The truth is, no matter what I or anyone else says about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, audiences around the globe will flock to see it. I mean, duh — it's big, it's shiny, it goes boom, and it has boobs. It's just what the doctor ordered for audiences looking for some good old-fashioned Hollywood escapism just when it's getting too hot to use our brains. That's all fine and good, and to be honest, I don't blame audiences. Star Trek got this Summer off to an outstanding start, but many of the big-budget movies that followed have failed to deliver a similar thrill ride. We're thirsting for fun at the movies again!
So the question of reviewing Mr. Bay's film by normal movie standards becomes an interesting one. Is there a compelling, science-fiction plot to add some storytelling to the explosions? That would be a no. Are the characters filled out in such a way that you care about them? No, in fact, I find them incredibly annoying. Is it funny? Well, not even a robot humping Megan Fox's leg, or a lingering shot of John Turturro's crotch could get my audience full of tweens laughing much. But let's face it, there are plenty of inane, unfunny movies that are still fun to watch thanks to the special effects. And yet, despite all the hype, the action sequences in this particular movie are better described as "bludgeoning" than "awe-inspiring." So here we go, just
First, the plot description: Autobots are good and Decepticons are bad. Decepticons want to destroy the sun or some such and the Autobots like the humans even though some humans are jerks to them. Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox are back as Sam Witwicky and Mikaela, two lovesick kids struggling to keep their romance going long-distance as Sam attends an East Coast college.
Honestly, the college scenes are the best, most hilarious part of the movie. And I mean that half-sarcastically, half-sincerely. For one thing, he's in college for two whole days before he has to go to Egypt to save the world. In that amount of time, he manages to befriend an obnoxious and fast-talking (everyone talks so fast in this movie!) roommate, he gets entangled with every young boy's fantasy blond coed (to the dismay of Mikaela), and he has a total meltdown in his first class. Oh, and Sam's mom eats pot brownies and goes completely insane.
It's two and a half hours of merciless silliness that would be sort of "ha-ha, what is going on in this movie?!" funny if it weren't so loud and visually incoherent. I waited and waited for a slow, lingering shot of a fully formed Transformer glimmering and sparkling in the sun so we could gawk at its scale and coolness. I wanted so badly to see a Transformer come out with a newer, cooler weapon than we've ever seen before and use it in a creative and interesting way mid-battle.
Alas, Michael Bay has no time for that (he only gave himself two and a half hours), and in effect the robots are like trash heaps that roll and tumble across the screen at a rate that makes you want to pop an Advil. You know what Bay does feel the need to present in slow motion? You guessed it! Megan Fox's mega-tanned boobs, butt, and lips. I guess I wish he would have spent some time on Josh Duhamel's chest — at least that would have given me something fun to look at.
Photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures