“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Written Review

"Second film, same as the first.  A little bit louder and a lot bit worse."

"Second film, same as the first. A little bit louder and a lot bit worse."

For me, writing this review is sort of like having to do spring cleaning: You look around at all of the ground you have to cover, feel overwhelmed at it all and think to yourself that perhaps it’s best to just say “fuck it” and give up before you even started. I honestly have no idea how to start. I feel like I have been tasked with having to shave a wooly mammoth: Where do I begin? How do I go about it? What do I do?

Fuck it.

Basically every bit of bad press you’ve read about this movie is true. All of it. The excessive running time (which is hardly of note to me since it’s only 6 minutes longer than the first film), the beyond non-sensical plot, the over-abundance of “comic” relief characters, the excessive loudness and, yes, the racist caricatures. If you thought Jazz from Transformers was bad, you haven’t seen Skids and Mudflap.

Meet the new heroes: Amos and Andybot.

Meet the new heroes: Amos and Andybot.

True story: Given the three act structure of most films, I could see that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was winding down, from a plot standpoint. So I looked at my watch and was shocked to see that there was a whole hour left. No joke.
But I digress….

Odds are, if you like reading reviews of bad movies as much as I do, you’ve already heard all the bad stuff about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Essentially, I have nothing new to tell you about the film. I could literally go scene-by-scene and tell you why it’s stupid — it’s honestly that bad. But I’ll spare you all of that and try to give a different perspective than one you’ve heard before.

When Pirates of the Caribbean came out, people loved it. It felt original and fresh, but I feel that a large part of that came from the fact that we hadn’t seen a pirate film given a multi-million dollar budget, a shiny coat and an epic feeling of fun in many years. The last time someone made a wide release film in the pirate genre (assuming that it exists) was Cutthroat Island — one of the biggest flops of all time — back in 1995.

So what was the last, live-action giant robot film you had seen before Transformers came along? Robot Jox? That movie was garbage, and again, it was made back in 1990. Does Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow count? I guess you could argue that it does, but the whole thing was more cartoon than live-action, and the robots were only featured in the first half hour. Regardless, neither film is thought of fondly and both films didn’t do well at the box office.

Despite the lack of recent giant robot films, you have to admit that people love giant robots and they love seeing them pummel each other. However, no one has taken that (admittedly flimsy) concept and given it a huge budget, a shiny coat and an epically fun feel. Just because the frat-boy man-child Michael Bay squats one out doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Granted, it feels fresh and new and exciting, but if you’re the first out of the gate once everything has been declared dead, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically worthy of praise.

When Sideways watched "Revenge of the Fallen", he went all to pieces!  Thank you, thank you!  I'll be here all week.

When Sideways watched "Revenge of the Fallen", he went all to pieces! HA! Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week.

You know, to be honest, I don’t really know where I’m going with this other than to say I can understand why people want to like this movie. I know why the Transformers fanboys — of which I used to be one — defend this film (of which I would never do). You want your white horse to deliver and you’re willing to forgive its imperfections to justify its existence and its revenue stream. You want it to succeed. You want this film with the name “Transformers” on it to make money, thereby getting as many films as possible. I understand. But it’s not a good film. Even by junk food, action cinema standards, it’s pretty lousy. And above all, it’s not Transformers.

Picture the Harry Potter films. The books are beloved the world over. Now imagine if, when it came to adapting them to film, someone decided to change it up a bit and make the film more palatable to a general audience. So Ron Weasley is changed to be a hip, slang-talkin’ black kid from the streets. And Hermoine is mute, except she uses sound bites from a radio to broadcast her thoughts to people. Also, the film would primarily focus on the tertiary characters instead of the original main cast. Would the Harry Potter fan base accept that as being Harry Potter? No. So why should the Transformers fan base accept these film adaptations? Simply because they exist? Not good enough, says I.

Left: Devastator from the cartoon. Right: Devastator from the film.  Huh?

Left: Devastator from the cartoon. Right: Devastator from the film. Huh?

I know the filmmakers said they took liberties with the property (especially the designs) because they wanted them to be more realistic. Yes, because when you’re making a film about giant transforming robots from outer space, you should really concern yourself with realism.
But I digress….

People have told me that I’ve been too hard on these films; that I’m too judgmental with too high of standards. After all, they’re geared towards kids, right? They’re toyetic — they push merchandise.
Look, just because a film is aimed at a younger audience doesn’t mean the filmmakers should shoot for the lowest common denominator and not give a crap about the end product. Besides, can you name a kids film that is 150 minutes long and contains two separate scenes of dogs humping each other, a character eating pot brownies, upskirt panty shots of a woman trying to dry hump someone, a robot that has a penis that doubles as a gun, graphic shots of another robot’s giant testicles (still trying to figure that one out), a close-up of John Turturro’s ass and garbage while wearing a thong, a robot dry-humping a woman’s leg (AND SHE DOESN’T MIND IT!?) and characters that say, “pussy,” “bitch-ass” and “fuck?”
This film is PG-13. A lot of shit can still get through in between that PG and R, my friends.

