Special effects blow storyline

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am

Michael Bay's Transformers is a big movie. It has big robots, big weapons and big vehicles. Unfortunately, Bay's brain does not seem to share this attribute.

Based on the shape- changing toys of the 1980s and the animated series that followed, the story is about Sam Witwicky, (played by Hollywood's latest golden boy Shia LaBeouf), a high school kid whose life revolves around his car and his love interest (Megan Fox).

He becomes the unlikely saviour of mankind when he learns that his grandpa's broken glasses are the map to the AllSpark, the life source of the Autobots, the good alien robots, and the Decepticons, the bad alien robots.

When Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, gives a speech about freedom being the 'right of every sentient being', you know this movie is not going to succeed, despite the hype. Given the unlikely premise of the film - big alien robots fighting to find an energy source - Prime's grand sermon is out of place and sounds more like an insult than friendly advice. Since when do we need a lecture on democracy from a truck?

It is a shame because Prime was everyone's favourite hero in the Transformers comics and cartoons. Compassionate and fearless, the robot was so popular that his death in the 1986 Transformers animated feature sparked complaints from desperate children and parents.

But in this live-action movie, he is no more than an ugly piece of talking machinery, as Bay fails to inject life into the warring mechanical beings.

Worse still, Bay fails to bring the human characters to life. The film has so many flashes and explosions that there is little room for genuine emotion. The characters play second fiddle to the special effects, and there is no real human element for audiences to relate to.

Even the action scenes are disappointing. The movie upholds the Transformers' motto of 'more than meets the eye' by cramming so many visual effects into each scene that it's impossible to make sense of what's really going on. Rather than entertainment, the film is an all-out visual assault on the senses.

Transformers fans shouldn't feel let down by this dire attempt. Maybe we are all too sophisticated to buy into anything this simplistic.