Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review
I had the luck to see the second Transformers movie at a midnight IMAX showing Wednesday; it’s taken me a day to recover from the Bayhem present in the movie, to again be able to form coherent thoughts and frame them intelligently through written language. Truly, this is not a mere movie but a spectacle of pure, unrefined Awesome(boom).
My thoughts – disjointed as they may be – follow.
For those who do not wish to read a long dissertation on the meaning of explosions and plot holes, here’s a short version: Megan Fox is in it, she’s no longer covered in bacon grease, and rarely does much more than look kind of hot while – occasionally – doing something almost badass.
There is also a sub-plot about giant robots beating the shit out of each other while things explode in the background – but this feels almost secondary to Shia’s arm-candy and his Destiny.
That’s not to say this isn’t a fun, enjoyable film: To the contrary, once the movie stops trying to give you any actual “normal” story, it gets right to the Awesome(boom) and never stops. It is only during the opening act, where the story attempts to give Sam (The Beef) his “normal life” that it’s slow, boring and kind of stupid. Once events intrude upon his normality, and the shit hits the fan (then explodes, awesomely) does the movie really kick into gear and start serving up the awesome at a pace that’s almost hard to keep up with. One could say that this was intentional, to contrast the normal life that Sam wanted with the life he must lead – but, frankly, I don’t think anyone involved with this particular movie was anywhere near intelligent enough to have done this.
Two days later, I’m still not entirely sure what the story is. However, to prevent any actual spoilage, I’ll include what little I remember of it in the handy tags below. Perhaps someone, somewhere, can help fill me in on what the hell was actually going on.
A really long time ago, when humanity was barely out of the caves, a crap-load of Transformers found Earth and started fighting. We find out later they were fighting about a machine that, when switched on, would create lots of Energon by destroying the Sun. The mind behind this scheme was the titular Fallen, the first of the Decepticons, and one of the 13 Primes. The other 12 Primes took the key to the machine (the Matrix of Leadership), hid it, and blew themselves up in order to make sure it stayed buried.
In the present day, The Fallen is hiding out (for reasons never explained) near Saturn. He’s still pretty damn powerful, and can only be defeated by a Prime – of which Optimus is the last. How Optimus can be a Prime when 12 of the original 13 blew themselves up, and the Fallen was the 13th they don’t explain. Maybe one of them had a kid or something.
Anyway, the Decepticons are on Earth doing two things: Looking for The Matrix of Leadership, and Megatron. They find Megatron, and using a sliver of the All Spark stolen from a government lab, bring him back to life. He immediately blows some stuff up, and gets into a fight with Optimus – eventually killing him (shock!).
Sam is now on the run, both from the Decepticons (they want the info in his head; turns out the All Spark did an info-dump to him), and the world governments (The Fallen said that if they don’t hand him over, then lots of cities will be wrecked). He, and his rag-tag group of friends (Megan Fox, his college room-mate Shouty, that Sector 7 guy, Bumblebee and two new Autobots, Tweedledum and Tweedledee) set out to… do… something. Figure out what the voices in Sams head are talking about, I think.
They find a really, really old former Decepticon that tells them about the Matrix of Leadership, then takes them to Egypt to find the machine that eats the sun so that the Fallen can’t start it.
Well, they find it, and the Matrix thinggie – Sam dies (Yay!) but goes to Autobot Heaven where the 12 Primes declare him Awesome, and send him back to resurect Prime – who promptly has damn Matrix stolen by the Fallen so he can start the Sun Eater. Prime get’s an upgrade, beats the piss out of The Fallen, Megatron and Starscream, and saves the day.
Also, lots and lots of stuff explode in slow motion throughout the whole movie, almost independent of what’s going on in the story.
So, yeah – lots more actual robot action. Lots less stupid human storyline. The characterization of the various Transformers are more inline with what they should be: Starscream, for example, is now a whiny, traitorous bitch.
And, the whole last third of the movie is almost entirely things blowing up in increasingly larger and more grandiose ways while people run in slow motion, shouting quietly (seriously, I wouldn’t make that up), and occasionally looking scared or sad.
I think it is this part of the movie, this continuous string of things going up in huge balls of flame while guns are firing, rockets are flying, and giant fucking robots are beating the shit out of each other, humans, and buildings, that completely sums up what it was about the Transformers that captured the imaginations of children in the 80’s and has refused to let go ever since. It is the very definition of Bayhem, and It. Is. Awesome.
I do have some questions, like:
Why was The Fallen just kicking it near Saturn for so damn long?
Why was Jetfire inactive this whole time? Was he in some sort of hibernation since the 70s? More to the point, how could no one notice that one of 32 highly classified planes was actually a giant alien robot?
Why did Wheelie, the RC Car created on Earth, have a better, deeper understanding of the history of his species than The Twins, who were presumably from Cybertron?
Why the hell did China go along with the US cover-up of the events of the first part of this movie?
How the hell did they cover up the destruction of the majority of L.A.?
Still, there’s some great one liners – one about a tighter shirt, and one about the wheel.
All said, it is a greatly enjoyable movie – despite its flaws. It is, by far, superior to the first movie in almost every way that is important.
It’s Transfomers… Giant robots doing giant robot stuff. It’s just plain Awesome (boom).