For millennia mankind has looked to the heavens, hoping that
we were not alone. We have sent our small, frail craft out
into the void signalling that we are here, please come and
visit. In a universe of infinite promise, infinite horror
also exists. Far from our world a race of ageless and powerful
robots have warred since time immemorial and now that war
has come to Earth. Through circumstances beyond their control
a disparate group of humans are forced to join forces with
Optimus Prime in a desperate race to protect the source of
the Transformers species, from the evil machinations of Megatron,
leader of the Decepticons...
Transformers is the novelisation of the movie script by
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Okay, first up we have a bit
of a problem, in that by the time you read this review the
movie won't even be out. So, looking at the story without
giving massive spoilers away is going to be next to impossible.
If, as they say, you are of a non-inquisitive disposition
look away now. You have been warned.
are few safer hands to have given the novelisation to than
Alan Dean Foster, who has a long and successful history writing
in this genre. His style is both punchy and laid back enabling
him to do justice to both the action scenes and the more intimate
moments - though thankfully the intimate scenes are few. He
displays a fine attention to detail and a rather pleasant
reticence about overusing the titular Transformers.
The structure of the story is that of a summer blockbuster,
this is not to be detrimental to Foster's book; he is after
all stuck with the screenplay as a jumping off point. The
basic story is a quest by the Autobots and Decepticons to
retrieve the source of their creation, which wouldn't you
know has fallen to Earth and been found by the US government.
So far, so good, but now you need characters with which the
audience can identify.
Our hero is Sam Witwicky, he's the nerdy type for all the
insecure teenage boys to identify with. Of course he beats
the school jock and gets the fabulously pretty girl, Mikaela,
who is more than a little spunky and tomboyish - she's there
for the teenage girls who are feeling repressed by society's
expectations. For the mothers in the audience, we have Lennox
- you know the type, good looking, hard as nails action guy
who only really wants to get home to tuck his baby girl into
bed. For the fathers, who cannot admit that actually they
quite fancy the teenage girl, the story throws in Maggie,
your average decent Ripley clone, pretty as a picture but
not above taking on a thirty-foot robot.
Throw in a couple of character actors and a few references
to film like E.T. and there you have it another well
thought out corporate summer movie. The only saving grace
for the story is that they gave it to Foster, who turns what
potentially could be a load of old tosh into more than a halfway
decent read. Okay, it was never going to be the best book
you've ever read, just look at the clichés that he has had
to deal with, but Foster actually makes a good job of it.
Fans of Transformers may be disappointed that the creatures
don't have more of a presence in the book, but this is definitely
a case of less is more.
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