Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Ramon Rodreiguiz, Isabel Lucas, and the voices of Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Tony Todd, Frank Welker, Tom Kenny, and Mark Ryan.
As I’m sure you know, I grew up with the Transformers, and I’m still quite fond of them. The original animated film from 1986 was the first DVD I ever bought. As I type this up, I have Starscream and Grimlock locked in a Mexican standoff on my computer monitor. I am a fanboy. That being said, I actually enjoyed the first live-action film. I felt it to be a pretty good introduction to this new generation of Transformers. Of course I was eagerly anticipating the second one. But then, the first reviews started. And questions arose as to its quality. I decided I had to see it, first as a fanboy, and then to see if it really was that bad.
It’s two years since the first movie. Sam Witkwicky is trying to have a regular life, but is finding it tough. He’s getting ready to go to college, leaving his Autobot guardian, Bumblebee, behind. Meanwhile, the Autobots are still on Earth, their existence kept covered up, and they’re part of a special military team called NEST that eliminates any hiding Decepticons. Buy why are the Decepticons still attacking Earth, if there’s no reason left for them to attack? Turns out Earth is home to ancient Cybertronian WMD that would extinguish the Sun and turn it into pure energy. The Decepticons want it to fuel an army to conquer the universe. And there’s only one thing that can stop them: Optimus Prime. The Decepticon mission is clear: kill Optimus Prime. Will the Decepticons succeed?
What I Liked
Industrial Light and Magic once again brought their A-game. The special effects are amazing. The fight scenes are pretty good. There’s enough name-dropping of Transformers lore (energon, space bridges, the Matrix) to make this fanboy smile. And there’s this one scene where Megatron, Starscream, and the Fallen discuss their strategies where you see those classic characters let loose and be themselves.
What I Didn’t Like
God, this film has a lot to hate. None of the characters are given anything interesting to do. There’s just a lot of screaming and running from the explosions. We hardly get a chance to get to know any of the new characters introduced. The film is dominated by stupid hero. John Turturro was in a speedo…why? There’s at least 5 dog-humping-leg jokes too many. And, my biggest fanboy whine, the Autobots aren’t treated as the beloved characters I know and love. They’re just machines…they’re just there to be big and shiny and fire their big and shiny guns. Hardly any plot exposition, hardly any character development.
You know, this could have been good if we had just a few simple scenes where the characters were talking, and, you know, developing their characters. But nothing but big explosions don’t make a good movie. I paid extra to see the first film a second time in IMAX…I won’t be doing it with this one.