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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


“Transformers 2 is by no means any where near the quality of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, but it certainly is rather quite entertaining.”

Xenocrates

Optimus Prime talks with Sam Witwicky about fateHello Sam. I’m here to bring the carnage. This movie is long, so let’s get started.

Three words: SICKEST. MOVIE. EVER. Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) is over two and a half hours of deafening, bone-crushing, side-splitting, mind-numbing, laugh-out-loud, edge-of-your-seat, gorgeous pop corn entertainment that is sure to make a killing at the box office this season.

Look, I’ll be honest: I will concede that there are tonnes of campy, schlocky (sometimes unfunny, mostly unnecessary) attempts at humor – a lot of which are over the top, in your face, needlessly gross, toilet gags which go on and on that might not go down well with more sophisticated audiences.

I also concede that after the film, the sheer sensory overload of one intense action sequence after another for over two hours gave me a splitting headache by the time the credits rolled. The movie is loud, crass, obnoxious, racist, sexist, explosive, and ridiculously (perhaps needlessly?) intense.

Finally, I will also concede that the movie is incredibly dumb; but it is just as incredibly entertaining. It has guilty pleasure written all over it. Michael Bay certainly blows everything up good – including the auditorium that you may see this in. The assault begins early and ends very late.

But let’s get real: The movie is no “Sense and Sensibility“, so don’t expect any meaningful dialogue or a complex, driven plot. The movie is not trying to win any Academy Awards. It’s too busy blowing up itself and the auditorium speakers in a mad bid to satiate those who are easily entertained.

This is TRANSFORMERS after all; we expect the gratuitous robot violence – and there is LOTS of it. Thus if that’s what you were (and should be) expecting, you will get our money’s worth. Just make sure to take a couple of Advil™ with you when you go to buy your treats at the concessionaire.

The Good

With that said, it’s time to delve into the review the way I do it best, and explore those things that I liked about this film:

1. The Special Effects

Prime surveys his killThis night shot shows off ILM’s amazing 3D light effects skills.

Industrial Light and Magic knocked this one clear out of the park. This is hands down the single most gorgeous special effects intense movie ever made. Period. Star Wars trilogy 1 can jump off a cliff for all we care. Nothing tops giant killer robots techno-morphing into hot cars, weapons and chicks.

Nothing.

Yes, I did say chicks. That’s all I will say for now. You’ll have to see it to understand what I mean. With this entry, Industrial Light and Magic has established themselves as the de facto special effects house on the planet, bar none. Digital Domain just got their asses handed to them on a stick.

I can’t seem to get enough of the transformation sequences. They look so incredibly real. Not one shot seemed too bright or too cartoonish. The early shot of Optimus Prime rolling off a freight plane and reassembling himself from a trailer head to an 80 foot robot drew gasps from the audience.

However, the lighting, the motion captured animation and the seamless blending in of computer generated imagery was simply astounding. These guys have mastered the art of creating the impossible. It is clear here that the visual effects represent money that was well spent.

2. The Action

Prime Ass kickin'Optimus Prime pulls out his whoop ass can opener

The action sequences in this film are wicked sick. Thankfully, this time Michael Bay used a different cinematographer. So the camera isn’t kissing ass with the on screen mayhem. There are plenty of pull away shots that show the entirety of the action scenes from a much wider angle. Great stuff.

Expect lots of giant killer robot falling from sky, transforming just before hitting the ground rolling, transforming back just before landing a connective blow to another giant killer robot who’s busy being a bad ass. There’s also some robot-fu and transformers-fu. Really sick stuff.

The giant killer robot orgy at the end of the film was particularly ill. It reminded me of the Japanese anime called Gundam Wing as well as a few others. It also seems to pay homage to the newer CGI Transformers cartoons currently featured on Cartoon Network. Either way, it’s pure fanboy bliss.

