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Transformers (DQ)


Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Anthony Anderson, Glenn Morshower, Jon Voight, Rachael Taylor

Director: Michael Bay

Sat as I was in the midst of noisy Transformer fans - they even clapped the certificate - it's difficult to stay objective about Michael Bay's film of the 'autobot' franchise that started life as a TV cartoon show and comic strip, featuring 'bots that can change into cars, tanks, trucks and planes before your very eyes.

But it's a hell of a lot better than the 1985 animated feature and that's for sure. This live-action version is a megablast of robotic action that strangely turns into a comedy before reverting to a city-crunching combat climax that brings new meaning to heavy metal.

Bay's strength has always been in superbly orchestrated action, but he's crash-landed with human drama, most notably in the abject Pearl Harbor. That's not the case here, thanks to rising stars LaBeouf, who looks like a young John Cusack, and Fox, hitherto largely confined to bad girls. Both give gut-busting performances as teenagers helping the 'good' autobots, led by Optimus Prime, in their quest to find the Allspark, a cube that could save their world. The bad 'bots (Decepticons) are also after the cube, and mankind is caught in the middle.

Bot-buffs will whoop with glee (as the preview audience did) at the arrival of their favourite line - 'At the end of this day, one shall stand, one shall fall' - as Prime, with an assist from LaBeouf, dukes it out with big bad Megatron at the finish.

The 'bots' attempts at comedy in the central section are less successful and may make non-addicts aware of the film's runtime - almost as massive as Megatron himself.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Paramount (DreamWorks). Colour by de Luxe.
143 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Sep 2007