TRANSFORMERS: It's Pure 'Bayhem'
TRANSFORMERS (sci-fi action)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Travis Van Winkle, Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight and Megan Fox
Directors: Michael Bay
Time: 125 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
The Transformers toy line, for the benefit of the uninitiated, was launched in 1984, and was promoted through both the comic books by Marvel and a cartoon TV series. Although the comics outlived the animated series, it was the TV series that captured the hearts and minds of children worldwide more than any other piece of Transformers media from its 23-year history. Since then, there have been two animated movie versions - in 1984 and 1986. This live-action CGI-enhanced version looks set to take the franchise much further both in terms of sequels, spin-offs and merchandise.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The movie starts like a modern-day desert war drama, with US soldiers in Qatar being attacked by a helicopter that changes into a gun-toting robot. That, ladies and gentlemen, introduces viewers to the robotic Transformers - and we get a taste of Michael's 'Bayhem' of machine-gun splatter, commotions and explosions!
Next, Bay takes us into Pentagon war-game territory where we find Secretary of Defence John Keller (Jon Voight, probably impersonating Donald Rumsfeld) seeking help from civilian experts to try and make sense of the data from Qatar. Of course, nothing is supposed to make sense - yet.
HIGHLIGHTS AND LOWLIGHTS: Additional humour is provided by John Turturro, who goes way over the top as Agent Simmons from a top secret government agency called Section 7. However, diehard movie fans will probably see references to "King Kong", "The Love Bug", "E.T." and "Black Hawk Down" - in addition to the aforementioned "Ice Age" and "War Games". Sure, plot-holes and logic lapses are plenty in this testosterone-fueled fantasy that reflects America's love of cars, and the prolonged street battle scenes involving the robots and humans can be rather confusing. Well, that's just Michael Bay for you.
THE LOWDOWN: If you grew up in the Eighties with Transformers toys, you are going to relive your childhood fantasies with this one. Go on, knock yourself out.