Dir: Michael Bay
Star: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson

I had no particular fondness for, or memories of, the original cartoon series; this may or may not have helped here, as it meant I was able to accept this simply as a loud, summer blockbuster, which did exactly what you would expect a movie about enormous battling robots to do. Certainly, Michael Bay is the man for this, just as Paul Verhoeven is the go-to guy for anything involving lesbians: this almost completely lacks the attempts at emotional content which bogged down Pearl Harbor and, occasionally, Armageddon. I repeat: enormous battling robots. How seriously could anyone take this? It does still suffer from the usual Baysian issue of length - his five features over the past decade have averaged 150 minutes in length, and you could argue a good case that each would have been better with the best part of an hour removed. Here, it's the final battle that goes on and on and on, to the point where enormous battling robots - hereafter referred to as EBRs - actually become dull, something of an achievement.

Up until then, however, this is a lot of fun. LaBeouf plays Sam, a high-school geek whose ancestor discovered a frozen EBR in the Arctic, and the glasses Sam has inherited hold the key to the All Spark, a device of enormous power now buried beneath Hoover Dam. Drawn to it are the Autobots and Decepticons, good and bad clans of EBRs with the ability to take on the shape of vehicles; the villains hack into the Defense Department network, seeking information on the All Spark. Of course, this being a Michael Bay film, "hacking" involves a full-out assault on a Middle East base which results in the explosion of a small third-world country. Or perhaps it just seems that way. It's likely the most-effective sequence in the entire film; by the end, we're numb to it all, even Optimus Prime fighting Megatron. However, I think the best overall moment was a group of Special Ops soldiers under attack, having to deal with an Indian call center as they tried to reach the Pentagon. I laughed like a drain at that.

November 2007

Robots in (not very good) disguise
See also: [Index] [Next] [Previous] [TC Home Page]