Transformers: our first review

We've a couple of DoG writers right now penning their thoughts on the new Transformers movie. But American Bob, fresh from a Stateside screening, has got there first...

Transformers. Making lots of money. Right now.

BEWARE: A COUPLE OF SLIGHT SPOILERS LIE AHEAD

Watching Transformers is another illustration of why all superhero movies should be made only by Ang Lee or Chris Nolan. Okay, maybe Singer too.

There’s a whole shed-load of superfluous stuff involving the Army thrown into the first hour, so they can show off some tanks and that. Pointless. There’s a sub-plot in there, that I think they’re trying to use to ’emotionally ground’ things, but really, if you don’t care about people being killed by giant Decepticons, then you’re already dead – go watch Hostel II.

The real relationship you’re meant to care about (boy and car) is skipped over and crayoned in; and actually for a long time the tone of the whole thing is wrong. For a while, if you’re not a fan, you’d not know whether you’re watching a buddy movie or Christine.

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That car does some scary stuff… It’s whisked over in such a way, that – as Harry Knowles points out in his (actually very good) review on AICN – by the time the emotional cruxes come, you really don’t care, or understand why the central characters care. So this boy loves his car? Why? It’s apparently possessed and turns out to be a giant alien robot; there’s just not the depth to the plot that really allows you to invest.

The ‘crack team of scientists…’ are actually a-holes, and they disappear after a ludicrous comedy Decepticon death without contributing much beyond their roles as exposition – again, all part of the big military non-sequitur that turns into a massive rip from Independence Day and about a million Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla movies… Yes, the ‘we found this XX numbers of years ago but we kept it secret’ Deus Ex Machina. Heaven help us.

Such characters are so badly caricatured, even John Tuturro can’t sell lines to me…

The Autobots come across like The Marx Brothers on occasion, especially during the ‘comedy’ (read flabby and pointless) domestic ‘situation’… Again, TOTALLY POINTLESS.

Still, Bay is the best director of a car chase we currently have, and for that I salute him… Just keep him away from dialogue and character.

The pixels look mighty pretty too – and there’re plenty of them; it’s eye-bending stuff. You can really tell that ILM didn’t have a Star Wars movie to make simultaneously, that’s all I can say, if only they’d shown some of this love to my very favourite Hulk.

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The Optimus Prime fight on the Freeway (borrowing nicely from those Citroen ice-skating ads) does however, kick many asses very hard – and this alone will be worth a fiver, I can assure you.

3 out of 5

Check back shortly when Ron Hogan lets fly at Transformers too…

Rating:

3 out of 5