out of Five
Running time: 143
The effects are jaw-droppingly good and if all you want is giant robots blowing stuff up, then Transformers delivers, but the story and characters are disappointingly weak.
What's it all about?
When giant transforming robots attack some American troops (including Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson), the government tries to find out who's responsible, aided by computer nerds Rachael Taylor and Anthony Anderson. It turns out that the attackers are evil robots called Decepticons, and they're here to destroy the earth.
Meanwhile, motor-mouthed Californian teenager Sam (Shia LaBeouf) has just bought his first car and has persuaded the hottest girl in school (Megan Fox as Mikaela) to go out with him. However, his car is actually a robot in disguise – a member of a team of good robots called Autobots, here to protect the earth – and Sam and Mikaela soon find themselves at the centre of a giant robot smackdown.
The special effects are nothing short of astonishing – there's not a single dodgy CGI moment in the entire film and you actually believe that giant robots are smashing things up. Or you would, if we lived in less CGI-aware times.
LaBeouf is a likeable actor but he's saddled with a character who's frequently irritating and never stops talking long enough to reveal any depth. However, Megan Fox has a nice line in feisty, kick-ass heroines that should see her on teenagers' bedroom walls for some time to come, while Hugo Weaving does a great job as the voice of Megatron.
The main problem is that the story isn't as good as the effects. Instead of smashing up national monuments, Independence Day-style, the evil robots start chasing after a cube and it all becomes rather tedious. It's also so loud that you'll fear for your own ears.
Transformers delivers mightily in terms of action and effects but it's a shame more attention wasn't paid to the script and the characters.