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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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More posters to select




FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Shia LaBeouf
Jon Voight
Travis Van Winkle
Megan Fox
Peter Cullen
Hugo Weaving
Josh Duhamel
Tyrese Gibson.
Directors
Michael Bay.
Screenwriters
Alex Kurtzman
Roberto Orci.
Running Time
126 mins. minutes

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Transformers
Hasbro's robots come out of disguise to create total Bayhem


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Plot
Dippy youngster Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) is caught in the race to find a holy relic of robots who adapt by ‘transforming’ into local vehicles. On one side are the decent, human-protecting Autobots (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide and Jazz); on the other the cruel, destructive Decepticons (with Megatron, Starscream and Barricade). Activate!


Review
Transformers
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As possibly Cinema’s greatest exponent, Orson Welles would sigh when quizzed about his final film. Within its morally charged story, he was the voice of Unicron the chaos-bringer, most massive and deadly of the Transformers, a role he described without irony as “a big toy who attacked a lot of smaller toys”.

Unicron does not make an appearance amongst the coterie of frenetic robots in
Michael Bay’s live-action rendition of the cult Japanese toy-line, but the description serves. It’s a film about big toys attacking a lot of small toys, and some equally as big, and some much bigger (Transformers are equal-opportunity), and a lot of humans (if you’re a Decepticon) and buildings (mostly downtown LA), not to forgo a fairly determined assault on our senses.

It is not, you should understand, a film for those who seek the solace of art. It is, however, the most straight-up, brain-on-standby, CG-buffed explosion of out-and-out fun the summer has yet delivered. Another of cinema’s great exponents, Alfred Hitchcock, would often despair of certain cinemagoers’ predilection for plot logic. He would ignore the cry of these ‘Plausibles’ and fiddle his books with rollicking suspense.
Michael Bay, too, is no friend of the Plausibles, but his trick is to deafen them with ‘Bayhem’ (def: blowing shit up at sunset). Even amongst the geek-lore of sci-fi he remains more concerned with laying waste to LA than a redoubtable internal logic.

It shouldn’t startle you to hear that the plot is ludicrous: a box (varying in size from a city block to a handbag — nothing in the movie is capable of sitting still) with the power to reconfigure machines into Transformers (at one witty point a drinks dispenser sprouts mechanoid legs and a cannon that fires cans at people) has ended up on Earth. As, currently, have these opposing gangs of super-robots. First stop is a dumb kid whose great-grandfather’s glasses have
the imprint of a map of the box’s location... Oh, forget it. Listen, good robots fight bad ones and we get in the way. The end.

When you’ve got a film about sentient robots from outer space (originally Cybertron, but they fragged their home planet in some internecine techno-squabble) who can inhabit the guise of a canary-yellow Camaro or jet fighter or boombox (Gremlin-like midget-bot Frenzy is an in-joke reference to a misconceived toy that swizzled into a cassette tape), judging your tone can be tricky. Transformers was hardly going to embrace the giddy naturalism of the French New Wave, but Bay bravely pushes his film from the stern hegemony of cool into goofy, and it fits. Like its animated predecessor, the film is still a cartoon where a gang of 20-foot robots can spill about a garden lawn like Buster Keaton. The film is winningly willing to admit to its own silliness. For the first third, until the Autobots assemble like the A-Team in metallic drag under the governorship of stiff-rigged head-bot Optimus Prime (voiced with a headmaster’s growl by Peter Cullen), it plays more like a teen comedy than a brash actioner. A good one, too, as the human leads are every bit as charming as the boulder-sized hood ornaments.

Bay has done himself a real favour casting LaBeouf as the excitable loser about to discover his first car has a big surprise under the hood. He shares the pop-neurotic jabber of a young Woody Allen with Tom Hanks’ steady charisma, a straightforward-looking guy who still shines like a movie star. A smart, natural comedian, he levels the bluntness of this toy story with an ironic bluster. Quite apart from his car growing legs, he’s been fidgety enough about the legs of classmate Mikaela (Megan Fox). Drunkenly lapped up by Bay’s lascivious camera, she still comes with a steel core (it’s not just the cars who’ve got hidden centres): Mikaela’s a whizz with engines, not that boys can get beyond her windshield. In fact, all the girls of the movie come moulded to a geek ideal: stunning and boyishly practical. In one of the overextended subplots we get Australian beauty Rachael Taylor as an NSA computer dweeb cracking the Decepticons’ code.

The cast is at its best young: the older actors, notably Jon Voight and John Turturro as governmental stooges as slow on the uptake as many a parent might be, hammily herk and jerk as if undergoing their own internal shake-up. The film is least sure when mustering global peril, testing the waters of inference with an attack on an American military base in
. The first suspects are the Iranians, and along the way there’s a few spry digs at the Bush administration, but any politicising is swiftly reduced to a potty super-Secret Service known as Sector Seven who’ve got Megatron in a deep freeze inside the Hoover Dam, and the film gets on with its juvenile doctrine of daft punk.

But who’s turning up to Transformers looking for the fuss of subtext? Hell, the dialogue — much of it as ramrod-stiff as Prime’s instep — just slows things down. We’ve signed up for the robot carnage so loudly boasted of in the sensational trailer, and ILM have got it going on. Perhaps they’re the right generation: a huddle of techies reliving the shape-shifting gimmicks of childhood. And these droids are so much more than Metal Mickey on stilts: they ratchet, gyrate and warp at electric speeds to the satisfying rhythmic clank of metal hefted on metal. In short, the transforming is awesome.

Whether it’s Optimus Prime gracefully unpacking his flame-decaled truck chassis into a warrior-robot as polished as the knights in Excalibur, or Starscream flitting into and out of a Lockheed Raptor like a steel-clad fairy, or the splendid Megatron, all barbs and violent blooms like a psychopathic rose bush, the dynamics are intricately detailed, conjuring images of a million sprockets whirring in unison. All their U-turns and spins, skid-stops and take-offs are choreographed into a stunning ballet of impossible motion.

As the ’bots show up for a big showdow in humanville, soldiers spilling about like ants, a nonsense/genius tribute to old monster-movies, it’s all about the Sturm und Drang of pure action. It’s a dream-clatter of robot-on-robot war to drive Craig Charles to drugs. On old Orson’s level — “big toys attacking smaller toys” — it truly delivers.

It’s a shame, then, that
Michael Bay can’t help being Michael


Extras

Transformers Transformers
Released: 03 December 2007
There’s a heavy focus on the creation of the Transformers. The early production art is limited but terrific, and shows how the robots moved from galumphing collections of right-angles to the sleek arrangements of valves and crankshafts that made it to the screen.

Featurettes are divided into strands about the Autobots and Decepticons, with all given enough depth and thought to be worth watching all the way through. Bay’s commentary is suitably gung-ho. If there’s one thing lacking, it’s that there’s fairly little on the history of the Transformers themselves, but you can pick up the original animated movie if you’re a completist.


Verdict
The script may have rubbery legs, but the action is rock-hard. The surprise is the lightness of touch: treat as a comedy for best results.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Transformers
Empire Star Rating

Transformers

Silly and bombastic, its also smartly written to have an even mix of action, humor and plot. Transformers is a hardcore sci-fi rush that's a lot more intriguing than it sets out to be, turning simple toys into a visually striking adventure. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 04:48, 13 November 2012 | Report This Post


Transformers Review

While believable characters and a solid plot are hard to come by in Transformers, the effects are staggering and the action is exhilarating. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:20, 13 December 2011 | Report This Post


Shiny action entertainment

A completely solid blockbuster and thankfully for more older viewers doesnt take itself too seriously, it is in fact quite funny at times. Although I wouldn't class myself as a fan it cannot be denied the entertainment value. The action/effects are great and the whole film has a nice glossy feel, LaBeouf does a fine job also and Fox isnt unwelcome. It is easy at first to criticise the film's overall boyishness, clunky script and some moments which are frankly not funny at all. However the films ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 23:24, 03 July 2011 | Report This Post


A great actioin movie, but it lacks in humanity. Fights are simply amazing, but the humor is sometimes subjective. Doesnt change the fact that its one if the best film of 2007. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by thejok3rrules at 22:40, 24 June 2011 | Report This Post


Spectacular

This is Michael Bay's best so far, it's funny and the action is definutly rock hard. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:55, 02 June 2011 | Report This Post


Spectacular

This is Michael Bay's best so far, it's funny and the action is definutly rock hard. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:55, 02 June 2011 | Report This Post


Spectacular

This is Michael Bay's best so far, it's funny and the action is definutly rock hard. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:54, 02 June 2011 | Report This Post


Did Bay just make a good movie?

Ok, I'm a self confessed transformers nut since I was a kid so this is biased in that respect. However, I feel balance is restored since I really hate Michael Bay. But I have to say that this was a great movie. Pity about the sequel. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bnicholson50 at 20:15, 01 March 2011 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418279/]Transformerst still is an entertaining flick and it`s still excellent to turn of your brain with the bombastic action flicks of Michael "Mr. Orange" Bay after a day`s work. Still, I was a little less excited this time then when I saw it in cinema on its release. The nostalgia score is high of course, the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron make you wanna go back to your childhood. Too bad that the story isn`t anything more than "just ok" a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:41, 16 August 2010 | Report This Post


I was never interested in transformers before this movie. Didnt watch the show or play with the toys so I went in a bit blind. But after the first incredible assault on a US military base I was completely blown away. The rest of the film is just as good, its a very well cast film and very funny but its the giant robots that steal the show, as they should. ILM has done an amazing job on the effects. The robots look photo real and the transforming is done very slickly, you can see each part slidin... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stevolegendbauer at 17:02, 04 August 2010 | Report This Post


Transformers: Wow!

