Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) dir. Michael Bay
Starring: Shia Lebeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson
Even by Michael Bay standards, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a mess. I admit being a fan of the first film and even most of Michael Bay’s lesser regarded films (ie. “The Island” and “Bad Boys 2”) so I'm more than predisposed to enjoy this movie, yet it's still mostly a bore.
It’s been two years since Megatron was defeated by the Autobots and the human saviour Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebeouf). In between now and then the surviving robots has acted as a ‘secret’ police searching out any remaining Decepticon around the world. The opening sequence has the Autobots battling a giant wheeled Decepticon attempting to takeover some kind of power plant. Despite the huge battle and destruction this is all done in secret.
Meanwhile Sam has gone off to college. Only two days into his classes he starts hallucinating about weird alien Transformers messages. It turns out a remnant of the ‘all spark’ from the first film got lodged in his shirt, thus transmitting its information to Sam. Now Sam is the target of the Decepticons who desire to harness the allspark power and free their long lost ruler, “The Fallen”.
I thought Megatron was the long lost leader? Remember, he was entombed in the Hoover Dam? Nope. There was another leader buried centuries before at the dawn of civilization, buried in another manmade wonder – I won’t spoil the surprise. Thus, adding to the hook of morphing robots is Da Vinci/National Treasure puzzling solving, globe trotting adventure.
The plot wanders around for two and a half hours charting the path of Witwicky, his girlfriend and the military heroes from the first film across the world with the Decipticons continually in pursuit and always showing up at the wrong time to go to battle.
But, really, we all could care less for the detailed machinations of the plot, it’s just one giant maguffin to get the robots to pound each other to destruction.
This sequel fails because there’s little we see in this film that wasn’t in the first film. Apparently there are more robots in this one, but when shown on the screen, they all look very similar and have pretty much the same abilities. Is a robot airplane stronger than a robot pick-up truck, or camero, or a PT Cruiser? We don’t know because whenever they fight its an incomprehensible swooshing of colour and metal on the screen. Though many people complained about this visual incomprehensibility in the first film, I could follow along, but here it’s even worse, crossing my fine line of Michael Bay visual logic. And there’s also a familiarity to the action as well, specifically the final Egyptian sequence, which looked like a carbon copy to the White Sands sequence in Part 1.
The IMAX presentation is also a disappointment, coming no where near the grandiosity of “The Dark Knight”. Despite reports of four sequences, there is only ONE full IMAX sequence – the forest fight, which admitted looked fantastic. The Egyptian battle has sporatic shots of Devastator in IMAX, but unfortunately when intercut with regular 35mm, just teased us with what we wanted to see.
Ironically the best moments in Transformers 2 were the trademark Bay-banter in between the action. Lebeouf’s interaction with his neurotic parents provide the best moments as well as the Ramon Rodriguez’s conspiracy blogger/roommate character. Everything else is a spitballed series of random and repetitive action.