(Because studios get hinky about movies being reviewed too soon, this is not a review. More like notes from a viewing of what could well be the summer's biggest movie. To the notes, then:)
One of the smartest things about "Transformers" is that it knows that the basic idea is pretty ridiculous ...
Brilliant robots that change into ordinary machines and then back again? As is well known, that's a toy, not a story. So "Transformers" -- which I saw at a screening tonight, with an extremely enthusiastic crowd -- has taken pains to do two things very well. It made sure that its big-screen toys were very good (especially when fighting each other), and it never took itself too seriously.
In fact, it goes for laughs on a level with "Men in Black," a movie that the makers of "Transformers" have paid attention to -- as well as to the likes of "Independence Day," director Michael Bay's own "Armageddon," "Christine" and even a little bit of "King Kong."
And it moves so briskly that I was surprised to see it clocked in at about 2:20; it did not flag along the way as "Spider-Man 3" and the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" did. When in doubt, it either offered a quick laugh or sent its creations a-transforming.
At least, that's my initial impression. I'll be polishing it up some when I write my review tomorrow (for Monday's Beacon Journal). And I'll be getting into some other matters, too. Still, where I was ready to be impressed with the movie's action, I laughed -- happily -- a lot more than I expected.