Saturday, June 30, 2007

Okay, I know I’m kind of dating myself here, but I’m a big fan of the Transformers. I was pretty upset when they killed off Optimus Prime, so imagine my joy when I’m sitting in a theater and the trailer for Transformers with the name Steven Spielberg attached flashed before my eyes. The trailer alone had me hooked, and then as if the movie gods shined upon me and I got to attend a premier of the Transformers in San Francisco, one week before the rest of the world.

I’m sitting in the theater with more than a hundred spectators, a large portion were members of the media, all wondering will the creators get it right because all too often a lot of these old cartoon characters that are brought to the silver screen are such a disappointment and should have been left in a comic book. So what does Transformers offer that the other comic book like companies tried to create but missed the mark? Well first off, special effects. If there was an instant award for special effects I’d present it to the makers of the Transformers. I actually had a tear in my eye as I watched the movie, it wasn’t a tear of sorrow, it was a tear of joy. I was in love with the silver screen all over again.

I’m not going to tell you about the movie I think you should go see it yourself, but if you are a fan of special effects and high tech gadgets and car crashes and things that go boom and trucks and helicopters and fighter jets that can change shape, I can go on because everything that you could ever dream about was in this movie. At some points during the movie the audience actually cheered, ok they cheered and applauded several times, but then again they cheered when the name appeared too which lead me to believe that most people were dating themselves as well.

So what was wrong with the movie? Okay I have to say some of the fight scenes got a little confusing as I tried to figure out who was fighting who, which means that I may have to go back and watch it again (which won’t be a problem) to fully understand the movie. It’s two hours and 23 minutes, but it goes straight to the action within the first two minutes of the show. Although we view them as robots, they like to be called Autobots and Deceptocons. And you actually feel sorry for them during the fight scenes (well only for the good guys.) So should you spend your 7-10 dollars to see the Transformers? I would say yes. When Optimus Prime said his name it sent chills through my body, and for a few seconds I reverted back to a 10 year old, and I said “This is the best movie ever.”

The dialog is witty and at times comical though sometimes getting way too bogged down in the minutia. My favorite was the masturbation reference, which reminded me of a scene from American Pie. The Transformers movie had a lot of cameos like the classic scene with Bernie Mac and the exchange between him and his mother. Oh and the scene with the guys from sector seven kind of felt to me like a scene from Men In Black minus Will Smith.

I can’t say two thumbs up because someone else has the trademark on that, but I definitely give Transformers five unequivocal smiley faces. I would give them six but we don’t go that high. The movie starts July 3rd although some posters say July 4th whatever day it starts I’ll be there again. And when it comes out on DVD I’ll be the first one to buy it. In fact I have Transformers saved as wallpaper on my laptop. Oh and one more thing, I have never seen anyone give a movie a standing ovation until now. It may not be for everyone but it’s definitely the movie for me.


Flying has changed so much it’s hard to picture how it was 10 years ago. I remember my first flight: I moved from Philadelphia to Salinas, California after receiving an invite from my Uncle Ralph Eugene Roberts; may he rest in peace. I flew on Continental Airlines, which for a while left such impression on me, that it was the only airline I flew by choice. The more I flew, the more I enjoyed it. I remember my first, first-class flight, it was also on Continental and I flew non-stop from Los Angeles International Airport to Philadelphia. They served rack of lamb with mint jelly and we actually used real knives and forks. Yes, there was a time when a plastic knife was a taboo.

That was then and this is now. With the rising cost of fuel and airline tickets, more and more discount airlines are popping up every where, but just as many are quickly vanishing. For example, Song Airlines, was quickly gobbled up by Delta Airlines. Now, if you log onto you will be redirected to Delta’s website.
Discount airlines scare the big airline carriers because they sometimes offer last minute cheap tickets. In the past when you needed to take a last minute flight you were required to spend what was tantamount to a first class ticket. But now you can find a last minute ticket for less than three hundred dollars through many discount airlines. For example, I booked a last minute flight through Frontier Airlines from San Francisco to Atlanta, the day before my flight. In the past unless it was a bereavement flight, you still paid about 500 dollars . The cost of my last minute one-way flight was 190 dollars.

Now there is a new breed of discount airlines. Skybus Airlines offers self-service air service, which means you have to pay for any extras and I mean ANY extras. A pillow could cost you three dollars, and you have to check your own luggage. But a plane ticket will cost you only 10 dollars. Okay, only 10 seats are available at that price. Skybus does not have a phone number and is a completely no frill airline service based in Ohio. Some are calling it the Greyhound of the sky. I am curious to see how long this company will stay in business or if anyone else will follow suit.

But I guess as long as the air service gets me there without incident all is well. I just hope the no frills service does not include the maintenance or for that matter no frill pilots.