Now I’m not a big fan of monster movies like King Kong or Godzilla but this was amazing! I love Shi LaBeouf and Megan Fox and together they were great. The story was innotive and strong and the supporting cast were brilliant. The only thing that disappointed me was the lack of close-ups and appearances of the transformed robots. Overall an amazing film, defiantly one for the comic book fans. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by LUCASLITTLEWOOD at 18:22, 02 July 2010 | Report This Post


good enough film. The first half is dull, chessy and badly scripted. but the second half throws away the script and this becomes a brilliant blockbuster ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by newblue11 at 17:00, 24 May 2010 | Report This Post


good enough film. The first half is dull, chessy and badly scripted. but the second half throws away the script and this becomes a brilliant blockbuster ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by newblue11 at 17:00, 24 May 2010 | Report This Post


The perfect blend...

It came as a complete shock to me that I LOVED this movie! Granted, I would consider myself to be a Michael Bay fan, but certainly not a Transformers fan. Yes, I played with toys as a kid and the concept is good, but I never really bought into the TV shoes etc... But there's very little wrong with this film. Great script, dialogue, action, music and pacing. I now some may scoff at my great dialogue line, but the core to this films' success is the fact that it knows exactly what it is. I... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by neopol at 18:01, 09 May 2010 | Report This Post


309

At first i was kind of dissapointed, but to be honest action wise it still kicks just about every other comic book movies ass. And as The Dalnator said its got everything a blockbuster needs. This is the Blu-ray i reach for when ever im bored. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by suleiman at 15:39, 01 March 2010 | Report This Post


So much fun

I would give this a four star rating but it takes too long in introducing the characters. Once it gets over the preamble then its what a transformers film should be, lots of robots blowing stuff up. I'll honest I first saw this was at the cinema and I didn't come away with a great impression but after seeing the second film I knew I had to see more robot action. Yes teh acting is basic and the plot is bonkers but then the cartoon never made much sense so why should the film. Since buyng ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by brokenking at 15:41, 21 July 2009 | Report This Post


A pleasant surprise

On sitting down to watch Transformers, I had a clear picture in my head of what I expected: Rip-roaring action, plummeting across the screen every other minute; clunky dialogue filling in the moments that the action doesn't take up the film; disappointment. I was partly right, however there was no disappointment to be found here. From the moment the film began, I knew to take it in a different approach to any other blockbuster. Best not taken seriously, I sat back and watched a solid Shia LaBeou... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jacob_lost at 12:44, 29 June 2009 | Report This Post


Spectacular...name it as my second favorite movie!

This movie rocks!!! Me and my friend couldn't believe our eyes! We wish it could go on and on. It's a blend of action,thrills,drama and funny goofs. I hope T2: ROTF gets better. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by batbhai at 09:21, 30 May 2009 | Report This Post


AMAZING

honestly the best film i have ever seen! I LOVE OPTIMUS! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTFOptimusPrime at 15:34, 10 May 2009 | Report This Post


AMAZING

honestly the best film i have ever seen! I LOVE OPTIMUS! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTFOptimusPrime at 15:34, 10 May 2009 | Report This Post


Script is absolutely terrible but who cares? It's a blockbuster. The action well makes up for it. Great CG effects. Watch it.... NOW!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PureAinmhi at 18:21, 15 April 2009 | Report This Post


Better than expected Transformers

Not bad. Much better than I thought it would be. Good effects, funny, a little too long, but not bad. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 21:45, 04 March 2009 | Report This Post


Better than expected Transformers

Not bad. Much better than I thought it would be. Good effects, funny, a little too long, but not bad. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 21:45, 04 March 2009 | Report This Post


i was very surprised at how gritty this movie was. i dont mean private ryan gritty but it has a certain dirty (steady) edge to it. i also loved the final fight at the end. i think this does deserve four stars as it holds its ground for such a long run time. (and TOP job on the budget for this film as well) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobyfilm at 19:59, 28 January 2009 | Report This Post


AWESOME!

call me shallow but this film had everything for a brilliant summer blockbuster. sexy women, big explosions, great special effects, lots of explosions and battles, big inspirational music, army men and soldiers, comedy and great rising star lead performance from shia labeouf. sure it isnt art but its one hell of a fun time in the cinema ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by THE DALTONATOR at 09:28, 27 January 2009 | Report This Post


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