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Monday, June 29, 2009
Fly the Geek Flag: Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen review
(image:all credit to those responsible)
****Spoiler alert!**** (warning:I touch on plot points/story elements)
For cartoons/comercials based on a toyline I couldn't afford as a child (I had more Go-Bots ) the Transformers was very well thought out. This was back when children's programing was half hour toy commercials. There was a larger than life sci-fi mythology with a simple Good vs. Evil breakdown. Not unlike G.I. Joe,another Hasbro property also getting a similar looking movie. The show was entertaining and the animated movie holds up in spite of severe dating.
I went into Transformers for a popcorn movie,but that "popcorn" was stale. It was shiny though. With sad news in my family,I needed a diversion. On that front,it succeeded. It met both good and bad expectations. However,it left a worse taste in my mouth than the first.
I'm going to jump straight to the bullshit that pulled me out of the movie/entertainment/any enjoyment. Two twin cars/robots meant as comic releif Stepin and Fetchit---I mean Skids and Mudflap. One of whom is pictured above this post. A gold tooth? Really? Robots should be offended. Terminator 4(which I liked) is looking better and better.
WTF were they thinking? Why did so much revolve around them? I can't speak to the thoughts/feelings of Bay,but lets face it-there are annoying black(and others) stereotypes in most of his movies. Its becoming too coming in kids animated movies for non-human characters to exhibit accents/mannerisms of human racial/ethnic/gender stereotypes.
I also felt unease at the shots of Megan Fox as well. Its like the camera was a voyuer. Why is she in these movies? I ask knowing quite well why. Michael Bay comes off pretty creepy there.
I'm not accusing anything,but the leering is creepy. We get it,she's good looking! Stop telegraphing it like a perv!
The robots were yet again second banana to boring humans played by otherwise capable/likable actors. I couldn't tell who was who among the robots not Optimus Prime,Bumblebee,and the Fallen(Megatron's master). Arcee is completely neglected. I'd prefer her to the Twins. There is a great voiceover cast(twins aside),but like the first,they are hard to understand. Its always great to hear Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime. Starscream sounded more like the late great Chris Latta. The awesome Frank Welker is Soundwave. I recognized his voice as well as Tony Todd as the Fallen. As great as Hugo Weaving is,he gets nothing to really work with and could use the gravitas of Welker's vocalization of the character. The geek in me never felt right with the perceived sleight of not giving him the character he gave voice if OP was still going to be Cullen. I was surprised to see Michael York in the VO credits. I didn't hear him. I appreciate the art of voice acting and find it poorly utilized in these movies.
Megatron was underused again. Never heard of Shia until 1st movie and I think he is growing as an actor. He aquitted himself (to my approval anyway) in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls(which I enjoy inspite of the nuked fridge).His Sam character is a wiener and I have a suspicion the current generation sees him like a (whiny) "James Dean". He's the whiny voice of a new generation. I loved the parents(Kevin Dunn & Julie White). They were the only humans I really liked in the first movie. John Turturro was great. Rainn Wilson was criminally underused. Leo the roommate wasn't bad but he was unnecessary. I felt like booing when the college scenes became a bunch of CW crap. Especially when the also-leered-at Alice showed up,way too attracted to dweeby Sam. She turned out to be a freaky succubus-bot,no doubt traumatizing young viewers going through puberty. Tyrese Gibson was wasted.
The fight scenes made more sense this time. Cinematography was great. The designs of the robots were still too "busy". There was a coherent story/plot. It is disturbing this movie shares writers with Star Trek. Transformers as ancient astronauts. Not too original(looking at you AVP),but entertaining. We know what caused the schism between the Autobot/Decepticon factions,fine.The pacing started out well enough,but there was a chunk of the movie where nothing much happened and I fought to stay awake. I find it strange how a movie with such well crafted parts sucks as a sum of said parts. The sfx were solid. The soundtrack was great,but I question the presence of (*cough* they suck*cough*) Nickleback. Enough military porn to feel like a recruitment video. What's up with that? The first movie got access to military hardware in return for showing them "in a good light". Bay leers at that shit like he does the women. Does he jerk off to pics of jets?We get to see our empire's outpost Diego Garcia as a base of operations of the unnecassary joint human-Transformer NEST unit.
Fuck them I want to see Transformers not military guys. I felt bad for those deck guys on the sinking aircraft carriers-that was morbid they way the camera indifferently passed their falling/sinking corpses. Its the most expensive GM commercial I've seen since the last one.The commercialism is to be expected given the source and the way things are. It seems to fall apart with the director and/or editor. Tasers not funny,bro. Especially to the nads. Not cool.Obama is president in that universe as well. I also went for escapism from U.S./world politics/militarism. No luck there. Typical neocolonial globetrotting fantasy,complete with the implication the natives couldn't possibly have built their pyramids/temples without aliens.(a similar problem for Indy) It also seems Hollywood movies are rapidly becoming more unwatchable in
coralation to budget.
Critics unsurprisingly hammered it(21% on RT) and they would have to be braindead not to.