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Old 07-19-2007, 02:37 PM   #135
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Directed by Michael Bay
Written by Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci
Starring Anthony Anderson, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson, Shia LaBeouf, Rachael Taylor, John Turturro and Jon Voigt

The Transformers are a line of robot toys that are able to to transform, or reconstruct themselves, into a common and innocuous form. The Transformers toyline was developed by Hasbro in the United States, and its spin-offs include a Marvel comic book series, an animated television series and the 1986 animated film The Transformers: The Movie. Now, big-budget director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg have once again brought the robots back to the pop-culture landscape through this year's live-action flick Transformers.

High school student Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has recently purchased his first car, but is unaware that his 1977 Chevy Camaro is actually an autonomous robotic life form in disguise. Sam has constant struggles with his vehicle and soon discovers that his Camaro has a mind of its own, as it transforms into its natural giant-sized, robotic state in order to fend off one of the members of the villanous group The Decepticons.

It turns out that the Camaro, named Bumblebee, and the rest of The Autobots -- Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ironhead and Ratchet -- are trying to find a magical cube called the AllSpark, which if found, could grant either The Autobots or The Decepticons power over mechanical life. The Autobots need Sam's help in finding the eye glasses of his relative Captain Archibald Witwicky, which has a map imprinted on them with the location of the AllSpark.

A loud, visual and overloaded summer spectacle, Transformers seems like a film that is perfectly suited for director Bay (The Island, Bad Boys II), but much like his previous blockbuster outings of Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, the only true compelling part of the film is its astonishing special effects. The visual effects are top-notch and will certainly rank as some of the best CGI-work in film this year. Along with the visual effects, the movie's incredible sound design and the strong action sequences also manage to keep you involved in the film.

But in the end, the movie is entirely misguided and never able to find a satisfying place between its drawn-out action scenes, its insulting use of exposition for dialogue and its numerous moments of forced sitcom gags. The narrative is sprawled across several uninvolving subplots with one-note characters that become too much to take in, and with all of the stories still underdeveloped in what is a two hour and 24-minute movie.

It's entirely impossible to take movies like Transformers seriously, which is why the film faulters amidst stories of destroyed military bases in Qatar and super secret government agencies, and why the film succeeds when placed in the hands of the talented and witty LaBeouf (Surf's Up, Bobby). Much like this year's earlier film Disturbia, it's LaBeouf's charisma, delivery and overall presence that keeps you invested in the preposterous and sometimes droll ongoings of the picture.

A shining technical achievement that has its share of fun and exciting elements, Transformers still possesses way too many over-the-top and redundant moments to make it truly stand-out from the rest of the typical summer fare.


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