Friday, June 26, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

By Reymundo Salao

Ever since the release of the first movie, Transformers is probably the biggest most profitable film franchise, currently the biggest goldmine in commercial cinema, anyone who is given directorial power over it is like given a godlike power. And as natural laws follow, when you give godlike powers to somebody who does not use it wisely, and uses it with reckless arrogance and overconfidence, the result of it is a horrendous tragedy.

I usually begin the review with a synopsis. But Transformers 2 needs no synopsis because a great number of you mind-numbed zombies are going to waste your hard-earned money to watch this movie anyway, regardless of a good or bad review. There is nothing I could say here that can stop the great numbers of people, specifically parents with their nagging children, and teenagers, from lining up and flocking to the theaters this week for this movie. I don’t need to explain what it’s about, because they obviously have an idea what this thing is about: big robots, big explosions, and sexy babes.

The other reason I’m not putting any synopsis is that this movie has no plot whatsoever. It is not a surprise coming from a Michael Bay movie, but this one is the winner of all his films. I may admit to liking his past films like The Rock or Bad Boys (as far as I can recall, the only really bad ones before this is Armageddon and Pearl Harbor), but this one is the champion, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is Michael Bay’s loudest and most dumbest movie ever made (only in close contest with Armageddon). Not only does this not have a plot, it rips off other movies as well: the metal balls of Aeon Flux, the used set of Indiana Jones, the myth of Stargate, the goof of the Star Wars Prequels, the human assassin robot just like the Terminator, and the Gundam-like Optimus Prime at the final battle, I can name several more rip-off scenes, they are so many that you swear this is as un-original as something that came off Mother Lily’s production.

Do not get me wrong, this movie will definitely be enjoyed by children, kids not older than 16, people with some difficulties in terms of basic normal intelligence, and people who just enjoy watching colorful dumb sh1t. Do not even argue that this is a kid’s movie so I should not watch it with a critic’s eye. Because you have movies like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Incredibles, Shark Boy and Lava Girl; those movies are also for kids, but at least they have a storyline, at the very least, these are movies that have some form of order and a decently smart sense. Even a single episode of Ben 10 or Scooby Doo has a far better and more coherent storytelling than this new Transformers movie.

Yes, there are many many things horribly wrong with this movie. The sequel introduces new robot characters, yet it does little or no effort at all to give them life. The only focus we get are on the corny ridiculous characters that are supposed to be funny. Imagine being reintroduced to not just one, but several Jar-jar Binkses. There is one robot character whose presence seems to just be highlighted by a dumb “humping-a-leg” joke, after that, it’s as if he already served his ultimate purpose and we don’t even see him in the movie anymore. There are other robots which exploit their humor from what appears to be a racist sense of humor; the robots with ebonics and the personality of the negro stereotype, and there’s the robot with a thick Italian accent.

The movie also does not focus on the main robot characters. We are not interested in Sam’s life, his roommate problems, or his girlfriend problems, neither are we interested or remotely amused by his parent’s corniness and how his mom gets high. There is an incredible amount of focus on Shia Lebouf’s character and an incredible lack of focus on the Transformers themselves. We only see or hear robot characters like Ironhide for a what seems to be just a few seconds, we never even got to know Ratchet or Sideswipe or the other Transformers. Optimus Prime himself feels like he is taking a backseat merely as a supporting secondary character.’s C. Robert Cargill got it right when he reviewed this film saying this is like watching a Star Wars movie, but you’ll be hanging out with Jar-Jar Binks the whole time.

The design of the robots are already confusing, and with Bay employing needlessly stylistic and dizzying effects, the action looks blurred. Up to a point that many actions scenes look ugly. It's like watching a fistful of screws, bolts, and nails being poured into each other. All you see are pieces of metal crashing into each other---not robots fighting. Although there is that one sequence which is the forest battle wherein you think Bay has improved the way he directs the action in this movie, because the forest action sequence was an improvement: the fight was visible, it was clear what the robots are doing or how they fight. That was the only sequence where you think was a sign that Bay has improved, not until the action style resumes afterwards, back to the same old needless visual stylistics and shots too close to be visibly coherent.

The film is also badly edited. Sequences seem to be incoherently out of tone. One minute we have the main characters rushing to finish what they set out to do, the next minute, we see a scene where they lazily stare at the evening skies exchanging silly sweet lines.

Just when you think the movie could not go more idiotically ridiculous with the appearance of a "senior citizen" robot with an "old man" walking stick, the movie suddenly shifts to X-men universe as they suddenly teleport from America to Egypt. Whoa! Where did THAT come from? I thought we were just dealing here with robots that could change their physical form, now we have one that has the power to disappear and reappear in another distant location? Across the globe, I might add.

The movie is just flooded with corny jokes. The kind of jokes that are designed to impress people with low I.Q. The movie employs the lowest, dumbest form of humor, with vomit jokes, animals-having-sex jokes, and testicle jokes; the movie proves that it is designed for the kids of Generation Stupid. Transformers 2 proves that filling your movie with action, hot chicks, and big special effects is simply not enough to make it a movie good or enjoyable enough to watch.

This is the ultimate dumbing down of the epic sci-fi genre. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is an excruciating waste of time in charmless action history, never could I imagine that a movie filled with great special effects, action, explosions, and even sexy chicks can also get so torturously boring. Halfway through the movie, I was already in pain and asking God when will this garbage end? I swear I had a headache watching it. Two and a half hours of pure Idiocy.

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