You guys. I had the hardest time writing about Transformers for Zoom In. (An assignment) Damn... it defeated me. I didn't even take one note. I tried to put myself in what I assume to be the right frame of mind --nostalgia about the autobots. But even that I could only half muster. The names Optimus Prime (the hero) and Megatron (the villain) were familiar but their numerous sidekicks were not. I was a teenager when the Transformers craze hit in the 80s so I'm a smidgeon too old for it. Still I tried: Before attending the movie I even played with a toy I was given many years ago by a friend.
I realize that it's not strictly speaking a Transformer toy but it's inspired by. Three yellow letters ...once you start fiddling with them, their parts fold open, pop out, and spin in surprise ways until they’re suddenly robots. I always loved them (they've been on my desk forever)
Even though I never got into The Transformers I did understand the joy of seeing a familiar object such as a truck morph into a fantasy object such as an alien robot. It's like magic only not since it's real. You can actually see the parts shifting until they form something else. An ingenious bit of construction that. But I couldn't get into the movie. The movie doesn't even capitalize on that simple thrill from its source material. You can't really see the transformations happening, other than in the standard CGI morphing sense. The robots might as well have been made of liquid medal like the T-1000 in Terminator 2 for all the speedy closeup shapeshifting.
A 'hell yeah!' from the audience I saw it with I freely admit. A 'hmmm, meh' from me. C / C+
(leaning towards a plus on account of Shia the Boy Wonder, arguably not since a certain ship sank has an actor so charismatically avoided being humiliated by horrific dialogue)