Monday 22 June 2009

Review: Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Year; 2009
Director: Micheal Bay
Screenplay: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orc, Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Isabel Lucas, Rainn Wilson

I don't shit on Micheal Bay movies for the hell of it. It's easy to do that. Anyone who states he's the "worst director ever!" can't have seen many movies. In fact he's probably one of the most unpretentious directors out there. Really? Yes really. He knows his target audience and makes films for them. Also who else is making action set pieces like him? The man has an inspired flair for blowing shit up.

But here's where I take issue with his rabid fans. The ones who say IGNORE THE CRITICS! IT'S JUST A MINDLESS ACTION FILM! I can't switch my brain off for movies, not because I don't want to or because I'm stuck up or anything. But because it doesn't make sense to switch your brain off and stare at a screen like a lobotomized monkey. I don't want to "mindlessly" clap like a seal at naff humor or gaze vapidly at things that go boom. Why pay money to "switch your brain off?" Some people do it. That's cool, but for me that doesn't make sense. The very best action films don't require "effort", but they're not stupid.

This brings me to Transformers 2: Revenge of the fallen. A film I didn't find engaging or fun in the slightest. I found it overlong, dull, lacks tension and empty. To say a Micheal Bay movie is like a video game is a something usually said by elitist film critics who don't play video games. However to me I felt like I was watching someone else play a video game. If I put on my Xbox (and soon a PS3) the game I'll play will entertain me because I feel part of it. Revenge however, isn't involving in the slightest. People/Robots do things and say things but none of it is very interesting. This is why story and character is needed, because usually an audience are entertained by a person with character. Unless of course you can "turn off your brain" which makes you an amazing human being worth filming yourself due to your defiance of logic.

The film becomes uneven because the actors with charisma and charm (John T and Shia LaBeouf being the strongest) are still vaguely appealing because they can do a bit with very little. Watching Lebouf riffing shows his talent despite have such a flat character. The same goes for the unnecessary part played by Turturro, a brilliant character actor who again takes up his odd little role as the (now fired) secret agent. There is no reason to bring this character up again but hey, a guy like Turturro must have boat payments or something. I would have enjoyed the film even more if the voice talents of Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving were utilized more but the film is all about the titular Fallen. Now when you hear that this Robot is the master of Megatron I was thinking "Shit! This motherfucker is badass!" Unfortunately he's not, and for all the time spent talking about him...his presence is more vapid than a Megan "serious actress" Fox GQ interview.

But story and character is not important (Nor is acting if your a certain M Fox) so what about the action, action, action! The reason why you would watch something like this. Well this is another bane of contention with me as Bay's action is nothing particularity special. None of the set pieces have the ballsy bravura that was seen in parts of Bad Boys 2 or The Island. Am I the biggest fan of those two movies? Not at all, but there's moments within those two movies which are quite simply jaw dropping. Revenge of the fallen has a lot of action but none worth noting. Bay isn't a storyteller, therefore, these moments have nothing at stake, so I don't care. Watching a Transformers 2 action sequence is like premature ejaculation. All climax and no build up. But hey, you get this from the man who believes that spinning the camera violently around the main characters during a "quieter" moment is the best way to display tenderness on screen.

To add even more injury, the films screenplay (two of the writers wrote Star Trek!!?!?) is not only full of tinned eared dialogue but breaks almost what little amount of tension and atmosphere that was around with irritating comic relief. usually stemming from some of the dubiously voiced "lesser bots". If your not an ignorant "hip hop" (read: Black) robot with gold teeth who can't read, then your a sell out Italian gangster wannabe who humps the white goddess. But then maybe I should switch my brain off and stop taking it so seriously it's just a mindless action flick (wasn't the black robot in the first film the only one that died?)

An accurate representation of how Micheal Bay views all black people

I re-watched the first film yesterday after 2 years of avoiding it and found that although I softened to it more than when I first saw it. I was still disappointed at it it's uneven pacing, bland story and uninteresting action. This is even more of the same but worse because I've seen it all before.

This is merely one mans opinion, and this critic proof movie will blast it's way to the top of the box office and reap in a ton of money and as much as that's cool for everyone involved, it has a piece of me dying a little inside. Jaws was summer entertainment too, but it also had a story.

An accurate representation of how Micheal Bay views some black people after meeting me.