4 StarsI have long been an admire of Michael Bay’s work and yet Transformers blindsided me, frankly. For years Bay had been proclaiming that he would make a children’s epic. That sounded like a public relations line from a man who specialized in violent, testosterone driven action extravaganzas. All of his previous films Armageddon, The Island, and The Rock specifically have shown off a fetish for military hardware and all things that go boom in some way. These previous efforts have aided Bay in combining elements from each into Transformers.
Broken into its simplest elements Transformers is a story about a 16yr old boy buying his first car and longing for the attention of the hottest girl in school. It’s right out of Spielberg heaven (it’s no wonder he served as executive producer on the film). Thrown into an intergalactic war between to factions of a metal bound species is Sam Wittwicky (Labeouf). The boy who inadvertently buys a used camero that turns out to be part of an alien race.
Having grown up with the long-running cartoon series I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I entered the theater. I wasn’t prepared to be thoroughly entertained and excited to the level that I was. The film has moments of genuine humor, (Labeouf is a gifted comedic actor) that originate organically from the characters and don’t seem shoe-horned in for ‘comedic relief’. I was surprised how much I chuckled during the picture. As is the case with most of Bay’s work Transformers goes on for a bit too long. Clocking in at 143 minutes it’s fair to say that 10 minutes could have been cut. While the movie is an outstanding technical achievement it’s also a little too much of a good thing.
I believe that Transformers represents the pinnacle of Michael Bay’s career. It’s his most accomplished work, he’s totally in control of story and tone throughout. While never losing sight of the fact that he’s making a summer-popcorn film that is geared to 13yr old boys’ values and ethics. Transformers is a big, loud, exhilarating ride of a film with many spectacular sights. Yet oddly the moments I recall most fondly are the scenes between Sam and his family.
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel