Transformers: Definitive Edition

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Brief Synopsis:
Transformers is a film that came at just the right time in my life - at 13 years old, the concept of giant alien robots fighting each other and turning into all manner of vehicles was mind-blowing. Unfortunately in the years that followed, my tastes in films changed, and the film I once adored became hard to sit through. Since the nostalgia was still there, I started to wonder whether I could trim the film to live up to my teenage image of it, and spurred on by my discovery of Harmy's Despecialized Editions and this website, I went ahead and gave it a go.
The original version of Transformers has numerous mistakes (ranging from continuity errors to simple slip-ups), some of which I attempted to correct.
While it isn’t as pronounced as it is in Bay’s other films (including the Transformers sequels), there’s still an air of sexism in the movie, mostly through the objectification of women, especially Mikaela. I tried to remove as many moments of objectification as I could, several in order to bring Mikaela across as a stronger character.
The original cut of Transformers has a running time of 2 hours 23 minutes (2 hours 15 minutes excluding credits), which is just too long for a simple action blockbuster. This especially insulting when so much of the film is spent on uninteresting plot points or characters. The original film essentially has three parallel plot-lines – Sam, the military, and the government/hackers. All of these plot-lines have elements vital to the film’s story, but closely following all three in parallel results in the movie often losing steam and feeling bloated by the time the climax arrives. My aim was to keep Sam’s plot-line as the central story, whilst removing as much of the military and hacker stories as possible.
Alongside the changes made for this purpose, there were a few other alterations I made for the sake of a more relatable/engaging film, some specifically to make Sam more appealing (as an awkward teenager with simple goals, as opposed to someone doggedly seeking sex).
Transformers has many moments of odd humour that often revolve around racist remarks/stereotypes and sex, more so than would be expected of a film based upon a toy and cartoon franchise. I ended up removing many of these strangely unfunny moments.
Special Thanks:
- Jasmin Greenland, Hannah Taylor and Ella Kemp for providing editing software and footage
- Harmy of the boards, whose incredible Despecialized Editions of the Star Wars trilogy opened my eyes to fanedits in the first place, and opened a floodgate of ideas.
- Michael Bay for directing a film that had such a strong impact upon my formative years, a film that blended the fantasy and wonder of youth with the responsibility and discovery of young adulthood. Think of my edit as less of a correction of a work, and more as a tribute to a film I loved at 13 years old.
Release Information:
  • Digital
  • Blu-Ray
Special Features
Feature-length editor's commentary
Editing Details:
As always, I do not make a change to a film if it can't be done near-seamlessly. This means that compromises have to be made and some edits that I would like to make ultimately can't be done, but I hope it results in a far more consistent product.
Cuts and Additions:
• The soldiers complaining about Figueroa’s Spanish habits at the beginning of the movie was removed.
• The “Lagoon” of soldiers in inflatable pools at the SOCCENT base, alongside the shot of a macho soldier hogging the showers, was removed.
• Everything involving Scorponok and the military group’s scuffle with him was cut. This included:
o Blackout ejecting Scorponok during the SOCCENT attack.
o All of the shots of Scorponok and the shots from his perspective when he watches the survivors.
o The whole Scorponok fight in the village.
o The soldiers examining Scorponok’s severed tail in the plane.
• Removed as much of Trent stroking Mikaela in the classroom as I could. In order to accommodate this, I abbreviated Sam’s ramblings about gifts for Columbus Day in a way that seemed natural.
• Sam’s class laughing at the mention of a sextant was cut.
• Bobby Bolivia reprimanding his clown-suited cousin for “scaring white folk” was removed, as was the whole “Mammy” joke.
• Sam making the 40-Year-Old Virgin joke was cut.
• Sam doing pick-up lines in his mirror was removed. Also in these shots was a wall in his room covered in pin-ups of women – the only other shot of this in the film comes later and was also removed.
• Sam complaining to his mum about Mojo’s jewellery was cut.
• Keller’s second line about there being no SOCCENT survivors was removed, owing to the fact that the survivors being lost is emphasised much less now.
• The scene of Lennox’s wife watching the TV at home was removed.
• The shot of “George Bush” aboard Air Force One was cut.
