R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Michael Bay
scr Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
with Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Jon Voight, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Anthony Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, John Robinson, Bernie Mac
voices Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Jess Harnell, Mark Ryan
release US 3.Jul.07, UK 27.Jul.07
07/US DreamWorks 2h23
Car wars: Fox and Labeouf

voight duhamel gibson
See also:
Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Dark of the Moon (2011)

Transformers The quintessential big, loud, dumb summer action movie, this nonstop thrill ride is thunderously entertaining. Although by the end you feel like you've survived an all-out attack on your senses.

After a handful of American soldiers (led by Duhamel and Gibson) escape a giant transforming mechanical alien attack in Qatar, a pair of computer experts in Washington (Taylor and Anderson) try to figure out what happened. Meanwhile in California, teenager Sam (LaBeouf) has just got his first car and worked up the nerve to talk to the hottest girl in school (Fox). But it turns out that his car is actually a good robot assigned to protect him from the bad robots, and a shady government agency knows more than it's letting on.

Yes, it's essentially a love story about a boy and his car, and everything carefully is crafted to appeal to fanboys, including the strong central female character he hooks up with. This is quite possibly the noisiest, most spectacular action movie ever made--cinema seats shake with the rumbling soundtrack, while the prowling cinematography brings effects to life in an unusually exciting way. Within minutes we've lost track of the number of cars flung through the air, a Bay trademark, although we have to imagine how many people are mowed down or crushed.

But the best surprise is that there's actually some depth, mainly because there are good Autobots and bad Decepticons, and most humans can't tell the difference. Government overreaction threatens the fate of the whole planet, and victory is only possible with trust and cooperation in a battle against a villain who actually has something to fight for. Meanwhile, in the few gaps between the breathtaking action sequences, the script stirs in some terrific comical dialog to keep us laughing and deepen the characters.

Throughout, Bay maintains a brilliant technical sheen, with jaw-dropping special effects woven in expertly with the live action (even if the robots occasionally look like they're from Robots). But this visual expertise wouldn't work as well without such a thumping story. And even if the film is far too loud and relentless for some viewers, that's exactly what its fans will love about it.

cert 12 themes, violence, language 22.Jun.07

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Transformers Transformers Gary Wintle, UK: 4/5 "I love the toys, love the UK comics by Simon Furman, but am less keen on the cartoon, which I feel was only notable for its voice cast. Seeing the Transformers on screen in such detail I found magical and spellbinding. What I did not like was Bay's bigging up of the US Army, which undermined the point, that the humans need the Autobots. The Transformers are sentient lifeforms, and therfore the same as humans, so there was no need to have so many human characters, as we can relate to the Transformers. To me the star of the film is Optimus Prime, magnificently voiced by Peter Cullen. Optimus is, to me and many others, what a true leader should be; he shows up the awfulness of our politicians. I enjoyed the movie but there is plenty that can be improved for a sequel. Bay gets enough right for us to be able to see the potential. The Transformers are such rich characters that there is so much that can be done." (26.Jul.07)
© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall