Movie Chronicles » Transformers 3


Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen — What did you think? June 24th, 2009

With the gen­eral release of Trans­form­ers 2, it’s time to open up the floor to com­ments and find out what you guys thought of it. We’ve already shared our thoughts in our exten­sive review: Movie Chron­i­cles Trans­form­ers 2 review.

Some ques­tions to prompt debate

Did the new robots add to the film?
Which was the best new char­ac­ter?
Which was the worst?
What would you have done dif­fer­ent?
Did the movie fly by too quickly or did you think it was too long?
Were Skids and Mud­flap annoy­ing or gen­uinely funny?
What was your biggest dis­ap­point­ment or favorite part?

Transformers 2 critics chime in — all is not good! June 24th, 2009

We posted our exten­sive Trans­form­ers 2 review up on Sun­day night — it focuses on explain­ing the sto­ry­line step by step with an analy­sis of the new char­ac­ters and robots from a fan’s per­spec­tive. Some fans were not happy with the out­come. View Movie Chron­i­cles review

USA Today


Mean­while, pyra­mids are dis­man­tled, bod­ies hurled through the air and facial ori­fices probed. And all the metal on dis­play is more brassy than precious.

No amount of tech­ni­cal vir­tu­os­ity can make up for an ago­niz­ingly wit­less story, clumsy dia­logue and unin­ter­est­ing characters.

Robert Ebert


The bat­tle scenes are bewil­der­ing. A Bot makes no visual sense any­way, but two or three tan­gled up together cre­ate an incom­pre­hen­si­ble con­fu­sion. I find it amus­ing that crea­tures that can unfold out of a Camaro and stand four sto­ries high do most of their fight­ing with…fists. Like I say, dumber than a box of sta­ples. They have tiny lit­tle heads, except for Starscream® [Jet­fire], who is so ancient he has an alu­minum beard.

Aware that this movie opened in Eng­land seven hours before Chicago time and the morn­ing papers would be on the streets, after writ­ing the above I looked up the first reviews as a real­ity check. I was reas­sured: “Like watch­ing paint dry while get­ting hit over the head with a fry­ing pan!” (Brad­shaw, Guardian); “Sums up every­thing that is most tedious, crass and despi­ca­ble about mod­ern Hol­ly­wood!” (Tookey, Daily Mail); “A giant, lum­ber­ing idiot of a movie!” (Edwards, Daily Mir­ror). The first Amer­i­can review, Todd Gilchrist of Cin­e­mat­i­cal, reported that Bay’s “ambi­tion runs a mile long and an inch deep,” but, in a spir­ited defense, says “this must be the most movie I have ever expe­ri­enced.” He is bull­ish on the box office: it “feels des­tined to be the biggest movie of all time.” It’s cer­tainly the biggest some­thing of all time.



At last year’s Comic-Con con­ven­tion, sev­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Revenge of the Fallen appeared with the slo­gan ”Big­ger. F—ing. Robots.” on their T-shirts, and Bay, tak­ing that cue, knows just what his job is rel­a­tive to the first Trans­form­ers (2007): It’s to make the movie huger, louder, smashier, and — on the mechan­i­cal level — more crazily, auda­ciously imag­i­na­tive. He suc­ceeds. Revenge of the Fallen show­cases an infec­tiously diverse brigade of chat­tery unfold­ing con­trap­tions, from mechan­i­cal grem­lins that trans­form out of kitchen appli­ances to one that erupts from a vin­tage air­plane to a coed with a tongue of steel. Each of these creature-gizmos has a mar­velous, organic flu­id­ity — they don’t just move, they clank and roll. And it was an inspired touch to set the film’s most fero­cious bat­tle amid the Pyra­mids, fea­tur­ing a Decep­ti­con so humungous it just about wad­dles with power. Revenge of the Fallen may be a mas­sive over­dose of pop­corn greased with motor oil. But it knows how to feed your inner 10-year-old’s appetite for destruction.

Chicago Tri­bune (1.5/5)


There’s a lazy cyn­i­cism to “Trans­form­ers 2,” from the dubi­ous comic-relief “ghetto” ‘bots known as the Twins, to the rump-in-the-air intro­duc­tion of Fox’s char­ac­ter, to the gen­eral air of mil­i­taris­tic fetishism. The chief human antag­o­nist is an Obama admin­is­tra­tion secu­rity adviser who keeps push­ing diplo­matic solu­tions while the Decep­ti­cons kill, kill, kill. Near the end an aged Auto­bot, wal­ing away at his ene­mies atop a pyra­mid, mut­ters the line “I’m too old for this crap.” No mat­ter, pal. You’re not in the tar­get demographic.


Harry says TRANSFORMERS 2 is foul mouthed, racist & misog­y­nis­tic! It also runs an hour too long!

All that said though — my nephew loved the film, he’s nearly nine. He hated the kissy stuff. But he loved pretty much every­thing else. He adored Mud­flap and Skids — which is more dis­turb­ing than any­thing else. The amount of foul lan­guage pop­ping out of their mouths is aston­ish­ing, espe­cially with the shit, bitch, muther…, ass, pussy, etc…

What the hell is this stuff doing in a TRANSFORMERS movie?


This film was con­ceived dur­ing the WRITER’S STRIKE — with Michael Bay up at ILM doing ani­mat­ics on the big action sequences. Then when the strike was over, he brought in Orci & Kurtz­man to string the scenes together. Which oddly enough was kinda how Hitch­cock and Lehmann worked on NORTH BY NORTHWEST (to rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent results). And then the roto-rooter of screen­writ­ers, Ehren Kruger did the mop up work on the film. At least that’s how I’ve heard it went down.

The film will make a mint, unde­servedly so. Steven Spiel­berg should be embar­rassed to have his name on shoddy sto­ry­work like this. Shame on you Steven. Kids will be lin­ing up for this — and they’ll be met with dog fuck­ing, cussing, racial stereo­types and more. I seri­ously won­der if Spiel­berg was think­ing of Mud­flap & Skids as he watched the inau­gu­ra­tion of Barack Obama — because he’d read the script at that point, he knew what his name was bring­ing, and yet he still had the gall to attend.

The film­mak­ers, stu­dio and toy­mak­ers behind this film should be ashamed. To spend this type of money to bring this sort of hurt­ful and repug­nant work to screen — it is an insult to every DREAM that so many have WORKed for, for years.

I’d like to ask you not to sup­port this film, but those of you with young boys, I know there isn’t a chance. But real­ize you’ll be tak­ing them to see a film with the low­est forms of humor, stereo­types and racism around. Not only that, but its pack­aged for our chil­dren. Which makes it all the more offensive.

Rot­ten Tomatoes


The movie cur­rently sits at a low 30% from top crit­ics, the com­mu­nity give it 68%.

Movie Chronicles Transformers 2 Review June 21st, 2009

Trans­form­ers 2 is a sequel that builds on its pre­de­ces­sor in every way; more robots, more humor, more action, more sex­i­ness, bet­ter effects, more explo­sions and more char­ac­ters. As a pop­corn fueled block­buster it suc­ceeds in being fun and ridicu­lous, a two and a half hour escape from real­ity to a world of 30ft robots and insecticons.

As a fan I spent time spot­ting the indi­vid­ual robots and all the new­com­ers, espe­cially the ones I’ve seen as toys — yet ulti­mately I left want­ing more, lots more. The excite­ment at see­ing the new char­ac­ters quickly dwin­dles as they dis­ap­pear ten sec­onds later, with the off chance of another appear­ance slightly later. Side­swipe, Arcee, Dev­as­ta­tor, Jolt, Side­ways, all con­struc­ti­cons, The Fallen, Grindor and Sound­wave are momen­tary plot ele­ments, each are a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing in their own way — you could blink and miss them for the most part. How­ever, the new char­ac­ters that have plot invested in them — Jet­fire, Rav­age, Wheelie, Skids and Mud­flap are all superb and valu­able addi­tions. Alice is an odd plot point, inter­est­ing but an idea still not fully explored.

