Transformers (2007)

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Not just another blockbuster, Transformers is the Cadillac of dumb summer movies. Staccato spectacles like Armageddon and an ill-fated foray into more serious material, The Island, established director Michael Bay as the poster boy for attention-deficit filmmaking, but in his depiction of overgrown children playing war games with giant robots in middle America and in the sands of the Middle East, this auteur has, at last, found his métier. Although executive producer Steven Spielberg obviously had script approval (the story about a high-schooler who learns that his yellow Chevy Camaro is really a space robot is irresistible), Bay’s set pieces never approach the standard set by Jurassic Park or War of the Worlds, and the script is pretty messy, losing steam as it progresses. (A scenery-chewing John Turturro hijacks the picture for an unnecessarily long sequence about an overzealous Men In Black-style government agency dealing in alien intelligence.) But what Transformers lacks in coherence and timing it nearly makes up in sheer spectacle. Bay’s images have a relentless TV-commercial perfection, and Industrial Light + Magic’s visual effects set a new standard for integrating computer-generated imagery with live action. Boom! Pow! If only this thing were 20 minutes shorter, it’d be huge fun. B-

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