Monday, July 13, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Finally saw it. Wasn't expecting much in the first place - after all it's a Michael Bay movie. You shouldn't expect a plot, just explosions. Well, on that last point it delivers. I had a headache after the movie.

This might have even been an okay sequel if any - and I mean ANY - effort had been put into continuity, and the screw-ups are so obvious you notice them DURING the movie, not when you think about it on the drive home.


The one that bothered me the most, as it is the most jarring, is the Arizona airplane graveyard (in the desert) is somehow immediately outside the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum. . .in Washington, D.C. Movies are supposed to be about "suspension of disbelief," but this film expects the audience to completely ignore everything that doesn't make sense. In the ruins of the city of Petra the characters bemoan the fact that it's already been thoroughly examined by archaeologists, yet somehow they all missed the "Tomb of the Primes" (as in Optimus Prime) just behind a thin wall in the main temple. And since Petra was literally carved out of the cliff-side, what luck that they just happened to miss that tomb - which the back story indicated had been there since 17,000 B.C. or so. In that same way that every archaeologist missed the "sun killer" weapon inside one of the Giza Pyramids.


The fight scenes are frenetic, and sometimes hard to follow. Most of the Decepticons look too much alike, and the tight shots of "hand to hand" combat between the Autobots and the Decepticons make it very difficult to separate what is a part of which character. But this is a common complaint I have about most action films these days - I think the special effects guys are so used to seeing the CGI fight frame by frame they lose sight of how an audience will see it.

If you're taking kids to it remember it is a PG-13 movie. There's some comical drug use, crude sexual references, and people DO get killed - for example one Decepticon grinds a person under his foot, another gets sucked into "Devastator," and countless military personnel are killed or injured - but it's brief and glossed over, not "Saving Private Ryan" type stuff.

You'd better LOVE that transformers transforming sound. You'll hear it a lot during this movie, right from the "Dreamworks SKG" and "Paramount" slates. You'd also better like the sound of explosions and gunfire. If you like dialog, this isn't your movie. If you don't like low brow humor you probably won't like it either. Also, the "Ghetto Twins" are about as politically incorrect as "Jar-Jar Binks" was in the "Star Wars" prequels.

Perhaps these big, obvious things that make no sense are to distract us from all the little stuff that also doesn't make sense? I don't know, but I'm actually more inclined to think nobody involved in making the movie cared about it enough to bother. Even for a piece of summer popcorn fare it's lazy. But I'm sure if you take any kids (especially boys) to it, they'll fully enjoy it, because the plot just gets in the way of the explosions and kids won't be unsettled by the ludicrous geography. It's just too bad that's the only audience Michael Bay thought about when making it.