The hype about Side­ways, Arcee and Demol­ishor, spurred on by the super­bowl teaser, make up the open­ing action sequence, includ­ing the NEST bonus footage. It’s all over in a flash — Arcee is seen chas­ing Side­ways as briefly as in the TV spots, the twins — cur­rently as an ice cream truck, attempt to help but curb badly and fall apart. The rumored scene show­ing the truck split­ting in two and then reform­ing, past some bewil­dered kids (as read in the Beth­le­hem Steel call sheet) isn’t there. The motor­cy­cles drop away and Sergeant Epps calls in Side­swipe — a kick, a slide and a flip and a huge sword slices the Audi R8 clean in two. Mean­while Demol­isher is run­ning amok in Shang­hai, tak­ing out heli­copters and gen­er­ally destroy­ing every­thing he comes across on those enor­mous great wheels. Opti­mus Prime drops in via para­chute, speeds along the bridge and leaps onto his head, cre­at­ing that spec­tac­u­lar explo­sion as seen in the teaser and filmed at Long Beach. A swift blow to the head and Prime takes him out — easy as you like, but not before he can mut­ter some­thing about The Fallen returning.

Cut to Sam’s par­ents house and Sam Witwicky is leav­ing home for col­lege, his mom, one of the piv­otal com­edy ele­ments, is mak­ing a scene. Pack­ing for col­lege, Sam uncov­ers a shard of the AllSpark, it burns through the floor and sets the kitchen abuzz with lit­tle ter­ror­iz­ing robots — out to attack Sam. Bum­ble­bee is called in to save the day, but his weapons destroy the house and dejected he’s sent back to the garage. Cue the “I’m so excited” ShoW­est footage and Sam leav­ing home and Mikaela.

The ever so sin­is­ter Sound­wave is the over­seer, keep­ing watch on all human activ­i­ties. He sends in Wheelie to steal the shard from Mikaela and lis­tens in on a debate at the auto­bot hangar. Here a gov­ern­ment big­wig is moan­ing about the oper­a­tion, and over a live video feed reveals Mega­tron and the AllSpark’s loca­tion to the decep­ti­cons. If you’re watch­ing this scene in the glo­ri­ous full screen IMAX expe­ri­ence, Opti­mus Prime will be actual size as he stands tall — it’s spec­tac­u­lar to imagine.

Rav­age falls to earth, his mis­sion — to retake the AllSpark parts. Every­thing about Rav­age is bril­liant, the way he sneaks and prowls is per­fectly ani­mated, it’s mes­mer­iz­ing. The ball bear­ing bots are released into a secu­rity bunker, where inside they form a tall slither of a robot which steals the cube, Rav­age pro­vid­ing cover fire with his hind mounted turrets.

Back at col­lege, Sam is mov­ing in and his par­ents are help­ing — his mom describes the dorms as Hog­warts before get­ting stoned on hash brown­ies — hilar­ity shortly ensues. We also meet Ramon Rodriguez’s Leo Spitz — a spunky but cow­ardice con­spir­acy the­o­rist. Leo points out the sul­try Alice, played by Isabel Lucas, and she’s already mak­ing eyes at Sam. At the stu­dent party Alice comes onto Sam, and when Bum­ble­bee turns up she forces her way into the car for the ride. To the car radio and lyric “your cheat­ing heart”, Bum­ble­bee makes a nui­sance of him­self, and as seen at Prince­ton, Alice ends up cov­ered in green goo, storm­ing off into the night. All the while, Mikaela sits at home, miss­ing out on their first web­cam date.

