Transformers (2007) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Transformers (2007)


Transformers the new movie by Michael Bay, is based not on a novel, play or screenwriter’s inspiration but on a line of Hasbro toys that have been hot tickets for young boys such as myself for more than 20 years. I could not think of a greater example of a text book summer blockbuster than this live-action phenomenon. The movie is filled with almost flawless visual effects throughout much of the runtime which makes up for the lack of script, character development or storyline.

Paradoxically, the problem with Transformers is not with those much beloved playthings whose defining characteristics is the ability to change from robots to cars (or other machines) and then back. It’s the screenplay. Fearing that even the enormous wonder toys can’t tromp around and morph on the screen forever, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have concocted a narrative to go with the robots. The problem is not only is there way too much of it but also that it isn’t very good. If this film were shorter (it clocks in at an inflated two hours and 23 minutes) and kept its focus on the toys; it would be hard to argue with.

Here is a taste of the story. The Transformers, as you all might know, come with built-in conflicts of morality. The Autobots — Bumblebee, Jazz, Ratchet, Ironhide and maximum leader Optimus Prime — are the good guys. The bad bots, Starscream, Frenzy and Bonecrusher are known as the Decepticons. They are led by none other than the mean mother fuckin’ bad ass Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving). Having fought each other for eons on their home planet Cybertron, the Autobots and Decepticons transfer their battle to planet Earth, where an enormous object called the Cube, or AllSpark, the source of all Transformer life, has improbably ended up. The Decepticons want it to control the universe and will wipe out anyone or anything in their way to get it. The Autobots will do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen. To aid them in their endeavor, the Autobots encounter allies in the form of a teenager named Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf, “Disturbia”), a smoking hot girl Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), a group of US soldiers in the Middle East (Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson) and a sexy Australian computer hacker, Maggie Madsen (Rachael Taylor).

That’s truly about it. Bay understands that people are simply here to see giant robots thrash the hell out of both each other in metropolitan surroundings, so he doesn’t bother spending much time with preamble. The result is a more than an hour spent on hardcore action! Fans will be pleased to hear that the Prime/Megatron fight is spectacular. There are a few pet peeves though. The camera shakes so much it often makes the frenetic visuals of “The Blair Witch Project” look like a still life in comparison. Also, the morphing from robots to cars and vice versa seemed to go much to fast. If it were a bit slower and drawn out I think I could have enjoyed the mechanics of it all a bit more. Instead, it caused me great confusion in trying to determine if I was looking at one of the bad guys or one of the good guys.

It’s a tough task to adapt an 80’s children show into workable film, so I applaud the attempt. Yet any real chance to invent the rich and compelling mythology is never attempted (something I was yearning for). What I got was rather cheap tricks and a semblance of story to try and link the action sequences together. Ultimately, this is what Transformers was designed to be though. And while it is a quite effective thrill ride, it isn’t nearly enough to carry the movie. The initial viewing will please most everyone lured in by the hype but I suspect there won’t be many people lining up to watch it twice (only true fanboys will see this multiple times). This weakness will cause Transformers to topple from the charts in record time. I always liked the Gobots better anyways (just kidding).

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average

3

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'Movie Review: Transformers (2007)' have 12 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 8, 2007 @ 10:38 am Friend Mouse

    “The initial viewing will please most everyone lured in by the hype but I suspect there won’t be many people lining up to watch it twice (only true fanboys will see this multiple times).” – I couldn’t agree more. This movie (definitely a “movie” and not a “film”) is a blast if you are honest with yourself about what you’re going to see: crazy action, giant battling robots, inhumanly beautiful women and explosions, lots of explosions. If you’re hoping for more than face value here, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

    Reply

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2007 @ 6:22 pm Pete

    This movie was crazy. The action sequences are mind boggling. Agreed it’s short on story, but who cares. A definite must see!

