Friday, June 23, 2017

Movie Review: Transformers

The wild robot action-adventure directed by Michael Bay first hit the big screen in 2007 and was impressive enough for such a strange premise. When a military base is attacked by a strange weapon, an elite group of soldiers led by Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) set out into the desert, hunted by the strange robotic being. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) wants to buy a car and win the heart of Mikaela (Megan Fox). The car his father Ron (Kevin Dunn) helps him buy has some strange malfunctions but a super-powered engine. At the Pentagon, an elite group of hackers led by Maggie (Rachael Taylor) tracks the odd signal that searches for something in the Air Force One database. 

The data the robots acquire leads them to LadiesMan217, or Sam. The yellow car takes off on its own and Sam pursues it into a junkyard where he sees it stand up and shine a signal into the night sky. Arrested, Sam tries to explain the strange sight to disbelieving officers. Maggie tries to explain to Defense Secretary Keller (Jon Voight) the super fast signal but her explanation of a DNA-based computer is too outrageous. The military squad fights the scorpion transformer and manages to subdue it by calling in an airstrike. Maggie steals the classified code and brings it to the hacker Glen (Anthony Anderson) who deciphers a code right before the FBI bursts in to arrest him.

Sam's Camaro returns and chases after him. A police car transforms in front of him and interrogates him about a pair of glasses he put on eBay. Mikaela follows him and they're saved by the Camaro which turns out to be Bumblebee to fight off the villain. The transformers descend from space. Optimus Prime explains what they are and why they need Sam's ancestor's glasses. Sam searches for the glasses but his mom Judy (Julie White) and dad want to know what is going on. A mysterious group called Sector 7 led by Agent Simmons (John Turturro) apprehend Sam and Mikaela but the transformers intervene. Bumblebee is captured and brought to the Hoover Dam where Megatron has been stored frozen for decades.

Athe secret facility, the characters converge at the AllSpark, which can turn any technology into a robot. The Autobots head towards Hoover Dam as do the Decepticons. Starscream destroys the power and Megatron thaws out. The Autobots escort Sam and the cube to the city where they hope to destroy it by putting it into Optimus Prime's chest. A highway chase and battle ensue between the transformers. The military work with the Autobots to fight the Decepticons as Sam tries to escape with the AllSpark. Optimus and Megatron fight but Megatron wins and catches Sam. Optimus intervenes at the last minute and as Megatron is about to kill Prime, Sam steps in and holds the cube up to Megatron's chest, shutting him down.

The Transformers movies do not follow any sort of logical coherence or set of comprehensible rules. They are simply huge spectacles of giant robots fighting each other with mediocre actors playing the characters caught in the middle. Bay's directing mixes with the special effects for some fun scenes in this film. The pacing is rushed enough that audiences don't have to pay too close attention to the muddled plot holes and ridiculousness of children's toys come to life. I enjoyed this film when it first came out a decade ago because these sort of blockbusters were not as commonplace as they have become now. 

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