Saturday, 27 June 2009

Movie Review "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

Remember when you REALLY liked Star Wars? It would’ve been around the mid to late 1990s, when the trilogy got re-released at the cinema to tremendous praise. Sure, people had issues with Greedo shooting first, but otherwise the Special Editions were received rather well. That is to say, you loved Star Wars until you went to see Episode I. It was at this point that you realised that the entire point of the film was to appeal to the kids, and to shift some action figures. Remember that sensation? Well, good; if you see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, it’ll feel instantly familiar.

When last we left the Autobots and Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBoeuf), the robot protectors had decided to stay on Earth in order to protect humanity from further Decepticon atrocities. Megatron was at the bottom of the ocean, guarded heavily by US naval forces, all seems well. It is at this point that we join the film, after an initial prologue explaining the history of the Transformers. Autobot forces have combined their efforts with the American military, forming a super-secret organisation designed to monitor Decepticon activity on Earth. This comes to a head when a Decepticon mentions “The Fallen” in its death throes.

Meanwhile, Sam is preparing himself to head off to college. While getting his shit together, he finds a piece of the Allspark. When he looks at it, he finds himself with a large amount of confusing information and symbols in his head, which he has to comprehend and decipher in order to save mankind from a long-forgotten enemy and the danger that comes with it.

See, my above comments should not give you the impression that I entirely hated this movie. I didn’t, I really didn’t. I thought there were some definite improvements over the first movie, most noticeably the change of venues for the fight scenes. My main complaint about the first movie was how often I spent saying: “Oh, which guy’s the good guy? Because, you know, they’re both silvery mostly. And they’re fighting close-combat. Against a grey building. Oh, it’s that guy who’s an Autobot? Go, that one!”

They seem to have taken that on board when shooting this movie, as most of the major fight scenes have a decent backdrop for contrast purposes (forests, deserts, that sort of thing). They also make liberal use of camera tricks and slow motion in order to help them attain this as well, more on that later though.

I also have to get it out there, I like Shia LaBoeuf, ok? Not in a man-love kind of way, in the sense that I think he’s a pretty good actor, and will only get better. The scenes where he tries to write down all the symbols are particularly well-acted, with him legitimately selling the idea of a person’s brain overloading in the most convincing way I’ve seen since Johnny Mnemonic (I enjoyed that film too ok? Judge not lest ye be judged).

However, what IS the fascination with Megan Fox that everyone seems to have? Ok, so she’s gorgeous. I get that. However, she’s not an amazing actress really, and this film is no different. Having said that, there is a scene with her running in slow motion. Awesome. Speaking of slow motion, it is fucking EVERYWHERE in this movie. In all honesty, the film was probably going to be about 90 minutes before they added the slow-motion in and bumped it up to two and a half hours.

Oh, and the number of robots in this movie for comedic effect piss me off. I can deal with a comedy robot, whose only purpose in the movie is to make people giggle a bit and shift a few toys. I’m fine with that, it’s called the Jar Jar effect and it’s not an issue if it’s not overdone. However, in this movie you have all of the following; an old British robot who swears too much and is flatulent, two gangster-stereotype robots, an RC car robot who sounds like Joe Pesci AND you still have Bumblebee, who can only speak in song lyrics. I’ve not seen a movie containing so many comedy robots since…Robots.

Onto the ratings:

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Plenty of violence, but it’s mostly robot on robot. Imagine the thrill you’d get from putting a camera in a blender and you’re sort of along the right lines.
None whatsoever. The producers obviously think it’s enough to just show Megan Fox in denim shorts and revealing tops. They’re not wrong, mind.
A few words, nothing to write home about though. One robot almost says fuck.
Other points in favour:
Megan Fox is gorgeous.
There’s a funny bit involving brownies.
If Jetfire was the only comedy robot, he’d be awesome.

It would be unfair of me to say that I didn’t enjoy this movie. I liked it. I didn’t love it. And for the record, I didn’t feel like my childhood had been raped. I did feel that maybe some dodgy emails or some heavy-breathing phone calls were made from this movie to my childhood at some point though.

1 comment:

  1. 'Remember when you REALLY liked Star Wars? It would’ve been around the mid to late 1990s, when the trilogy got re-released at the cinema to tremendous praise.'

    -- Errr... actually, it would have been around 1980/1981 when one of my friends got hold of pirate videos of 'Star Wars' and 'The Empire Stikes Back' and it blew our tiny little minds. This feeling of awesomosity was only increased in 1983 when my cousin took me to the London premiere of 'Return Of The Jedi'.

    My love of Star Wars has pretty much stayed at this level in all the years since 1983. The re-release was only of any significance to me because it gave me a chance to see the first two movies on the big screen for the first time. It certainly wasn't 'when I really like Star Wars'. Christ, are there really that many people who only discovered Star Wars when the remastered versions came out? That's just... fucking disgusting... Young people make me sick...