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Transformers - documentary DVD / family DVD review
TRANSFORMERS Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight
Director: Michael Bay   Studio: Dreamworks Video
DVD release: 16 October 2007   Runtime: 143 min. (2 discs)
Format: NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
DVD features: Audio tracks (English, Dobly Digital 5.1 Surround; French; Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Commentary by director Michael Bay, Commentary by Michael Bay, DVD-ROM Link, Sector 7, Featurettes, Our World, The Story Sparks, Human Allies, I Fight Giant Robots, Battleground, Their War, Rise of the Robots, Autobots Roll Out, Decepticons Strike, Inside the AllSpark, More Than Meets The Eye, 10 Deleted Scenes, From Script to Sand: The Skorponok Desert Attack, Concepts, Theatrical Trailers

When going into this type of summer blockbuster film, you should put your critical brain on a tee and knock it away as far as you can. This Michael Bay-directed version of Transformers isn't heavy on plot but delivers plenty of the Michael Bay aesthetic of moviemaking.

My first thought going into this film was the same I had when I heard about Alien vs. Predator: "Why do we need humans in this at all?" Of course, I do understand the need for something to anchor the story for those not massively in love with Transformers (or the Alien or Predator, for that matter). But the generic characters with generic plotlines always seem to be the Achilles' heel of these movies.

In Alien vs. Predator, I would have gladly signed up for the perfunctory use of a human storyline that would ultimately set up the title fight between the Alien and the Predator, but it didn't happen. Okay, so you got a decent chunk of battle towards the end of that flick (granted, with far too many choppy cuts of scenes in murky shadows to keep its PG-13 rating), but it took too long to build up to it, and who really cared about any of the humans?

In Transformers, I also would have been peachy-keen with a more condensed human storyline building up to an all out battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons, but that's not what you get. And, like the previously mentioned film, you get by movies' end a decent rock'em-sock'em battle with Megatron and Optimus Prime, which should be enough for those who have great reverence for the cartoon; the CGI and special effects are visually dazzling.

For those who weren't huge fans going in, you might feel a little burnt out in what is a typically overblown Michael Bay extravaganza. The main culprit is the runtime; it's too long. Of course, when it comes to big budget blockbuster action films, the rules change. Things like cheesy dialogue, bad acting and overacting, shallow characters and convoluted plotlines can all be forgiven if the movie delivers a lot of fun. But the lack of cohesion combined with a two-hour and twenty-three-minute runtime creates the ultimate paradox: the movie is both tedious and exhilerating.

In short, the story goes like this: on the planet Cybertron, a battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons raged as they fought over the unlimited power of the Allspark (a cube-like talisman). The Autobots managed to get the Allspark off their planet, but Megatron went of searching for it, ultimately finding it on planet Earth. Enter today Sam Witwicky (Shia Labeouf), a teenager who's getting his first car - which turns out to be an Autobot. You see, his grandfather found Megatron long ago while on an expedition, and now the Decepticons and the Autobots are on Earth in search of Sam as he unwittingly holds an object that contains important information.

In the end, what the Transformers delivers is a loud, flashy, massive spectacle of a movie that many will enjoy. Get the big tub of popcorn (with extra butter - go ahead, splurge) and the large box of Junior Mints for this one: it's a pure visceral thrill ride.

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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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