|By Charlie Goodrich||Thursday, 25 Jun 2009|
The latest installment of Transformers is like many sequels. There is a story that tries to do too much, the introduction of new characters, and more over the top action than you can shake a stick at. However, many times a sequel does not live up to the original, and sequels have a nasty habit of being pretentious and lacking the originality that made the first movie stand out. Anticipation was high for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This was illustrated by selling out two theaters at midnight in the local movie theater. Would this sequel live up to the hype like that of The Empire Strikes Back or would it flop like The Matrix: Revolutions? The movie begins with the Autobots and American military hunting down the last reminiscence of the Decepticons. This was a good way to grab the audience’s attention because right away there is a lot of destruction and action. Optimus Prime rocks in this movie and begins by kicking the shit out of a giant Decepticon in Shanghai. Instant grabber! It was also in this scene that new Autobots were introduced: three female motorcycles (Arcee), an old ice cream truck (comprised of Mudflap and Skids), and a prototype Corvette (Sideswipe). However, after this battle Arcee and Sideswipe are rarely seen again, and there is hardly any character development. Mudflap and Skids provide annoying comic relief throughout the entire film and both have urban personalities that serve no purpose other than to attract a certain demographic
to the film. Luckily, I was glad to see the CG effects still blended into the movie well. It always takes me out of the film when computer graphics look like they belong in a video game and not on the big screen. This opening sequence is followed by a return to the Witwicky residence. Sam is packing his car as he leaves for his freshman year of college. In the first movie, Sam’s parents were executed perfectly. They were two of my favorite characters from that film because they were so genuine and believable as parents of a high schooler. Their humor was subtle but spot on. This time around I was let down completely. Their dialog was forced and it was obvious they were there for comedy. This became an ongoing problem in this movie. There was far too much comic relief. The first movie had its fair share but Revenge of the Fallen overdid it. The script and dialog in the first movie were better which made the comedy seem like a natural part of the film and not forced. Anyway back to the story. Sam discovers a small piece of the All Spark in some old clothes and touches it. Suddenly he begins seeing strange symbols in his mind. Unlocking the mystery of these symbols is the focus of the plot. It becomes the standard, good guys have informations, bad guys want information, good guys and bad guys find information in close succession and a battle ensues. The story isn’t terribly original but the pace of the movie kept my interest for most of the film. Like all movies there are positive and negative aspects to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I’ll mention some good parts of the movie to begin. First and foremost, Optimus is a complete bad ass. I loved how they showcased his fighting ability and power. I was disappointed that the first Transformers movie mostly showed him getting thrown around and barely fighting. Overall the action was great, and it was easier to see what was happening during fight scenes. A main issue with the first movie was that it was hard to distinguish what was happening during battles. I’m glad they took steps to solve this problem. The great looking CG is another aspect of this movie I would like to emphasize. So many movies have a horrible habit of creating laughable CG that looks like it belongs in a video game rather than a major motion picture. There are only a handful of scenes where the robots look out of place and don’t fit in well with the environment. I also liked how they incorporated tie-ins with the original cartoon series. This is the mythology I know and love, therefore, it was awesome to see some of those elements imported to the film series. Unfortunately I must move on to the negative aspects of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I already mentioned the overdose of comic relief and lack of character development concerning the robots. There are a few other issues I had while watching the movie. There was a huge lack of Autobot involvement in Revenge of the Fallen. It struck me as odd that only Bumble Bee and Optimus were the main focus of the Autobot force. Either the other Autobots were not there or they were in the background doing what seemed like nothing. The Decepticons also have problems. Starscream is not nearly as underhanded as he should be, Devastator is introduced in the end scenes but is quickly taken out, and Megatron didn’t seem evil enough. On a positive note, Shockwave is used creatively and does his role very well. The end of the movie was also a bit of a let down. It takes far too long to conclude. There are many scenes of fighting that add nothing to the action or finishing the movie. However, when the end of the movie climaxes it happens suddenly with no epic battle just Optimus kicking serious ass. If there would have been a build up to a final showdown moment then I would have been satisfied but it seems like director Michael Bay realized he needs to wrap things up and just ends it. To sum everything up, I had a good time watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen but I had a better time watching the first film. I was taken out of the experience by dumb dialog or wondering where the Autobots were, The story could have been stronger, but I wasn’t expecting anything fantastic. There was a lot of awesome action though. All Transformers fans should see this movie and they will probably enjoy it just don’t have high expectations. Hopefully the third film will rise above this one… and include some sweet Stan Bush guitar work!