Okay, today I took my niece to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Now, there is – as with everything I do – a backstory. Months ago, I told her if she maintained a “A” average, I would take her to see the movie. Lo and behold, she did it (not that she really needed any motivation from her uncle Joseph to maintain an “A” average), and I kept my end of the bargain. Now, we were a little concerned because she waited until it was on DVD to see the first one, but I’m happy to report she did well. She had to go to the bathroom a couple of times and the movie was a bit too loud for her at times, but she was good.
Now, on to the review.
The movie itself begins with a backstory 17,000 years in the past before warping into present-day Shanghai. The Autobots and the world’s militaries have formed a covert operation called NEST, headed up by Major William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and assisted by Robert Epps (Tyrese Gibson), in order to track down and destroy any Decepticons that happened to appear and run amok. This time, they were tracking down two Decepticons named Demoliser and Sideways. It also introduced four (six?) new Autobots: Arcee (who is made up of three separate motorcycles), Autobot twins Skids and Mudflap (more on them later), and Sideswipe (who I think is just insanely cool), as well as being reintroduced to Ironhide and the epic Optimus Prime. Epic battles ensue and the threats are summariliy taken care of – at the expense of a great deal of Shanghai – but not without a warning: “The Fallen is coming”.
We then see Sam (Shia LaBeouf) getting ready to go off to college and his father Ron (Kevin Dunn) applying the pressure to hurry up and get out. His mother Judy (Julie White) is not as excited, even though they have a romantic getaway. We are then treated to Mikaela (Megan Fox) doing her best eye-candy impression calling in and mockingly berating Sam. Shortly thereafter, Sam finds an AllSpark shard embedded in the sweatshirt he wore in the Mission City battle in the first movie. More hilarity ensues with that shard, and the Witwickys end up leaving, but not before Bumblebee finds out that he’s being left behind because freshmen can’t have cars.
They get to college and Sam meets his new roomy, Leo Spitz (Ramon Rodriguez) and his group of conspiracy theorists (no way that this wouldn’t end well), and we also meet Alice (Isabel Lucas), who is more than meets the eye with her. Now, I could continue on, but I think this is as good a place to stop as any, but suffice it to say stuff blows up, eye candy is presented, and Michael Bay proves that he’s doing what he’s called to do.
Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky, and it appears that something is missing from his performance. It’s more like he’s going through the motions instead of bringing something to new to the table. He seems like he’s stammering through his lines and is only remotely interested in being there. His female counterpart Megan Fox returns as Mikaela Banes, and her only purpose in life is to serve as eye candy and to pout her collagen-injected lips out at the points where Shia looks confused. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson return back in their roles, and they are a breath of fresh air. They are genuinely entertaining and appear to be having a good time. Their banter is comfortable, and I give them both a thumbs up. It was wonderful to see John Turturro return as Agent Simmons…even though he wasn’t an agent anymore.
Enough of the human performers; no one wants to see them. Everyone is anxious to see the Giant Effin’ Robots, and they almost didn’t disappoint. Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Ratchet, and Bumblebee return, but we are also introduced to Arcee, Jetfire, Sideswipe, Jolt, Wheelie, Skids, and Mudflap. I can’t go any further without saying that I was incredibly disappointed in Skids and Mudflap. Skids was an original Autobot from Generation 1, and he was sparingly used. When he was, he seemed to have a decent personality. Mudflap came from a series I wasn’t really familiar with, but I know he wasn’t what he and Skids are in this movie. They are pure crap, and I can’t stand them. Their singular presence drove the movie down quite a bit in my opinion. Even Sideswipe in his infinite coolness wasn’t able to bypass these two shuckers and jivers.
The Decepticons also returned, with Megatron returning to life and making Starscream’s life a living hell. We were also introduced to Soundwave, Sideways and Demolisher (for about five minutes), Ravage, The Doctor, Grindor, and the true Devastator. Confused? Let me explain. In the first movie, there was a Decepticon named Brawl, but Michael Bay decided he wanted to call him Devastator. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and we got the Devastator we needed to see: Mixmaster, Long Haul, Rampage, Scrapper, Scavenger, Hightower, and Overload all combining to form one kick-ass robot. And, they definitely kick ass.
Michael Bay did was Michael Bay does best, and that’s blow up stuff. The second thing he does well is show rotating camera angles. The one thing he DOESN’T do well is direct emotional scenes. He needs to leave that to other directors. Even Steven Spielberg couldn’t help him out with that. Steve Jablonsky returns to do the score, and that’s one of the best aspects of the movie outside of the action scenes.
The movie had awesome action scenes and the Giant Effin’ Robots on both sides were amazing. However, Skids and Mudflap drug the move down, and thus lowers the score down greatly. So, the movie gets 2.5 dragon heads out of 5, and I won’t be watching it again unless my friends want to watch it with me.
EDIT: I went ahead and bought this on Blu-Ray – primarily because I’m a glutton for punishment, and I still don’t like the ghettobots, and I still think the movie was at least 47 minutes too long.