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In a summer of okay to outright awful blockbusters (you know who you are Pirates!!) it seems odd that the summers success lies in the hands of Michael Bay. This is the man who was derided for Pearl Harbour, a film I actually enjoyed, but who also directed The Rock, easily one of the best 90’s action films. His last film The Island was a bit of a flop despite being pretty good, but now is his big chance to show what he can do with Transformers, with Steven Speilberg on executive producer duties.

   The film opens in style with an attack on an US base in Quatar, by Decepticon Blackout who transforms from a Blackhawk helicopter to unleash an almighty ass kicking on the US soldiers, playing football with their tanks. After this assault on the army and our senses the film slows the pace to introduce us to Sam Witwicky, a teenager who has just got his first car, which just happens to be Autobot Bumblebee, from Bernie Mac’s hilarious Car salesman. We find out his grandfather while on a trip to the Artic found more than just polar bears and now his grandson is a wanted by the Decepticons for a pair of glasses that will reveal the whereabouts of the Allspark, a cube of immense power. So begins the rollercoaster as Decepticons and Autobots face off in the race to find the cube with Sam and the sexy Mikaela stuck in the middle. They are helped by the arrival of various Autobots including leader Opimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen of cartoon fame) and medic robot Rachet. So follows a series of metal on metal scraps whilst the US government try to work out whats going on.

   What everyone who goes to see this wants to know one thing, how good are the robots? Well ILM have seriously outdown themselves this time, they are unbelievable, they look real and feel like part of the world and not added by a computer. The movement of the bots is also impressive, you would swear it was people in advanced suits, they move so freely.  The fights between the rival robots are brutal especially as they throw each other around into buildings, the street fights are very reminisent of classic Godzilla movies. The fan boys will be moaning about the changes to the characters from the old cartoon but who cares when they look this good. Optimus and the others all look amazing, and the transformations are breathtaking as the thousands of parts whir and clank into place at breakneck speed. This is best shown in a highway chase sequence where they are changing and fighting whilst travelling along at high speed. One of the most impressive changes is Starscream who steals many scenes with his amazing transformation from robot to F22 and back, especially in midair.

  Obviously the film is about the robots but what makes this film so good is the human characters, Shia LaBeouf as Sam is a real star in the making, he has the right amount of charm and humour, not playing the character as a hero but as a likeable guy stuck in an unreal situation, providing many of the films laughs. In her first big film, Megan Fox, has the right mix of sexiness and bravado as Mikaela who gets caught up after accepting a lift. Elsewhere Jon Voight gives a good performance as the defence minister put in charge of the mess, and John Turturro plays a slightly mad Secret Service agent. There are also a few familiar faces from US tv shows like Prison Break, 24 and Las Vegas.  The humour isn’t just kept to the humans, there is a great comedic scene where the Autobots try to hide from Sam’s mum!

   Despite being Michael Bay’s film you can feel Spielberg’s influence especially in the friendship that develops between Sam and Bumblebee, which is slightly reminisent of Elliott and ET, though less likely to make you cry! The mixture of big action sequences and well placed comedy makes it the perfect summer movie and one of the best action films I have seen in a while. It may have a big all action start but Bay wisely lets it slow down to allow to us get to know the characters so that once the action really kicks into gear you do care. As it is a Michael Bay yes there are a few cheesy moments and a lot of sunny shots but this is easily his best film yet and no doubt the start of a big franchise, which you really want to see more of. This is the best film of the summer so far and one of the best action films I’ve seen, highly recommended. Rating 9/10

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