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A film review of TRANSFORMERS by Lord Summerisle
 

How I review this film has much to do with what attitude I employ for it. The academia studied and serious film me urges the condemnation of such a piece of vacuous Hollywood nonsense. But all the appeals to logic in the world cannot suppress the child in me who has waited roughly twenty years for this film! As a child of the 1980s I was the target market for the franchise, Hasbro's cynical capitalist drives thankfully lost on me, I was innocently snared by their toys, quickly followed by the cartoon phenomenon. So, forgive me in saying that 50% of the experience of watching Transformers circa 2007 was pure boyhood glee.

There are many diehard Transformers fans across the globe, and a few in our backyard let me assure you, who have bitched and whined about the various changes and updates of the characters they all know and love. Although I can sympathize one must realize that this is 2007, not 1986 and inevitable updates will be made to fit in with the time and the specific plot, so grow up and accept it!

So, now I feel secure in my maturity, I will explain how the film appealed to me. I am not a fan of wholesale CGI and never will be, but I must acknowledge the fact that in order to make a convincing live action movie of this type computer effects are crucial. And they are utilized here in a wonderfully gratuitous manner. Plot be buggered (and I will come back to that later), it's the robots I'd come to see, and bloody robots I did see, in awesome transforming glory. As Superman had the tagline 'You'll believe a man can fly' then Transformers should have 'You'll believe a car can change into a massive talking robot'! The fight sequences are breathtaking, yet hampered with the modern stylistics of fast cutting and some of the action is made confusing with wobbly camerawork designed to make it all look more immediate and 'real'. Some of which is effective, but much is just irritating.

Also, the film hangs back for quite some time in the actual speech of the robots, which was a particular area of interest to me, and thankfully the talking is for the most part as believable as could possibly be. So, I'd say a firm A for actual robot depiction. And just let me state that it makes a huge difference seeing this at the cinema where the robots look as imposing as they are meant to. But it is on other fronts the movie falls away.

Just because we are talking about a film revolving around talking alien transforming robots there is no reason for the plot to make the audience suspend their disbelief any further. I think we all knew Mr Michael Bay would be able to handle the action sequences, but as feared what the plot could be described as is a way of merely connecting the set pieces. Up until the final act of the film everything coasts along well, in a world similar to our own. The acting and script, although nothing to get excited about, are acceptable. But when the rising action mounts and one is tied up in the excitement, Bay and company seem to think we won't notice certain unresolved and more obviously, unexplained details. To be perfectly honest, this is pretty much what I expected from a film like this and really don't care too much. For me it was all about seeing Optimus Prime and Megatron, walk, talk, fight and generally interact in a realistic way, but those who want something more out of Transformers (2007) will be disappointed. If you want a Transformers film with a decent plot watch the animated 1986 feature, it even has a cameo from Orson Welles!

Transformers

USA 2007
144 mins
director
Michael Bay
producers
Ian Bryce
Tom DeSanto
Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Don Murphy
screenplay
Roberto Orci
Alex Kurtzman
story
John Rogers
Roberto Orci
Alex Kurtzman
cinematography
Mitchell Amundsen
editors
Thomas A. Muldoon
Paul Rubell
Glen Scantlebury
music
Steve Jablonsky
production design
Jeff mann
starring
Shia LaBeouf
Megan Fox
Josh Duhamel
Tyrese Gibson
Rachael Taylor
Anthony Anderson
Jon Voight
John Turturro
release date (UK)
27 July 2007
review posted
4 August 2007

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