Eye For Film >> Movies >> Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009) Film Review
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
Beautifully crafted, a true joy to watch and so gorgeous that you’ll be unable to tear your eyes away time after time. But enough about Megan Fox, what’s the movie like? Well, the quick answer is that it’s exactly like the first; loud, fast, shallow, unexciting, overly-silly and bursting at the seams with CGI.
With Decepticons still roaming the globe, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen, voice) and the Autobots have joined forces with the US military to round them up. Meanwhile, on his way to college, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is preparing himself for a long distance relationship with girlfriend Mikaela (Fox) and a normal life. However, when a shard of he Allspark imprints his mind with ancient symbols, the resurrected Megatron (Hugo Weaving, voice) and his master The Fallen (Tony Todd, voice) need him to find the matrix of leadership…
"Yes, but the effects are great!" you can hear the 15-year-old boys excitedly argue. Yes, yes, they definitely are very impressive, but it takes a lot more than that to make a motion picture involving. While Transformers was the most ‘Michael Bay movie’ Michael Bay has ever made, this is cut from exactly the same camshaft. Full of the usual excess and self-adulation (a Pearl Harbour-style army sinking, some Armageddon-esque city carnage, a Bad Boys II poster…), this sequel also revels in its own simplicity while squarely targeting the lowest common denominator.
Additionally, since Bay takes the bigger is better attitude, the problems of the original aren’t just the same, they’re amplified. Sure, LaBeouf is endearing in the early college-set scenes, but his charm is lost in a sea of implausibility, weary clichés and robot testicles. Plus, with a way-too-long running time of 150 minutes, it seems the sunset-loving director doesn’t know the meaning of the word 'restraint'.
One term he is familiar with though is 'impatient'. While Sam’s relationship with the underused Bumblebee is almost moving and Megatron’s leadership squabbles with Starscream looks to provide an interesting dynamic, neither plot-arc comes close to being developed as Bay’s attention constantly flits elsewhere. With so many characters and ‘bots literally fighting for screentime, any time emotion creeps in it’s swiftly ushered aside for one of the many kinds of leg-humping we get.
Though you could blame Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s script, any ideas or themes they might have provided were always going to be placed behind the digital trickery. Despite an intriguing Apocalypto-style opening, the plot is pretty much indecipherable (it’s easier just to say its 2.5 hours of machine bashing) and is so predictable that you could go to the toilet, pop out for food or fall asleep (if you’re lucky) and you won’t have missed anything but computer-aided aesthetics.
In fairness, it’s never anything other than what it aims to be; brainfree action. Sadly, though, while dumb actioners can be great viewing (see any of Arnie’s Eighties efforts), here the robot-on-robot throwdowns are repetitive, tension-free and ultimately confusing. Indeed, aside from Optimus being obvious, the only way to tell who is who is that Autobots have blue eyes and Decepticons have red eyes.
As far as our transforming metal warriors, there’s also some shades of Star Wars. Prime being the dying Obi Wan, Sam as the reluctant hero Luke and Megatron as the Vader to the Fallen’s Emporer. However, the two ‘funny’ twin Autobots Mudflap and Skids are so unhumorous that they make Jar Jar Binks look like the Fonz.
But really, like the original, any complaining and criticism is completely pointless. Your average cinema-goer likes their movies noisy, full of low-brow humour and without the need for thought. As a result, this will make a tonne of money, Bay will be celebrated and hired to make more films like this (sigh) while people you know will keep banging on about how good it is. In a world where Firefly couldn’t get a second season it’s really frustrating that audiences will flock to this nonsense.
It pretty much says it all that one of the first things we see on screen is a mention of Hasbro toys. Loud, fast and as patently silly as you can imagine, unlike the titular robots, Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen is not more than meets the eye.Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2009