Friday, June 26, 2009

A Tip If You Find Yourself In An Action Movie . . .

. . . Don't hold hands with your love interest whilst trying to dodge giant robots! Or huge explosions. Or supercharged micro-ballistics. Or all of the above. Just, don't. For one, you'll run a lot faster. And maybe you'll look slightly more believable while doing it. Slightly.

We saw Transformers 2 last night, if you can't tell. While it wasn't the train wreck that the first movie was, and not nearly as bad as I had anticipated, it was still a hot mess of huge plot holes, dinky editing, and poorly chosen comic relief.

I'd say the most egregious problem I have with this entire franchise is the anthropomorphizing of the giant alien robots. Why, dear god, WHY? Do we really need to see a f'n set of dangling BALLS on the humongous pyramid-wrecking robot? Tell me, Michael Bay, what conceivable plausibility does that have in the grand scheme of things? Unfortunately, that wasn't the worst of it (oh wait, yes it was!). But giant robots sporting metallic walking sticks, giant robots affecting Cockney accents, giant robots crying liquid tears, giant robots shucking 'n' jiving . . . yeah, you get the point. Bleh!

Anyway, that being said, I was actually surprised that the movie wasn't worse than it should have been. I mean, to be honest, my attention really was focused the entire time! At 2:30 hours, I can say that it felt more like 1:45 due to the general breezy pace of the plot (holes and all). Unlike the first movie, which stunk in terms of narrative flow and suffered from a poor premise to boot. The MacGuffin this time around--and trust me, there's ALWAYS a MacGuffin in these types of movies--is no less plausible than the first, but is at least a lot more interesting. That's saying something.

Since this is a Michael Bay film, the action and 'splosions are really ratcheted up to somewhere around 17 (out of 10). But you know this going in so, as long as you prepare for it, things should be fine. The acting was poor, but no one goes to summer blockbusters for the acting. Or do they? Again, this you should already know before heading in.

Everything considered, however, it was in fact an entertaining movie. It goes without saying you must check your brain at the door first, but at least I can say that you'll have some very good popcorn FUN out of this flick. While I don't own the DVD of the first movie, I'd actually buy the one for the sequel when it comes out. And, who knows, maybe I'll purchase the first just to make it a complete set.

Oh, and Megan Fox was simply DIVINE! Holy Shadow Moses Island -- she was so damn FOINE!!! Not enough to raise my rating . . . but, er, she certainly raised other things (hint: blood pressure, get your mind out of the gutter!)

I don't usually get hot and bothered by celebrities, but I feel no shame in admitting this one lapse. I sure hope she evolves to other better and meatier roles in the near future. People bag on her acting, but actually I can see that she's going to be very good. It's not her fault that her director and scriptwriters are the lowest base denominator of cinema artists out there. With the right material and a few more years' maturity, I think she'll be a very successful actress if she wants to be. And not just based on her looks.

I saw things. Yeah, not just *those* . . . but things. You know. :)

If you somehow managed to like the first Transformers movie, you'll love the hell out of Revenge of the Fallen. If, like me, you despised the first one, then *maybe* you'll enjoy this one. I somewhat did, and I was a very tough customer going in. You'll just have to decide for yourself.

Rating: 6/10


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  2. First off, I want to say that I actually enjoyed this movie. After the first one, T:ROF was a major improvement!

    That being said, I do have to agree with a good portion of your review. ESPECIALLY the anthropomorphizing of the transformers. The worse for me was the RC twins. What in the name of all that is holy was the point of those two? And first runner up is that mini-decepticon humping Megan Fox's leg. I wanted to drop that thing in a vat of molten metal and be done with it.

    Unfortunately, Michael Bay didn't learn from the first time around to make each robot visually distinctive enough in order to allow audience members to track the individual bots during the frantic shooting of Autobot vs Decepticon combat. And what ever happened to using establishing wide shots to show where everything is going on? The climactic combat sequence was exceptionally difficult to piece together just because one couldn't tell where one section of action was happening in relation to the others. This movie made Transporter 3's combat scenes look slow and well-paced by comparison.

    But at the same time, Bay comes up with some truly incredible moments. For example, seeing, in live action, the scale of THE REAL Devastator as it assembled itself from the Constructicons with humans in the vicinity gave an exceedingly powerful sense of awe and simultaneously fearsomeness that no other form of Transformers has EVER given me. And the idea of the camouflaged transformer was excellently played. I also enjoyed the ball bearing transformers. Very inventive thinking.

    For me, this movie was an emotional rollercoaster. For every 2 or 3 good moments, like Soundwave's appearance or Megan Fox's sexy shots, I would have to endure 1 or 2 bad moments, like the college roommate.

    Still, despite it's many flaws it was an enjoyable movie. And if you're looking for some mindless fun, T:ROF is a solid choice.

  3. Yes, you bring up another exceelent point about Bay's tendency to depict battles myopically and frenzied. It was my chief complaint with the first film, but this time around I just knew to expect it coming in. From what I've been hearing, this is the complaint of most people who have seen the film.

    And yes, you're right about the scope of Devastator. You reminded me that I was in awe of that assemblage/transformation scene, too. Particularly due to the clever choice of scale like you point out.


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