I grew up playing with Transformers, some of my favourite times were spent acting out battles that would jump from high speed chases to giant robots fighting on the end of my bed. I watched the cartoons as well, though not as heavily as I would have liked back then (pfft, parents!). Here's my brief and spoiler-free review of the first live action movie.
As I expected, the special effects were amazing. While I missed the whole concept of transformers simply moving body parts around (Open the boot and OH! LEGS SLIDE OUT!!!), I did like the more technical approach of pretty much everything moving to reveal this metal goliath's true form. It might just be me, but I found it a bit hard to differenciate between each Transformer due to the new designs, no more big, chunky, red truck facing on the optimus' chest, for example. I know it's still there, it's just not as evident, though I suppose it adds to the disguise.
Speaking of disguise, or being discreet, there really wasn't too much of that going on in this movie. Things are blowing up everywhere, there is a pretty funny scene with several Autobots standing around some houses that made me wonder why no one else looked out their window, to see Optimus Prime stepping over a fountain or something. There was emphasis at the end of them taking a more subtle approach while living on Earth, a set up for the sequel, but not many people will forget that a giant robot trashed their coffee shop downtown!
Another thing about the end is that the last 30mins (roughly) is the only part that makes it feel like a Transformer movie. The rest feels more like "Humans Do Things: Transformers Tag Along". Megatron's appearance was too late, it would have been much more interesting if things happened at a slightly faster pace. Though I feel the characters in the movie were poorly developed, I really hope that there is a larger Transformer influence, building on their characters and story, with the human characters taking a back seat. I really was not interested in the kid's little love story, or the standard "There is only one hacker in the world who can help us..." rubbish that didn't seem necessary at all.
It's boring in the beginning, adding nice little moments as the transformer characters get introduced, and slowly builds into some great action scenes. Oh, and there is a little humor here and there. Overall, it's enjoyable and pretty, but worth a miss if you are looking for a captivating story.