I'm completely new to the Transformers franchise. I don't know the mythology nor have I seen the cartoon. I do have three Hasbro toys from the 80's, but I just played with them as 'toys'. Decepticons? Autobots? Fembots? I was three years young and I couldn't care less.

So, as you can imagine, I wasn't craving to see the flick on the big screen. When the opportunity came along to catch a screening, I opted for Ratatouille instead. The HD DVD version got great reviews so, after some wise reflections, I bought it. Call it a blind purchase.

Remember the harsh criticism on Jurassic Park in 1993? The dinosaurs were the only redeeming aspect, the human characters were cardboard flat. Unfounded blabber, because Jeff Goldbum, Sam Neill, Bob Peck etc. did a heck of job.

Transformers falls in the same category : you could be fooled by the robots, but there's some fine human acting going on at the same time. Hollywood hottie Shia LaBoeuf - I haven't seen Disturbia, Holes or any of his other films - justifies his sudden popularity. Stay off the drugs, boy, and your future's golden.

Director Michael Bay hasn't the best reputation in Hollywood. Most serious critics regard his films as little more than "blockbusters for busters" (thought I'd use something new instead of the cliché "toys for boys"). But hey, Criterion thinks he's good enough to be included in the The Criterion Collection. And I'm open-minded : I have only seen The Rock, which I thoroughly enjoyed as a 11-year old kid in the summer of 1996. Yeah, Transformers is noisy and full of explosions, but - with some suspension of disbelief - it worked.

Transformers fans were in heaven when Peter Cullen, one of the original voices from the cartoon, returned. Cullen, the voice of big and friendly robot boss Optimus Prime, is a complete stranger to me, but I must admit : a fine job he did.

Praise to the movie's humour as well. The "medic(al) robot" delivered the best joke, in my opinion : "The boy's pheromone levels suggest he wants to mate with the female." The face Shia makes and Megan Fox (as the object of his affection) scratching her head are a priceless shot. Awkward situation!

Poor Megan Fox, by the way. I can imagine guys, trying to seduce her, making jokes about her last name. "Hey Megan! You're quite the FOX!", "Let's go Fox hunting, Megan!", "Wow, you're a real 20th century Fox, Megan!" etc. Yeah, she may be attractive, but that wasn't her only value. I actually "believed" her performance. She wasn't your stereotypical deer in fear or damsel in distress, but a female with attitude.

Transformers is a good movie. Good, but not great. Enjoyable, but not memorable. Mission accomplished, Bay!

Julian De Backer, 2 January 2008