With a running time of 143 minutes, this is a relatively long movie. It didn't seem that long, and I was very surprised when I looked at my watch as we exited the theater and it was after 2:30 p.m. (movie started at 11:40 a.m.).
"For anyone who grew up with the Hasbro action figures that first appeared in 1984 (and yes, a number of those fans were girls), it's a kiddie dream come true to groove on the heavy-duty sci-fi transformations. In the movie, cars and trucks erupt and unfold, their mechanical guts spilling out, as if a trash compactor had suddenly exploded into bits and pieces, which then reassemble themselves, with miraculous speed and precision, into giant stalking robots.
At least one of these extraterrestrial machine men has a true touch of cool. His name is Optimus Prime, and he morphs out of a big rig, has a super-nifty '70s-outlaw red-flame-on-blue design, and speaks in a booming voice (by Peter Cullen, who originated the role in the Transformers cartoon series) that's like Darth Vader with a touch of Gene Simmons. The rest of the robots, who include Optimus' nice Autobot comrades as well as the grayish, looming, nasty Decepticons, are dazzling to look at but don't have much character. They're noisy, rather impersonal shape-shifting contraptions, and so is the movie, which is like a mash-up of War of the Worlds, RoboCop, The Terminator, Christine, Gremlins, Aliens, and Godzilla." (EW.com movie review)
For the most part I agree with the EW review. I was in high school when the Transformers cartoon came out, so I don't remember it. My daughter is too young to have seen the cartoon. I guess this was a plus for us. We didn't have anything to compare it to, so we enjoyed the movie. There were times when the 'Bots were fighting that it was difficult to tell who was who.
Transformers was directed by Michael Bay and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, and if the credits had been reversed, you can just imagine what a tingly buildup of wonder Spielberg might have gone for. Bay, by contrast, slams right past mystery. He loses no time assaulting the audience with gizmo fever, as a boom box on Air Force One erupts into a scissor-limbed mini-robot, a U.S. desert platoon gets attacked in Qatar by a metal scorpion, and Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), a teenager who's all fumbly, driven hormones, gets his first car — a rusty yellow 1976 Chevy Camaro, which will soon transform itself into the trusty Autobot named Bumblebee.
So why is this epic battle transpiring on Earth? The backstory of Transformers — the conflict between the Autobots and the Decepticons; the mystic cube that guides their destinies; the fact that Sam's great-great-grandfather was an Arctic explorer whose eyeglasses got imprinted with a crucial code.
There was one scene with the parents that I wish could have been changed. The topic of discussion was sexual in nature, and my daughter asked me some questions about it. That portion of the movie was definately PG-13. There was also some bad language, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The movie THE GOONIES had more bad language than Transformers.
One thing that I was impressed with was the character of Mikela. I thought she'd be the stereo-typical girl that needs rescuing, but that wasn't the case. She turned out to be a strong female (in a predominately male character driven movie) that steps up to bat when faced with a challenge. She doesn't run and doesn't scream...I thought that was great for my daughter to see.
The end of the movie did allow for a sequal, and I don't really see that as a minus. What I thought happened as the credits rolled....I'm not so sure about now....
I'm glad my daughter chose this movie to see...we had a good time, with neither my husband or son in attendance. The theater wasn't full, but I only saw one other female in the whole theater. What a shame! My daughter said her favorite character is Bumblebee...the 1976 yellow Camero.
Total cost for us to see Transformers was $10...and worth it.