The Difficult Second Movie - TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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I think it's safe to say that Chris Goodger is not a fan of the difficult second Transformers film.

I've always considered the first Transformers film to be a half-way decent movie. Sure, it's not a perfect film and had some issues, but considering Michael Bay had his explosive hands all over it, by some miracle it wasn't all bad. I still feel it was an enjoyable mish-mash of various Transformers continuities with some charming moments, a couple of terrific action sequences and some genuinely magical touches (I'm thinking here of the Autobots' arrival on Earth). Not perfect by a long way, but fun. It's a film I happily admit to not only owning, but having watched more than once.

The first Transformers sequel however.... oh boy!

Revenge of the Fallen is based solely on all the things that didn't work in the original film, like the comedy tipping over into irrelevant sidebars and inappropriate toilet humour, too many shots in the action sequences coming off as nothing but garbled metal, and a wholly disorganised story. There is nothing here, nothing at all to balance out these drawbacks. In fact, Revenge of the Fallen is just one long drawback. Just an obnoxious mess of a film. A deadening, pummeling, bullying and wearying experience that has almost nothing to do with any incarnation of Transformers I've ever known, beyond the superficial basics.

Take the plot...

Hang on, there is no plot.

There just really isn't, as what little explanation that does exist to get us from one action sequence to the next is never more than rushed, nonsensical, full of retcons and incredibly difficult to hear. Threads, characters, actions and narrative sanity are dropped left, right and centre in the scramble of visuals, making Revenge of the Fallen utterly incoherent.

The saddest part however is just how seriously Revenge of the Fallen actually takes itself. All the fun of the first movie, and the Transformers themselves, is drained in a plethora of special effects (unless, of course, you count a giant robot urinating on a cast member as fun entertainment, or you really really like testicle jokes). This film went for broke with the CGI. There is just so much going on during its action sequences that it is near impossible to tell exactly what is going on. All there is is sparks and shrapnel flying everywhere. From who? I don't know. Who's winning? I have no idea! We'll just have to hold on for the occasional epic angle which is used to emphasise the size and scope of an event...

Speaking of epic angles, I have a hard time remembering a scene in which Megan Fox wasn't running/moving/existing in slow motion. It's as if the writers of Baywatch worked on her part of the script and they had no clue what to do with her character in any verbal or intellectual sense. Hang on, it makes sense now. These writers must've been responsible for the whole damn film, only they took one look at Megan Fox and thought "TITS!" and reverted to Baywatch mode (Michael Baywatch?).

It's not just Fox, Revenge of the Fallen is totally misogynistic. For instance, Sam's college is seemingly completely filled with nothing but midriff-baring, cleavage-heaving girls in heat. The only woman in the whole film who doesn't fall into this category is Sam's shrill, insane mother. In the first film she, and Sam's father, were likable enough characters, but here they've been watered down into nothing but punchable idiots, much like the rest of the supporting cast. Sam himself just doesn't have the gentler moments he was given in the first film, so anyone coming in to this without any prior knowledge whatsoever would struggle to find any connection to the character at all.

It's interesting to note that Shia LeBeouf made this on the back of his disastrous appearance as Mutt in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it seems to signal the start of his descent into madness - maybe he attended one too many screenings of Revenge of the Fallen and it tipped him over the edge?

Revenge of the Fallen is an utter insult to any real fan of Transformers. It's not at all interested in the franchise it's representing. It's not clever or creative or concerned about its audience whatsoever. It has nothing to say so it shouts as loudly and confusingly as it can for two and a half hours.

If your idea of a good movie is a visual cacophony of a million moving parts all jumping all over the place set against a backdrop of explosions, with running, inappropriately dressed women, more running, stereotypical racism and an endless barrage of shaky-cam then Revenge of the Fallen is this movie you've been looking for. But for those of us who aren't Michael Bay...

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