Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

Year: 2009
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Ramon Rodriguez

The most talked about film of 2009 is finally here. This reviewer was lucky enough to catch a premier screening of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen two nights ago. I say lucky because tickets for this film are selling out even as I type this.

Since it's Michael Bay's film we're talking about here, you can expect lots of mindless action and huge explosions from start to finish. If you recall, the first Transformers film was chock full of destruction, so in this sequel you can expect even more shit getting blown up.

But first, the story. After the defeat of Megatron, the Autobots have formed an alliance with the US government. A top secret organisation called NEST is created to assist the Autobots in tracking the last few remnants of the Decepticons still on earth and eliminating them. NEST operations are helmed by the two military heroes from the first movie, Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Epps (Tyrese Gibson).

Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the Autobots' most trusted ally, is going off to college, leaving his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), his parents (Kevin Dunn & Julie White) and even his protector Bumblebee behind. His quest to lead a normal life however takes a turn for the worst when he finds himself getting thrown back into the Autobot-Decepticon war. A piece of the Allspark, the cube of life of the Transformers from the first film, ends up in Sam's hands, and it inadvertently gives him images of information that is of great interest to the Decepticons. The Decepticons in turn seek to revive Megatron, and in the process of doing so, runs afoul of NEST and the Autobots. The Autobots now have to do all they can to protect Sam and stop Megatron from carrying out his evil plan, which concerns bringing back the very first Decepticon known as The Fallen....

As I said earlier, it's Michael Bay's film, which means a lot of stuff is gonna get blown up. The key is to enjoy watching it all unfold. And let's admit it, you must have enjoyed some of the stuff he's done. Pearl Harbor. The Island. Armageddon. The Rock. Lots of shit getting blown up, lots of action left and right, it's mindless, mind blowing, crazy but fun. You get all that here. Just picture all of the destruction in his previous films, combine them together and you have it in Transformers 2.

I gotta hand it to the CGI guys, they really did an outstanding job with the robot fights and transformations. From robots punching, blasting and slicing each other to pieces, to transforming seamlessly from robot to vehicle/object and back, to robots talking, moving and acting humanlike, all very well done.

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who wrote the new Star Trek film, co-wrote this film and put in a decent effort. The plot may not be entirely original, and some of the lines may sound cheesy, but it works. This time there are more robots to play around with, including the Decepticon Soundwave and the Constructicons that form the deadly Devastator. A few new Autobots are also featured, but some of them are only given a few scenes, such as Arcee and Sideswipe, which is a real pity, since I can identify these characters from the cartoons.

As for the human actors, LaBeouf succeeds again in getting the audience to root for him as the reluctant hero thrust into a war he shouldn't be a part of. Megan Fox is here mainly for the guys to ogle at, but nobody minds, right? I do feel she had more to do in the first film than here though. John Turturro returns as Agent Simmons, whose character has been reduced from a government agent to a closet conspiracy theorist. But he still manages to bring on the laughs.

With all the stuff that's going on, is there any room for negativity? Well, aside from the sometimes excessive use of explosives thanks to the director, there are a few things this film can do without. Like a few annoying characters, for example Leo (Ramon Rodriguez), Sam's new roommate in college. Leo gets the role Sam had in the first film: freak out frequently. Sam of course did it better back then, in here Leo comes off as the guy you'd wish someone would just put in a box and send him to Alaska. Leo freaks out every 5 minutes because of things he doesn't understand, and I get that. I really do. But the filmmakers can develop his character a whole lot better than that. There are also the twin Autobots Mudflap and Skids, whose personalities resemble a duo of high school kids arguing constantly everywhere they go. I know making these Autobots as human as possible would be interesting, but these two aren't even funny. And people say they hate Jar Jar Binks? They haven't met these two yet.

If anything, TF2 is a film where everything you knew from the first film has been amplified. The action, the plot, the humour, even the drama. Sam's parents actually get to do more here than simply stand around and be funny. The robots have more emotions and more things to say as well. All this is good, but I think some of them can be edited better. I mean, we don't need to see Sam's mother embarass him at college after she accidentally takes some weed, do we? Yeah, there is such a scene. Bay's idea of humour, but not really necessary here.

I can already see the critics all over the world condemning this film for a variety of reasons. But just keep in mind, you don't watch a Michael Bay movie to see some substance, you watch it to have fun. And I had fun from beginning to end. (4.5/5)

1 comment:

trowa said...

enjoyed it but found the film damn loud! and I didnt mean the speakers that were so close to my ears...


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