REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
STARRING: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox,
Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Isabel Lucas, Rainn Wilson
2009, 147 Minutes, Directed by:
Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky prisoner,
after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the
Transformers. Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who
forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle.
It goes without saying that if
you liked the first Transformers movie, then
you will like this one . . .
However, if you thought the
first one was too long and too loud, then you won’t like this one either because
you’d be right: Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen is too long and too
loud. Affairs such as this really shouldn’t be longer than 90 minutes. Two hours
is stretching it and almost two-and-a-half hours are simply way too long!
The last hour and a half or so
as the plot kicked into autopilot mode and Michael Bay pulled every directorial
trick out of his magician’s hat (slow-mo shots! explosions! very loud music!) I
found myself wishing that something unexpected and really exciting would happen, maybe
that Megan Fox would flash us her boobies or something. Alas it was not to be .
Transformers: Revenge of the
Fallen is one of those critic-proof movies. Most audiences won’t care what
critics have to say and will probably find themselves enjoying the movie. That
is, if they can get over their sense of déjà vu whilst doing so. Transformers
2 is more of a remake than it is a sequel. In fact if you walked into the
cinema halfway through the movie you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were in
fact watching the first Transformers movie
again! If you don’t mind coughing up the price of a full admittance ticket to
see the same movie twice, then you won’t feel cheated by Revenge of the
"If you ever wanted to see a tiny robot hump Megan Fox’s leg,
then don’t miss this movie . . ."
Scenes are pretty much
interchangeable: once again we have Shia LaBeouf’s hapless teenager everyman
being chased by evil robots who wants . . . what? This time it is instructions
on how to find a long-lost ancient machine that will blow up our sun. (Question:
won’t it blow up the evil robots along with the planet?)
It doesn’t really
matter, the point is that we have LaBeouf outrunning robots that should be
impossible to outrun in the first place. In the action finale is character is
helped, again yes, by the good shape-shifting robots and a strangely competent
U.S. military – just like he was at the end of the previous movie. Only
difference is that this time the finale is set in the Egyptian desert instead of
downtown L.A. The first movie’s action kicked off in the desert and ended up in
a city. This rehash kicks off in a city and the action finale is in the desert.
Progress indeed . . .
The big-budget special effects
and sound design are brilliant as always. The only problem is that the scenes
with giant robots fighting it out aren’t all that emotionally involving, and
take my word for it: there are lots of them. Sometimes one can’t even tell the
“good” robots from the “bad” ones in any case. And the more special effects
spectacle and noise Michael Bay threw at the screen, the less I found myself
actually caring. “Oh no,” I often found myself groaning inwardly, “the robots
are going to fight again.” In fact the best scenes are those involving the
flesh-and-blood human characters, particularly those comic-relief scenes
featuring LaBeouf’s ditzy mum (Julie White).
The effects also suffer from a
“been there, done that” quality, especially now that the shock of the new at
seeing that first robot transformation in the previous movie has long since worn
off. In lieu of anything fresh or original on display director Bay has only one
option left to him: to make the movie even more spectacular and noisy than
before, but this remains a creative dead-end street.
2 is sheer populist film-making. There is lots of broad comedy mostly of the
crude variety that teenager boys will like. Some of it works and some don’t. But
the screenplay is sloppy: some plot strands simply end up going nowhere.
U.S. military brass suspects that something is wrong with their communications
and they do . . . nothing. The scene doesn’t go anywhere. Instead Bay films some
more scenes in which nothing happens as if something actually is
happening. He must be the only film director in existence that films a tender,
quiet scene between a boy and his girlfriend with swirling camerawork that makes
one nauseous and want you to throw your popcorn at the screen yelling, “Keep the
goddamn camera still already, damn it!”
In short, it’s more of the same
and whether or not that’s a good thing will depend on your tastes. But if you
ever wanted to see a tiny robot hump Megan Fox’s leg, then don’t you dare miss
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen . . .