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Tooned in to cinema; the razz movie reviews Amazing special effects should make children's TV favourite a big screen hit TRANSFORMERS **** 12A.

BOY wizards, pirates, lone cops,animated ogres... yeah,yeah, yeah.

They're all fine. But if you really want a noisy, action-driven summer blockbuster, get Michael Bay to direct it. Make sure it's got aliens. Destroy some cities. Throw in plenty of military firepower.

That's the Transformers package and it works at the most basic thrill level. Spend a fortune on stunning special effects that can finally deliver what the story demands, and the film gains an extra star in the ratings for sheer spectacle alone.

Half the population will be chomping at the bit to see this live-action, computer-enhanced recreation of the old TV cartoon series. The other half couldn't care less. They're the ones who would hate everything that the first group thought was cool and exciting.

They're also the ones wary about any movie that is so closely tied to selling a line of toys - toy company Hasbro is mentioned in the opening credits before any of the actors.

But it's hard to remain cynical in the face of such a childishly silly, adrenalin-packed onslaught. Transformers is a huge amount of fun if you let yourself go.

Basically, it boils down to a simple, old-fashioned battle between good and evil. Because their planet has been ravaged by war, an alien race is searching the universe for The Cube, a powerful force that could revitalise their home.

Decades ago it was buried in the Arctic on Earth; now it's in the hands of a secret US government group.

The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, want to save humanity. The Decepticons, led by Megatron, want to destroy it. Geeky teenager Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and class babe Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) are caught in the middle.

Bay, director of Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, does great robot action but isn't so good with flesh-and-blood characters.

There's also a big question mark over how happy the young target audience will be when asked to sit still in a cinema for 144 minutes.

On one level, with its forces of destruction hidden among us, Transformers is a metaphor for terrorist sleeper cells ready to spring into action.

On another level, it's a film about cool trucks that turn into alien robots who become your best friends.

Forget the deeper analysis. Go with the big bangs.

CAPTION(S):

SCREEN TEST: The amazing special effects make Transformers a class apart; STUCK IN THE MIDDLE: Actors Fox and LaBeouf
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Article Type:Movie review
Date:Jul 27, 2007
Words:403
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