Hands up all those who thought this film was going to suck? After all, it’s a Michael Bay movie based on a range of toys and an ‘80s cartoon. How could it not be dross? Easy. By keeping the plot simple, the effects jaw-saggingly realistic and sticking some of today’s brightest talent before the camera (Shia LaBeouf delivers humour and humanity amid the metallic mash-ups). Oh, and then packing it to the hilt with tin-crunching, gears-whirring, steel-shredding robot-on-robot scraps.
“Michael Bay was born to direct Transformers,” brays executive producer Stephen Spielberg on one of the chunky if uninspired docs on the second disc. He’s not kidding. Take one listen to Bay’s commentary and it’s clear that if ever there was a man who loves machines, it’s the Bad Boys helmer. The first 10 minutes of his chat track – delivered over the opener where a Decepticon ‘bot ravages a US army base – have the director giving you the serial number of every chunk of military hardware on screen.
Thankfully, he quickly calms down, moving on to churn out some decent anecdotes about everything from how barking mad the designer who worked on the new-look Optimus Prime was, to how LaBeouf was nearly mauled to death by dogs on his first night of shooting. It’s clear Bay knows that fanboys and film buffs will nitpick over the movie’s plot points or technicalities until they’re blue in the face. He also doesn’t give a monkey’s. And he’s dead right not to.
So what if Transformers is not original (the plot’s ID4 by way of Close Encounters) and so what if they’ve tweaked the Autobots for the new millennium? None of that matters a jot as you crank up your giant widescreen TV (watching this on anything less than a 32incher is a waste of time) and slot the disc into the DVD player. Why? Because Transformers is one of an increasingly rare breed – a full-throttle summer blockbuster that delivers the thrills and goose-bumps you’ve been aching for. It’s an entertainment machine, pure and simple.