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Transformers: (Way) Less Than Meets The Eye

If you were fond of Hasbro's Transformers action figures and have been dying to watch Industrial Light and Magic use CGI to make them come to life on screen, ignore the following review. Ditto if you love insanely loud (and inanely plotted) action movies. But if you need character development and a coherent story, read this and then — run. Run as if a giant robot that was just moments ago a boom-box is chasing you down the street. Otherwise you’ll be stuck, as I was, in two hours and twenty minutes of hell. Transformers, I’m sorry to say, sucked hard.

First, there's the story. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is your average horny eleventh-grader who wants two things more than anything: a car and the hot chick, Mikaela, played by second coming of Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox. He gets his car, a mysterious and rusty old yellow Camaro, and pretty soon, with its help, he gets the girl, too. The car, it turns out, is an Autobot he calls Bumblebee, one of the good guys of an alien robot race that has come to earth to find an important cube called “Allspark” that holds all power (don’t ask) and to keep it from the bad guy alien robots, the Decepticons, who want to use the cube’s power to destroy the earth. There's more to this robot alien tale, though, so

Why is this epic alien robot battle raging around this nobody hormonal teen? Because unbeknownst to Sam, the glasses he has been trying to sell on eBay that belonged to his great-great grandfather somehow have imprinted on them the map of the cube’s whereabouts. So, the Decepticons go online to search for the glasses. One of Transformers' saving graces is its consistent sense of humor. In one of its funnier scenes, the Decepticon Barricade, after changing from a black cop car into an imposing and gigantic robot, shouts in his booming bass voice to a bewildered Sam, “Are you LadiesMan 217?!” (referring to his eBay screen name).

But no matter how funny (and it’s not that funny) Transformers is, or how cool the transforming robots are (and trust me, after the bazillionth time one of them transforms, you will be utterly indifferent), these elements cannot change the fact that the film is organized around endless robot chase scenes and battles that just become one big CGI blur. Forget the subplot about the war in Qatar which begins the film with actors like Josh Duhamel as a soldier and John Voight as Defense Secretary, or the subplot about two hackers who try to catch the wily Decepticons, or the subplot with John Turturro and the secret government agency that’s been hiding the cube. These scenes simply drag this already interminable film into seeming infinity.

But some die-hard fans are easier to please. As I left the theatre, I heard a man say on his cell phone, "That was tight! Robots were bouncing off of buildings, man!” To him, nearly two and a half hours of that was awesome. I still demand that action movies have some kind of engaging plot and character.

