Transformers Review
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As soon as I saw the first trailer for Transformers, I was sold. I couldn’t wait to see a whole movie filled with cool robot fight scenes—just like the ones in the trailer.

Yeah…I know. Critics are supposed to be neutral. We’re not supposed to judge a movie before we see it. But I’ll admit it—I hadn’t even seen the movie, but I already liked it. And I definitely wasn’t alone. As one of my colleagues pointed out before the screening, “I could write the review now—just from the trailers.”

It’s a good thing I didn’t, though—because I would have had a lot of rewriting to do.

An alien power source known as the All Spark lies hidden somewhere on Earth. It has the power to create life—but it also has the power to destroy the entire human race. Two groups of warring robotic aliens, the evil Decepticons and the friendly Autobots, have tracked the All Spark to Earth—and now the fate of the planet lies in their hands.

As some of the robots attack military bases and hack into government computers, others take a more subtle approach—like hiding out as an old Camaro, driven by teenager Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf).

There’s no question that the robot fight scenes in Transformers are awesome. You’ve seen the trailers, right? The effects are simply amazing. The problem with Transformers, though, is that there just aren’t enough fight scenes—and everything else is just disappointing.

For starters, the alien aspect of the story is complex—and it never really makes much sense. The bulk of it is dumped on viewers all at once, the second the movie starts—a bunch of background information that’s guaranteed to make your head spin. But I would have gladly overlooked a weak, confusing plot, had the rest of the movie been little more than cool robot action scenes. Because—let’s face it here—that’s what people are coming to see: alien robots blowing stuff up. Unfortunately, though, director Michael Bay decided that 90 minutes of robots blowing stuff up wasn’t good enough. He decided that he needed to make the movie a painful 140 minutes long by throwing in cornball humor and drama and romance, too. He needed a story about an awkward teen romance between loser Sam and popular girl Mikaela (Megan Fox). He needed to give Sam a pair of wacky, irritating parents. And he needed some random drama involving Sergeant Lennox (Josh Duhamel), who has a wife waiting for him at home—and a baby daughter he’s never met. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, he also needed to make the robots silly.

As long as the robots are transforming and fighting and blowing stuff up, they’re cool. They’re very cool. But as soon as they’re given lines, they lose their cool. If they’re not fighting, they’re just goofy (think Short Circuit 3, only with better effects). The Autobots are suddenly bumbling and awkward—and they talk like middle-aged men who are trying really hard to sound hip. The Decepticons, on the other hand, talk like angry toddlers (only with deep, rumbling voices)—when they speak, it’s usually just to forcefully declare their names to all who will listen. The writing is just plain bad, complete with pointless subplots and ridiculous dialogue.

When it comes to the action and effects, Transformers couldn’t be better. Unfortunately, though, if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve already seen the best parts.

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