in Review


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I guess John is taking charge and making the blog interesting for the week, but we can’t let him have all the fun now, can we?  On the other hand, I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to horror films, so I don’t really have much to say, list wise.  I did, however, manage to expose myself to the greatest, most disturbing cinematic experience all year, Michael Bay’s Transformers sequel.

Full disclosure: I hated the original.  The combination of the bastardization of one of my most beloved childhood franchises and Bay’s terrible direction was brutal.  It was as if he fundamentally did not understand the intellectual property he was depicting.  But it certainly wasn’t Bay’s worst, and on one level, I do like giant robots fighting each other, even if he managed to fail at delivering that in a satisfying way.  Well, this second time around, it seems like Bay heard my complaints and responded, “Oh yeah?  I can do way worse than that!”

Let’s talk about the length of this immense piece of shit.  150 minutes.  That’s two and a half hours.  Sure, the original was just a few minutes shorter than that, but this is a Michael Bay sequel, completely devoid of character development or much plot in general.  It’s about 135 minutes too long. On top of that, he somehow managed to edit the film in a way that was extremely jumpy, with numerous transitions between scenes that left me momentarily confused about what was going on. The fact that all the transformers look the same adds to the confusion.  I couldn’t even tell who Megatron was among the other Decepticons.

Yes, the effects are pretty.  But it feels so pointless.  Remember in the trailer when the Constructicons form together and it seems epic?  Not like that in the final film.  The characters just randomly stumble into this construction site and the Constructicons just show up while the two extremely racist Autobots crack wise.  That’s just one of the dozens of scenes that probably sounded great in the script to the morons but Bay totally failed to realize. Never before have I seen so much money on display and felt so little.  The fights are just boring, and since those are supposed to be the redeeming feature of a Michael Bay movie, you know its got problems.

SPOILERS – but it’s OK, you don’t want to see this movie

So the plot?  I’ll walk you through it.  Sam Dipshitty’s going to college, his mom and girlfriend are sad.  Sam finds part of the Allspark thing from the first film, he goes crazy in Dwight Shrute’s class.  His school is full of super model women and insane men.  The Decepticons show up again, trying to get Sam’s brain to… uh, blow up the sun.  For energon.  Because their boss, The Fallen, says that’s a good idea.  The Decepticons revive Megatron.  The Fallen says only a Prime can kill him, so Megatron kills Optimus Prime (but he still takes orders from The Fallen for some reason).  Meanwhile Sam, his girlfriend (who I’m sure had a name in the first movie, but I can’t remember them saying it this time around), and his coked-up roommate find John Turturro and go to a museum.  It is there that they find a Blackbird jet that turns into an old British transformer who teleports them to Egypt.  There’s a big fight, Optimus Prime comes back to life thanks to the Matrix of Leadership – a big dagger.  The end.

That’s leaving out some of the minor plot points, like the Autobots being part of a military organization that features Tyrese Gibson and that white guy, and is headed by Aaron from 24.  They deal with problems from this corporate fuck who works for the president, in one of the most scathing depictions of the Obama administration yet. There’s also a tiny Decepticon that ends up allying with the human heroes, only to inexplicably disappear towards the end of the film.  And, yes, they introduce two new twin Autobots that are extremely offensive without even being a little funny.  I appreciate the effort to focus less on the humans and more on the robots, but everything here fails.

I really like giant robot movies.  Robot Jox is not a good movie, but I’ll happily watch it.  Transformers was not so lucky, I never want to watch that again.  This sequel is several magnitudes worse.  I try to avoid using the half star rating, but this calls for it.  There was enough talent and money behind this concept for it to be so much more.  Instead it stands a testament to Michael Bay’s vast incompetence.