Friday, June 26, 2009

Glitzy 'Transformers' is a hollow shell of a Hollywood movie

By Joe Maniscalco

There will soon come a day -- if it hasn’t already come -- when Hollywood slowly begins to realize that audiences would much rather play with the cardboard box than the big, shiny, expensive toy that comes inside.

There are plenty of shiny toys in Michael Bay’s latest installment of the Transformers -- both metallic and otherwise. But like a kid on Christmas morning who plays with his new, super-cool radio-controlled car for all of 10 minutes before promptly returning to his old collection of green army men, there’s not much here to sustain interest for any significant length of time.

The morphing robots are certainly a hoot-and-a-half when they’re rocking and rolling and Megan Fox provides enough eye candy to put you in a diabetic coma. But the stuff that passes for entertainment between these two bookends is mediocre at best.

The ubiquitous Shia LaBeouf is affable enough as the Terran slub who holds the key to the intergalactic war between the evil Decepticons and virtuous Autobots in his head, but the plot is so insufferably cliched that it seems like forever before the next Transformer fight or Fox sighting.

There’s plenty of time to ponder the similarities to “Alien,” “Cloverfield” and even “Gremlins.”

“Transformers: Rise of the Fallen” is a fatally flawed movie based on a ridiculous premise. Just because a giant toy looks cool on screen doesn’t mean it’s a movie.

The upcoming “G.I. Joe” at least has some kind of cockamamie plot built in.

You know what the commercials used to say -- “Transformers, more than meets the eye.”

Yeah, right!

Directed by Michael Bay, starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Run time 150 minutes. Rated PG-13.


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