A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 281 – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – December 6th, 2010

When I was a kid I had this so-called toy that was actually just a clear plastic box full of iron filings that could be manipulated with a magnet from outside the box. It wasn’t a toy you’d see advertised on television, but I loved it. It was an educational toy. The sort of thing you get when your mother is a teacher. I found it so cool that I could move these little jagged shards of metal around into cohesive wholes with a magnet in the right place, and I could make them align in different directions and mess with them with multiple magnets. Watching this movie tonight I realized that the visual concept of the Decepticons reminds me of those iron filings. I have no idea if this was intentional or not, but I’m going to go ahead and hope that it was.

I’m trying to figure out why I didn’t hate this. I mean, I read stuff when it came out and everything I read led me to believe that this would be the most hideous thing I’d ever laid eyes on. And I’ve got to say? I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen far worse. It’s even more ridiculous than the first movie, with more explosions and special effects and whatnot, but I reserve ‘hideous’ for things that provoke more of an emotional response in me.

To be honest, I think what’s going on in my head is mainly relief. Yes, there were things I greatly disliked about this movie. The entire bit with Sam’s parents dropping him off at college, the sexy Decepticon co-ed, Skids and Mudflap, to name a few. The first was embarrassing. The second was a more egregious eye candy insert than Megan Fox’s casting. The third? The third is probably the closest I get to angry at the movie. I got why Jazz was done the way he was done in the first movie. It was a callback to the cartoons and I understand that. Not, perhaps, the best choice, but I got it. But Skids and Mudflap? No. Just. No. There was no need. They provided nothing but so-called comic relief and it wasn’t ever actually comic. It was intensely uncomfortable and totally unnecessary. But aside from them? This movie sort of just washed over me in a sea of metal and sand and shrapnel. And I expected to be more disgusted. So. Relief.

It’s probably for the best that I watched this slightly ill and not terribly with it. I think it helped, because the movie is pretty mindless, really. It has a plot, with a badass Decepticon who’s been hiding on Earth for ages being reanimated with a bit of the All Spark from the first movie and deciding he’s going to destroy Earth’s sun. I’m sure there was more of a reason than ‘for the hell of it’ but really? It’s for the hell of it. He wants to destroy the sun. Everyone else has to stop him. Bigger and badder Decepticons show up to defend him while he tears apart one of the pyramids at Giza to get to a big ancient weapon and um. Smaller Autobots show up too? Really, the Decepticons get tanks and construction vehicles merged into a sort of evil Voltron with a vaccuum attachment and the Autobots get motorcycles. But then they get Jetfire too.

Taking a moment to talk about Jetfire. I liked Jetfire. I think the movie needed more Jetfire. I think I’d have been really happy if Jetfire had hung around more and been a bigger presence. He’s like Grandpa Autobot, full of piss and vinegar and stories about his glory days and he will so trip you with his cane if you don’t shape up, young man. He’s the only touch of comic relief this movie didn’t suck at and I think it helps that he totally kicks ass.

Back to whatever I was talking about. This movie lost me several times, mostly, I think, because it doesn’t much care about its own plot. There’s story and all, but it’s sort of like a pizza crust under a pizza with everything on it. Including the kitchen sink. By the time you’ve dug your way through all the toppings who gives a shit about the crust, right? That’s the plot here. Buried. And while the first movie was much the same in that the point was a simple plot that would allow Michael Bay to make things go boom, this movie did it more.

There’s an attempt at a message and a meaning. Sam sort of grows up and he somehow earns the Matrix of Leadership from some Autobot spirits he meets when he gets blown up and there’s stuff about humans making choices and really? The movie does not care enough to make me care. All the plot and dialogue and bits with Sam not telling Mikaela he loves her? It’s all just to carry us to the next action scene. And I didn’t hate the action scenes. The action was exactly what I expected it to be and like I said, that iron filings thing? I really hope that was intentional because it’s cool and the visual effects are cool. But there is so much you have to get through to get to those bits. Perhaps Michael Bay should stop making movies and just make visual effects reels and action shots. Stick with what he’s good at and ditch the rest. I shouldn’t have to just let a movie happen. I should want to watch it, not just be relieved I didn’t want to punch it when it was over.

