Joshua Rich
October 19, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT


Current Status
In Season
143 minutes
Wide Release Date
Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese, Anthony Anderson, Josh Duhamel
Michael Bay
Paramount Pictures
Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Sci-fi and Fantasy, ActionAdventure

We gave it a B+

Transformers‘ arrival on DVD raises hopes that its ”hours of exclusive bonus features” will clarify its muddled plot…and also elicits a fear that the shiny special-edition box will transform into an evil robot hell-bent on destroying my Honda Civic. Actually, neither is the case. The movie, about a goofball (Shia LaBeouf) caught in a war between shape-shifting Autobots and Decepticons, remains an impenetrable (but immensely amusing) mind-boggler, and I still have a way to drive to the toy store.

That’s fortunate, because this two-hour-plus ode to consumerism is probably the most elaborate ad ever made; the DVD will only increase your longing for those famous movable figurines. Behind-the-scenes docs include a geektastic history of the Japanese-conceived toys, effects primers, and a glimpse into the arduous boot camp that actors endured so they could convincingly fire 50-caliber artillery at CG machines from outer space.

Ubiquitous throughout the extras is action auteur Michael Bay, a director I’ve always admired (he makes loud movies for boys better than anyone — so sue him). Unfortunately, some viewers may be put off by hearing about his working methods — fetishizing deadly weapons (”I got the phone number to the Pentagon!”), browbeating his crew (on the set, Bay says he’s ”in your face,” like a ”tough-ass basketball coach”), and casting Megan Fox in part because she has ”a nice stomach.” Why he would reveal such dirt is a mystery. Then again, like the movie, it’s really entertaining. B+

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