Look, if you ever felt that Transformers (2007) lacked that Saturday Morning cartoon sense of wanton and indiscriminate robot wars anarchy, then this film captures it all. In fact, you’ll probably see more transformers than people. If you’re going to see a people movie, stay home.

3. The Babes

Mikaela on a bikeHOTTEST. BRUNETTE. EVER.

Check your nose bleed gentlemen. There’s enough ass in this movie to satisfy even the most demanding horn dog. Remember this? Well here’s so much more where that came from. There are enough desktop wallpaper moments in this film to satiate your inner wolf and his favourite right paw.

However, let’s not forget; Despite the wanton and indiscriminate objectification of women in this film, it’s about robots, not the females – although that might be debatable. The silly romp at a college campus and the events that follow are testament to the top ten things guys love about anything.

I mean, My God. Shia Labeouf must’ve had a really hard time keeping his hard on to himself with this much cat running around. I kind of felt guilty for thoroughly enjoying these wide angle babe shots. I know I should be better than this – but sometimes I just switch off my frontal lobe and enjoy it.

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLENChestacularly racktastic. That’s it; I’m convinced Megatron is gay.

This movie is pure male guilty pleasure. Bring a lesbian friend. It’ll be totally worth it.

The Bad

Where do I even begin? I basically didn’t like anything else about the film aside from the eye candy. However, I didn’t have any high expectations going into a movie about giant killer robots beating the paint off each other for two and a half hours. So for me, the following aspects really sucked:

1. The Gag Humor

Skids and MudflapThese two idiots are the source of much of the movie’s nonsense

The audience I saw it with were laughing uncontrollably at every turn. I assume that the vast majority of them are easily amused – which is this film’s target demographic, I guess. But for the life of me, I can’t imagine why for example a robot humping a girl’s leg is even remotely funny. I just don’t get it.

But it doesn’t stop there. The film is overloaded with sexual innuendo and some really unpleasant moments meant to evoke laughter (which it did, for the sadistic crowd I saw it with). Every time there was a lull, the gag humor just kept on coming in waves. At one point in time, I totally lost interest.

From dogs repeatedly humping the snot out of each other, to toilet gags at a frat party, to a pair of balls being featured on a particularly large robot, to a pair of bumbling Autobots cussing and constantly getting into wisecrack trade offs, I just wanted it to stop. It felt contrived and ridiculous.

I also don’t really get Michael Bay’s sense of humor with those “black” stereotyped robots either. Bay seems to have a somewhat lame grasp on black humor as they both seemed rather corny. I don’t find them offensive like many other viewers. I just thought their existence in the film was pretty unnecessary.

2. The Relentless Sensory Assault

Peace and quietAnother quiet, reflective moment in a day of Michael Bay’s life

When an action movie is over two and a half hours long, you can be sure that you’re going to get a headache when it’s done. The movie has very little plot. Whatever plot exists serves for little more than to act as a clothes line for a series of massive set pieces. This happens very often and are all very loud.

In fact, there are so many massive, loud action set pieces in that two and a half hour time frame, that the sheer, sensory overload will probably turn your brain to mush by the time the credits roll. Your ears will rejoice for the reprieve. Some of you may even have a bout of Tinnitus.

However, if your inner child is still intact, then the non stop explosions from start to finish complete with flying pieces of colourful metal should keep even those with the attention span of a housefly keen till the end. Don’t get me wrong, I love action films, but this was just a bit much.

3. The Ultra-thin Plot

The Fallen

“Hello. I’m a plot element that serves no purpose. Oh, and I have no balls.”

Plotting is what makes or breaks a movie. An action movie especially needs to pay attention to plot – otherwise it feels big, loud and empty. If transformers wasn’t about transformers, I’d have fallen asleep a quarter of the way into the movie. The plot was so thin, it had cavernous holes in it.

I happen to discuss some of these plot holes later in this review.

