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The International Writers Magazine: DVD Review

Directed by Michael Bay - starring Shia LaBoeuf, Rachel Taylor,Megan Fox
Produced by Paramount Pictures.
Ist Released 27 July 2007 (UK)

Jack Clarkson

When I went to see Transformers I didn’t know what to expect. I had never heard of this film before and the title certainly didn’t mean anything to me. So I was pleasantly surprised when I watched a rather good teenage coming of age drama about Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBoeuf) and his frustration of not going out with Michaela Banes (Megan Fox). It was a pleasant and heartwarming romantic comedy that I would have enjoyed even more if Michael bay hadn’t kept bringing in all those scenes with the Giant Robots!
If I had wanted to see a film about Giant Robots fighting each other I would have gone to see "War of the worlds" or "Sky Captain and the world of tomorow". Okay, they were awful films, but at least I can get the gist of their plots from the title!

All joking aside, this film represents the worrying trend of Nerdy films being adapted by well meaning but misguided people in order to make them accessible to normal people. With Transformers, they thought audiences wouldn’t be able to empathise with giant, building-flattening robots that transform into cars. So they added three other storylines about Shia Laboeuf being a nerdy kid that feels like an outcast,
The soldier (Josh Duhamel) that wants to see his child but is serving in the army all the way out in the middle east, and the unrealistically hot hacker girl (Rachael Taylor) that… well… I’m not really sure what she’s there for…
Rachel Taylor is there for the boys
And the titular characters are given a small cameo in between scenes. Why they thought this would make the film better I’m not quite sure. If Pixar can make us empathise with a Rat in Ratatouille, then it can’t be that hard to give some robots a bit of character!

The most unfortunate thing about this film is that even when the Transformers were onscreen it wasn’t particularly exciting. Michael Bay is famous for being an action film director… So why in the name of all that is holy did I realise halfway through the finale that I was bored? Optimus Prime had just been thrown through a building, and I just didn’t care! Casshern an obscure Japanese film that few have seen, managed to rape my visual cortex whilst also swapping my eyes and testicles surgically for comic effect, and just with action scenes short enough to boil an egg in! Why couldn’t Transformers at least try to do that?

This film attempts to please everyone, and in doing so, manages to spread itself way too thinly in the process. Gone are the days of appealing to only one demographic at a time, it’s not like the original fans of the series are all going to be taking their girlfriends along with them… Stop kidding yourselves and just give us a film that caters to the nerd in all of us! And if you do want to try something a bit different with the original concept, give it to someone like Scorsese or Tarantino! If the film had involved the line "Hey Optimus! I ain’t no f**king Decepticon!" I’d pay double to go see it! Twice!

In short. It’s worth a rent, Shia Laboeuf is quite funny in places, but none of it’s going to stick in your mind for more than five minutes. If you were a clever little person you would use that money instead to rent the two films in Italics above in the article, and get Night Watch while you’re at it. That will show you what a real fight scene looks like!
© Jack Clarkson November 2007

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