The dev­as­tat­ing Decep­ti­con news is bro­ken to Sam at the cemetary by Prime, “It’s not my war”, and all that lark about lead­ing a nor­mal col­lege life. Now the sym­bols start appear­ing and Witwicky Jr. can’t stop draw­ing them every­where — includ­ing an episode in Astron­omy 101.

With Megatron’s co-ordinates, the enor­mous Long Haul, Rav­age and con­struc­ti­cons descend into the watery depths to res­ur­rect their leader, sac­ri­fic­ing one of them­selves so that the (Ger­man) doc­tor can piece him back together — in an instant it seems. With new life it’s up and away, as a jet and into space, to con­front Starscream and receive orders from his mas­ter, The Fallen.

Next up, the sec­ond of the three BD Live sequences, Wheelie attempts to steal the AllSpark shard from Mikaela, and we know how that turns out. Wheelie’s char­ac­ter is filled with crude lad­dish humor and his on screen moments are always enter­tain­ing — maybe with the excep­tion of the leg hump­ing one which is just plain odd. With Sam hav­ing a men­tal break­down (brought about by sym­bols), Mikaela flies out to meet him, walk­ing in on him and Alice seem­ingly mak­ing out.

“That kiss tasted like diesel”, Alice trans­forms into a spindly Decep­ti­con and attempts to choke Sam with her huge mechan­i­cal tongue as Mikaela fends her off. Hot wiring the Sat­urn Astra, the three, Leo in tow, set off with Alice on the bon­net, akin to a famous Ter­mi­na­tor 2 scene. Her life ends pre­ma­turely as she is crushed against a lamp­post — a shame as the char­ac­ter had poten­tial (you could make a whole movie about a sin­gle robot dis­guised as a human, hunt­ing a boy, maybe the boy would be named John). Shortly there­after we get the third BD live sequence; Grindor swoops in and car­ries the trio off to Starscream and Mega­tron — the fall should surely kill them but they mirac­u­lously escape unharmed. “I am zee doc­tor!” screeches the spindly mechanoid examining/torturing Sam, beneath Megatron’s huge claw.

The next action scene shows how much the spe­cial effects have devel­oped in just two years — Prime and the auto­bots flood in to save the humans, lead­ing to an escape sequence and a for­rest fight we’ve seen snip­pets of in the TV spots. This fight is awe­some, the effects are per­fect and sud­denly Opti­mus Prime is kick­ing all sorts of ass (swords and all) as he takes on Mega­tron, Starscream and Grindor all at once, all expertly chore­o­graphed with the token Michael Bay slow-mo death scenes. This is the adren­a­line kick we’d hoped for. Ulti­mately it’s all too much for prime and Mega­tron destroys him, lit­er­ally stab­bing him in the back and explod­ing his chest cav­ity. With their leader gone, it’s time for the Decep­ti­cons to mobilize.

From hereon the slower sec­ond half some­what fails to match up to the first — many proto­forms are seen falling to earth, destroy­ing Paris, air­craft car­ri­ers, etc., and amidst the car­rier destruc­tion the rein­vig­o­rated Fallen arrives on earth — through a hacked satel­lite net­work he issues a global broad­cast look­ing for Sam Witwicky, he wants what’s in his head. This appar­ent global Decep­ti­con attack never mate­ri­al­izes on film — you’d expect some mon­tage of world­wide robot destruc­tion. NEST gets shut­down in the process.

Instead we cut to the unfold­ing mys­tery of Sam’s sym­bol obses­sion — which for no dis­cernible rea­son has implanted itself in Sam’s head; ‘it’s his fate’ is the best expla­na­tion we’ll get. There’s a short and improb­a­ble chain towards explain­ing the sym­bols — Leo hap­pens to know the guy that runs Big­Eff­in­gRo­bots, who hap­pens to have seen the sym­bols and hap­pens to be Agent Sim­mons — (now work­ing in a Deli after the shut­down of sec­tor 7), here he has details of ancient prophe­cies and Trans­form­ers on earth. Wheelie reads said details (whilst on a leash) and points the four to the Smith­son­ian museum, where­upon they stum­ble on Jet­fire, a bum­bling old British fool with a cane — the Black­bird SR-71 and for­mer Decepticon.

