The original Transformers cartoon is widely considered a classic in children’s programming. The Transformers animated film was a success among fans, so it’s a surprise a live action film took this long. But in 2007, we got Transformers, a high-budget action flick directed by the manifestation of everything wrong with Hollywood, Michael Bay. His CV isn’t exactly full of masterpieces, and his production company is responsible for making and starting off the trend of horror remakes in the 2000s.
Transformers was met with a lukewarm reception from critics, and received a generally negative opinion from fans. The re-designing of the characters was generally thought of by fans and critics alike as a bad idea. Some elements were praised, but most people thought it was just mindless fluff. But is that always a bad thing?
Transformers revolves around Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). His first car turns out to be a Autobot (the good robots) scout named Bumblebee sent down to Earth to stop the Decepticons (the bad robots) from finding the All Spark, the object which created Cybertron, the Transformer’s home planet. If the Decepticons find the All Spark……….something bad will happen (the plot is so incoherent it might as well be that). All right, let’s be honest. Air has more depth than this story. It’s an excuse for explosions.
As this is a Michael Bay film, it has explosions, explosions, explosions, explosions, leering shots of the female lead (which takes the form of Megan Fox), explosions, explosions, and just a smattering of racism (in the form of the extremely stereotypical African-American Autobot, Jazz). A lot more could have been done with a Transformers live action movie, and they hired Michael Bay. In much the same way as the rumour of Zac Efron playing Kira in the Death Note movie, you need to appeal to fans. Most film buffs and Transformers fans loathe Bay (me included), so why choose him?
The performances are mediocre at best. Shia LaBeouf is promising, and his roles in films like Disturbia and Indiana Jones show that isn’t a bad actor. The parents, however, are incredibly annoying. John Turtturo as the obnoxious government agent is the most enjoyable human character in the film. The only robot that has any personality is Optimus Prime, and the casting of Peter Cullen as Prime is generally regarded as one of the few good elements of the entire film. However, the worst performance is the film is unsurprisingly Megan Fox, who I would say has the emotional depth of sandpaper, but then again I don’t want to insult sandpaper. She is so wooden and flat that you find yourself paying more attention to her lack of talent than the actual Transformers.
Transformers is not a good film. There’s no way past that. However, if you are able to switch your brain off and simply enjoy the film for the Hollywood fluff that it is than you’ll have a reasonably good time. There are a lot worse ways to spend two and a half hours. You heard me right, two and a half hours. The entire story of this film could be played out in 20 minutes, but there is a lot of padding and some stupidly long fight scenes. It may not be good, but it’s certainly not terrible.