It is difficult to summarize the plot of “Transformers” in just a paragraph, and it is very boring if you do not have a voice with the awe-inspiring narrative capacity of Optimus Prime. However, in a nutshell, this adaptation of the eighties cartoon, which in turn was based on a series of Hasbro toys, is that a race of gigantic metal aliens, the Cybertrons, able to transform into an array of mechanical objects (mainly types of vehicles), arrive on Earth in time to disrupt the pathetic attempts at romance made by teenager Sam Witwicky, played by Shia Labeouf. But why? you ask. To save the world, of course
Apparently, a couple hundred of years before Sam was born, his ancestor happened upon an evil member of this alien race, called Megatron, who was searching for a cube of radiation, know to the Cybertrons as the All Spark. Thus, the Autobots (good Cybertrons) arrive on Earth in order to save the humans from the Decepticons (bad Cybertrons). And poor Sam is stuck in the middle of it all.
Despite the simplicity of the good vs. evil plotline of this film, there are some very thoughtful aspects to it. Most plainly is the amazing CGI used for the robots themselves. While occasionally the speed and fluidity of the transformations can be a little unsettling, the Cybertrons do not appear cartoonish on film, unlike, perhaps, Yoda in the Star Wars prequels, or the wolves in “The Day After Tomorrow.” The gigantic machines look like a real, giant, metal alien might look, and are not jarring in comparison to the real environment and people around them
Another remarkable aspect of this film is the presence of such strong female characters. Classmate of Sam, Mikaela, played by Meghan Fox, and Maggie, a genius government analyst, played by Rachel Taylor, are side characters that merge bravery, nobility, intelligence and breasts. In a film consisting of very little character depth, mainly riding on its action sequences and convoluted plotline, Mikaela, Sam’s love interest, has more character development than any other person on screen. Her sassy, no-nonsense spirit at first seems trite and annoying, but when she is faced with bizarre challenges, and rushes to meet them without flinching, she proves herself to her audience. Her heroic attitude does not seem forced or false, and she does not seem to want to help in times of crisis in order to show-off, but simply because she wants to be of help. This sort of character is refreshing and appreciated. Why can’t she be the main character? Compared to her, Sam Witwicky is self-centered and wishy-washy. Bumblebee should be her guardian.
Along with the lack of character development, there was also a lack of memorable or noticeable background music. The action scenes could have been even more pulse-pounding with a cool soundtrack blaring in the background; as it is, the music used can hardly be recalled.
The best part of the action scenes were when the Cybertrons would transform in the middle of fighting. The film is called Transformers, after all. Starscream takes the cake, however, when he zooms in and out of the F-22 formation, transforming to smash a plane out of the sky, then transforming back into his disguise. Furthermore, his barrel rolls between buildings looked spectacular.
However, when it comes to the Cybertrons’ personalities, Bumblebee has to win for most congenial. Bumblebee transforms into Sam’s camaro, and he plays his role of guardian to Sam so well that he gets himself battered, bruised, and bagged by one enemy after another. When his mournful blue eyes turn toward the screen, one cannot help but think of a little, loyal, lost puppy.