In the end, this film is just as jumbled, chaotic, under-plotted, loud, annoying and dumb as the first film, if not more so. So if you liked the first film, then I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you might like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The bad news is that you might have a learning disability.

I would call this film bullshit, but that’s an insult to fertilizer.
3/10

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10 Responses to “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Written Review

  1. Darby says:

    Ha! Learning disability. Ha!

    I haven’t seen the flicks, nor do I intend to, and not just because it’d be more dignified entertainment if I paid someone to bite the head off a chicken.

    I’m also bothered by some of the details you mentioned, i.e. the shite design of the characters. Even if you excuse the race crap (and why would we?), the designs suck. I can barely tell where most of the robots’ faces are. They all look like train wrecks – a mish mosh of parts that barely form a coherent whole. That’s not toyetic. That’s anti-toyetic.

    And as you said, why would realism matter when you’re dealing with transforming robots from space…that, by the way, were made up so that fun, expensive toys could be sold to idle, brain-dead children everywhere?

    The robots should look human enough, and cool enough, that we don’t need the humans in frame, ever. Even that chick the learning disabled fans are drooling over.

    Also, I think you should have compared the excuse-making Transformers fans to abused wives. “He didn’t mean it, officer. He tries his best. He loves me!” “No, fans, Michael Bay doesn’t love you. He doesn’t even respect you. Now please, for once, don’t go to his movie, or I can’t protect you from the kind of beating you’re sure to get again. And again. And again.”

  2. David says:

    I have to say Boone, I tried to like the film because I loved the original movie, i.e., Transformers: The Movie. I thought the film had potential but like most computer-aided movies, they pushed the CGI a little too far for a little too long. Hell, half of the scenes you can barely focus because they are flashing around so much. But I’m glad I’m not the only one pissed that they messed up Devastator. I have to say, even if I pirated movies, this one probably still wouldn’t make the cut.

  3. writeswithafist says:

    Roger Ebert shared your opinion, it sounds like, but it looks like he got some angry, offended responses:

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/07/i_am_a_brainiac.html

    Although he’s mostly kind and fair to these detractors, this is my favorite bit: ‘Those who think “Transformers” is a great or even a good film are, may I tactfully suggest, not sufficiently evolved.’

  4. writeswithafist says:

    P.S. Ebert’s original review:

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090623/REVIEWS/906239997

    Which people can refer to when they read your written review’s mention of the essentially correct opinion of film critics.

  5. Page says:

    It was better than Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. (I’ll never forget the scene at the end of SCatWoT where the ROCKETSHIP is TAKING OFF–picture the Space Shuttle taking off–and the two main characters are walking around.) That film was a head-banger, and not the cool heavy metal kind.

    Transformers? Eh. Aimed at 10-year-old boys? It was that level of humor. I did like the special effects, and I was pleased that Optimus Prime was a bit more leader-like and heroic in this one. I don’t feel like I wasted my money. I just would have written a different script.

    Speaking of which, you are still writing, aren’t you?

  6. Seawave says:

    Agreed, it was crapola – and that’s an insult to crap.
    And to TF fans everywhere.

    My review of it (and the 2007 one) is on http://www.imdb.com (Internet Movbie DataBase) under my username “Jinn”

    & I hope Sideways blasts his agent … (And Michael Bay while he’s at it) And let’s hope Megatron and Starcsream, do the same for that idiot making them look like the Terminarors Skynet’s too embarassed to talk about.

    I hate Sideswipe for whate he did to Sideways the bastard 😦 Sidewave doesn’t even like fighting. Sideswipe didn’t even give him a chance, some Autobot :*( (Sideways only shot back in self defence too) Poor Sidie… *Hugs Sideways* I’m planning some Revenge of the fallen fics also and have heaps of TF fics on my page …

    Bay’s brought on a whole new genre for fanfic at least – to rescue what little dignity the TF’s have left – and will always be defended to the death by the fans

  7. Timm says:

    I choose to remember the transformers the way they were before they were “transformed” into all this other crap in the other cartoon series and these new movies. They were fucken ass kicking robots that looked like badass metal humanoids and the plot was simple.

    In “Beast Wars” Prime was fucken Monkey for Christ sake…a fucken monkey!!! Plus they used 3D animations that just looked like shit. There was another series that was more Japanimation, I watched two eps. and said fuck this shit. I watched the 1st movie and I fell asleep and I have no intentions of watching the 2nd. Everything after the original series is just an abortion and should not be considered Transformers.

    Give me the original animation and pick up after the last eps. of the series when Prime is brought back to life and takes command again.

  8. dudefromduaphin says:

    i liked it when prim ripped up that guy up with his lava sword! the movie is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Ilovetransformersevenrevengeofthefallenandhateallwhoapposeit says:

    you can say Fuck it but then i would have to say Fuck you.

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    Do you have any recommendations?

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