PLOT: After centuries at war, the Autobots and the Decepticons, two forms of a robotic alien race find themselves on earth in search of an ultimate power source. The key to this power is a young teenager who holds the fate of the human race in his hands… and on eBay.
Imagine someone creating a huge summer blockbuster… based on a Hasbro toy. Now imagine such high and mighty folk as Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay getting behind it. And now, imagine that it actually kicks some ass. TRANSFORMERS, the massively large scale take on the toys, comic books and cartoon of "robots in disguise", truth be told, kicks serious ass. Michael Bay tends to get a bad rap just because he makes a certain type of flick. He makes loud, action-filled, dynamite fueled flicks oftentimes lacking in story or any other quality aside from looking really cool. But it still looks amazing and it's a fun ride for a couple of hours. Now, Transformers is no exception. The opening battle between soldiers and some kind of metallic scorpion beast is really mind-blowing. As is a fantastic chase when a teenagers Camaro runs him and his girlfriend around while another robot that turns into a police car seems to be trying to crush him. It felt a bit like THE TERMINATOR on acid.
As for the Tranformers themselves (I happen to really dig Bumblebee) all look incredible. The multi-faceted transformations are seamless. Whether they are bouncing off buildings, flying through the air or just tearing up the streets, this is far above your typical action fare. And I'm not even talking about the finale that takes place in Downtown Los Angeles where the Decepticons and the Autobots duke it out in true Michael Bay fashion. I remember seeing parts of the set while I was on the Universal Studios Tram Tour in Hollywood and being impressed. But Mr. Bay has a massive talent for creating stunning action set-pieces designed with some utterly brilliant special effects and making us believe in giant robots causing mayhem. He also surrounds himself with people who know their stuff when it comes to special effects, set design and all that good stuff. He has a very clear vision of the action taking place. He knows how to shoot this. So why do his movies feel so flat sometimes? It usually lies in a pretty bland script with caricatures instead of characters. And you find yourself just waiting for things to go boom or just look neat. But for all you out there longing impatiently for something more than meets the eye, thankfully, you get it here.
What we have is a battle for good and evil. If you are unfamiliar with the history of the Transformers, it is pretty simple. There is an alien race with technology far surpassing ours. They have the ability to change into some form or another including cars, trucks, helicopters and yes, a boom box. Some of these super-intelligent forms have a strong desire to save the human race and live amongst us, while there are others who feel we are a threat and want to take over. It seems one lone teenager Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf, has the key to this powerful force, a force which could make the earth’s destruction pretty damn simple. I won't give too much more away but I will say there is a lot going as he and his sexy would-be girlfriend Mikaela, the too hot for school Megan Fox, get closer to the Autobots.
Shia plays Sam with such an everyday guy appeal. He adds humor and awe to the role with an amazingly natural ability. There is a reason this guy is all over the place lately. I also really enjoyed Jon Voight as the atypical government guy. He adds a whole lot of class to the film and breaks away from the stereotypes usually involved in this kind of role. But truthfully, all of the actors were great. Although it is true, the real stars here are the Transformers themselves, but how nice it is to have believable characters that you can sympathize with. Especially notable is the connection between Witwicky and Bumblebee, it was incredibly touching and very funny. So what we have here is the rare action flick that has a strong cast, a pretty decent script with a lot of intentional humor which scraps the lame and sappy love story and focuses on the action. So for all of you expecting another empty Michael Bay explosion-fest, you will be pleasantly surprised. Just watch as Mr. Bay transforms what could have been a mess into a refreshing change of pace in a summer of sequels. More than meets the eye indeed.
My rating 9/10 -- JimmyO
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