Photos courtesy of Paramount

Join The Conversation
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 7 years
I saw Transformers this weekend, and I must say that I was not impressed at all. It took until the end of the movie for it to turn slightly interresting. I would not recommend seeing this. There was too much cursing in this movie, sexual content, and the story line was not good at all. If you can buy this movie for $5 on bootleg DVD then I would suggest seeing it that way instead. I would not waste paying for the whole family to see this in the theater.
holysnap holysnap 9 years
i think it was awesome yes some weird uneccesary scenes but i loved it and thought it was action packed and interesting! team shia!!!
koolbr33z3 koolbr33z3 9 years
I liked it. The lack of character development and plot didn't ruin the experience for me at all. It was an entertaining movie. Let's just leave it at that.
sooosheee sooosheee 9 years
High expectations? hehe I hated transformers (the cartoons) as a kid, I could not stand it. I went to see the movie cause of my bf and was shocked that I actually liked it. PS i saw it twice.
eicmarie eicmarie 9 years
I loved the Transformers! My brother and I were always big fans of Bumblebee! I think Shia LaBeoufe is the bestest actor. He was really good in this and I loved him in Disturbia. I really felt the fear in alot of his scenes.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
I wasnt' expecting it to be good so it actually surprised me... therefore I disagree with your review. I didn't LOVE it but I did think it was entertaining. Although it was a tad bit long
krystalmak krystalmak 9 years
Knowing very little about transformers...... to be an understatement, i knew NOTHING about it, (Only thing I knew about it was from Dane Cook- "Optimus Prime, sit next to Megatron" and it made so much more sense after watching the movie) this movie was REALLY good. I REALLY enjoyed it... and that's all I have to say about it.
miss-britt miss-britt 9 years
I went and saw it today, and really enjoyed it. And GOSH i love me some shia but the best part was watching my mom get teary eye at the end. I just looked at her and asked "are you serious?"
miz-vanessa-anne miz-vanessa-anne 9 years
I think some people just don't want to admit that the movie they think is one of the coolest movies ever got a bad review. If you liked this movie so much, why are you even going around to read the review when you obviously knew it wasn't "oscar-worthy". Seriously, don't get worked up over it.. reviews have purposes, they judge the movie by what they are, not matter how bad or good you're expecting them to be.
miz-vanessa-anne miz-vanessa-anne 9 years
I agree with Dukesup. The plot sounds exceptionally silly all due to the fact that Ebay was implemented into it (what in the world--??) and as someone who cringed at the mere 10 minutes of action-packed pirate fights in POC: At Worlds End, I'm pretty sure this is going to be something I won't enjoy as much. I notice people claiming, well it's not "shakespeare" but it's so coooool. It would be a lot cooler if they made it more intelligent as well.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I saw this movie yesterday - at a Sunday morning matinee and the theatre was packed! I hadn't seen the cartoon, but my husband had and he really wanted to see it, so I decided to tag along. SOOO glad that I did! I absolutely loved it! The CGI was great, Shia was hilarious (as were his parents) and I too choked up at the Bumblebee scenes. I never expected this movie to be anything more than what I got - pure entertainment!
cocca cocca 9 years
ok, some people just need to get the sticks up their asses and get off their high horses! this movie like everyone said was based on a damn cartoon and toys!!! what the hell do you expect? :? of course there is no storyline and character development! if there was, it would have been BORING! clearly, it's all about the effects! heeeellooooo! didn't you see the preview before you watched it? that's why they have them. to rate this movie based on the storyline is ridiculous! a lot of people who went to go see this movie purely went for the special effects including me, i didn't expect an oscar nomination or anything from this movie at all! i expected a kid's movie with a little bit of humor and a whole lot of action and that's what i got and i loved every minute of it! man, to run from this movie is understated, i should have ran from clicking on this post!!! :rant: but then again, everyone has their own opinion right?
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I totally agree with Nyara, Pud, and tchan01. I never watched the cartoon and I had no desire to see the movie. But I went along with my boyfriend and his friend. I wound up loving the movie! The effects were awesome and the humor was just right. I would love to see it again if I had someone else to go with. Amazingly my boyfriend didn't like it and pretty much agreed with Buzz. He felt like he had 2 1/2 hrs of special effects crammed down his throat. (And he watched the cartoons as a kid). That said... I think the movie was awesome!!! :)
imtheheppest imtheheppest 9 years
I would havve to agree with Lisara. It's no Shakespeare. But it was a lot of fun..and I don't typically like many action movies. And to be honest, if you want character and plot..go see another type of movie. Don't count on most action movies to bring you that to the table. With the exception of the Bourne trilogy like someone else said..and others. Most action movies just don't need that. If you're wanting an action movie with character and plot..look for an action movie with subgenres like an action/drama/comedy or something. But, I loved this movie! I watched the cartoon growing up and it held up to my expectations. There were things that did confuse me, as I've fogotten most of the things of the cartoon so I got a little lost, but all was good. Shia's performance was great. I still don't see how you can compare Megan Fox to Angelina Jolie though. Confusion. And to whoever said that Angelina was the best actress of this century..PUH-LEASE!
buffybot buffybot 9 years
I loved every minute of this movie. It was clever and campy and the CGI was UNBELIEVABLE! So worth the money... I may even go again.
Nanogirl Nanogirl 9 years
I loved the movie, and I'm honestly sad it got panned. This is not a drama to be over-analyzed with amazing plot, character development, and a strong storyline. This was an action movie. It shouldn't be rated the same as a drama or a movie that's Oscar Buzzworthy. Just like technically a romatic comedy is an overdone diatribe of girl and boy like each other, some problem occurs, girl and boy eventually get together, Action movies have their own little things that sometimes have a bit more depth. And for an Action Movie, I thought Transformers did a great job upgrading itself from a kid's toy.
jettafer99 jettafer99 9 years
By the way, if you cant tell by my comment above - I LOVED Transformers, as evidenced by the fact that I got slightly choked up about Bumblebee at one point and cheered out loud at the end. I will see it again!! :)
jettafer99 jettafer99 9 years
What is the big deal? Its a summer movie, not an indi flick. I need as much plot and character development as the next girl, and I think this movie delivers enough to make an enjoyable movie. No, its not Meryl Streep material, but I was very invested with the characters and their plight by the end. Call me easy to please, but really its all I want and expect from a cartoon movie opening on the 4th of July.
mammaswa mammaswa 9 years
I also disagree with this review. I saw it Tuesday afternoon & loved it! People in the theater also clapped at the end. I love it so much I want to see it again!!! I just may have to take my 11 yr old nephew so I can see it again!!!! :)
smarler smarler 9 years
Buzz, I'm sorry, but I disagree. It was Transformers, and it was pretty cool, although I would have made a few small changes: ditch the Australian girl plotline, give Transformers more dialogue, show more Josh Duhamel. 'Cause he's H-O-T.
discoqueen1 discoqueen1 9 years
Tranformers more than met my expectations!!! I don't agree with Buzz on this movie review. We laughed, got a little teary eyed, felt blown away by special effects, and left completely satisfied by the over all out come of the movie. That's what going to the movies is all about. I happen to know a little about Transformers because I have a younger brother. We would watch the cartoon on Saturday mornings. If we had to play together and it was his choice, I would play Transformers or Voltron. That was it. I was very much looking forward to seeing how the Transformers would transform with the way special effects are today. It was simply....beyond perfection! I would pay to see it again.......Really! It's certainly MUCH better than some chick flics I've seen recently. Bumble Bee can be my guardian any day! A+ 5 out of 5 stars A must see!
1missy 1missy 9 years
i remember the cartoon and the song.
coloradomomma coloradomomma 9 years
My husband loved it- couldn't drag me there with wild horses. He loved the effects and was happily surprised that there was an actual plot. I think it is all about setting realistic expectations with you go to the movies.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
This was a fun movie. It wasn't though provoking or insightful, but a fun to watch summer action movie. THe action never stopped! Sure the characters were a ltitle dumb and some of the dialog was cheezy, but it's a movie based on a cartoon (and an awesome one at that) so see it for what it is. Just fun!
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