Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I would rank this the third best Transformers movie I've seen. That's not a compliment.

Michael Bay's 2007 movie had a ton of problems--way too long, poor Transformer designs, unwelcome and uninteresting humans, weak comic relief--but I thought it was more than redeemed by the final action sequence in the city. There was no spatial or temporal logic to the editing, but the way the Transformers themselves blended into the live action environment was the most impossibly amazing thing I'd ever seen.

Two years later, the Transformers are still the most awesome special effect you'll see this summer, but it's just not enough. All of the first movie's faults are still there and now magnified because, the second time around, I'm naturally going to have far less patience. It's also plain worse in every respect--running time even longer, annoying humans more plentiful, comic relief more incessant and less funny, plot holes more numerous. And while Bay seems reluctant to draw upon the much superior classic Transformer designs, the ludicrous and convoluted plot feels very much like a vintage cartoon. In fact, in its senselessness and audiovisual loudness, it's almost like a live-action version of the 1986 animated movie, except that it's been made twice as long by padding the runtime with inane plots and repulsive characters. And this is another one of those frustrating cases where the fanservice doesn't seem to realize that it's fanservice, as in the case of the prominently featured yet unrecognizably limp Devastator.

None of this is to say that I hated the movie. There were still cool moments, such as the opening action sequence and the fight in the forest. For the home video release, I think it would be great to offer an abbreviated cut. Heck, just take the action sequences from both Bay flicks and compress them into one feature, because, even though I enjoyed them to an extent, I would never want to watch the entirety of either movie ever again.


Sam Kahn said...

The plot of the movie was completely incidental, and only really exists to tie the action setpieces together. It would have been far better if all the exposition or dialogue would have been cut. All that matters is "heroes need to get from A to B, while villains attempt to stop them," which simply gets repeated over the course of the film.

That being said, I paid the price of admission to see giant robots punching other giant robots, and I got what I paid for in spades. The movie may have been terrible, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Henry said...

I actually did try to watch the first Transformers again recently. It was on TV, and I remembered liking it in theaters, so I thought it would be a good way to spend an afternoon. After about fifteen minutes of Shia LeBeouf and his family, I realized I was watching some god-awful crap, and there was no way I was going to last until that fight at the end. The sequel probably had twice as many good fights, but I felt the same restlessness as if I were rewatching the first movie. I knew exactly why I was there, but it seemed like Michael Bay either didn't understand or didn't want to admit it, and I was left just dying throughout the very long stretches of truly incessant chatter. The high points are spectacular, but, without a fast-forward button at the ready, these movies are nigh unwatchable.

Czardoz said...

It's like you said, the second movie is just the first movie in reverse, and with more of the crap. I would say that the fights and John Turturro were slightly better than in the last movie. Everything else was worse, from Hugo Weaving's hammy Megatron to the MacGuffin of the Energon source.

If everyone just wants to see a giant robot beatdown, I wonder - if they made that movie, would it be as huge at the box office as this LeBeoufian human dramedy?

Oh, and can you imagine a director's cut that trims a movie down? I guess in this case, it wouldn't be a director's cut; it would be a sensible fan's cut.

Henry said...

Also, scrub Transformers fighting in the desert does not excite me.

The best moments in these movies are great because they make you believe in the unbelievable.

Perhaps it's because I'm not that well-traveled, but I barely believe in Egypt to begin with, so there's no way I'm going to believe giant robots fighting there.