Steven Spielberg served as executive producer on the next stop on my journey through the Sci-Fi Chronicles book, but when handed over to Michael Bay, the film is a nausea-inducing mess that lacks a real story.
Bay’s editing style has never been my favourite. Most of the shots in the film don’t last much longer than 5 seconds, it just cuts and cuts and cuts, and never gives you a moment to take in the wonder of what you are seeing.
The story, such that is, follows young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) who comes into a possession of a car, that actually isn’t. It seems giant robots, who can transform into vehicles to hide their existence to humans are on Earth to find a mystical cube that promises unlimited power.
The heroes are the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), who Sam, and would-be girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) ally themselves with, and find themselves caught up in an intergalactic war. The evil Decepticons, led by Megatron (Hugo Weaving) are already on the planet seeking the cube, and don’t care who gets in the way. And there are plenty to get in the way as a number of actors throw in with the Autobots; Jon Voigt, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Anderson and John Turturro, are just a few of the names that join in the headache-inducing movie.
What follows, as the story gets underway, is a series of dizzying set pieces as stars of various tier levels are thrown into the fray against the computer-generated robots.
The film suffers most during the action sequences, the quick cuts become faster and faster, shakey cam use is everywhere, and instead of showing you the action beats and letting you enjoy them, you are left with the impression that maybe you saw something cool.
For a moment, let’s just step sideways and address the mistake in casting, Rachael Taylor has less screen time than Fox, but proves every time she’s onscreen that she’s the better actor and deserved the larger role.
The film is filled with juvenile humour, is occasionally sexist, racist, something that apparently gets worse in the next film, so there’s that to look forward to.
There is a huge following for these films, and as mentioned in previous Transformers review, I was always on the edge of the phenomena growing up, and when the films came along I wasn’t excited about it, and watching it again now, I’m still less than wowed by it, and would seek my entertainment elsewhere.
It doesn’t work. But that didn’t stop it from doing gangbusters at the theatre causing more films to be made, which, I’ll have to take a look at sooner or later… three sequels to go.