Like most of Michael Bay's movies, "Transformers" has moments where it's exciting and fun to watch. In-between those moments, however, there is awkward dialogue, an overdramatic symphonic score, and paper-thin plotting and characters. While it's interesting that one director could put out so many films with incredibly uneven quality levels ("The Rock," "Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor"), it's equally interesting how this approach collides with an established license.
The story is pretty simple - Optimus Prime and the Autobots are trying to stop Megatron and the Decepticons from conquering the Universe and killing the human race. There's various McGuffins, famous actors (yes, Jon Voigt has been reduced to playing a small part in a movie with giant killer robots), and lots of CGI. Oh, and gratuitous shots of Megan Fox:
Good-looking women notwithstanding, the movie comes across as alternately brilliant and horrible. Optimus actually says, "My bad," and yes, a Mountain Dew machine transforms on screen, shooting horrible cans of soda at the populace. On the other hand, most of the fights are suitably intense, and Optimus is still a very noble character. Too bad he's given short shrift in favor of horndog Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf. Most problematic is the constant product placement that eventually borders on self-parody - all the cars are GM, eBay is mentioned about a half-dozen times, and you see an Xbox 360 start to transform.
Almost makes you want to awaken into a simpler time (below video contains foul language, but it's funny if you know the source material):