Posted by: Dr P | July 25, 2009

Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen

A few days ago I posted a slightly odd message to the effect that my hand had recently experienced nirvana. Now on the surface, that sounds extraordinarily rude, or the sort of information one doesn’t normally publicly broadcast. However the truth is slightly funnier – or should I say “punnier”. Let me enlighten you. I was out at the pub, having a quiet drink with a colleague, when I happened to bump into a youngish girl carrying a tray, and what appeared to be a vodka-based drink splashed over my hand. “I am so sorry,” I said, “but right now I am experiencing nirvana.” She looked at me quizically, and I explained. “Well, it’s simple, my hand smells like teen spirit”.

And to think, you wasted 30 seconds of your life reading that paragraph …

Meanwhile, as I write this, the most enormous pigeon has landed in my garden and is eyeing me up. I can only assume it either likes my dimples or it senses my fear, because it’s not moving. Scary …

The 2nd Transformers movie has landed, one of 2009’s biggest blockbusters, and one with all the hype and expensive toys to boot. As before, the movie is carried by young heartthrob Shia LeBoeuf (who I like a) cos he’s a decent enough actor and b) cos I like French beef) and of course the wonderfully gorgeous Megan Fox. Allied to this, the transformers and autobots are back in greater number, and the movie is crammed with dazzling visuals and effects by the bucketload. However what this movie doesn’t have is a soul. And it’s about an hour too long. Not that you think this early on, because for some reason the movie has clearly been produced by hormonal teenage boys – we see Megan in various sexy outfits, on motorbikes, in leather, draped all over cars … you get the idea. Yes she’s hot as hell, but apart from the visual candy, her role is pretty wasted in the film.

OK, the premise. Optimus Prime and his team of Autobots are basically working side by side with the US military, mainly in secret special forces operations – they are remaining on Earth in case the Decepticons make a return, and this has started to make some of the powers that be a little twitchy, given their immense technological advances and near indestrucibility. However it’s a good thing they’re still around, because the bad guys are hatching a plan to resurrect “the fallen”, a series of their kind long deactivated or “killed” in battle – many dating from the dawn of mankind (oh yes, they were here before us apparently! Indeed there’s a funny scene in which a group of cavemen attempt to take one on, doesn’t last very long). When the Decepticons’ plans succeed and they start to gather strength and seek a mystical power source that can bring their old leader back to strength, the scene is set for worldwide struggles.

And from that point on, the movie just goes on and on and on. Yes there are fabulous effects, yes there is the near destruction of the Great Pyramid (which, as in every other single conspiracy book/movie/song/poem/fantasy ever before it, is a source of immense power, as opposed to a very well constructed heap of rock), and yes the cinematography is great. But there are also lots of things not to like. For one thing – and this really bugged me – some of the bad robots swear a lot. If this is a movie aimed at a younger generation (and make no mistake it is, there were 6 year olds at the screening I attended), they should not be getting comedy robots to say things like mother f*cker. Really, no. That was a big let down. Had they wanted to go down the adult route, they may have made it a 15 or 18 and shown Megan even more naked than she pretty much was, and be done with it.

The movie’s length is also an issue, both from the viewpoint of the age of the audience expected, and from the plot point of view. Had they trimmed it by an hour, this could have kicked ass: it would have had all the action and effects, but far less of the stupid drawn-out comedy scenes which did nothing to progress the film at all. As people might say, this was “gopping” (crap, as opposed to a Nisasan Micra advert-esque amalgamation of gobbing and stopping).

If there is praise to be lavished, it’s (predictably) in the effects which are awesome. The transformation scenes are slick, believable (okay they’re clearly not believable, no-one believes a subaru can suddenly change itself into a laser-toting, rocket propelled robot, but the way the vehicles transform is fantastic), and very well executed, and the battle scenes are well done – the stuff incolving the Pyramid is especially good. Shia performs well, he is a very impressive action star in the making, and some of the bit players carry their roles well enough.

But oh what a missed opportunity to make these a 2 hour blockbuster of the highest order. As it is, it falls well short of the standards set by the likes of Star Trek and (hopefully) Harry Potter in the summer movie stakes.

Worth seeing if you enjoyed the first movie, want an escapist action flick or just the chance to legally ogle Megan Fox or Shia LeBoeuf on a 50 foot high screen.

Length of movie – about an hour too long
Plot – 5
Effects – 10
Shia’s acting – 6
Shia’s looks – 8
Megans’s acting – 5
Megan’s outfits – 500
Military infighting – 3
Plot – 4
Use of Pyramids – 9
Megan’s Pyramids – 10 and then some
Overall – 6

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