144 minutes approx
Sam Witwicky -
Mikaela Banes -
Captain Lennox -
Maggie Madsen -
John Keller -
Agent Simmons -
Ron Witwicky -
Judy Witwicky -
Written by -
David Benioff and Skip Woods
Directed by -
When the war between the Autobots and Decepticons destroyed their homeworld, a cube of enormous power was lost. One of the leading Decepticons followed it to Earth, but crashlanded in the arctic and remained frozen there. Others of his kind have now arrived and, failing to hack into the US Military database by attacking an airbase in Qatar, try again with the computer link on Airforce 1. There they learn that the secret location of the cube is etched into the lenses of a pair of glasses currently being auctioned on Ebay. They track down the boy. He, in the meantime, discovers that his crappy first car is really an autobot robot in disguise and soon becomes a target for both sides and probably the only person who can save our planet from sharing the fate of the robots' homeworld.
When Stephen King directed MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, another movie in which machines threaten humans (though not by turning into anything), he described it as a moron movie, by which he meant loud, stupid and hopefully entertaining. He could not have found a more apt description for this latest blockbuster from the noisy stable of Michael Bay.
TRANSFORMERS is a stupid movie. Very little of it makes any sense, none of it is even remotely convincing and much of it is played with its tongue so firmly in its cheek that you couldn't understand what it was saying. Take the performance by John Turturro as a secret agent whose idea of threatening is just plain bizarre. He seems to think that he's in a different movie to everyone else and that's part of the problem. Everybody seems to think that the tone of the film is something different from the others.
Shia Laboeuf makes for an appealing hero, appealing directly to the geeky teenagers that this film is squarely aimed at. He spends a lot of his time panicking and not coping very well with situations, but finds deep wells of courage that are sure to win the heart of the hot girl. The hot girl is Megan Fox who is definitely hot, but who is given precisely nothing else to do here. In fact, the women get very short shrift in this film with the supposedly ace hacker Rachel Taylor having to run to somebody else for an answer and then get pretty much dropped out of the film altogether, whilst Julie White's hero's mother is just plain embarrassing (as she is intended to be).
John Voight hams it up as the Secretary of Defence and it is left to Josh DuHamel as an army officer who just wants to get home to meet his daughter for the first time to give the film some sort of believable heart.
Let's be honest, though. TRANSFORMERS isn't about performances from its pretty people, it's about giant robots beating eight bells out of each other whilst demolishing everything else in sight and there is a lot of that to see. The robots are impressively rendered, but do not manage to gain any sort of personalities during the film. Audiences unaware of the phenomenon of the Transformers might be hard placed to name more than two of them even at the end of the film.
And then there's the problem of the CGI. It is, of course, flawless. The trouble is that directors have become seduced by the speed of action that computers can now render and have produced fights in which so much is happening so fast that you can't tell who's who let alone who's hitting who or who's winning. Whilst the settings get impressively demolished around them, the battling robots are moving too fast for the sense of the fight to be worked out. The same applies to the transforming. The peugeot ad on TV that convinced the film makers that TRANSFORMERS could be made was relatively simple in its transformation and actually more effective for it. There are so many parts moving so quickly that it is impossible to get a real sense of the thing.
The kids at whom this film is aimed will get a kick out of giant robots battling it out in cities and deserts and the skies and anywhere else they can slug it out. Fans of the whole Transformers phenomenon will enjoy seeing their heroes realised on the big screen so impressively. Hasbro will be delighted to welcome a whole new generation to their toys. Everyone else might just wonder what the fuss was all about.Top
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