The Official Novel of the Film

Author: Alan Dean Foster
Pocket Books
RRP: £6.99, US $7.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 601 6
ISBN-10: 1 84576 601 6
Available 04 June 2007

For millennia mankind has looked to the heavens, hoping that we were not alone. We have sent our small, frail craft out into the void signalling that we are here, please come and visit. In a universe of infinite promise, infinite horror also exists. Far from our world a race of ageless and powerful robots have warred since time immemorial and now that war has come to Earth. Through circumstances beyond their control a disparate group of humans are forced to join forces with Optimus Prime in a desperate race to protect the source of the Transformers species, from the evil machinations of Megatron, leader of the Decepticons...

Transformers is the novelisation of the movie script by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Okay, first up we have a bit of a problem, in that by the time you read this review the movie won't even be out. So, looking at the story without giving massive spoilers away is going to be next to impossible. If, as they say, you are of a non-inquisitive disposition look away now. You have been warned.

There are few safer hands to have given the novelisation to than Alan Dean Foster, who has a long and successful history writing in this genre. His style is both punchy and laid back enabling him to do justice to both the action scenes and the more intimate moments - though thankfully the intimate scenes are few. He displays a fine attention to detail and a rather pleasant reticence about overusing the titular Transformers.

The structure of the story is that of a summer blockbuster, this is not to be detrimental to Foster's book; he is after all stuck with the screenplay as a jumping off point. The basic story is a quest by the Autobots and Decepticons to retrieve the source of their creation, which wouldn't you know has fallen to Earth and been found by the US government. So far, so good, but now you need characters with which the audience can identify.

Our hero is Sam Witwicky, he's the nerdy type for all the insecure teenage boys to identify with. Of course he beats the school jock and gets the fabulously pretty girl, Mikaela, who is more than a little spunky and tomboyish - she's there for the teenage girls who are feeling repressed by society's expectations. For the mothers in the audience, we have Lennox - you know the type, good looking, hard as nails action guy who only really wants to get home to tuck his baby girl into bed. For the fathers, who cannot admit that actually they quite fancy the teenage girl, the story throws in Maggie, your average decent Ripley clone, pretty as a picture but not above taking on a thirty-foot robot.

Throw in a couple of character actors and a few references to film like E.T. and there you have it another well thought out corporate summer movie. The only saving grace for the story is that they gave it to Foster, who turns what potentially could be a load of old tosh into more than a halfway decent read. Okay, it was never going to be the best book you've ever read, just look at the clichés that he has had to deal with, but Foster actually makes a good job of it.

Fans of Transformers may be disappointed that the creatures don't have more of a presence in the book, but this is definitely a case of less is more.

Charles Packer

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal! Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£5.59 (Amazon.co.uk)
£4.19 (Waterstones.com)
£6.99 (WHSmith.co.uk)

$7.99 (Amazon.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.