American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Now I have fans who say, "We are so sorry, Michael Bay, you still suck but we love you." That's what the director of "Transformers" told Simon Ang during an interview in Seoul. He could have been speaking for me. I think Michael Bay sometimes sucks ("Pearl Harbor," "Armageddon," "Bad Boys II") but I find it possible to love him for a movie like "Transformers." It's goofy fun with a lot of stuff that blows up real good, and it has the grace not only to realize how preposterous it is, but to make that into an asset.
The movie is inspired by the Transformer toys that twist and fold and double in upon themselves, like a Rubik's Cube crossed with a contortionist. A yellow Camaro unfolds into a hulking robot, helicopters become walking death monsters, and an enemy named Megatron rumbles onto the screen and, in a voice that resembles the sound effects in "Earthquake," introduces himself: "I--AM--MEGATRON!!!"
I think that's the first time I've used three exclamation points. But Megatron is a three-exclamation-point kinda robot. He is the most fearsome warrior of the evil Decepticons, enemies of the benevolent Transformers. Both races (or maybe they're brands) of robots fled the doomed planet Cybertron and have been drawn to Earth because Megatron crash-landed near the North Pole a century ago and possesses the Allspark, which is the key to something, I'm not sure what, but since it's basically an alien MacGuffin it doesn't much matter. (Note to fanboys about to send me an e-mail explaining the Allspark: Look up "MacGuffin" in Wikipedia.)
The movie opens like one of those teen comedies where the likable hero is picked on by bullies at school, partly because he didn't make the football team, and mostly because he doesn't have a keen car. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) talks his dad into buying him one, and he ends up with an old beater, a yellow Camaro that is actually the Transformer named Bumblebee and gets so mad when his paint job is insulted that it transforms itself into a shiny new Camaro.