Transformers Revenge of the Fallen
November 29, 2009
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Ramon Rodriguez, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Isabel Lucas, John Benjamin Hickey, Matthew Marsden, Andrew Howard, Michael Papajohn, Glenn Morshower, John Eric Bentley,
When Michael Bay’s Transformers was released in 2007 it was met with much criticism from Transformers fans and film critics alike. It was overly long, had a series of obvious plot devices, relied too much on poor humour, the action scenes were cut too fast and were confusing and above all Optimus Prime was a lumbering fool instead of the great warrior that Transformers fans know him to be.
With Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, released on DVD tomorrow, some of those problems have been addressed. Firstly, the action sequences. They are now edited properly and are, not to heap too much praise on Bay, excellent. The opening sequence where Optimus Prime battles with a huge crane Decepticon and Sideswipe destroys a Decepticon Audi R8 is fantastic. Better than anything in the first movie.
Optimus himself is now finally the Autobot he should have been in the first film. The scene where he takes on three Decepticons at once, including Megatron and Starscream, is superb.
Just like the first film, where we see Megan Fox getting her iconic ‘opening Bumblebee’s bonnet’ shot, in Transformers 2 we get the ‘straddling a bike’ shot, as Bay gives the little boys in the audience just what they want. It’s gratuitous, but we don’t care.
The addition of the Decepticon Wheelie is a great one. Wheelie transforms into a radio controlled truck, and is a lewd creature with a crush on Michaela. He’s the sort of comic relief that works, unlike much of the other comedic moments in the film.
There is a point in the film where it looked as though we were moving in Species, where the Decepticon who took the disguise of a teenage girl tried to seduce Sam and steal what was in his head. This isn’t quite what Transformers is about, but at least Bay kept his diversion to a minimum during the film and went back on track very quickly.
While Transformers 2 is better, there are still some big problems with the film:
The biggest problem I have with this movie, and with the first one for the matter, is Bay’s insistence on filling the screen time with pointless comedy. With Transformers 2 however I’m not referring to the comedy scenes with Sam’s parents, instead the problem is the comedic Transformers themselves. Why does Bay insist on inventing Transformers characters such as the ‘Twins’? They’re not funny and they’re not needed.
Is the Transformers Universe not big enough that characters such as these need to be invented? Their onscreen antics take away from the real quality of the film, such as the scenes where we finally see Optimus Prime acting like the character that he is, and the great relationship between Megatron and Starscream.
As for what Bay did to Jetfire, that’s inhumane. Jetfire is one of the best of the original Transformers. He is extremely powerful, fast and above all torn. Whether you follow the cartoon continuity or the comic continuity, the character of Jetfire is very complex, and he is a confused soul.
Yet Bay decided to turn him into comic relief and have him as an old duffer. It was senseless and a waste of a great character.
Another negative of Revenge of the Fallen, and this is going to annoy a great many people, is the relationship between Sam and Michaela (Shia and Megan). Shia is an OK actor, and Megan has proved in films since that she’s more than just a pretty face and a hot body, she can act. Yet in this film the pair are given wafer thin characters and are expected to make them work. They are given a lot of screen time and dialogue, but it doesn’t work. The childishness of Sam’s character, refusing to speak for ten seconds when being chased by a Decepticon and his insistence that he’s trying to keep Michaela interested by not telling her he loves her doesn’t ingratiate him to the audience, nor would it to anyone.
His character comes across as very annoying, which is a shame as he’s supposed to anchor the film.
Don’t get me wrong, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen is much better than the first film. The action sequences are shot, and more importantly edited, much better and Optimus Prime gives the impression that he really is a ‘kick ass’ leader. There’s still some way to go however before Bay makes a Transformers film that does the franchise justice.