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Transformers

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Tyrese Gibson, Megan Fox, Anthony Anderson, Rachael Taylor, William Morgan Sheppard

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor and language

Runtime: 144 minutes

The popular animated series that pitted Autobots against the Decepticons comes to the big screen in this eagerly anticipated summer blockbuster.

“Transformers” starts with a brief introduction to the robots’ world and the quest to find the powerful life giving force known as the AllSpark. Two different factions are after the AllSpark which is hidden somewhere on Earth. Both factions are determined to find it!

We then visit Captain Lennox (Duhamel) and his men, a U.S. Air Force team, stationed at a military base in Qatar. The reemergence of a long lost but unresponsive military helicopter puts everyone on edge. But it’s not until the chopper morphs into an attacking force when the bloody battle begins. After the attack, only Lennox and some of his team have managed to survive. The country’s National Security is quickly on the case, trying to determine who or what was responsible for not only the annihilation of the army base but the attempt to access top secret military information. Defense Secretary Keller (Voight) advises teams of top analysts to get to the bottom of the fiasco. With analyst Maggie Madsen (Taylor) working on the case, she enlists the help of computer hacker Glen Whitman (Anderson), which quickly puts the two right in the middle of operations.

During this time, we’re also introduced to Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf), a high school student bent on two things: buying his first car and making sure that Mikaela (Megan Fox) knows he’s alive. He succeeds on both parts when picks a yellow Camaro (well, actually, as they say, the car picks him) which seems to play all the right songs at the right time. Sam also eventually gets Mikaela to notice him when he offers her a ride home after she’s stranded. However, Sam’s car seems to have a mind of its own, a fact that’s proven one night when he pursues someone who he believes is stealing it. What he sees the car do, amazes him and he’s soon believing that he’s been unlucky enough to have purchased the devil’s car (which happens to be chasing him at the time).

There’s more to the car than meets the eye. When Sam is attacked by a police squad car (which has turned into a robot and demands a set of glasses known to be in Sam’s possession), it’s the yellow Camaro turned robot that saves him and Mikaela. The robot (known as Bumblebee) isn’t alone, and an unusual meteor shower prove to be the guise of his Autobot team which consists of leader Optimus Prime (voice of Cullen), Ironhide, Jazz and Ratchett. Optimus Prime explains to Sam and Mikaela the truth behind the Autobots, their enemies who are lead by Megatron (voice of Weaving) and are known as the Decepticons and the AllSpark. Megatron, it’s revealed, had been in pursuit of the AllSpark and had become frozen in the Arctic Circle. Sam’s great grandfather, Captain Witwicky (Sheppard) had unknowingly discovered the entombed Transformer and in the process, the coordinates of the AllSpark were inscribed in the sea captain’s glasses. The fate of the world not lies with Sam and whether the Autobots can retrieve the AllSpark before the Decepticons. Will they succeed?

Anyone who enjoys a great action adventure thrill ride will not be disappointed with “Transformers”. Even if you don’t know a lot about the world of the Autobots and Decepticons, you can still enjoy the movie without getting lost.

One of the high points of the film has to be Shia LaBeouf as Sam. He really shines in this movie as the awkward teenager who gets thrust into the mix of things but still maintains a certain loyalty to those around him.

There’s also plenty of intense action from the get go. Of course you can look forward to the battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron, but there’s also the battle sequence at Qatar, a scene with Sam being chased by Megatron and even a “good cop, bad cop” speech by Glen that also add to the movie’s excitement.

The only thing I would have added would be more scenes with Megatron to show what a definitive “baddie” he was. Throughout most of the movie, he’s frozen and in a state of limbo. I probably would have cut Glen and Maggie’s scenes. While Glen did add a lot of comedic downtime, it just didn’t seem the two added too much to the story.

My Rating: Four out of five stars

Did You Know? Peter Cullen, who voices Optimus Prime in the movie, also did voice over work on the same character in the animated series.

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