Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

June 21, 2009

I didn’t like the first Transformers movie. Everything happened about an inch from your face, there was too much focus on the human characters and too many flat attempts at humour. Two years passed, and here we are again. Prepare yourself for two and a half hours of some of the most disjointed cinema you’ll ever see. At times it seems as if this film was cut together by someone with a nervous tick, whole chunks of transitional material seems to have been removed and we skip from one arena to the next without any sense of continuity. It is impressive then that the film manages to be so, so long. This length can be attributed to the huge amount of time that is spent once more looking at the human characters.

Shia Leboeuf and Megan Fox are back, the former a nerdy undergraduate unable to tell the latter, a ‘sexy’ mechanic, that he loves her until he dices with death in the film’s closing moments. For the most part their relationship follows standard Hollywood lines and were they the only human characters then the film could have been a lot shorter and less painful. However, a supporting cast of additional characters is forced upon us, often for comic relief or pointless pro-military anti-government messages to be conveyed. John Turturro is having fun with his part once more, but the soldiers lead by Tyrese Gibson just remind us of the pointlessness of little men with guns against giant robots from outer space. The film has also tried to keep up with current events with obviously dubbed in lines referencing Obama’s presidency and even more incredibly, Swine Flu. These lines add nothing and in the case of acknowledging the newly appointed president actually confuse the anti-governmental/bureaucratic message that would have been more at home in the Bush era than now.

The Transformers themselves are for the most part intricately designed and pleasingly animated, and the digital presentation of the film which I saw solved some of the issues of extreme closeups suffered by the first movie. However, if you want to see some of the most racist animated characters since the crows in Dumbo then check out Mud Flap and Skids. Incredibly these car crash characters are voiced by the guy who does Spongebob’s vocals. Strange. In fact, pretty much every Transformer is an exaggerated stereotype which you’ll either have to ignore or endure with a wince.

So, the narrative is confused by a lack of continuity and prolonged by superfluous characters, but most people will have come to see some action. This is arguably what Michael Bay does best. Like the first movie though the action scenes are a bit of a mixed bag. For large chunks the camera will be far to close to fast moving action to allow the eye to make any sense of what’s going on. If you’ve seen Speed Racer it’s similar in style. When he allows the camera to drift further away a larger sense of scale is afforded and things become a lot more epic and enjoyable. The last, sunlight scenes in Egypt are the best of the film because of this. If you’re looking for explosions you won’t be disappointed, and the same sound design and bass-laden, percussive, staccato style are used once more. The sound is the one area in which the film really excels, and it’s a pity that by the time the home release rolls around most people won’t be able to experience the full effect of this key asset.

Watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a frustrating affair. The script will make you groan, there are a couple of so-so visual gags for the kids and Megan Fox will keep slightly older men happy. The action is constantly raising the bar to one-up an imaginary competitor and over the two and a half hours of the film you’ll just feel confused and concussed. If this is what you’re looking for, see the movie. Everyone else should stay away.


5 Responses to “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

  1. Marina Says:

    I don’t think you know anything about Transformers in the least! Did you ever watch the shows growing up or when they aired at any point in time within the last 25 years? Because I did! When your a kid growing up in a low class neighborhood and there is not much to do and there are very few T.V. programs to watch you instantly get hooked, for the better part of words, to a show that makes you wonder. Wondering if what is happening on the show can really happen in real life. I can remember kids, me being one of them, pretending that we were the humans along side the mighty Autobots. Fighting the evil Decepticons and protecting our planet, keeping everyone we cared for safe. Yes, we were just little kids, and what little kid doesn’t play make believe? And now we have a chance to share these shows once again with our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews. To watch their eyes light up in amazement and to see that same wonder in their eyes is simple amazing! But when I see people like you saying such appalling things about a show or movie that brings out the kid in everyone and the wonder, it just PISSES ME OFF! Micheal Bay, all the characters involved in making this movie and the first, they all did a excellent job and I am glad they made the Transformers come to life and fit into our modern day lives. So why don’t you just shut your mouth when it comes to movies, shows and actors that people loves to watch! Oh and by the way did you happen to see that Transformers 2 has grossed over 400 million since it opened!!?? I loved the movie just like the first and all the shows and I will gladly tell all I speak with to go and see it because it is the best movie out there because it makes you feel like a kid again and its something you can share with their own children!

    • fungalporpoise Says:

      Hi, thanks for commenting.
      Firstly, I don’t claim to know much about Transformers, though I did watch the show as a kid and was a fan. I had a toy incarnation of Bumble Bee. He was a VW beetle in bright yellow.
      In response to talking about the film inspiring awe in children and nostalgia in the young at heart I’ve no doubt that Transformers will do both. It’s a film that’s got instant kid appeal, and though I criticised the action in some ways I also proposed that it was the film’s strongest facet. For a brilliant, lateral view of the new Transformers movie I urge you to read this review. However, though I can see where some of the appeal lies, I had to respond to it as an adult viewer, and the sheer length, plot inconsistencies and weak script didn’t do it for me. Perhaps I am just jaded.
      Anyway, I’m glad that you enjoyed the movie so much, I understand the diversity of appeal with which films of all shapes and sizes are bestowed, and I’m sure this is a great film to show to certain kids and adults. But if I had kids I might wait until UP is out here in the UK. Or take them to Star Trek.

  2. […] movie of the summer. And considering we’ve already had such classic dunces as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Angels and Demons drooling violently into their own laps that’s quite an impressive […]

  3. gogeta Says:

    hey i was getting ready to disagree with almost everything you said, then someone else did and you made a nice rebuttal and i was like ok i understand your point, but i do have to say they werent racist and i dont so much care for how people search out racism like they do in movies now, they were slightly stereo typical, but in a funny way, and trying to see racism in it is you just trying to start trouble or get shock value, i have a several black friends who enjoyed the movie greatly, it’s not like the spouted off the N word or anything else that might have been racist, if anything the two were just annoying and more in a sence of jar jar binks from star wars annoying, and there was alot of focus on humans in several incarnations of transformers including the original, oh the comment on how bummble bee was a volkswagon it sounded as though you were upset about him not being one, and volkswagon made them change it for the movie because they didnt want to be associated with war machines or some such nonsence like that, and bummble i know was changed to so generic yellow car in the newest animated series and i think he might have been other things as well in other series but i could be getting him confused with hot shot, i do know they’ve changed up their vehicle modes several times including optimus’s, ok that’s all i’ve gotta say, sorry about my enormous run on, lol

  4. fungalporpoise Says:

    Hi gogeta, cheers for commenting.

    Perhaps ‘racist’ is the wrong choice of word. ‘Heavily stereotype’ might be better. It just felt to me like a painfully obvious attempt by the film’s makers to appeal to the youth market, and in my opinion they resorted to tired cliches and moderately offensive representations. It felt like I was watching one of thoes extremely old Bugs Bunny cartoons that are…politically incorrect, to say the least.

    I only mentioned Bumblebee being a VW because that was all I could really remember about the old Transformers toys that I had as a child. It’s interesting that they changed him into a chevvy in the movie to avoid associations with Nazi Germany, if what you say is true, thanks for sharing 🙂

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