Sunday, 28 June 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the fallen

Dir: Michael Bay
Starring: Shia Lebeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Hugo Weaving (voice), Rainn Wilson
Run time: 147 mins

Bigger Bay-splosions! More hardware! More Lip-gloss! More CGI robots twatting each other. Yep, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was never one for the critics.

The funny thing is, even though Michael Bay 's whole career plays like a demonic
video-loop of Top Gun, him and Transformers were natural bedfellows. Who better to visualise Hasbro's merchandise, with amorous sequences of U.S troop formations in slow-mo and leering shots of Megan Fox for boys who play only with their own toy box?

It worked it 2007, just two years later would "bigger, harder, more robots" give us a better movie, a more involving storyline?


Revenge of the Fallen no doubt uses more processing power than NASA for all 46 of its whizzy robots. But the storyline could be sketched out by GCSE D-grade students who've had their eyes clamped open during a marathon session of Narnia books, Stargate and Species II.

For the record, Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebeuf) is leaving for college (despite looking about 26) much to the chagrin of his comedy parents. Less concerned is his girlfriend Michaela (Megan Fox) who is an ace mechanic, brilliantly adept at bending over motorbikes in very small shorts.

Meanwhile, the warring robot factions, Autobots and Decepticons have left a fragment of ancient McGuffin in Sam's house which makes him see quasi-Hebrew symbols. Unfortunately neither Nicholas Cage or Tom Hanks are available for exposition duties, so our story cuts to college, where Sam starts rooming with an Hispanic computer nerd (Ramon Rodriguez) and getting harrassed by another sex-crazed girl with small hips and mountains of lip-gloss. Will his faithfulness to Michaela hold, or will the pan-galactic struggle cause him to transform into love rat Darren Day?

Putting narrative aside, and the fact that I felt young and vital when the movie started, the main attraction here are the special effects, which are very impressive.

The transformations themselves still include that satisfying choink, choink, choink sound (for boys circa 1985) and Bay puts two or three visually arresting sequences together, including a smackdown with Optimus Prime than should engage fans. It's also bright and shiny and more fun to watch than the Terminator sequel.

As in the first one, John Turturro turns up as an X-Files type wackjob and promptly tries to act himself into another universe: a-musing.

Of course there are too many stylistic knock-offs to mention, including bizarely a nod to Bay's own Pearl Harbor which just reminds us that Bay has no sense of tone or propriety. As such it's probably churlish of people like me to write headlines like 'Sub Prime' because in the end ROTF is merely a Double Whopper; if you order one you get exactly what you paid for.


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