movie film review | chris tookey

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
2.13 /10
Sam Witwicky - Shia LaBeouf, Mikaela Banes - Megan Fox
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Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Released: 2009
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 149

More big, noisy junk from Michael Bay.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The Decepticons are back, and they’re looking to whup some Autobot ass.

If the above sentence leaves you cold and uncomprehending, then congratulations – you are not the audience for this movie, which suggests that you have more discrimination than the submissive consumers who turned the first Transformers picture into a worldwide megahit, grossing more than 700 million dollars.

Sam (Shia LaBoeuf, pictured right) is off to college, despite showing not the slightest evidence of cranial activity. His departure for Princeton saddens his proud parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White), who are so dim they don’t mind much when their house is trashed by yet another extra-terrestrial robot. I suppose it’s something they got used to, in the first movie.

Our hero is leaving behind his superhot girlfriend (Megan Fox, pictured left) who wears an awful lot of orange make-up and works as a mechanic for her ex-con father. This may or may not explain why she is reintroduced to us in a pair of very short shorts bending over a motorbike.

Tragically, Sam’s promising career as an astronomer-physicist is cut short by a blonde college girl on heat, who - like all Princeton undergraduettes in director Michael Bay’s alternative universe - looks and behaves like a nymphomaniac lap-dancer. She French-kisses him while secreting a nasty mechanical tail that comes twisting out of her bottom and reveals her to be… oh, no… a Decepticon!

You see, the Decepticons – who are evil robots from outer space - think that Sam has a shard of the Allspark that will get them something called the Matrix Of Leadership, which their tyrannical dictator The Fallen needs to complete his victory over Optimus Prime, mighty leader of the Autobots – they’re good robots from outer space. Look, I don’t make this stuff up. I merely report it.

Despite the story being simple to the point of idiocy, it’s impossible for any carbon-based lifeform to follow. That’s because virtually all the dialogue is inaudible, drowned out by battles, explosions and gargantuan lumps of metal crashing into each other.

I noted down a few morsels: “Punkass Decepticon, any last words?”; “The boy will not escape – we have him in our sights!”; and “There’s another source of energon on this planet – the boy can lead us to it!”

I have no idea why I wrote those lines down, still less what they mean. I was just grateful to be able to hear them.

Fans of the franchise will doubtless say I’m too ancient and poorly attuned to youth culture to enjoy it – though I was happy to appreciate other excursions into comic-strip kitsch, such as Men In Black, Spider Man and the first three Terminator movies.

Part of my dissatisfaction stems from the fact that it clocks in at an insanely overlong, boring, ear-splitting 149 minutes. But even if it were a more tolerable 90, it would still sum up everything that is most tedious, crass and despicable about modern Hollywood.

Like its predecessor, it’s only comprehensible as a merchandising opportunity. As usual with Michael Bay movies, the action is designed to shock and awe, but it’s edited with such a shocking lack of continuity and shot so awfully close up that it’s impossible to work out what’s happening, why or to whom – or what.

It’s no fun, because none of it makes you feel anything. It’s just a massive avalanche of effects-driven excess.

And don’t get me started on the acting. No one in this is any good, but the most woefully inept actor is Megan Fox, who wears the same wet-lipped, open-mouthed, vacant expression whether she is in mortal danger, expressing undying love for our hero, or hot-wiring a car. Mr Bay is especially fond of frontal shots of her running away from enormous explosions in a tight halter-top, while her breasts wobble from side to side in very slow motion.

The film seems to be aimed at extremely small boys, yet there are explicit references to sex and drugs that are wildly inappropriate in a movie with a PG certificate. Sights I am trying hard to forget include John Turturro in a posing pouch, and a chihuahua humping a pug - a “gag” considered so hilarious by Bay, and so well-suited to viewing by children, that he includes it three times.

For further non-comic relief, he comes up with two quarrelling, jive-talking autobots who must be the most annoying sidekicks and insulting ethnic stereotypes to have infested our multiplexes since the heyday of Jar Jar Binks.

The film is geographically all over the place, and assumes that its audience will neither know nor care that the Jordanian ruins of Petra are not within a stone’s throw of the Egyptian pyramids.

Bay is at his most obnoxious when he shows gigantic machines casually destroying icons of Ancient Egyptian civilisation. Some may find this a depressingly accurate metaphor for what people like him are doing to our own culture.

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