Friday, July 17, 2009
484 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen review
With “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” director Michael Bay has managed to do what I once thought impossible: make a movie consisting entirely of climaxes. During the tragicomically long spectacle, only but a few moments would fail to qualify as anything other than the conclusion of any other film, the thunderously melodramatic camera and score hammering away as hard as the thousands of explosions and giant robot fights.
What passes for this film’s plot is so utterly inane that it virtually defies description. As an aspiring writer, this represents my corporate nightmare, the idea that one day some big shot might offer me millions of dollars to write a script where giant toys argue about the merits of the human race. Is a mansion in Malibu worth selling one’s soul for? “Transformers 2” is proof that someone thought it was.
Shia LeBeouf returns as the protagonist, a dopey college freshman who has befriended an alien race of giant toys. Those giant toys are enemies with another group of giant toys that launch a nefarious scheme to destroy our sun, which requires that the U.S. military and Shia and his hot girlfriend Megan Fox (who Michael Bay wants you to know is very, very hot) travel to Egypt in order to trash the pyramids. Will the Egyptians mind that the U.S. wages a war in their country that ruins one of the world’s great landmarks? See the 2004 film “Team America: World Police” for the answer.
If you’ve heard that “Transformers 2” looks beautiful, then you’ve heard right. As the giant toys engage in head-splitting battle with one another and the military, even this cynic found his eyes raised at the mind-boggling technical expertise employed to bring this childish fantasy to life. If there is a film with more explosions and better looking effects, I haven’t seen it, but this attractiveness ultimately works against it as the realization hits that production values as impeccable as these are going towards a story so aggressively awful. This is the cinematic equivalent of a gorgeous woman with a dreadful disposition: you hate that features like those are wasted on a soul so wicked.
The first “Transformers” installment had a minor moment I found telling. When showed a U.S. Army base in the desert, the subtitle read “Qatar – The Middle East.” You know, because it would be a shame if the audience confused Qatar the nation with the desert in New York or the one in Florida. Ah, but it wasn’t made for the college educated or the intellectually curious, was it? Well, neither was this one, as evidenced by a Washington D.C. set scene that looks suspiciously like, I dunno, rural Arizona.
I’ve been reviewing movies for three years, and never before have I seen one so exhausting to watch. There’s no true stimulation present, just punishing noise, a challenging film in the truest sense of the word, as simply making it through all 150 minutes is a difficult task, multiplied exponentially for every year over 15 the viewer is. Judging from the box office results, children love this, which I find a bit troubling considering the film’s ample supply of drug and sex jokes. Do those of you who are old enough remember how the original “Transformers” cartoons had cursing and pot brownies? Yeah, me neither.
Posted by James at 7/17/2009 02:46:00 PM