one of the physically strongest Autobots. He's also one of the slowest.
- Ironhide even more so.
- Mistaken for Masturbating: Sam Witwicky's parents notice that he's hiding something from them. Sam's mother outright asks if he's masturbating, and his parents proceed to try to give him space.
- Moment Killer: Invoked by Mikaela. Sam's parents were questioning Sam's nervous and twitchy behavior (due to the Autobots hanging out in the backyard) after coming into his room, with her trying to hide. To end the conversation Mikaela presents herself, making it seem that Sam was acting that way because they interrupted an intimate moment. Rather than being upset, Mom and Dad Witwicky are thrilled for Sam.
Judy Witwicky: Oh my gosh you're gorgeous! I'm sorry you had to hear our little "family discussion."
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That:
- Ratchet's introductory comment: "The boy's pheromone levels suggest that he wants to mate with the female."
- Earlier, when Bumblebee pretends to cut out at a local make-out point, his radio starts playing Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing".
- No Conservation Of Mass: Mostly averted, since care was taken so that the Transformers had the same amount of mass in vehicle and robot form. However, the Cube can apparently go from house-sized to basketball-sized with no release of energy. That said, the Cube is a magical MacGuffin responsible for the creation of a not just a race of transforming giant sentient machines but their entire world as well so it gets a little leeway.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Michael Bay mentioned in the DVD Commentary that the sequence where Lennox had to deal with an obnoxious telephone operator to get a call transferred to the Pentagon while under fire was taken from a Real Life incident he heard about while talking with some military personnel.
- Not This One, That One: Invoked by Sam's dad. When taking him to get his new car, he drives Sam through the parking lot of a Porsche dealer, waiting until Sam says in disbelief and excitement, "You are not getting me a Porsche!" to which Dad replies, "You're right. You're not getting a Porsche," and drives into a used car lot.
- Genius Bonus: The Porsche family has told Hasbro and Takara, makers of the Transformers toys, that their vehicles are off limits.
- Online Alias: "Are you ladiesman217?"
- Ordinary High-School Student: Sam.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Join them in EXTINCTION!" * blam*
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: Megatron to Optimus:
Megatron: You still fight for the weak! That is why you lose!
- Rule of Cool: Giant robots... Giant robots. The advertising campaign amounted to, "Look at all the cool shit they can do!"
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Megatron is kept on ice inside the Hoover Dam, and is pretty angry upon thawing out.
- Self-Deprecation: On the part of director Michael Bay:
"This is easily, a hundred times cooler than Armageddon
, I swear to God!!"
- At the site where one of the Autobots crashed, we see a nerdy guy screaming "This is a hundred times cooler than Armageddon!"
- The scene where Captain Lennox and his team are pinned down, need to call the Pentagon over a phone and need a credit card to pay for the call is almost identical to a scene in the film Heartbreak Ridge.
- Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: The A-10's that attack Scorponok are shown shredding the ground in plenty of space before and after his spot.
- Standard Police Motto: Parodied. Barricade's alt-mode is a police car mode with the phrase "To punish and enslave."
- Staring Kid: Several, one notable one is the girl who has a transformer land in her pool.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Sam's two love interests throughout the films, Mikaela and Carly.
- Under the Truck: Captain Lennox grabs an abandoned motorcycle in the first film, drives it straight at the Decepticon walking away, and puts it in a slide right through his legs, while firing his assault rifle and Grenade Launcher straight into said Decepticon, killing it.
- Vengeful Vending Machine: The power of the Cube animates a soda machine, which sprouts limbs and goes berserk.
- You All Share My Story: The three separate subplots involving Lennox's team, the NSA hackers, and Sam and Mikaela converge when all three are assembled at the Hoover Dam for the final battle.