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Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Bad movie in disguise?
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Dreamworks/Paramount)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material.

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Isabel Lucas, Hugo Weaving, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Rainn Wilson, Tyrese Gibson, Ramon Rodriguez, Matthew Marsden, Kevin Dunn, Julie White.

Written by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman.

Directed by Michael Bay.

GRADE: C+

REVIEW:

Everybody with a Y chromosome loves a good special effects-explosion movie every now and then. The male species also apparently likes to see attractive women saved from the inherent perils of killer robots and stuff like that, which is why Movies like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen get the green light. Despite the hormonal advantages to such films, there remains questions of taste, decent storytelling, and the occasional need for continuity.

Shia LeBeouf is back as Sam Witwicki, a nerdy teen who helped discover the Autobots and Decepticons in 2007's Transformers. The robot species is able to transform into every day machinery (especially cars, trucks, tractors and household appliances) through a power source called the 'ultraspark.' In the last Transformers, Sam had just saved the world by helping to destroy the ultraspark and won the heart of the extremely attractive Mikaela (Megan Fox).

The story (if it can be classified as a 'story') picks up with Sam entering college amid perilous times of increasing Decepticon attacks. Sam and Mikaela are still an item, but their relationship is threatened by distance, since Sam's college is located on the east coast. As Sam packs up to leave, he discovers a shard of the ultraspark in the pocket of his favorite hoodie, which sets off to turn the family appliances into killer robots and embeds some kind of cryptic code into Sam's brain. When Sam arrives at college and meets his new (even more) nerdy roommate, the code activates, attracting Decepticon spy-bots to his location. Meanwhile in California, Mikaela is also confronted by a libidinous Decepticon disguised as a remote control toy truck. She flies across the country with the pesky little robot and the ultraspark shard (given to her for safe keeping by Sam) to try and help her boyfriend.

I could go on and on and on about the meandering and convoluted storyline in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but it would take up too much of my precious time and space on this web site. Suffice to say there are a lot of huge robot battles, a wimpy love story, comic relief moments, loud explosions, quasi-religious scenes and the world is saved by the time the credits roll.

It seems the only reason Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was made was to provide a vehicle to showcase some pretty incredible special effects and to provide the male gender with an opportunity to examine the hotness of Megan Fox. There are substantial opportunities for both.

The afore-mentioned comic relief in the movie comes via Ramon Rodriguez as Sam's roommate Leo, John Turturro in a reprisal of Sector Seven agent Simmons, and Kevin Dunn/Julie White as Sam's parents. Some of the sillier moments come from Julie White as Sam's mom, but the most inane scenes involve two new "ethnic" robots named Mudflap and Skids.

As for the rest of the cast, there is little to get very excited about. Megan Fox's looks disguise her lack of acting talent, LeBeouf is still a nerd playing an action hero, and the only true stars that shine in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen were created by a some geeks who spent the last two years manipulating computerized graphics software back at Industrial Light and Magic.

The story is full of so many twists and turns, it seems the script was a work in progress during filming. I wouldn't be surprised if the special effects scenes set in different world locations were produced first, and the writers were left to fill in the holes and place the main characters in those settings.

Michael Bay must be stopped before he makes another stupid blockbuster. The Jerry Bruckheimer protégé and creative genius behind such cinematic masterpieces (I hope everyone reading this is picking up the sarcasm here) as Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, Bad Boys I & II, The Rock, etc. continues to make endless big budget movies filled with style and no substance, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is perhaps his worst effort.

Another more troubling element in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the sexual content. Once again, producers chose to place two or three moments of humor that were inappropriate for the target audience. If you're going to make a movie designed to sell toys to pre-teens, you shouldn't show a small robot trying to hump the leg of Megan Fox. Bad, bad decision there. Oh, and I forgot to mention the giant testicles prominently displayed on one of the larger robot-giants. I wonder if Hasbro will include THAT on the action hero toy. Nice.

If you like all those special effects and teen hormones, go ahead and see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. If you want to see a good action movie, go and see Star Trek at the 'Dollar' theater or watch last summer's Ironman or The Dark Knight on DVD. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a pretty bad movie disguised as a summer blockbuster.

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