Massawyrm pretty much hates everything about TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN!!
Published at: June 23, 2009, 12:36 p.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Sigh. I can’t believe my eyes. I don’t want to believe them. TRANSFORMERS REVENGE OF THE FALLEN is one of the most unrepentantly juvenile, gleefully offensive, mind bogglingly inane films I have ever seen with a real budget behind it. And that’s saying a lot. There are things here I never would have believed had I read about them – things I would have found to be exaggeration and hyperbole on the part of oversensitive, agenda driven people looking for a fight. But I saw them, plain as day. And I’m still having a hard time believing what I saw.
By now most of you know me pretty well. I’m a Bay fan. I love his over saturated, testosterone dripping romps of wanton destruction for what they are. Michael Bay isn’t the guy you get to tell a great story – I’ll never defend his storytelling ability for a minute.
No, Mike is the guy you get when you want to orchestrate and compose a nine movement symphony of carnage and mayhem - a popcorn chomping festival of mindless abandon. He is the reigning king of spectacle – a guy who makes films with their own laws of physics. Every bystander is beautiful. Every car is souped up, turbo charged and throbbing with power. And he can even suspend night so he can show every capitol of every country in the world bathed in daylight all at once so we get a sense of just how important this mission is to every other person on the fucking planet. Hoo-ah! He is one of the most blatantly ripped off, visually visceral guys out there, having influenced an entire generation of action movies...whether you like it or not.
But left unchecked he can apparently make a seriously mind numbing piece of shit.
This is a film as epic in scope as it is in its failure. As much as I loved the first film, even I (in my review - HERE) admitted a number of its glaring flaws. Fortunately, everything that was right about the movie overshadowed the robot pissing, the goofy as fuck Turturro and the sneaking giant robots. When it worked, it REALLY worked. The storyline introducing us to the Transformers through the eyes of humans slowly over the course of the film was fine for a first film. It was okay because we, as an audience, needed to buy these things as characters over time. And ultimately we did. But everything that was simply wrong or just underdeveloped was excused because, well, we wanted to see what fifty foot robots beating the shit out of each other looked like…and that’s exactly what Michael Bay gave us: fifty foot robots beating the shit out of each other.
But now we’ve seen that. We’ve watched fifty foot robots beating the shit out of one another and now we’re ready for what’s next. Unfortunately, what’s next is more of everything that was wrong the first time. Here Bay magnifies EVERYTHING bad about the first. You thought robot pissing was weak? Check out robot farting, robot crying and giant, clanging robo-testicles. Oh yeah. Michael Bay wanted his big cast iron balls in the film and there they are, dangling off of Devastator in one of the film’s defining dramatic moments. I guess he couldn’t get away with a giant, limp swinging cyber-phallus, so he went with the next best thing.
But if that weren’t enough, he had to add even more comic relief than the first time around. Remember Turturro? Yeah. Well apparently he had it in his contract that there needed to be a character even more obnoxious than him to say all the REALLY shitty lines. It’s Turturro squared.
Then there’s the Joepecicon – a terrible GOODFELLAS joke gone awry in the form of a small Decepticon who cracks wise…incessantly. And worst of all, the frightening sidekicks of the film and the mistake this film will most likely be forever known for: Mudflap and Skids, the Stepin Fetchbots of the film. It’s as if Michael Bay looked at Jar Jar Binks and said “Oh, fuck no. Really? People find THAT offensive? Fuck that, I’ll show them a fucking stereotype they’ll never fucking forget!” And he does.
Oh. My. God.
They speak in clichéd urban slang, tossing around phrases like “I’m gonna pop a cap in your ass” while fist bumping and mumbling unintelligently in a voice that sounds like a bad Chappelle Show sketch. Then you get a close up. And they each have bug eyes and a gold tooth. Then there’s this jackass comment about them not being able to read. My jaw was on the floor. I mean, if you’re gonna toss out a bad stereotype, at least have the courtesy to make that stereotype a complete badass so as to deflect complaints that this is a deliberately negative portrayal. These mother fuckers are incompetent, bumbling and never, EVER, cool.
And all this leads to the worst sin of the film. It’s called TRANSFORMERS. And yet, 90% of the film is spent entirely with the above collection of tools and occasionally Bumblebee who has mysteriously lost his voice again. Sure, the film OPENS with Optimus Prime and all the badasses from the previous film. But they’re barely in this film at all. It’s more about Shia and Megan running around, collecting incompetent sidekicks while half-assing their way through an Indiana Jones plot. Ironhide? Ratchet? They’re all back at the base. They could only spare a pair of sambot jackasses for THE MOST IMPORTANT MISSION, LIKE, EVER!
Which leads to the next issue – the plot. There isn’t one. As one reviewer pointed out, this film is roughly a few minutes longer than 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY - and yet it can’t scrape together enough of a story to be, you know, somewhat comprehensible. I mean there are a few story elements here that get strung together into something resembling a MOVIE, but there’s zero through line that anyone can explain.
Shia gets zapped by an energy that turns him into an unwitting memory storage device and he becomes the kid from FLIGHT OF THE NAVAGATOR, so the Decepticons want him because of a piece of info he has on a lost artifact, so he has to find the artifact first. Throw in a revenge subplot that makes zero sense (They sacrificed their lives to betray me! But I’m okay and they’re dead, so now I’m super pissed…wait) and a race against time because only a Prime can defeat The Fallen (um, why exactly?) and you get something that you can follow, but never, ever care about. And before you try to point out “isn’t that every Michael Bay movie,” let me say: no, it isn’t. He’s never been this completely incomprehensible. It’s like the script was written in one sitting on a Morphine bender, with the writer nodding in and out of consciousness, thinking that he’d already written what happened in his dreams and simply picking back up where the dream left off.
But the action…the action has to be pretty awesome, right? Um. No, actually. This time around it is even harder to discern than before. Bay puts all the focus on the humans whenever possible, with the giant robots doing all their fighting in the background. Most of the time the fighting is so fast and furious that it is a series of digital blurs – the audience left unable to discern which is the Autobot and which is the Decepticon. The audience broke into applause no less than 5 times during the film, but this only further punctuated the problems as it was always during a slo-mo scene of violence. You see, when you can actually tell what is going on, the fighting is AWESOME. There are some truly spectacular moments of robot on robot assbeating - all of them in slow motion. But the rest of the time you won’t know and probably won’t care what’s going on.
This film is a total and complete waste; a soggy, half baked dessert of a film that you can’t even say “Well, at least the action was cool.” It is an embarrassment, a pathetic misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars that only serves as the new model for excess run amok. Hopefully ten years from now I can put this in and laugh about it the way I laugh about BATMAN AND ROBIN, giggling furiously at the idea that they spent that much money of robot balls and a cybernetic minstrel show. But right now I’m too disappointed, too bitter and just too appalled to find any of this funny. You know, now that I think about it, maybe Bay got his giant, limp, swinging cyber-phallus after all. It’s called TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.