Saturday, June 27, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Having read a number of reviews, and heard from folks at work who'd seen it before me, I thought I was fully prepared for just how bad this movie is. I was wrong, and I wound up walking out.

My expectations were: a mindless joyride with an incoherent plot and some decent action sequences. A thin, incoherent plot was definitely on offer, but surprisingly so was a hefty dollop of sexism (which I had expected) and racism (which I hadn't expected). I expected characterization to be idiotic, not overtly offensive. The action is more visually coherent than the first Transformers, but (if you can believe it) even less meaningful. There are also some sequences that violate whatever rules of the Transformers world had been established (spoiler examples: a Transformer that can disguise itself as a human rather than a machine, baby Decepticons being born in Aliens-like egg pods, and a dead Optimus Prime being brought back to life with an object other than a shred of the "All Spark").

The audience I saw the film with was audibly appalled at the scene where the two ghetto minstrel Autobots admit that they don't read. Since this was part of a "plot" point in which only ancient Transformers can read Cybertronian, some let it slide, though only those two say they don't read generally (as opposed to not being able to read ancient script). Even more appalling is the scene in which John Turturro's character is reintroduced, mainly because there's no real "plot" point to the stereotyping of Turturro's family and their dark-skinned employee.

It was not long after that scene that I left the theater.

Since the film was showing at work, I went back in to catch the last ten or so minutes. Not only could I pick the "plot" right back up having missed over an hour of the film, but I was also subjected to a "final battle" in which (more spoilers, in case you care) a newly resurrected Optimus Prime kills The Fallen and destroys his sun-destroying machine instantly. No gigantic robot battle of epic proportions. Just a few blasts from Optimus' big gun, and the fallen is killed. Then Megatron runs away. Optimus unceremoniously discards all the newly-integrated parts that another resurrected Transfomer had committed suicide in order to bestown upon him, and gives a speech. So even if you can sit through the whole thing, it's all for nothing.

There's apparently some plot involving humans, as well. Something to do with Megan Fox's breasts, I think. The emotion I felt most strongly about the part of the film that's not about robots (i.e. too much of it) was a confusion over whether to feel sorry for or angry with John Turturro.

It is a shame that Michael Bay uses his obvious skill at staging visually spectacular shots, and managing large casts and crews, to produce such utter rubbish.

The fact that this film is making such huge amounts of much money is a symptom of a number of reasons why my faith in audiences, and the human race generally, has been so shaken for so long.


hatsumi said...

I am happy to report that I have not yet seen this movie. As I wasn't all that fond of the first one, seeing the second one seemed downright retarded. Admittedly, I have been known to be retarded, though, so there was a chance that I'd have seen it anyway. After reading this, I'm glad I made the decision I made. =D