"Bumblebee, stop lubricating the man." --Optimus Prime when Bumblebee "pisses" on Agent Simmons played by John Turturro
What an entertaining CGI joyride for the geek in every one of us! Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS thrills with awe-inspiring visual/special effects and relentless action. Though empty, disjoint and hackneyed, I couldn't help but enjoy this action-packed, special-effects feast in a battle between the evil Decepticons bent on eliminating the human race and the good Autobots led by Optimus Prime. Although the movie vaguely follows 16 year-old Sam WitWicky (played by Shia LaBeouf), Captain Lennox (played by Josh Duhamel), and signals and systems specialist Maggie Madsen (played by Rachael Taylor) in three disparate plots, the movie affects a light-hearted humor all the while maintaining its jaw-dropping visual effects in the midst of a trite battle between good and evil. The movie had me laughing quite a bit and maintains a sense of humor throughout despite the gravity of the threat posed by Megatron and the Decepticons. I was impressed by actor Shia LaBeouf's performance as the boy with the "key," his portrayal of Sam was equal parts comedic and serious. The only recognizable actor in the movie? Jon Voight plays Defense Secretary John Keller though the role and the performance is nothing to scream about.
Possible SPOILERS ahead.
As with any fantastic, scifi movie containing more pulp than anything else, there's some nonsensical plot devices. For instance, Sam's glasses which hold the key to finding a cube. The evil Decepticon leader Megatron desires this cube of power to purge Earth of the human race. Stupidly trite, to be sure. At the end, much of the action was hard to follow though no less awe-inspiring. I thought it was weak and anticlimactic how Sam places the cube inside Megatron to destroy both Megatron and the cube. I found many transitions in the movie from Sam's plot to Maggie's to Captain Lennox's jarring and out of place. So many times, I'm not sure how we got from Point A to Point B.
Still, in spite of all the negatives, it's hard not to root for our good-hearted Autobots in their battle against the viciously ruthless Decepticons. It was great to see so many of the transformer favorites we grew up with including Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. In the cartoon, Bumblebee was small and used more like a spy in reconnaissance whereas here in the movie, they've upgraded his car model quite a bit! I'd love to see a sequel and I'd love to see one of my favorite childhood transformer toys in it: Sideswipe!