Was there ever so perfect a partnership of filmmaker and film as Michael Bay and Transformers? Bay, a man whose enthusiasm for destroying automobiles verges on the pathological (perhaps he was run over as a child) is surely the only director for a movie about giant car robots bashing each other's wingnuts off. Caught in the middle of this clanging metalstorm, the best that stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox can do is keep their pretty heads well down.
Since Transformers is based on a toy franchise, it's no surprise that the story is preposterous. There are good trannies (Autobots) and bad trannies (Decepticons). The good trannies are led by a dignified lorry called Optimus Prime, and they've come to Earth from planet Cybertron to find an all-powerful cube thingy that could destroy humanity forever. Seriously, though, don't worry about it. The movie builds momentum slowly, following teenager LaBeouf's engaging attempts to bond with Bumblebee, a trannie disguised as a beat-up Camaro. Meanwhile, somewhere in Quatar US forces wage high-tech war with the grumpy Decepticons, a sequence shot in the bombastic, burnished style of a military recruitment commercial. Or, you know, a Michael Bay movie.
"OUTRAGEOUS, STUPID FUN"
The transformers themselves are charming creations, rendered in astonishing CGI and given soulful voice by, among others, Matrix star Hugo Weaving. And the action? Fear not, tran-fans: at around the two-thirds mark, the film becomes an explosive orgy of giant, fetishised weaponry, grinding metal and spraying lubricant - an automotive video nasty with a Fort Knox-sized budget. It's outrageous, stupid fun and you should see it on the biggest screen you can find.
Transformers is out in the UK on 27th July 2007.