Jetfire’s ram­bles are a charm­ing non­cha­lant back­drop to the Trans­form­ers mythol­ogy; he quite ran­domly ends up tele­port­ing all par­ties (Skids, Mud­flap and Bum­ble­bee included) to Egypt, via the Space Bridge — Sam hap­pens to dam­age his arm in the process. Now begins the unnec­es­sar­ily long ‘mys­tery’, with an aim to res­ur­rect Opti­mus Prime — fol­low­ing lame clues to find the Tomb of the Primes and the Matrix of Lead­er­ship, which breaks into dust on touch. Mean­while, Sim­mons has con­tacted the NEST crew and, with Primes’ body, Auto­bots and rein­force­ments, they set off for Egypt. All very slow and drawn out.

The action kicks in again near the pyra­mids, or more pre­cisely, in White Sands, New Mex­ico. NEST’s arrival coin­cides with Starscream’s swoop­ing attack on Bum­ble­bee and the twins, split­ting the group in two and send­ing Sam and Mikaela run­ning towards NEST; leav­ing the twins, Sim­mons and Spitz to con­front what­ever the build­ing site throws at them.

The next big robot bat­tle com­mences, although with­out the chore­og­ra­phy, urgency or adren­a­line of the for­rest fight. As NEST and the auto­bots fend off Mega­tron, con­struc­ti­cons (Scrap­per, Long Haul, Scav­enger), Rav­age and numer­ous char­ac­ter­less repaints, the twins find them­selves fac­ing the vac­uum suck­ing behe­moth Dev­as­ta­tor (some­how made of the same con­struc­ti­con mod­els already bat­tling else­where — slightly con­fus­ing for fans).

We don’t see much of Devastator’s con­stituent parts (noth­ing more than the footage seen in the TV Spots) and there’s no expla­na­tion for their pres­ence. Mud­flap gets sucked into Devastator’s vor­tex before attack­ing him from the inside and being spat back out, and as the humans stand beneath the slow mov­ing giant for safety, it begins its climb up the pyra­mid. Dev­as­ta­tor is entirely dis­ap­point­ing with it’s giant demol­ish­ing balls clang­ing above Sim­mons as he sends in the order for the top secret rail gun — an attack that takes the giant out in one fell swoop. No bat­tles, no clever auto­bot team up to take him down, no aggres­sion or per­son­al­ity; might as well have been one giant snail with a Dyson.

Mean­while, the tanks and guns that strug­gled to take out Decep­ti­cons in the first movie, take out attack­ing robots with rel­a­tive ease. And as Sam and Mikaela des­per­ately run from more giant robots, the Decep­ti­cons can’t catch up or shoot straight, crazy. The high­light of this seg­ment comes in Bumblebee’s han­dling of Sam’s parent’s hostage sit­u­a­tion; launch­ing on Scrap­per from above and exe­cut­ing him with expert style, before rum­bling with Rav­age and rip­ping his spine out in slow motion. We see Arcee for another split sec­ond before she gets destroyed by a mis­sile, I think she utters a cou­ple of words; no mis­in­for­ma­tion from Bay this time around. Side­swipe makes an appear­ance, com­mand­ing some men, whilst Ratchet and Iron­hide are rel­e­gated to minor battles.

As bat­tle draws to a close, one last gasp mis­sile from Mega­tron catches Sam, knock­ing him down, where for a few moments we are led to believe he might be dead. “Am I dead? Where am I?” Sam asks, as the scene cuts to auto­bot heaven and the ghosts of the primes with their mes­sages of fate and lead­er­ship. The Matrix of Lead­er­ship re-materializes and Sam uses it to bring Opti­mus Prime back to life, but not before announc­ing his love for Mikaela.

