Film Reviews

TRANSFORMERS

By • Jul 3rd, 2007 •

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DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures present in association with Hasbro a di Bonaventura Pictures production of a Tom DeSanto/Don Murphy production
Running time — 140 minutes / MPAA rating: PG-13

A bad comedy. Hated the robots and their funny voices, hated the humans, and the cereal box story.

TRANSFORMERS is based on a line of Hasbro toys! Hollywood has officially run out of stories. Next up, Michael Bay is going to direct a screenplay based on a box of cereal.

Shia LaBeouf, who always has the look of utter surprise (he acts with his nostrils), plays 11th grader Sam Witwicky. He’s socially awkward around arch-eyebrowed, disinterested in him, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) who looks around 30.

Is TRANSFORMERS a comedy/war movie? In Qutar, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson play soldiers who get attacked by a big metal thing. Why keep shooting bullets at moving metal that will not die? The President stays in bed while the Secretary of Defense John Keller (Jon Voight) gets a bunch of teenagers to decode a secret noise recording transmitted by the aliens.

Why are the best computer experts on Planet Earth always hiding out in a basement command center (LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD) or grandma’s extra room (TRANSFORMERS)?

Oh, I get it! We can’t find bin Laden either.

Back on Main Street, U.S.A., Sam gets his first car, a $4,000 ’76 Chevy Camaro piece of black-spurting junk. It has a mind and a play-list of its own. It is a metal alien disguised as a car!

There’s product placement all over TRANSFORMERS. The metal aliens need to find Sam because he has something they want. Though Sam has posted it on eBay and they could just bid on it, they don’t have a Paypal account. Sam’s grandfather was a famous Arctic Circle explorer and fell into a hole. A piece of his retrieved junk holds the key to the Universe’s cube, the Allspark. The bad metal aliens want it and they are willing to destroy cities to get it.

Instead of Sam’s car just transforming back into its real identity and asking for the damn artifact, it pretends to be his car. When the muddy situation is finally revealed, Sam’s yellow Camaro is a blue-eyed Autobot. His mission is to protect and serve Sam.

There are many robots from the planet Cybertron on Earth and they have assumed human voices and feelings like those of our action heroes. They watch a lot of movies on Cybertron. They also like our planet’s big rigs and since they tower over skyscrapers, they transform themselves into tractors, Hummers, and even, when necessary, a cell phone. There is also a metal alien-boy bonding sort of thing going on. The “bad” metal robots are the black “Decepticons” commanded by Megatron, their leader.

So this is ALIEN VS. PREDATOR with an incompetent government flummoxed as to what to do. When the feds find Sam, he and Mikaela refuse to help because they came into his parent’s house without a warrant! They were mean to Sam. While the Bad Transformers are destroying cities and killing soldiers, Sam is defiant until the feds apologize, promise to play nice, and erase Mikaela’s juvie record, and, as per Michael Bay’s ARMAGEDDON, Sam also demands to know “Who Really Killed Kennedy?,” “Did we really go to the moon?” and Sam doesn’t want to pay taxes…ever – just like Warren Buffett (the third-richest man in the world pays a pittance in taxes).

The Autobots, each a different color and personality culled from Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, are huge, earth-trembling machines, but hardly anyone notices. The last third of TRANSFORMERS is all CGI as the Autobots fight the Decepticons. No one I spoke to afterwards could figure out who killed who and how.

And, since there needs to be a sequel, the Autobots laughably announce that they love humans for their kindness and decide to stay on Earth, even though there are no female Autobots to mate with (or, are they celibate robots?)

Yes, the CGI robots transforming is absolutely terrific. Since all the creative energy was put to this use, we lose story and character. If you are not a fan of the Transformers, stay away.


Credits:
Director: Michael Bay
Screenwriters: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Based on: Hasbro’s Transformers action figures
Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy, Ian Bryce
Executive producers: Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay
Director of photography: Mitchell Amundsen
Production designer: Jeff Mann
Music: Steve Jablonsky
Costume designer: Deborah L. Scott
Editors: Paul Rubell, Glen Scantlebury, Thomas A. Muldoon

Cast:
Sam Witwicky: Shia LaBeouf
Mikaela Banes: Megan Fox
Sgt. Lennox: Josh Duhamel
Sgt. Epps: Tyrese Gibson
Maggie: Rachael Taylor
Glen: Anthony Anderson
Defense Secretary John Keller: Jon Voight
Agent Simmons: John Turturro

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