"One shall stand. One shall fall." When Prime said those immortal words from the animated movie, that was the first moment where my hair stood up and I got goosebumps of inspiration. Sadly, that was in the dying moments of the film. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly as the no-thinking, fun action movie it was intended to be. However, I went in with only middle-of-the-road expectations, and came out with mediocre gratification. From a visual standpoint, it was amazing. Those were some very fluid and lifelike robots. The first third of the movie establishes all the human characters and I actually found the dialogue very humorous and entertaining. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was nearly a midnight showing and I was surrounded by teenagers with cell phones who felt compelled to text every scene of the movie... to each other. I don't get it... but I'm 30 now, so I'm okay with that. The parent-teenager interaction was great, and the script knew it wasn't Il Postino... it just kept it fun and tongue-in-cheek. Shia LeBeouf made the corny dialogue seem brilliant and is easily the next John Cusack, which is high praise from me!
The middle third of the film pretty much merged the human/Transformers worlds, and I found myself wanting either more dialogue, or more robots. I did appreciate that even robots can have a sense of humor. The final third of the film was all action and did a nice job of pulling off the sense of scale, but I'm actually more excited about getting the DVD than seeing it again in the theatres. There were just too many scenes with multiple robots flying around, and it was so large that you couldn't tell what happened and to whom. That's probably my only downside, and I can't wait to see the whole picture on DVD and slow-mo it a few thousand times. I was a so-so fan of the cartoon, but hold the animated movie as one of my tops ever because it was done so well, with a truly engaging storyline. I think this live-action version fails in comparison to the animated movie, but that's a pretty high bar. The music throughout the film was just so-so. There were some great action scenes with rock songs that got you pumped up, but the rest was a bit forgettable. Plus, with decades of past Transformers music to pull from, it was sad that no nostalgia tunes were thrown in. This is screaming for a sequel though, so I'm sure your favorites will be showing up sooner than later if they weren't in this film.
The toys were too expensive growing up, so I really only had Hot Rod. Maybe this further shows my bias for the Hot-Rod-heavy animated film... who knows! My grandmother did buy me Perceptor, the microscope, but I had to tell all my friends growing up that he was a tank with a "magnifying cannon" in order for them to play with me. You've contented me yet again, Starscream.