Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Movie Review
By Anne Brodie Jun 24, 2009, 15:08 GMT
The battle for Earth continues in this action-packed blockbuster from director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg. When college-bound Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers robots, he must accept his destiny and join Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in their epic battle against the Decepticons, who have returned stronger than ever with a plan to destroy our world. ...more
Michael Bay’s bombastic jingoist world view is by now a joke and Transformers 2 does nothing to improve things. News that he will not direct a third outing of the franchise is well, a relief. Millions of young men the world over have a strong emotional attachment to the Transformers toys of their youth. But Bay’s second film wrapped around this treasure is off putting, crass, numbs the senses and scrambles the brain with its ineptness. While it is a triumph of computer generated art and artifice, and the mastery of technology, it fails as a story that evokes an emotional response.
It is obnoxiously over stimulating, noisy, visually too much and feels like continual kicks in the head. We are meant to be distracted by the awesomeness of the CGI machines as the focus – not the story. Lazy filmmaking or simply a showcase for the latest technical gadgetry? Both.
Bay has trouble with human refinements. Computer dependent creatures are his love and strength. But endlessly skidding metal and garish, exponentially morphing of objects we care little for verges on two and a half hours of aggravation. And holes in the film’s logic are wide enough for a big ol’ clanking Transformer to stroll through.
A significant problem is, as always in a Bay film, is poor storytelling. Awkward transitions between chapters don’t help clear the film’s overall confusion. Scene changes sometimes appear to be editor’s mistakes. But editors work under the director’s supervision so that is unlikely.
The characters are reed thin, authority figures including parents and the military, are across the board jackasses? Does it matter? No. It fits right in to this empty universe. Kudos to Shia LaBeouf for being such a good sport. He manages to bring some inkling of humanity to Sam, our hero, but his efforts are entirely unnecessary. This is a movie about jagged metal, plain and simple.
The female lead, Megan Fox is laughably ‘sexy’. Bay has taken the hottest star on the planet, a woman with lots of personality, and created a robot. She is little more than a compliant female with oversized, over glossed lips, cleavage, eyelashes and ass.
Bay’s hurled us back to the sexist Middle Ages by reducing her, and suggesting that she is competent simply by placing her in a car repair shop. Hers is undoubtedly the worst portrait of a woman in recent movie memory but it is not lost on me that the boys with whom I watched the film don’t give a damn.
Bay should be frogmarched to Hollywood’s gates and banished. And yet he has the temerity to blame the studios for failing to promote the film properly. I have nothing against him personally although he had cost me several hours of theatre time, only to consistency annoy, stun and gall me with his crassness.
Bay has jumped the shark for good here. His view of America the all-powerful is kind of old fashioned, but he rubs it in our faces as though the Bush administration was cutting him his cheque. And the cost! This ridiculously excessive toy/cartoon movie frankly flips the ailing economy the bird – not nice. $200 M and I couldn’t wait for it to end.
Bay has nine projects in development including, most unfortunately, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller The Birds. Wonder how he’ll screw that one up? Announced stars George Clooney and Naomi Watts should be worried. Hitchcock deeply understood the human psyche whereas Bay is likely fixing upon ridiculous robotic bird/monsters as we speak.
And yes, the irony is clear. Transformers will kill at the box office. But there comes a time, even in a cartoon franchise’ lifespan, when the studios must consider the cultural cost of these brutalities. Especially when they draw huge audiences.
Written by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Directed by Michael Bay
Opens: Wed June 24th
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material
Runtime: 150 minutes