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I have to admit that I have no history with Transformers. I’m aware, of course, of the 80s cartoon series and the toys that were out, but it just didn’t do it for me at the time. When the initial teaser trailers came out for this movie, I wasn’t exactly moved. But, as the trailers showed more of the effects I got more enthused but kept my expectations low.

As such, Transformers exceeded my expectations many times over. You see, I’ve been disappointed far too many times. Years ago, I was psyched about Independence Day, only to be bored to death by the middle of the movie. And, if you’ve been reading here you know I felt let down by Spider-Man 3 and I was not wooed by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer to such a degree that I really didn’t have a blog entry to make about it.

But here’s a movie that kept its pace for a little over two hours without getting bogged down, and with an effects show that is sure to please anyone who likes watching things blow up. Yes, the story is thin… but it doesn’t need to be more. Boy meets good car/robot, military meets bad military vehicles/bad robots, all parties find out that the human race is at stake over some cube thingy that’s important to the robots and lots of spiffy transforming and battles ensue. It’s all great fun, it all looks great and I’d happily go see it again.

Couple of interesting trailers cropped up before the movie too. Across the Universe, directed by the Tony winning director of The Lion King Julie Taymor. The trailer looks like there’s a good movie here… but I’m not sure what I think of this synopsis: “A love story set against the backdrop of the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, mind exploration and rock ‘n roll, the film moves from the dockyards of Liverpool to the creative psychedelia of Greenwich Village, from the riot-torn streets of Detroit to the killing fields of Vietnam. The star-crossed lovers, Jude and Lucy, along with a small group of friends and musicians, are swept up into the emerging anti-war and counterculture movements, with “Dr. Robert” and “Mr. Kite” as their guides. Tumultuous forces outside their control ultimately tear the young lovers apart, forcing Jude and Lucy – against all odds – to find their own way back to each other.” Big, interesting cast in this musical too (Evan Rachel Wood, Bono, Eddie Izzard to name a few) and character names that are straight out the Beatles songs that are in the film (Jude, Lucy, JoJo, Mr. Kite). Check out the trailer at the Across the Universe website and see what you think. This will either be way cool (a la Moulin Rouge) or be a really bad Pink Floyd’s The Wall meets the movie version of Hair meets the movie of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. We’ll see what ends up in theaters in September.

Then there’s the trailer that’s made news this week… a Paramount Pictures/Bad Robot co-production that looks like a cross between The Blair Witch Project and Armageddon (at least from the trailer). Cloverfield (if that’s really the title…IMDB still refers to this as an untitled project) is the new movie from J.J. Abrams. The trailer looks cool, but there’s something odd about a “good” movie getting released in January. Isn’t the first quarter where movies get dumped because they suck (except, of course, for the movies that went into limited release in December to build buzz with the Oscar nominations)? Yes, I liked Mission Impossible 3 as directed by Abrams and yes, I was a huge fan of Alias. But I’m not a fan of Lost anymore because it got too rambling and just plain stupid. It’ll be interesting to see how Cloverfield‘s buzz either builds or implodes over the next six months ahead of its release.