Long ago, on the planet of Cybertron, a massive, powerful alien race divided into two factions, the noble Autobots, and the devious Decepticons. They fought for the sole access to a talisman known as the Allspark, a cube with the capacity to grant infinite power, and eventually the Autobots smuggled it off the planet's surface, hiding it in an unknown location on Earth. Now, hundreds of years later, the Decepticons have come looking for it, and if the Autobots don't find it first, the Earth will be enslaved or destroyed by the evil aliens' use of its massive power. The Autobots don't know where the cube was hidden, but the information may be stored in the most unlikely of sources, as a young Earthling named Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) who's just picked up his first car, has a strange connection to the Allspark's history, making him the unlikely ally of these enormous creatures, as they fight for humankind's survival and the chance to return home.
Although the Transformers franchise is becoming notoriously hated (courtesy of Michael Bay), I haven't hated the movies as much as everyone else has, and I'm certainly a fan of a couple of the films. Most notably, I'm actually a strong believer that this movie is a solid film overall, even if it's far from perfect.
One thing you can rely on in "Transformers" films are amazing special effects. The special effects team and editors need to be applauded. I mean, the transformers look amazing and it actually looks like they're there. I think it was a mix between practical and special effects, but everything really does look amazing. In a movie that's so sci-fi heavy, it's important that the visuals look good, and they certainly look great here. Everything from the robots, to the way they actually transform all look spectacular and realistic.
Now on the other hand, the practical effects are a whole nother thing. Michael Bay is infamous for his overuse of explosions, and unnecessary firework explosions. Look, all the explosions that he and his stunt team create are pretty fantastic, but they need to make sense. There are some situations where explosions are happening in places that they shouldn't be and it just looks like it's meant for style over substance. By doing something so much, it loses its value and impression on people. By putting explosions and firework explosions in every shot, it starts to get boring after a while. However, it's not as bad in this movie as it is in others, so I'll give him that.
Now, Shia LaBeouf has garned a lot of hate since this film, mostly from his off screen actions. However, I honestly love him as an actor and I think that he's put on some pretty great performances. I love seeing this guy on screen and I think he did exactly what he was asked to do, plus more. Shia has garned hate for his performances in these movies because they're not highly regarded overall, but when you put these together with his performances from other films, you can recognize that he's actually got a lot of talent. Megan Fox is fine I guess, but Bay puts her more in the role of eye candy rather than an actual character. It's a shame because she's not a terrible actress, even if her reputation speaks otherwise. I also appreciate the voice actors for the transformers, as they do capture the essence of each character really well. Everyone else in this movie did a fine job, with the only real loose end being John Turturro's character. He progressively gets worse throughout the films, although he is more tamed in this film.
The story is fun and exciting overall, and I think it makes for a decent kids movie. The "Transformers" franchise takes on this more goofy and ridiculous tone, which makes it more of a kids film. I like the story, as it's the most plausible out of the four films, but it's not the strongest overall. It's a solid and simple screenplay that introduces us to the world of Transformers.
One thing Bay struggles mightily with in his movies is continuity. Whether it's through chain of events, dialogue, or just the time of day, he struggles in favor of style over substance. Because I swear, the more sunset shots I see from Bay, the crazier I get. He's so obsessed with putting in these "beautiful" looking sun set drops, which is fine, but they're inserted at random times, even when the sun's not going down in the film! He struggles with continuity, and he's definitely a stylized minded guy, kind of like Zack Snyder. (Don't even get me started on Snyder).
In the end, "Transformers" was a pretty solid and fun start to the franchise and brings plenty to the table.
Owens grade: A