Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and Josh Duhamel
Directed by Michael Bay
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material
Appropriate for ages 10+
Thematically similar to the first film, when the evil Decepticon forces pose a threat to the future of the entire planet, it is up to Optimus Prime and his Autobots to save mankind and Earth from utter destruction. This time out, Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) is starting his first year in college and just wants to be a normal student. Unfortunately, the map to the whereabouts of a secret device that can destroy the sun is buried in Sam’s brain, which makes Sam far from normal, and a target for the bad guys.
I will admit right off the bat that this film has problems. At two and a half hours, it is far too long of a film for this genre. Slicing 30-45 minutes off of the battle scenes would have been a good move. Or maybe had they dumped the subplot of the President’s adviser that tries to get in the way of the Autobots, they could have cut not only an unnecessary story line, but a dozen or so minutes off of the film as well. There is just no reason a film like this should have an almost Godfather-like length.
On top of that, there were several script flaws and plot holes, way too many eye-rolling, cheesy moments, and a couple of annoying twin robots that were very insensitively written. I didn’t mind the way they talked, but when the one with the gold tooth declares that he ain’t much for readin, well – they are just asking for a little trouble there. I also didn’t understand why a robot would hump Megan Foxes leg, although many others will empathize with said robot. What seems funny to me is that all of the problems with the film could have been left on the cutting room floor and the film would have been much better for it.
That being said, I was still thoroughly engaged and entertained. The film had both a dark and ominous feel, yet was quite funny at the same time. Whoever they hired to punch up the script with jokes did a very good job (comedian Patton Oswald worked on the first film – not sure about this one). The special effects here were mind-boggling to say the least. I do wish the filmmakers would have chosen more distinctive colors for the two sides so that the audience could more easily tell the robots apart during the massive fight sequences, but at least the very blue and red Optimus and yellow Bumblebee were clear enough.
So while I have seen most of the critics bashing this film, I can’t agree. I think that if you are in the mood for a bigger than life Transformers movie – you are going to get what you pay for – and you’ll have fun. Sure it could have been a little more critic-friendly, a little more intellectual, maybe even a little less silly, but Michael Bay is first and foremost an entertainer and in my opinion he once again gets the job done. B-