Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

transformers2aThere is a fine art to making a proper summer blockbuster.  Carefully mixing in enough mass appeal to keep the general audiences following the plot to the source material you are using as the basis from which you're drawing, making sure that the fan boys that have been savaging themselves to trailers and leaked photos for months happy.  Two years ago, Michael Bay, blockbuster film maker extraordinaire, took a crack at it with his first Transformers send up with great success.  This summer he is back at it again, bring us Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

The plot of this movie is simple.  Giant alien robots, stranded on Earth, continue thier civil war with other giant alien robots (rather ill tempered giant robots at that) hell-bent on destroying the Earth.  Sprinkle in a brushed over love story (which, I might add, are the best kind) and some palatable bad schtick and you have Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen in a nutshell (not giving you too much of the plot so as to not spoil it for anyone).  But the line of sequels that failed to live up to the original is far longer that the line of those that do.  Does Transformers live up to the hype???  Or does it crumble under the weight of lofty expectations.  Let's take a look...

The Good:

- Michael Bay continues to solidify himself as the best summer blockbuster director in the game to date.  Fast paced, loud, and at times rather funny- Transformers entertains on all levels.  Amazing battle sequences, a solid story, and the best visual effects money can buy all help the guide the master vision of Bay into a thoroughly entertaining popcorn flick.  Transformer combat is put on display on this film, as the fight sequences are more elaborate.  Cool Transformer fights seem to pop up every ten minutes or so, many of them littered with impressive looking hand to hand combat.

- Much like the first movie, it is the special effects that are the true stars of this film.  Be it the Transformers themselves or the aftermath of thier violent battles, the special effects hold up throughout (and in a summer where Wolverine and Terminator: Salvation brought such weak CGI, it is a welcome relief to find a flick that actually looks perfect instead of just tossed together at the last minute).

- Much like any great movie, Transformers is great at what it does.  This is not a film that is going to change the world, and at no time does it ever try to be.  The film does not take itself too seriously, jamming in just as much slapstick (see below) into it as there is action, keeping the movie moving at an entertaining pace.  All in all, this movie is just a great popcorn flick and it seems to be perfectly alright with that.

The Not So Good:

There is not much to bitch about with this film, so please understand: Our gripes are purely nitpicky, we know that.  But these are things that stuck in our craw, and to be fair we have to pass them along.

- While the slapstick does help keep the movie from dragging along, after a while it gets a little bit old on you.  Michael Bay continues the comedic gold mine that he found in the interaction between Sam Witwicky and his parents, but then takes it to a new not so good place, when he adds in a few new human characters that do little for the film.

- The film asks the audience to suspend too much disbelief.  It is one thing for Michael Bay to ask us to accept that there are ten foot robot aliens engaged in an intergalactic civil war on Earth.  But for him to then expect the audience to buy into the fact that the dreamy Megan Fox would be head over heels for Shia LaBeouf and his enormous left foot is just too much.

- This film continues Michael Bay's apparent obsession with making sure that there is at least one robot that is a glaring African American stereotype.  In the first Transformers, there was Jazz- a heroic, jive talkin', break dancing Autobot.  And Hollywood has a great tradition of making sure that everythiung that worked in the original is doubles in the sequel.

This movie brings us Mudflaps and Skids, two jive talkin', foul mouthed robots who have gold teeth in thier mouths and speak like gangbangers.  Now I will admit they are funny, but for the record: If you do not think that these robots are racist then you, my friend, are a racist.

The Verdict:

This film lives up to the hype, making the second must see of this summer (Star Trek was the first).  It's a little long and at times a little bit cheesy.  But it also thrills and entertains, which is all we can ask for a summer blockbuster.  Overall, it is a fine film- totally worth the price of admission- garnering it a very strong 4.5 out of five flushes.  If you have no interest in seeing this movie, then this website has nothing more to say to you.


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