Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Grade: A+

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is this summer's follow up to 2007's Transformers. Revenge of the Fallen takes place two years after the events in Transformers. Now Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots, which now includes four new Autobots that have come to Earth, work in a top secret multi-national government agency that's sole purpose is to track down the rest of the Decepticons hiding out across the globe and to eliminate them. This leads to an awesome battle right at the beginning of the movie in Shanghai. At the same time Sam Witwicky is leaving for college and his mom is heartbroken about it and his dad can't seem to wait to get him out of the house. Sam is still dating Mikaela Banes and they seem to be pretty involved and are trying to figure out a way to make this now long distance relationship work. On top of that Sam breaks the news to Bumblebee, his Camaro and Autobot protector, that he does not want to bring Bumblebee to college with him so that he can try to live a normal life. While finishing packing Sam finds a shard of the All-Spark, a cube that contained unknown power that was mostly destroyed at the end of the first movie, and when he touches it it seems to implant an alien message in his head. At college he has a minor freak out and starts writing in the alien language. Meanwhile the Decepticons resurrect Megatron and he flies off to a distant planet where he speaks with an ancient Decepticon and basically Megatron's boss known as The Fallen. They are determined to find a source of Energon, the energy that gives the robot race life, that is on Earth and discover that Sam is now the key to finding it. The rest of the movie is a race to find the energy source and stop the Decepticons from destroying the planet.

Many critics seem to hate this movie and apparently those critics just don't like to have fun and I think are possibly terrorists. This movie was awesome. Was the plot touching and life affirming like said critics seem to expect out of it? No. Was the acting simply amazing and Oscar worthy again like the critics seem to expect? No. Was this movie everything every fan was expecting, big shiny talking robots fighting each other in amazing battles and blowing stuff up? Absolutely. Again, I don't know why the critics are so against having fun but that's exactly what this movie is, fun, it is a popcorn flick. Transformers was never meant to be a serious drama or Oscar contender (except for the visual and special effects, they were amazing). If you like the action of the first movie you are going to love Revenge of the Fallen as Michael Bay brings the action back tenfold. This movie has nonstop edge of your seat action and is riddled with humor to help it along. Megatron returns and is bigger, badder and meaner than ever. The movie is full of amazing fight sequences between the two factions of robots, including one scene where Optimus takes on four or five Decepticons at once. The battles in Revenge are bigger and longer than in the first Transformers movie. The true Devastator shows up when seven Decepticons combine to create one super robot that destroys everything in its path.

Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Eagle Eye) returns as Sam Witwicky, the slightly awkward teenager now adult going to college. I personally don’t really care for Shia LaBeouf, never really thought he was a good actor but he’s tolerable in this because he is surrounded by shiny robots. Megan Fox (Transformers, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People) returns as the sexy Mikaela Banes. I actually think Megan Fox shows some potential, in general, to be a good actress and not just eye candy, but in these Transformers movies that is exactly what she is, something to look at, and myself and the rest of the audience seems to be ok with that. John Turturro (Secret Window, O’ Brother Where Art Thou) returns as well as former Sector 7 agent Simmons. Turturro mostly plays the part of comic relief in Revenge as he did in Transformers as well, and he does such a great job at it as Turturro is a naturally funny man. Also returning is Josh Duhamel as Captain Lennox, Tyrese Gibson as Tech Sergeant Epps, Hugo Weaving as the voice of Megatron and Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime. New to the scene is Ramon Rodriguez as Leo, Sam’s new dorm mate. This is the one part of the movie I didn’t care for, Leo was a completely useless character. Fine, give Sam a wacky conspiracy theorist dorm mate but don’t have him tag along for the rest of the movie. Leo contributes absolutely nothing to the movie and the movie might have been better without him.

Many people these days seem to have a problem with director Michael Bay and his movies, so much so that Bay has said that he is leaving the action movie business because of how the critics treat his movies. Bay says “It's easy to go shoot an art movie in a winery in the South of France. But people have no idea how hard it is to create something like Transformers. They (the critics) review me before they've even seen the movie." And “I need to do something totally divergent, something without any explosions.". To Michael Bay I would like to say that I agree with what you said and I hope that you change your mind. While your movies may not be the art house crap most critics look for, they do bring joy to me and many of people around the world as is evident by the large sums of cash your movies rake in. Please ignore the ignorant snobs who review your movies and keep making the beautiful and glorious movies that you do. They may not tell some tragic story that makes everybody want to kill themselves after leaving the theater or be some completely ridiculous love story set in Mumbai that’s story makes cars that turn into robots sound believable, but you sir make the best popcorn flicks and make the summer blockbuster season worth looking forward to.

I recommend that any fan of Transformers be it TV show, toy or movie, go see Transformers: revenge of the Fallen. In fact, I recommend that anybody who enjoys a good popcorn flick and likes the sweet sound of explosions and metal colliding with metal go see this movie. It is fantastic and more fun and exciting than the first Transformers. Also, if you have the opportunity, go see it in IMAX as Michael Bay shot at least 3 scenes with IMAX cameras so they look beautiful and take up the entire IMAX screen.

Great quote: “Give me your face!”

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