With­out warn­ing, The Fallen, in his brief third appear­ance, tele­ports in, steals the Matrix and tele­ports back out to the top of the pyra­mid, to begin acti­va­tion of the sun har­vester. In response, Jet­fire sac­ri­fices him­self to heal Prime’s bro­ken parts (as the only decent thing he’s ever done) and aug­ment his pow­ers — here comes Jolt’s ten sec­onds of star­dom — his robot mode and elec­tri­cal pow­ers are called upon to facil­i­tate. Prime now flies off to bat­tle The Fallen and Mega­tron simul­ta­ne­ously atop the pyra­mids, and again he kicks all sorts of metal rear; heav­ily dam­ag­ing Mega­tron (who cow­ardly flees to fight another day), and behead­ing The Fallen in a bru­tal attack, sadly it’s all over quite quickly. Where all the other Decep­ti­cons have gone isn’t clear, Starscream could aid but doesn’t. Opti­mus Prime is vic­to­ri­ous and the movie ends shortly after with Sam and Prime stand­ing aboard the John Sten­nis air­craft car­rier, once again await­ing what­ever the future may bring. New Divide plays us out and there’s no extra scene at the end of the credits.

Roll on Trans­form­ers 3.

Variety posts official Transformers 2 review June 16th, 2009

Vari­ety have posted their take on the Trans­form­ers sequel, open­ing with,

With machines that are impres­sively more life­like, and char­ac­ters that are more and more like machines, “Trans­form­ers: Revenge of the Fallen” takes the fran­chise to a vastly supe­rior level of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. As for human intel­li­gence, it’s pri­mar­ily at the ser­vice of an enhanced arse­nal of spe­cial effects, which helmer Michael Bay deploys like a gen­eral launch­ing his very own shock-and-awe cam­paign on the senses. Oth­er­wise, lit­tle seems new com­pared to the first install­ment, except that this ver­sion is longer, louder, and per­haps “more than your eye can meet” in one sit­ting. It will reap sim­i­lar B.O. rewards worldwide.

The review takes an in-depth look at the movie, ana­lyz­ing it with­out cast­ing undue and over­bear­ing judg­ment. A good and rec­om­mended read. Of course, please be aware of the spoilers.

View full Vari­ety review

Transformers 2 reviews coming in, “popcorn entertainment” June 14th, 2009

We had a cou­ple of sneak pre­views from fans that shared their thoughts about Trans­form­ers 2, now it’s time to get onto the seri­ous stuff. Spoil­ers within.

Seems like the first half is great — a fan­tas­tic whirl­wind of action, com­edy and big robots all at a good pace. How­ever there are many neg­a­tive opin­ions on the sec­ond half and the inevitable build up to the finale feels labored and boring.

IGN UK (3/5)

View full review

It’s a fine set-up that is force­fully estab­lished in the movie’s superb open­ing hour. Bay mas­ter­fully zips between events at Cybertron (the Trans­form­ers’ home­world), Sam’s open­ing day at col­lege, the drama on a vari­ety of mil­i­tary bases, and throws in sev­eral robot-on-robot bat­tles for good mea­sure, all at a break­neck pace that leaves you breathless.

“The film reaches its pin­na­cle with one such action set-piece that takes place in a for­est — a bril­liantly crafted sequence that is kinetic, emo­tional and gen­uinely thrilling. Unfor­tu­nately how­ever, it is a cli­max that comes only an hour or so into the movie — the remain­ing 80 or so min­utes just never quite scale the same heights.”

That’s the one BIG prob­lem with ROTF; the movie stops dead halfway through, and then spends the rest of its over­long run-time build­ing up a head of steam again, painstak­ingly set­ting up the even­tual climax.

Bay takes an age metic­u­lously manoeu­vring all the film’s pro­tag­o­nists into place for a vast, epic con­fronta­tion in the mid­dle of the Egypt­ian desert. But by the time this all-in royal rum­ble between the Auto­bots, Decep­ti­cons and US Army finally arrives, you are too numbed, exhausted and inured to actu­ally give a damn about the outcome.