December 6, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

December 6, 2010

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I was not feeling particularly well when we put this in tonight. Just a little woozy and slightly nauseous. This was, perhaps, not the best condition to be in when watching this movie. Surprisingly I’m finding that this movie isn’t quite as horrible as I had heard that it was, but it is pretty awful. I just wish I were watching it in better health than I am.

The problem this movie is that it is pretty much everything from the first movie, just turned up a notch. The Transformers are bigger. The climactic battle is longer and more full of explosions. The entire movie feels about seven hours longer. And the “comedic” bits are more painful.

It takes about an hour for the movie to even begin to get going, which is frustrating. There’s a whole lot of junk at the front end of the movie that should have been jettisoned. They could have cut easily half an hour of the movie if they had skipped Sam’s adventures in college. There he picks up an annoying and totally superfluous sidekick and wigs out because he touched a sliver of the All-Spark which has caused him to start seeing mysterious Cybertronean script. There’s a stupid scene where the All-Spark sliver brings everything in his kitchen to life and Bumblebee destroys the garden (again) and half the house trying to kill the animated vacume cleaner, toaster, waffle iron etc. There’s a terminator in human form sent by the Decepticons to seduce Sam… or something. Sam’s mother eats a pot-laced brownie and instantly becomes totally mental. Ugh. You could skip the entire first half of the movie and not miss a thing because it isn’t until Sam gets caught up in a firefight between a resurrected Megatron and Optimus Prime that anything worthwhile happens.

Megatron manages to actually kill Optimus Prime this time, and that’s really the start of the movie. Megatron’s master – an evil robot who was once a Prime like Optimus until he decided to wipe out all life on Earth and was exiled by his Prime brethren to be “The Fallen” – shows up on Earth and demands that the humans surrender Sam because somewhere in his brain is the location of a key called The Matrix, which will activate a device designed to create the Energon needed to create new generations of Decepticons and in the process extinguish Earth’s sun. Whew. All of this plot exposition is explained to us by an ancient Transformer called Jetfire, who is probably the coolest thing in the movie, even if he is a doddering fool who farts parachutes. (Oh, Michael Bay, how I loathe you.)

Honestly. Somebody tell Michael Bay to stop trying to be funny. It’s killing me. Things this movie could have done without include: the tiny Decepticon that humps Mikaela’s leg worshipfully. The wrecking-ball testicles of the Constructicon beast. Any scene involving Sam’s parents. Any scene involving his roommate Leo. And most of all the pair of horrid harlequin Autobots Mudflap and Skids. I spent the entire movie praying for their gruesome demise and was ultimately disappointed. They were an offense to one-celled organisms and anybody involved in their creation should feel ashamed. I don’t often slag off on hapless animators who are asked to bring to life the half-baked creations of some insane ego-maniac, but really somebody should have stood up to Michael and told him that those big-eared gap-toothed buffoons were the single worst idea committed to film in the last century. I dare you to prove me wrong.

I feel unclean having just watched the portions of the film that involved those two. But with the help of a little brain bleach I’m going to try and forget them and concentrate on the better adventure parts of the movie. Although the climactic battle scene goes on longer than some entire movies we’ve reviewed I have to admit that when Michael Bay concentrates on explosions and military hardware and such his movies are at least entertaining. Testicles aside the Constructicons were awesome and probably my favorite addition to this movie. I always loved the toys back in the day and it was fun to see them re-interpreted for the screen. I also really enjoyed seeing the movie’s interpretation of Ravage – the panther that transformed from a cassette tape which fit inside of Soundwave.

There were parts of this movie that were pretty cool. It’s just a shame that they were buried in garbage and only briefly given a chance to shine. I wonder if anybody has done a “Phantom Edit” of this movie and stripped it down to just the good parts. It would probably be a more reasonable eighty or ninety minutes and it would totally kick ass.

December 6, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment