Every summer someone releases a big dumb movie. This summer, Transformers is the biggest, dumbest thing around. The plot is weak, straightforward and predictable. The characterisation is shallow and the casting often misses the mark. But then, you don’t go to see a film where giant robots turn into cars expecting Dr Zhivago, do you?
The title heroes are conspicuous by their absence in the (overlong) first act and when they do turn up, it is a bit of a disappointment. The original toys were an example of utility leading to near-perfect design. You could tell which was which at a glance because they all looked pretty much exactly like what they turned into. Soundwave’s chest was clearly a tape deck, Jazz’s was the front end of a Porsche 911 and Megatron was a gun, with a telescopic sight on his arm. This time around only their colouring tells you which Autobot is which and telling the Decepticons apart is almost impossible. This makes the climactic battle-scene more than a little confused. The transforming itself is over-complicated, a blur of mechanical bits and pieces which again seems to miss the point. Part of the fun of playing with Transformers was working out which way to change them from one state to the other. Robots covered in gears, tyres and bits of windscreen wiper from head to toe don’t actually look like they would turn into cars without being melted down first.
So how about gags? Yes, it is littered with them. Some work, there are moments which should amuse anyone. As time goes on though, the jokes start to feel a bit forced. The premise after all is ridiculous and there is a natural humour in that, but when Optimus Prime is doing slapstick even the sternest suspension of disbelief will waver. And there’s far too much of that. Too long, a visual mess and little to catch the attention of anyone over the age of six. But go and see it anyway. There’s robots in it that turn into cars.
Transformers official site