It is just kind of inex­cus­able that with such a ridicu­lously enjoy­able for­mula, view­ers of ROTF still spend the movie’s final half hour nurs­ing a numb head and arse, and will­ing the noise to stop. Trans­form­ers 2 proves that some­times less is more.

Total Film (4/5)

View full review

Fallen so fre­quently approaches the first pic’s all-out awe­some­ness, and even occa­sion­ally sur­passes it — notably in an open­ing blitzkrieg in Shang­hai and a for­est face-off between Opti­mus Prime and three Decep­ti­cons impres­sive enough to merit com­par­i­son with King Kong’s mul­ti­ple T-Rex smack­down — that it’s this close to being the per­fect sum­mer flick.

The prob­lem is, it’s the parts you remem­ber, not the whole.

Bay may have upped the ante, tak­ing his ’bots on the road (New York, Paris, the Pyra­mids), into space and even back in time (cour­tesy of an Apocalypto-like pro­logue set in 17,000 BC), but he hasn’t man­aged to assem­ble his com­po­nents into a coher­ent mechanism.

Nor does his inabil­ity to keep his cam­era still or go two min­utes with­out blow­ing shit up help, the hyper­ac­tiv­ity reach­ing its nadir dur­ing a drawn-out cli­max in the Egypt­ian desert.


For all its faults, Fallen is gen­uinely more enjoy­able than the summer’s other giant-robot pic­ture Ter­mi­na­tor Sal­va­tion. In con­trast to McG’s por­ten­tous, po-faced tone, Bay works in a like­able strain of know­ing humour that makes the two hour-plus run­ning time fly by.

SciFi­Now (2/5)

View full review. This review is heav­ily crit­i­cal of the feature.

The Fallen is as big and burly as fans of loud, fre­netic block­busters will want it to be. It shouts, it screams, it explodes, it screams some more and then it explodes again; it is more than sim­ple cin­e­matic fod­der for the pre­teen Sat­ur­day mobs, it is the next stage in the evo­lu­tion of cin­e­matic fod­der, stripped down and stream­lined to fea­ture only mar­ketable, trailer-friendly, toy shelf-conscious moments. Junk, then.

Trou­blingly, like so many other recent block­busters (Ter­mi­na­tor Sal­va­tion to name but one) there is so lit­tle that feels like a real threat: explo­sions are noth­ing more than dec­o­ra­tion; all Trans­form­ers, both Auto­bot and Decep­ti­con, are in dire need of an inten­sive train­ing course in how to shoot; the much talked about Fallen comes across as lit­tle more than a computer-generated slouch; even Sam and Mikaela appear to be made of an inde­struc­tible, alien rub­ber alloy. How is an audi­ence sup­posed to care when it doesn’t ever believe that any­thing bad will hap­pen? Ulti­mately, for all its obvi­ous expense (with Bay at least, the money is always on the screen), the action is tediously unen­gag­ing and totally ster­ile, and nowhere near enough of a reward for the 40 minute bout of noth­ing­ness that pre­cedes the final act.

The Mir­ror

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In terms of explo­sions, fire­power and sheer shrill, all-action, pop­corn enter­tain­ment it is hard to see how this big’n’bold sequel can be topped this year.

Star Trek might have had more space­ships and aliens and Ter­mi­na­tor: Sal­va­tion more grim-faced robots, but this Michael Bay sum­mer block­buster is pure mind­less adven­ture may­hem that sticks firm and hard to its win­ning for­mula. In truth, it is a film for teen boys — and a bloomin’ long one at that — but is also a guar­an­teed mul­ti­plex crowd pleaser.

Say­ing that, for the most part it is also a com­plex lum­ber­ing mess of a movie that is long on turgid back­story and short on ten­sion, laughs and sub­tle acting.