Thursday, June 25, 2009
REVIEW: Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen...
So, it's here. Finally, Michael Bay's wet dream has landed it's robotic feet in theatres around the US. Based on the legendary series of toy/cartoon series, Transformers first hit the big screen in 2007, and was one of not only the biggest box office monsters, but one of the most divisive amongst the film crowd. There were fans of the film, who defended it as not the deepest films, but a cinematic stepping stone into the future of computer graphics. Then there were the haters, of which I place myself in (the smart group), who saw it as Bay's stepping stone into complete 'splosion masturbation. Would the sequel, one of the most anticipated films of the summer, even by yours truly, see the same controversy? Or would it increase in quality from the crap pile that was Transformers?
T:RotF sees the return of the hated Decepticons to Earth, on a mission to take Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf)prisoner, after our hero learns of the ancient origins of the robotic beings inhabiting the Earth, the Transformers. In the hopes of bringing the final Prime back to life, Megatron returns to bring The Fallen back to his planet, in hopes of taking the last source of power, for his kind, on Earth. To stop them, Optimus Prime and the other Autobots must join forces with international armies for a final battle. Oh, and to make a mediocre film.
The true, and only, stars of this film are the special effects. This film will go down in history as one of the most influential films in the realm of special effects. The Transformers look stunning, and finally, their transformations seem to be seamless. While there are a few hiccups, particularly in the first couple of transformations, the following two hours feature some of the most flawless effects of any action film ever. It's really stunning to look at, and saved this movie from being thrown on the trash heap.
Also, the action scenes between the transformers were well done. Sure, they were confusing, at least in telling which robot was which, but viscerally, they worked, at least for me. The use of slo-mo in these scenes really added a bit as well. These scenes were not only of a higher visual quality, but they were often quite brutal, even when talking about robots. Seeing as how these characters, the Autobots, are the ONLY characters in the film that you have any sort of emotional interest in, seeing them get impaled by a blade, and then blown up by a gun behind the blade, really added a bit, if any, emotional response to the film. On the opposite end, seeing Optimus rip the spine out of Rampage had me pumping my fist in enjoyment.
However, the scenes in between, and everything about them, left me wanting more. Actually, it left me wanting SOMETHING at all.
This film will not only go down as one of the most important for visual effects, along with it's prequel, but it will also go down as one of the most down right bizarre and just awful films of '09.
First, let me go into the obvious point that has had the Internet a buzz. This film is not only bad, but quite racist as well.
This complaint comes in the form of two tiny little Autobots, who join Sam on his final journey, to save a fallen comrade. Their names are Mudflap and Skids, and are some of the most awkwardly written and horrible racial stereotypes on film this year. They talk in hip-hop/jive style lingo, they can't read, and they even have gold teeth. But honestly, it felt like it was just something that THIS film would do.
You know you are in really bad hands when, during a high paced action scene between these robots, is inter cut with two dogs having sex. Yes, Michael Bay, you cut a Transformer action scene with puppy coitus. Happy?
While the action scenes are very impressive, the human scenes, just like in the first film, absolutely killed this film. First, there is the awful script. Written by the awesome duo of Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, who also wrote Star Trek and the stellar TV show, Fringe, this film not only gives us Transformers using precious beat down time delving into the world of pointless exposition, but gives us two Jar-Jar Binks like abortions, and also gives us one of the most haplessly written romances I've seen in a long time. Basing a whole romantic arc on saying "I love you", they give us minute after minute of this nearly three hour long film retelling us that we shouldn't really care about what happens between these two, because we aren't going to anyways.
Oh, and the performances don't raise this big budget roll of toilet paper much. Sure, Shia is a great actor, and possibly the only shinning star in this black hole of acting ability, but he completely loses any speed when actually holding a discussion with another living being. Megan Fox is just that, Megan Fox, which is great to look at, but nothing to listen to, and they are joined on their journey by a little sidekick, who throws this film into complete disarray.
Honestly, my post-war tweet really summed up my thoughts:
So, T:RotF sucked, but it was a bit better than the first, but that's kind of like saying I had better sex with a midget than a lawn gnome. More action
Yes, the film is better than the first one. The action is of a superior quality, the score isn't nearly as oppressive, and Shia is really great here. Oh, and the army group that drug the first film into the proverbial mud are rarely used here. However, the film commits more than seven deadly sins. Horrible acting, awful direction, and a brutal screenplay. Oh, and the film is racist too. However, the deadliest sin is this. The film is slow. It's boring in many parts, and just downright bizarre.
Transformers: RotF is an awful film, with little to no emotional relevance, but if only for the action scenes and robot special effects, this film should either be skipped, or seen in theatres. Saved by a final action scene that is brilliantly done (but shit on by a rushed ending, full of Bay's patented exposition), this film is a bad movie, with some stellar effects. Skip, or see it in theatres. Don't wait for DVD for this robotic-splosion-gasm.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN 3/10
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