First things first: If I see Transformers again, and I most definitely will, I'll probably like it even more.
Transformers is the action spectacular of the summer. Live Free and Die Hard kicked ass last week, but Transformers offers up some of the most amazing and exciting action sequences caught on camera, probably the best visual effects ever, and plenty of nerd-infested entertainment. The movie starts off with a bang as a desert military base is obliterated by Decepticons, which is about as good as an opening as you can expect. Things are fast, brutal and decisive. From there, we're treated to plenty of other great action scenes, all of which climax to one of the coolest battle scenes ever, an all-out war sequence in downtown Los Angeles.
If the visual effects don't win this year's Oscars, I will crap my pants and hang them over the mantle. Words cannot describe how good the graphics are; even these days, so many high budget movies feature cheesy special effects or even just a few scenes that are obviously fake. Transformers is seamless. Of course, you know the robots are computerized, but they fit in perfectly with their surroundings, which make the movie all the more exciting. The visual effects department should be congratulated on absolute perfection.
So, to make it perfectly clear, the action in Transformers is an incredible, an absolute blast. You will not be let down and are guaranteed to be entertained.
As for the acting and dialogue, it is good, but not great. Shia LaBeouf turns in a very good performance as the lead character, a boy who finds himself caught up in the middle of a war of robots. His character is quite neurotic at first, to the point of being annoying, but LaBeouf handles it quite well. Megan Fox is great eye candy, and also turns in a pretty good performance. The rest of the cast is less important, but some are better than others, though that is mainly due to inconsistent writing. While the relatively simple plot works well, the dialogue varies between good, intentionally funny and overly cheesy. John Turturro gets stuck with an overly hammy government agent character that doesn't fit at all. Anthony Anderson also turns in a ridiculously stupid character that adds absolutely no value to the movie.
My only real issue with Transformers is that at times, it spends a few too minutes trying to be funny, and when it does, it just grinds to a halt. In one scene, LaBeouf argues with his annoying parents for what seems like half an hour as the Autobots try to hide outside; it tries to be funny, but after about thirty seconds the gag has lost its focus and I was left rolling my eyes. Shortly thereafter, government agents, led by Turturro, show up to get LaBeouf, but isn't really treated seriously enough when it should have been. Basically, after the comedy in the first part of the movie, the movie should have settled down and focused on the action and plot development.
One other complaint, since I'm on the topic, is not really a complaint but more just something I'd like to point out. We're introduced to a couple of NSA analysts, led by a super hot blonde who, if she had a name, I didn't pick up. She detects a signal in the code and is immediately thrust from junior analyst to top secret briefings, and then proceeds to include a civilian by stealing information from government computers (as an analyst, wouldn't she be smart enough to know that was a bad idea?). The story proceeds from there, but this whole side storyline seemed completely useless. Not only are these characters abandoned part way through the movie, but they ultimately end up providing zero value to anything: their intelligence is never used whatsoever. Oh well.
Overall, Transformers is an impressive action flick from Michael Bay, and is destined to be one of the top hits of the year. It spends a little too much time trying to be funny, but in general is a highly effective, high intensity thrill ride with an incredible final action sequence that will take your breath away.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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