Warning: Spoilers. It’s about alien robots that turn into cars! The thing they’re looking for, they find somewhere! Somebody dies!
Ten minutes into Transformers: The Movie I realized something unusual was happening: I hadn’t winced or rolled my eyeballs once. I was enjoying a Michael Bay movie! The last time this happened was over a decade ago, when I saw The Rock (the one where Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery break into Alcatraz to take out hot Ed Harris).
Transformers is silly, fast, funny, loud, and happy mayhem. Shia LaBeoufâ€” sounds like a badly-spelled menu itemâ€”who really does look like a high school junior, carries the movie despite strong competition from the special effects. The transformations are smoothly done, the robots have fluid kung fu moves. Your inner eleven-year-old will be pleased to know that the line “More than meets the eye” is uttered two or three times.
I didn’t follow the cartoons, but I can tell you the movie is less traumatic than the Transformers full-length animated movie at which my sister wept buckets. It’s also not as scary as its trailer suggests. Sure, Michael Bay’s fetish for fighter pilots running to their planes (in show motion, by the water) is in evidence (Does he have some kind of deal with the US military to produce recruitment videos?), but the sappiness is under control (The boy doesn’t yell “I love you man!” to Optimus Prime). Shia’s parents are hilarious, Josh Duhamelâ€”who looks like Ryan Seacrest as a manâ€”makes a strong impression, and it’s always good to see John Turturro. The girl characters actually have something to do besides look good; they’re more comfortable with machines than the guys are. (I wish the guy from Elephant had more to do than climb a tree.)
True, I couldn’t tell the difference between the Autobots and the Decepticons (as far as I could tell, the colored ones were good, the plain ones bad), but I still had a good time watching mass destruction. I predict a surge in sales of vintage Camaros. And the toys, of course, because Transformers is really a very long ad for Hasbroâ€”that we in Manila can see a full week ahead of nearly everyone else. It seems unfair that a being from an advanced civilization would end up as a monster truck on earth, but that’s just my inner adult quibbling.