Sometimes it's tricky to write a spoiler-free review. I'm gifted at focusing on the tangential, but what to do when superfans are so obsessed with an upcoming movie that any little tidbit becomes too much information? Such is the case with Transformers.
In a way, I understand. Like many men of a certain age, the old 1980s cartoon and Hasbro juggernaut were significant interests of mine. But then I grew up; they didn't. And judging from their rapturous applause of the robots' look and sound, it seems that director Michael Bay (Michael Bay!) did what George Lucas could not: restore their childhoods. Good for them.
So, if I can't talk about the plot or the effects, what else is there? I'll talk about Megan Fox.
Sure, her character knows her way around a car engine, but let's not deceive ourselves. Following a long line of supporting heroines in action movies, and a short line in the R.E.M. discography, she's a simple prop to occupy our time.
But in a film loaded with unusual casting choices (John Turturro was just... bizarre), the elevation of this 21-year-old actress to leading lady may be the most adventurous. There's something about her that I couldn't place at first -- artificial in a non-California way, edgy in a non-bitchy way.
Then it occurred to me: she's like an adult film star who has been secretly engineered to infiltrate the mainstream instead, and at a disturbingly young age. I'm not sure Hollywood has seen anyone like this before. (Though the music industry is witnessing the rise of someone similar; her name is Rihanna, age 19.) How will these parallel experiments proceed? For Megan Fox, it's a promising start. She made the most out of being a simple prop in a big budget movie; opposite Shia LaBeouf (too in-his-head) and Josh Duhamel (too bland), she dominates every scene she's in.
For the record, I liked the movie a lot more than I thought I would, but I was coming in with really low expectations. Half of it is very good, and the other half is only pretty good. It owes obvious debts to past summer spectacles Terminator 2 and Independence Day. And I've sufficiently filled my quota for vagueness.