    Reply

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 23, 2007 @ 4:49 pm General Disdain

    I thought Transformers was a fantastic action movie. I especially liked the minor detail on Barricade’s body (the police car) — “To punish and enslave”.

    And while the final battle is spectacular, I wanted more between Megatron and Optimus Prime. Their sequence was far to short for my liking.

    Rumor has it the green light has been switched for two more installments, so I suspect we haven’t seen the last of the Decepticons.

    By the way, nice review Nashtradomus. Generally, I prefer to pick your reviews apart but this time I think you’ve hit the mark.

    Reply

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 24, 2007 @ 11:13 am Nashtradomus

    If you are a stickler for minor details, then you should understand why I feel lost in the sea of robots who are morphing constantly with no clear demarcation on who happens to be on the good side and who is not. Added to that, there was more time spent on meaningless chit chat rather than time spent on showing some long battle scenes without having to figure out who is slamming who.

    Thanks for complementing on my review.

    Reply

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 1:38 pm Atomic Popcorn

    It was okay, for die hard fans of the show, don’t expect to much from it. Great FX and all but short on story and made into a movie rather than making it what its supposed to be.

    Reply

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 18, 2007 @ 3:31 am Sirius Lee

    Being a die-hard Transformers fan from its days as a cartoon, I can say I was pleased with the movie. Sure, the script deviated from the TV plotline, but so did all the Transformer spin-offs since the first cartoon series, so this was forgivable. I, for one, can’t wait for the next few installments of this franchise.

    Reply

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 29, 2007 @ 7:41 am Gear

    Movies like this make me wish I was a kid again. So that I could appreciate it. I have no doubt that if I saw this movie as a kid, it would be on my top5 favorites, right up there with the Star Wars trilogy and ET. As an adult though, I found it was barely holding my attention. I just can’t be entertained by empty action and special effects anymore. It’s kind of sad really :(

    Reply

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 7, 2008 @ 4:30 pm Ojay

    I totally agree with Sirius Lee. Although this Transformers movie took liberties, all of these such deviations are forgivable. This franchise has room to grow, so hopefully the next Transformers movie will top the first (which rarely happens in the movie biz).

    Reply

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 6, 2008 @ 8:28 pm Redding

    Worth seeing (in my opinion). I’ll probably rent it again. I heard it was well worth seeing in the theaters because of the special effects. My first time was on a tv, but still worth the time.

    Reply

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 2, 2009 @ 10:05 am straight1

    I just don’t get it! I just found this site, and am pleased to be found blogging at a “thinking” man’s site, but WTF?!?! This movie instantly made it into my TOP 10 movies of all time. REQUIREMENTS: Character development, virtue, courage, intelligence, creativity, love, honor, father/son love story, clear good vs evil, patriotism, great sound track, FAITH. EVEN OPTIMUS PRIME ACKNOWLEGES THEIR NEED FOR DIVINE INTERVENTION!! Granted, being a home school dad of 55 years with 5 kids, predisposes me to some childlike action, but these characters ALL ring true. BOUGHT THE DVD. Seen it 10 times!! Ask yourself this: if you walked into a room while Transformers was playing, what would you ask the viewers to switch to??? Huh? I know this is kicking in a year after the fact, but please. someone, tell me I’m not off my rocker here . . . please.

    Reply

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 1, 2010 @ 3:19 am Homeschooled

    I wouldn’t consider myself a die hard transformer fan although i had been an 80s kid myself. I am hoping that the movies maker will bring back some of the 80s cartoons besides transformers. A couple of the series that i personally liked were the mask (featuring men in super powered ‘helmets’ or ‘masks’). Another personal favorite were visionaries – where the super heroes turned into ‘good or bad creatures’ from their super powered suits. And of course – my personal fav – the silverhawks!!

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  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 7, 2010 @ 7:20 pm keviepoo

    I have always been a fan of transformers. when i was younger i had a huge collection till one day my brother burnt down the house. Needless to say,I still love em and i am always looking forward to a new movie

    Reply


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