• Frenzy’s walk across the airfield was far too implausible to be funny, so I abbreviated the shot to appear as if Barricade is much closer to him, and thus Frenzy just slips towards and into him.
• Cut the shot of Trent saying “Okay. You’ll call me”.
• Mikaela explaining her “weakness” for “hot guys”, “tight abs” and “big arms” (and the resulting joke where Sam tries to show his biceps) was cut for being just too blatantly fantastical.
• Mikaela and Sam’s exchange about which classes they are in together was removed.
• The infamous scene in which Mikaela examines Bumblebee’s engine was abbreviated. The pan across her midsection was obviously removed, as was the dialogue leading up to it. I kept Sam’s shock in purely because Mikaela then says “Guys don’t like it when you know more about cars than they do”, which paints her as a slightly more independent character.
• The odd moment when the cop at the police station threatens Sam was cut.
• I cut a whole lot of Glenn, including him shouting to his Grandma to “drink her prune juice”, the first scene in his room when Maggie visits him, the shot of him screaming when he’s apprehended, and the first interrogation room scene.
• In addition to the above, Glenn’s cousin being chased into the pool by the FBI was removed.
• Sam calling his friend Miles when Bumblebee returns was removed to make him seem less crazed. His numerous “No-no-no!”s in the film were also removed for this purpose.
• The little girl asking Ironhide if he’s the Tooth Fairy was cut.
• Jazz’s first line, “What’s crackin’, little bitches?”, was replaced with an alternate recording, "What's crackin', players?", from a special feature.
• The first scene in the interrogation room with Maggie and Glenn was cut.
• Sam’s parents discussing calling him and potentially grounding him was removed.
• Optimus lifting Mikaela into Sam’s room was removed due to the aforementioned wall of pin-ups appearing in the shot. It’s also not too hard to believe that Mikaela snuck in with Sam in the first place.
• Mikaela finding Sam’s “treasure chest” was removed.
• Both the “truck stop” joke and Sam’s dad looking out into the destroyed yard were cut.
• The masturbation joke was also obviously removed, as well as Sam’s mum later saying “Oh my goodness” before apologising to Mikaela for the family discussion.
• Cut the shot of Mojo being taken by Sector 7 when Sam’s family is apprehended.
• Removed the incorrect phone dialogue of Sam when Simmons plays it back, and altered the correct dialogue to sound like a tinny phone recording before inserting it into the scene.
• Simmons’ comment towards Mikaela that “Criminals are hot”, and the resulting reaction shot, were removed.
• Bumblebee peeing on Simmons was removed for obvious reasons (Simmons is dry enough in the following shot to pass it off as sweat).
• Banachek’s line “We intercepted the message from your special ops team” was cut since it implied that the soldiers had figured out by themselves how to damage the Transformers (which is no longer the intention).
• Frame-by-frame correction of the "Devastator" subtitles to instead use the character's final name, "Brawl".
• The joke about Nokias being from Finland was cut.
• Maggie’s exclamation and Simmons’ comment about “the Energizer Bunny from hell” were cut.
• Both Starscream’s alien-language line when he attacks Hoover Dam and his lines when he meets Megatron were pitched up, to better resemble the shrill voice that the character is known for.
• Lennox and Epps’ reactions to Starscream’s approach, and their exchange on the street after he attacks the convoy in Mission City were removed.
• The shot of Ironhide using his cannons to somersault over a civilian was removed.
• Blackout’s second attack on Sam (just before Starscream’s clash with Ratchet and Ironhide) was removed since it was one of the more difficult to follow robot shots in the film.
• Cut the scene in which the AllSpark mutates a Cadillac, Xbox 360 and Mountain Dew vending machine primarily because it trivialises the AllSpark’s ability to grant life, and ultimately makes it seem less mysterious.
• Removed Keller referring to the Laurentian Abyss as “the deepest place on our planet” (this is incorrect).
• Changed some of the music in the end credits - This Moment by Disturbed and Technical Difficulties by Julien K were replaced with Transformers Theme by Mute Math and an extract of Steve Jablonsky’s Optimus score.
• The scenes with Sam’s parents during the credits were removed. The credits themselves were slowed down slightly to accommodate this change, and extracts from What I’ve Done were used to patch up the soundtrack.

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