There may be more to this review than meets the eye. But probably not.
Cast and Crew:
Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky
Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes
Rachael Taylor as Maggie Madsen
Jon Voight as the Secretary of Defense
2009 Camaro as Bumblebee
379 as Optimus Prime
Martin F-22 as Starscream
Written by committee (seriously, they list five writers on IMDB)
Directed by Michael Bay
Synopsis: Somewhere out there, there’s a whole planet of self-aware robots that can change shape to disguise themselves, and they’re cranky
with one another. The “Allspark,” a vaguely-defined McGuffin and important artifact to them, got lost a while back and crashed on Earth.
They’re looking for it and trying not to step on too many of us in the process.
High Point: If you watched the mid-80s Transformers cartoon, or the original
movie, the callbacks are nice, and mostly amusing. And the effects are, for the most part, full of the requisite ooh pretty.
Low Point: It’s kinda hard to pin down, but in some scenes the the big robots just don’t quite feel right. Also, there’s a fairly long
scene featuring the Autobots (in their 30-foot tall robot forms) “sneaking” around the Witwicky house that feels out of place, due to its almost
Originality? In a movie based on a line of toys that’s almost as old as I am? Heh. I’ll give them partial credit for doing a good job of
the adaptation, reducing the line of hundreds of toys down to about a dozen, while being reasonably faithful to the story and the characters. 3/6.
Story: It’s a summer popcorn flick. You don’t go for the deep, involving plotline. For the most part, what story there is makes sense,
though the contortions they went through to make eBay into a crucial plot detail just sits wrong. 3/6.
Effects: Now this is why you’re here. For the most part, the effects are as impressive as you’d expect given the reported $150
million budget. The giant robots just feel… off, though. In particular, close-up shots of their heads and faces when they’re talking look really
strange; it’s their “teeth.” I don’t know if it’s appropriate to apply the uncanny valley
hypothesis to anthropomorphic props, but I’m gonna do it anyway. Fortunately, most of the time they’re just moving fast and beating each other
up and crashing into buildings and THAT is what you paid eight bucks for. 6/6.
Acting: After the first half-hour or so, the humans mostly run around like extras in a Godzilla flick. What little they get to do is
convincing enough. The Transformers’ voice acting is solid as well. 4/6.
Production: The closest to a production error in the whole movie (that I saw, at least) is the fact that Bumblebee disguises himself as a
2009 Camaro, which you won’t find on the streets in “the present day,” when the movie takes place. While I’m sure repeated viewings on DVD will
reveal the usual production gaffes and such, those are inevitable, and I’ll let the Camaro one slide because it was cool. :) 5/6.
Emotional response: Even though some of the “comedy” scenes felt out of place, I still laughed. There were oohs and aahs and the audience
in my theater cheered at the end of the movie, which is usually a good sign. Nothing overwhelming, but better than a lot of summer action movies.
Overall, Transformers is not a perfect film, but it’s not a bad one, and unless you have an amazingly expensive home theater setup, I think
it deserves to be seen on a big screen. 5/6.
That adds to a heroic, but not almighty, 30/42.