Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Review: An Adolescent Action Blitzkrieg

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For all of director Michael Bay’s faults, which there are a lot of them, the great quality he has available to share with audiences is a barrage of above average action sequences that end up utilizing state of the art technology unlike any other action film around. Transformers Rise of the Fallen, serves as an upgraded medium of Michael Bay’s strengths offering consistent action thrills that are mesmerizing to behold and makes it fun to participate in the blitzkrieg that is Transformers, a second attempt that is slightly better than the first. However, almost all of this exceptional use of CGI and stunt explosions is lost within the immature and adolescent spectacles Bay allowed from his script writers Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman, Reindeer Games, The Island, and Star Trek respectively, that unnecessarily decorated the script with gag toilet humor and stereotypical dialogue deteriorating from the simplistic plot and the overall enjoyment of the film itself. Bay proves again that his fascination with adolescent fantasies and humor is a major liability when trying to make a quality example of action cinema.

Fortunately for everyone the story in this installment of Transformers is written slightly better, meaning it makes sense, but also has some improvements with the human interactions that seemed so forced and unbelievable in the first film. This time our protagonist, Sam Witwicky, Shia LaBeouf in a more controlled and not as manic performance , is off to college to try and be the normal person he aspires to be until he touches a left behind piece of alien matter and is given special mind powers that act as a puzzle to knowing the true origins of the transformers. This is the simple explanation of why Sam is involved again in a battle between good machine and evil machine, this time Sam is the target and the tool that the new villain, appropriately called The Fallen, needs in order to wipe out Earth altogether. Fighting the apocalypse is also a great way of keeping things fresh between Sam and Mikaela, played by Megan Fox who is of course not cast in the film for any credible acting abilities.

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This basic apocalypse and the fight between good and evil plot is fine and it makes sense but the film clocks in at about two and a half hours, with an incredibly boring and drawn out exposition segment involving an aged robot with a cane, which really doesn’t make sense if you think about robots and aging and makes you wonder why the villain isn’t in a wheelchair from being around since the dawn of man. Little tidbits such as the robot with a cane, or two annoying twin robots who spout out incredibly stereotypical gangster phrases, are just some of the many examples of why the film loses most of its enjoyable qualities. Bad writing and a dedication to immature spectacles, such as a robot that has a gun for genitalia or a giant menacing robot that apparently has a scrotum (these writers and their Freudian obsession with male genitals) are just in poor taste and bring the enjoyment down altogether. Without these adolescent examples of toilet humor the film would have been exactly what it was intended to be, a balls to the wall action adventure.

Here is where Michael Bay’s strengths as an action director enter because the action sequences are consistently engaging and quite the technological feast for the eyes. It boggles my mind to sit and watch these digital effects and know deep in the back of my mind how these special effects specialists got robbed of the academy award to The Golden Compass. The action is better than the first, putting a better emphasis on which robots are the villains (Decepticons) and which robots are the good guys (Autobots), making less chaotic and finely tuned. And they don’t mess around because the entire film is layered with beautiful and heart stopping action thrills, especially the last battle in the sands of Egypt, except of course for the occasional immature side comments that distract from the entire experience. For all of its structural faults and it’s off beat and unnecessary humor, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen does deliver on its expected primary quality.

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These action directors, such as Michael Bay, McG, or Roland Emmerich, are in essence male adolescents in touch with a grand imagination that involves explosions, a fascination with stereotypical pretty women, and occasional toilet humor that must have defined their young years. Most of the time their action spectacles are quite something to behold but also our adolescent years didn’t involve mature or an experienced adults perspective on human interactions or an understanding of sensitive issues, which are always lacking in these action projects. One can always wish for more out of these films but of course their primary goal is to entertain, and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen does have entertainment basted all over it. No criticism of its drastic faults in story progression or inappropriate absurdity could change its box office numbers but hopefully if someone notices than in the future action films will change their recycled presentation to audiences resulting in a deeper and better cinematic experience.

Grade: C+

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