Friday, June 26, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review

Since I'd rather not talk about the Cubs or the Bulls (I'm fairly certain they should've taken DeJuan Blair with either of their first round picks) we're going to review the new Transformers movie that I saw on Wednesday morning at 12:01 AM (Tuesday night.) Hopefully I'll provide a little prospective on the movie that will ultimately help you decide if you should see it or not.

There are a few ways to review this movie- you could do it like respected movie critic Roger Ebert and rip it to shreds. Because of who he is, he pretty much had to review the movie this way. Why, you ask? Well, because if you want a storyline that rivals Academy Award type movies, you're not going to get even close. If you want you a well acted movie that takes itself very seriously- once again, you will be disappointed. You must have the proper perspective before going into a movie like Revenge of the Fallen...

Ask yourself, "Do I want to see huge explosions, campy/corny jokes, and big-ass robots fighting for two-and-a-half hours?" If the answer is yes, then go see it. Hell, buy yourself a $6 soda and a $8 tub of popcorn as well! If you answered no to that question, then don't waste your time- this movie isn't for you. The funny thing is that the best barometer for whether you'll like Transformers 2, is if you liked the first Transformers because the movies are quite similar (although there are more grand set pieces and more robots in the sequel.)

As you know from my post a couple days ago, I am a self professed Transformers fan/geek. Being that I do have knowledge of previous stories (cartoons and comics) I could easily rip the movie apart for not staying true to the original source material. I also will not do this. Too many fanboys get mad when movies are directly lifted from source material, and likewise complain when anything is changed. Movie-makers can't win, so going down this road helps no one.

The theatre I went to was packed and we ended up getting very good seats (luckily) to enjoy the movie. I must say the audience was great. Nobody tried to be the jokester that continually makes loud comments during the movie (ya know, the same people that ruin comedy shows) yet there was rousing applause when it was warranted. Great environment to watch a movie event like this one.

The movie starts with a voice intro by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) explaining that humans and Transformers have had more history together that we (the audience) originally knew about in the first one. He also explains that the Autobots have joined up with the US Army to hunt Decepticons all across the globe. The opening action sequence in Shanghai is absolutely amazing. I really want to see this scene in IMAX because I believe it will only improve the action.

The biggest thing that this scene does is show how badass Optimus Prime actually is. The first movie had him beat up on a lowly Decepticon during the freeway fight (OP slices the his [Bonecrusher's?] head off) but then he gets beat down by Megatron in the city. He ultimately loses that fight and is bailed out by Sam pushing the All Spark into Megatron's chest. The second movie does a better job showing that Optimus is the strongest Transformer.

Shia LeBeouf does his generally servicable job as the movie's main human protagonist, and Megan Fox is still hot (though it does not come off quite as hot as the first movie.) Sam's parents are decently funny (though corny) and Army guys are solid. I appreciate that they have limited the number of groups of humans in this movie to allow for more robot screen time...

However, there are two robots I could do without. Mudflap and Skids are very annoying. If you loved Jar-Jar Binks from the Star Wars prequel trilogy, then you'll love these guys. Unfortunately, almost no one did love Jar-Jar, so Mudflap and Skids will share the same fate. Many people have accused these characters of being inappropriate racial stereotypes (toward Black people) but I won't take it that far. I'd say they are just annoying and could be stereotypical of any annoying person who overuses street-slang and admits that they can't read.

Ultimately, this movie is a number of huge set pieces that give way to lots of action. The plot is only there to string these set pieces together. Is it life changing? Nope. Is it a lot of fun? Yes! If anyone goes back to rewatch an episode of the 80s cartoon version of Transformers, you'd know that the show followed the same formula. It was a lot of action and robots doing cool things. None of it was mind-blowing, and it was made for kids. This new movie follows suit.

That being said, I think there probably is a way to improve this series of movies, but that could be a good thing. I mean, I have a hard time believing the next Batman will top "The Dark Knight" which is, in a way, depressing. I do think that another Transformers could put together a better plot and amp up the action even more, but we'll see what the future holds. If you want an assult of stimuli to your brain for 2.5 hours, and you're not bothered by occasional lame plot turns, then this is the movie for you!

Fun Time At The Theater? 5 out of 5
Plot Line? 2 out of 5
Comedy? 2.5 out of 5
Action Scenes? 5 out of 5
Overall (not an average)? 4 out of 5


GMoney said...

I will never understand why people clap during a movie. It's a movie that was heavily edited. It is supposed to look good. Idiots.

Tony B. said...

I suppose it might be because they get caught up in the movie- I have more of a problem with clapping at the end of a movie. It's not like the characters/director can hear the applause.