Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by:Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Rachel Taylor, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, Anthony Anderson, John Turturro
Released: June 28, 2007
Grade: B

Transformers has been hyped up as perhaps the biggest movie of the 2007 American summer.  My own interest in the film comes from the fact that it’s NOT a sequel.  It’s a brand new series with fresh characters.  That alone makes it more attractive that the recent of Spider-Man, Pirates Of The Caribbean and Fantastic Four.

The Transformers started out as a cartoon series.  It premiered in 1984 and ran for approximately four years.  I never saw it myself but it developed a cult-like status with some fans.  I’m guessing that a large percentage of these loyal supporters will be checking out this film (some more than once) on the day of its release.  Having now been introduced to the Transformers world, I must say that I like the concept.

The central human character in this film is Sam Witwicky (played by rising star Shia LaBeouf).  He has in his possession a pair of eye glasses which were once owned by his great grandfather.  He doesn’t know it yet but these glasses hold the key to man’s survival.

Earth is soon attacked by a group of robots with far-superior technology.  They are known as Decepticons and they are looking for a strange-looking cube which is thought to have landed on Earth thousands of years ago.  This cube will give them much power and they are prepared to kill for it.  When they learn that information as to the cube’s location can be found on Sam’s great grandfather’s glasses, you’ll know who they start looking for…

Thankfully for Sam, there are another group of peaceful transformers known as Autobots.  They too have arrived on Earth and are trying to stop the Decepticons from getting their hands on the cube.  What follows is an all out war on the Earth’s surface.  If the Decepticons are victorious, it’s the end of life as we know it.

As a Hollywood blockbuster, Transformers does everything by the textbook.  I was surprised to see the film include such a young cast.  It’s as if the marketers of the film have aimed this film solely at a teen audience.  There’s one scene where an Australian code breaker working at the Pentagon (played by 22-year-old Rachael Taylor) illegally downloads top-secret code so that her computer nerd friend can take a look at it.  On a believability scale, this scene scores 0%.  I’m not sure which is more concerning – the fact that there’s no data security at the Pentagon or that they’re hiring policy is based on looks over ability.

I was also disappointed by the lack of humour in the film.  There were a few one-liners to chuckle over but nothing particularly memorable.  I’ve already alluded to the film’s lack of originality and this is further evident when you hear some of the clichéd dialogue.  There’s one scene late in the film where Sam and his girlfriend have a “moment” just before he goes off to save the day.  Despite the fact they are being attacked from all possible angles, they still find a 30 seconds to stand there and express their love for one another.  Now I know this is only a movie but I make reference to this scene to again reiterate just how much this film goes “by the book”.  It may be an adventure story but the script itself isn’t very adventurous.

On a plus side, the story is easy follow and the action looks great on the big screen.  I’m not the biggest fan of director Michael Bay (Armageddon, Bad Boys 2, Pearl Harbour) but in this instance, he’s made a good looking movie.  With the help of a talented visual effects crew, he has brought the transformers to life.

If you’ve seen the trailers, the ads and the posters for Transformers, you should already have a fair idea of whether this film is for you.  Some will like it and others will not.  I’m sitting on the fence.