Gobots were Transformers knock-offs which you got for your birthday when people were too cheap to by you Transformers. They were silly toys, and they inspired an even more preposterous cartoon. Fortunately, the new live-action movie doesn’t contain a single bit of animation, CGI or otherwise. Director Philip Seymour Hoffman once again defies expectations with his insistence on using people in foam costumes to play the rolls of shape-shifting robots. Yes, it is people in costumes even when they are in vehicle form. Even when other people are riding inside the vehicles.
Retired professional wrestler Ricky ‘The Dragon” Steamboat makes his big-screen debut starring as the cleverly named Leader-1, leader of the Guardians (Gobot version of Autobots). For people who were fans of his work inside the squared circle, this performance will knock your slippers off. Who would have thought Steamboat could bring the house down with impeccable comic timing one moment, then move the room to tears just 3 seconds later in another unrelated scene. Michael Cera co-stars as Scooter, who was actually an unbearably annoying character in the old cartoon. In the current version, Cera, is able to “transform” Scooter into a quirky, funny sidekick not unlike Kramer from Seinfeld. The actor who really steals the show, however, is Christopher Walken as Renegade (Decepticon) leader Cy-Kill. Walken, most famous for his creepy dead-pan delivery, is at his Walken-y best here. My favorite Walken moment takes place outside a KFC where he insists on eating twelve Double-Down sandwiches despite his lack of digestive organs. His minions discretely attempt to dissuade him, taking care not to embarrass him in front of the crowd which has gathered in the parking lot. In an interview with Larry King, Walken insisted this was the roll he was born to play, and I am inclined to agree. He was reportedly so excited by the script that he took a pay cut so the studio could afford to hire Katie Perry to write the music. Nothing would surprise me more than to see someone other than Perry standing on that podium to receive the Oscar for Best Original Score next spring. If you liked the music to One Crazy Summer and The Bounty Hunter, then I suggest you log onto Napster immediately to grab your copy of the Gobots soundtrack.
As a film, Gobots is almost flawless. If I had any complaint, it would be that there were only seven hard-core double penetration scenes, and only 3 of them featured Christopher Walken having sex in motorcycle form. If you are willing to overlook this, as I was, then I highly recommend this movie.