Maybe that’s why the film spent so much time bludgeoning our sensory olfactories with monster action sequence after monster action sequence, each full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. I’m serious when I say that the movie is LOUD. My ear drums literally hurt by the time we left the cinema.

The absence of plot makes this film little more than a special effects extravaganza that demonstrates the technical skill at Industrial Light and Magic. The movie was really all about them. It seems that the special effects crew did their job and Bay took Orci and Kurtzman’s script and went to hell with it.

Despite this obvious caveat, I still feel the movie was otherwise very entertaining. Perhaps it’s the fan boy in me being lenient. Perhaps I need to see it without an audience to gain objectivity. Maybe I’ll like the movie less. Herd logic has a funny way of skewing one’s capacity for objectivity.

4. The Performances

Ruuun!“Michael Bay is trying to kill us! Ruuun!!”

My god – where do I even start? Shia Lebouf and Megan Fox spend the entire film running, being shot at, getting the snot blown the hell out of them, dodging explosions, dying, coming back to life, running some more, screaming “Optimus Prime!” and “Mommy make it stop!

Ok, maybe not that last one. But that was all there was as far as acting goes. Seriously. There is also very limited character development and we are not really given much of an opportunity to connect with the human characters. We spend so much time with the robots, that the film feels plastic.

The few human moments in the film felt like a farce, like an after thought – as if they were injected at the last minute so that the film didn’t feel completely robotic. In fact, that’s probably not even a fair statement. The transformers themselves at times outperformed the human characters.

The WTF?

SPOILER WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THIS MOVIE, SKIP THIS SECTION ALTOGETHER. IT CONTAINS DISCUSSIONS OF CRITICAL PLOT POINTS IN THE FILM.

Have you ever watched a movie and saw something that completely defied the laws of logic and reason? Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is loaded with moments like that. Ok, at this point, I’m really nitpicking – I know, but see if you caught these glaring omissions in production as well:

  1. Robot cover up? – In the opening act of the film, we learn that the Government covered up the events that transpired in the first movie. Like, seriously? How do you cover up a big effing battle involving five or six giant killer robots in the middle of downtown LA, a battle so epic that it had tens of thousands of witnesses? Really?!

    Hunter Killers

    “We’re hunting giant killer robots because we’re stupid. Hooaah!”

  2. Why are there human soldiers going after Decepticons? Think about how dumb this is. Decepticons are at least 80 feet tall, hulking metallic monstrosities that can disguise themselves as vehicles – and are not averse to killing humans with guns the size of a bus. So what sense is there in soldiers going after these monsters with AK-47’s? When are they going to realise how incredibly stupid that idea is?

  3. Dropping a megaton robot from several hundred feet in the air should cause his frame to shatter into several thousand pieces on hitting the hard pavement – even leaving a crater – but it does not. Strange.

  4. A Car with three human passengers falls from several hundred feet in the air, smacking hard face first into concrete and yet, they all live. Airbags don’t save people in the back seat. Producers know this, right?

  5. Optimus Prime is battling four or five Decepticons in the forest all by himself. However, this scene is preceded by a shot of Prime leading all of the Autobots into the same battle. Why is it they only show up long after the battle ends? Are they cowards? Did Prime some how loose them along the way? Huh?!

  6. Eighty foot robots chase after a single human boy – and can’t catch him? Seriously? If anyone tells me that this is the same as humans chasing after mice, I’m going to flip!

  7. Why is The Fallen hiding out on Saturn for all these thousands of years before humans developed weapons that could harm them, when they could’ve come here and fetched the sun eater themselves while we were still primitive? Oh I know – because then this entire movie would be unnecessary.

  8. We see robots get beaten pretty badly, loosing lots of parts in the process – yet they can still transform perfectly into their alternate modes without any effort? Not even the cartoon was unrealistic like that.

    Bumblebee

    Bumblebee as a robot – all scratched up and dirty.

