Transformers is a fantastic franchise, once which most children of the 80’s and early 90’s grew up with. Unfortunately I never got into the brand as it was not broadcast back in the UK (we got the toys and I played with a few around friends houses, but never really got into it). I had a happy childhood, one that I’d not change much about, that said, having seen Michael Bay’s recent attempt at bringing the property to the big screen I can say for certain that I missed out considerably.
It’s said that there is an 8 year old boy inside every man. This film has everything a 8 year old boy could ever want in a film and more. Cool cars, big explosions, interstellar super heroes, morphing big rigs…you name it, it’s here. For those of us not willing to accept our inner juvenile urges there is a hot chick to look at, a loyal bond between man and machine, government cover-ups and….another hot chick to look at. Shia LaBoeuf does a believable (though not as phenomenal as he is being hyped) performance, as does most of the cast. Considering they are talking to giant, talking, robo-cars, that’s an impressive accomplishment. The movie suffers however from an overload of human characters that could really have been consolidated to make the plot flow smoother without so many superfluous subplots to visit. That, and John Turturro’s agent character is so out of place and overacted that it cheapens many important scenes to a shameful degree. Visually the movie is stunning. The robots are breathtaking, the lighting and angles really emphasize the grand scale of the film, and the slow motion filters during the chases and battle scenes really showcase the awesome animation.
The movie however relies too much on previous understanding of the Transformers show/toys and falls a little flat on non-fanboys. A little too much is not laid out for the oblivious in the audience, to a degree where it really starts to feel like you are watching a film for a different crowd. I enjoyed it wholeheartedly, don’t get me wrong. And there is so much to this film that is absolutely brilliant, but I definitely felt disadvantaged not knowing the premise and outcome of the previous television iterations. Yet it's hard not to walk out of the theater, get behind the wheel of your car and think in your inner 8 year-old voice; “what if my car was a transformer?” and that is where the movie succeeds. It’s going to be big. And it deserves it.