There’s a lot to like in Michael Bay’s Transformers; plenty of action, superb special effects, some great humour and those awesome noises which the sentient robots make when transforming. There are also some things which are not so likeable such as Shia Lebeouf’s obsession with shouting too much, the floury dialogue and the difficulty of distinguishing the robots when they were fighting with each other. Those things can be forgiven though because as a whole Transformers delivers in its entertainment value.
Optimus Prime opens by narrating the collapse of Cybertron. A race across the universe has begun between the Autobots (who are good) and the Decepticons (who are evil) to find the All Spark. Depending on who finds it first will determine if Cybertron can be rebuilt or instead having the universe taken over. This backstory is brief but provides enough of a premise to carry everyone’s actions and reactions for the next two hours
Then we cut to an attack on an American army base in Qatar by a Decepticon called blackout. A small group of soldiers escape and flee into the desert. Meanwhile Sam Witwicky delivers a speech about his ancestor Archibald and then goes with his dad to buy his first car which turns out to be an Autbot scout named Bumblebee. Then it is another cut to the Pentagon, where analyst Maggie Madsen is briefed on the army base attack and sent to work on finding out who is responsible for the attack. Megan Fox’s character Mikaela gets more screen time as soon as Sam offers her a ride home.
From there until meeting the Autobots meeting Sam and the Decepticons planning their course of actions not a lot happens. I can’t say much more about the storyline without giving it away, except we meet some agents from Sector 7 (a government cell even the secretary of defence doesn’t know) and all the interceding storylines come together at the Hoover Dam.
The film has what I call a defibrillator effect. There are sombre, tranquil moments and then, boom a massive action sequence which breaks out. Some light hearted dialogue is exchanged before a huge surge of explosions ensue. Michael Bay has the 1,2,3 clear and shock effect mastered. It works well in Transformers, especially when the dialogue starts getting ridiculous, like when Sam’s mother asks if he was having “Sam’s happy time.” LeBeouf’s love of shouting is incredibly annoying and happened far too much. It does provide us with a good idea of when a thrilling action scene is about to happen.
Special effects are a cornerstone to large segments of the film. What an achievement it was to see everything come together brilliantly, from the robots transforming while travelling 100mph+ down a busy motorway to the slick subtleness of the Autobots hiding in the Witwicky yard when Sam is looking for his great great Grandfathers yard. Those intense battles were fantastic as well but there were long shots of ensuing battles where you didn’t know who was who. A small slip does little to remove how intense battle between the intergalactic robots is.
I’m giving the film three stars because it does slip up a few times (as mentioned). But the cast generally do what’s asked of them; vice versa with the crew. Hopefully most people can understand that superhero movies, whilst devoid of good storylines are great entertainment.