Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

15 Apr

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Smith’s Verdict: *

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

Man, is this movie a disappointment! Remember the big-bang action climax at the end of the original 2007 hit “Transformers?” I remember how bored I was with that, yet how entertained I was with what happened before that. And here, we have its sequel “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” a boring, loud, obnoxious, stupid movie that is easily director Michael Bay’s worst movie since “Armageddon.” Both movies are incomprehensible and idiotic with nothing to show except for an endless amount of big-budget special effects and a poorly-constructed screenplay and heavy-handed direction. These special effects are indeed special but they’re just special effects. There’s hardly anything special ABOUT them because the story is lame and the characters are one-dimensional.

Once again, we have the continuing war between the good Transformers (the Autobots) and the evil Transformers (the Decepticons). The Autobots have the US Army on their side now as they go around searching for Decepticons because…I don’t know, maybe if one of them was around, they might rally more from their home planet and possibly destroy the Earth or something. The movie opens with an especially LOUD opening battle in which Autobots seek to destroy a couple of Decepticons but end up causing more damage than the Decepticons did.

The Decepticons leave the Autobots with a warning: “The Fallen will rise again.” There are always lines like that in big-budget blockbusters. What is the Fallen? Apparently, it’s some type of evil force that can even control the Decepticons and cause world domination. The Fallen is the MacGuffin—we have to watch out for it and keep our ears open. But the movie is so loud that we actually want to SHUT our ears! There are many battles like the one in the beginning of the film that seem to go on forever and grow tiresome and annoying. Sometimes, we will cut back to the original film’s returning teenage hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) as he deals with his parents (Kevin Dunn as the Dad, and Julie White, who seems to be trying hard for a Razzie as the Mom) and tries to settle things in his off and on relationship with his girlfriend Mikaela (the beautiful but bland Megan Fox). He is also trying to fit in on his first days of college but it’s hard to do when his roommate Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) is a techno geek who is attempting to expose the Transformers that the government “covered up.”

OK, let me stop for a moment. We learn in this movie that the big climax in the city at the end of the first “Transformers” was “covered up” by the Government. This makes no sense. There was a city full of witnesses who saw the Autobots and Decepticons fight and kill each other. How in the world could the Government have covered up something like that?

Sam, Mikaela, Leo, and another returning character (played by John Turturro) are caught up in this battle that leads the Transformers to the discovery and possible resurrection of the Fallen. Once again, Sam must save the world while the leader of the Autobots—Optimus Prime—and the US Army (with returning characters played by Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel—both of which are just standard shoot-em-up guys) fight off the resurrected Megatron, the evil leader of the Decepticons. At one point, Sam and the group wind up in Egypt, where there is (of course) an action climax bigger than any of the big action climaxes that happened earlier in the film. John Turturro has to get to the top of a pyramid to get…something, I forgot. And while doing so, he makes this hammy speech, “The machine is buried in the pyramid! If it gets turned on, it will destroy the sun! Not on my watch!”

Also in this climax is a Transformer that works as a vacuum. At one point, Leo and Turturro are behind a car while this monster sucks everything into its mouth. The car is sucked in but Leo and Turturro run away like nothing is there. I’m no physics expert but I don’t think this is possible. If a car can get sucked into this huge vacuum, how can two lighter, moving subjects be unaffected? There are also many other moments in which Sam and Mikaela barely escape death without getting hurt. They even OUTRUN EXPLOSIONS. The only time someone is really injured in the midst of all this big-time action is when Sam is TELEPORTED into another place and breaks his arm (this was written into the story because of LaBeouf’s arm was actually broken during production).

This is just one big action climax and when it stops for comedy, it doesn’t really work. The humor is juvenile at best. We see one dog humping another (twice), we see Turturro’s butt cheeks at one point, we get moments of embarrassment with Sam’s bizarre mother (actually, Julie White is funny in her scenes), and Leo is there for no good reason except to have an annoying, racist stereotype. And speaking of racist stereotype, the most annoying “comic relief” comes from two twin Autobots who act as jive-talking black stereotypes. Their dialogue is spoken so fast that I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. And they NEVER SHUT UP. Then when the film tries to attempt drama, Megan Fox has to cry. No offense to this actress, but she can’t quite cut it here.

And if you think the human characters are boring, the Transformers are far worse. They’re dumb, clanky, and their dialogue is as dumb as any of the humans’. And while in the original film they were a sight to behold, they just look like a walking pile of junk this time around.

The problem with Michael Bay is that he spends too much time creating blockbuster elements that he forgets that other stuff is important. I enjoyed the original “Transformers” movie, and also Bay’s 1996 thriller “The Rock.” But with movies like “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Bad Boys II,” and now, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” it’s obvious what he really wants to do—impress and/or annoy the audience with blockbuster style. The style may be fresh, but the development is rotten.

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