Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen

Three things I learned from this movie. Transformers are evidently warm blooded- and for that matter, they actually breath. There's no need for consistency in things like size, or bad-assery, and clearly Megan Fox doesn't need to actually act. Clearly this movie delivers exactly what the trailers offer- a rehashing of the previous movie's plot, with a ton of transformer visual effects, and a slight bit of acting thrown into the mix.

Most convenient double entendre ever. The title both means the revenge of those lost in the first movie, and one of the most hackneyed names for a villain ever. You guessed it, the bad guy's name is actually "The Fallen." This movie begins essentially where the last one left off. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is heading off to college, and is trying to regain a bit of normalcy in his life (despite having a transformer for a car). Along the way he's trying to maintain a long distance relationship with his girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox). And that's where the human interaction essentially ends. On the flip side, the autobots (good transformers) have teamed up with the military to rid the world of the last of the decepticons (bad transformers) that are in hiding. This setup results in the best scene of the movie- which is unfortunately the first one. For the two and half hours that follow it, the movie just goes down hill.

Through an awkward narration delivered by none other than Optimus Prime himself, we learn that the relationship between transformers and humans goes back thousands of years, and through a clumsily developed plot line, made overly complicated with obnoxious sounding names that sound like they were thought up by a tech savvy third grader, we learn that the decepticons, led by "The Fallen" want to destroy the Sun. This leads to a movie filled with robotic hand to hand combat, and more cameras rotating around a transforming robot than I could count.

Obviously the movie is stupid, with a few exceptions, the acting is awful (both human and robot). Shia LaBeouf in a few wonderful scenes seemed to be channeling his Even Stevens days and reprised some of his goofy physical humor that has been missing from any of his roles in years. John Turturro also returned in his role from the first movie, and somehow managed to make the dialog he was given much better than it actually was. Unfortunately he could only do so much, and it was still very flat.

But the point of the movie is, of course, the Transformers themselves. And I must say, they were beautiful. Unfortunately they didn't pack the same visual wallop as the first one. It suffered from the same thing the Jurassic Park sequels did. We've seen these before, so we're not blown away simply by how they look. We need more. Michael Bay answered this by ramping up the action, and giving more character to the robots. In the first part he kind of succeeded (which I'll get to in a moment) but on the second aspect, he failed miserably.

There has been a lot of criticism about the movie having racist undertones. This is due largely because of two Transformers called the Twins- they talk in ebonics, sport golden teeth, and pretty much get in the way. I can completely understand why people would be offended- however, the true offense here is that they're just awful characters. They're not necessary to the movie, and if they were indeed included for comic relief, it fell flat. Sure they're stereotypes, but no more so than the Hyenas in The Lion King. The difference is that those were important, and great characters.

As far as ramping up the action, he certainly did that- but at a cost. The movie features a lot of lingering shots on Transformer's fighting, which I appreciated. Nothing bothers me more than rapid fire cutting to disorient you (and essentially make it easier on the director). Unfortunately this also resulted in some pretty horrifically violent scenes. I guess the idea is that if it's robots getting their heads ripped off and disemboweled, it's okay. But still, I found a few parts almost difficult to watch. The violence and the profanity I think could very possibly alienate a younger crowd- a very important demographic for these movies. However, there were a lot of little kids at the showing I saw, and they seemed to get a kick out of it, so maybe I'm just behind the times.

In all, it was a pretty terrible movie. An hour too long, too violent, bad acting, bad dialog, bad plot. But, and this is a very important but, it looked absolutely gorgeous. Very rarely do I enjoy a movie based simply on it being pretty. This movie, though it fell short of getting real positive feedback from me, was very close to being worth it just for the effects.


1 comment:

Parmenides said...

Transformers 2 was a really bad movie, tough there were some nice scenes such as the first battle at the begining of the movie and especially the fight between Optimus prime and three other decepticons.
But that's we are going to get when watching a Michael Bay movie. If you can compare bad boys 2 (wich M. Bay made a very silly reference) and transformers you can see it's the same movie: bad acting, an even worst plot, bad humor but a lot of explosions throughout the movie so that you can't figure what's going on.