    Bumblebee - car mode

    Bumblebee in alternate mode – all brand new!
  9. Bumblebee – Is scratched and dirty as a robot, but the Camaro he transforms into is… brand new?! Does the paint job transform too? That’s not in my owners manual…

  10. The Twins, Mudflap and Skids never actually transform anytime during the movie in their upgraded alternate modes. We always see them either as robots or cars, but we never ever actually see them transform.

  11. Where do Transformers get their ammo? In the cartoons, they fire energy weapons. This is more plausible than firing missiles and dumb fire ammo like bullets. Where do they regenerate the matter to produce this ammo? Remember the first law of thermodynamics? So where did the ammo come from?! HUH?!?!

  12. If Soundwave is a Satellite orbiting earth with the capacity to find out virtually anything at any time, why is it so hard for them to find out where Sam and Mikaela is during the second act when they hide out?

  13. Sam and Mikaela are caught dead center in the middle of an explosion while jumping from the top of a brick and sand house in the middle of the Egyptian desert – and they survive. Yet when a much smaller explosion occurs nearby Sam, it kills him? Seriously? WTF?

  14. Why can The Fallen speak English when it hasn’t been on earth in thousands of years, when English didn’t even exist the last time it was planet side? The first movie was more realistic in this regard.

  15. Why do the Transformers speak to each other in English? Wouldn’t it be easier that they use their own language? Again, the first movie was a lot more realistic in this regard.

    Babe-former

    Femme fatale. I’d hit it – with a rocket launcher… dumb blonde.
  16. When the robot disguised as a girl is discovered, why does it try afterward to kill Sam?  Isn’t the information in his head valuable to the Decepticons? So why blow a hole in the school chasing after him?

  17. If a “Sun Eater” existed on earth inside the Pyramids all these thousands of years, why is there no account in the film of how archaeologists missed this massive machine when they excavated the Pyramids?
  18. When Devastator starts to suck up the sand in the desert, we see two Autobots in the distance being sucked really hard up into it’s “mouth”, but a nearby archaeology exploration van doesn’t even budge – to the point where two human characters can “hide” behind it. What the hell?

  19. Where is the Egyptian Security force that is supposed to be guarding the Pyramids? Are you telling me that an entire army of giant killer alien robots converge on the Pyramids, and not one soul in Egypt is even remotely concerned?

  20. How does a rail gun, which fires in a straight line, fire around the curvature of the Earth? While Devastator is on the Pyramids in Egypt, the monster transformer is taken down by a rail gun sitting on a ship hundreds of miles away in the Red Sea. How do you aim a gun on a ship, sitting in the water at something that is too far away to be seen with the naked eye, that can only fire in straight lines? Firing that far away means firing around the curvature of the Earth, since the Pyramids would be beyond the horizon at this point. What the hell?

When I said earlier that this was the SICKEST MOVIE EVER, I wasn’t kidding. I meant that in the true and literal sense. It’s fun to watch, but it is as dumb as the hot chicks featured prominently in it. I’ll still get the movie on Blu-Ray though. It’ll be the penultimate demo disc for my home theatre system.

Conclusively;

Michael Bay tells Shia where to go and die.“Okay, I need you to run screaming then blow up over there.

With that said, Transformers 2 is by no means any where near the quality of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, but it certainly is rather quite entertaining. The audience didn’t seem to mind either – albeit they’re easily amused. It’s not a particularly smart movie, so don’t go in expecting anything even remotely intelligent.

If you like your movies thin on plot but chocked full of special effects, explosions, hot chicks, gag humor and are a HUGE Transformers fan, this movie will probably blow your mind. It’s a lot like American Pie meets Robot Jox on steroids. If you’re more of an artsy movie buff, then avoid like the plague.

Also, don’t be fooled by the colourful robot violence: This film is NOT for children. You have been warned.

Rating: 2.5

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  1. Reggie
    December 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    damn good review

  2. February 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Best review ever made!!!!

  3. August 27, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Ditto xen

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