Saturday, January 8, 2011

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Starring: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro
Director: Michael Bay

Oh God...

I am only human with human flaws, and on occasion, I want to see a train wreck. I was curious about why this movie got blasted as hard as it did. Well...I found out. And it deserves every criticism it got.

For the record, I do not say this as a Michael Bay-hater. I actually liked the first "Transformers" movie; it had epic battles between good robots, bad robots, and the military, and had a lot of humor in between. Sure, it had some stupid parts in it, but generally speaking it was entertaining. This on the other hand...there is no defense for this. I do not usually like doing "summery reviews," but I think that this time it is necessary to explain its true awfulness (I will skim over a bit so that I can get to the "important parts"). There will be spoilers, but trust me, you will not care.

It starts off with Optimus Prime talking about how the Decepticons and their real leader, named the Fallen, came to Earth long ago to get energy and a bunch of other stuff that will be explained later on and does not really need to be mention at the moment. It then shows the Autobots and the military chasing after leftover Decepitcons through the streets of Shanghai. The new national security advisor is an asshole (surprised?) and wants to disband the group and sending the Autobots packing, but Optimus warns that this is unwise that there is going to be big problems ahead, indicating...THE REVENGE OF THE FALLEN!!! Or he could have been talking about the plot, which I think ends up doing more damage to mankind than the Fallen ever does.

It then cuts to Sam (Shia LaBeouf) who is getting ready for college. He is still dating Mikaela, played once again by Megan Fox. Has her acting improved since the first movie? Nope. Is she still hot? Yes. Well, that's all that really matters, so let's just move on. Anyway, Sam finds a piece of the All-Spark that was destroyed in the first film and it fills his mind with a bunch of symbols and releases a bunch of really weird looking robots that briefly cause havoc around the house. How exactly did this last part happen? It's not really explained. Get used to it.

Despite this issue, Sam gets to college and meets his new roommate Leo (Ramon Rodriguez), who talks about how the governments of the world are hiding the existence of the robots. This is when the movie really starts to raise eyebrows. How exactly is the U.S. government and its counterparts expecting to have 50 foot robots running around, firing guns at one another, in huge metropolitan cities like Shanghai AND BELIEVE THAT NO ONE WILL NOTICE! This was mentioned at the end of the first Transformers movie, but I did not think anyone really took it seriously. Well, apparently Michael Bay and other people who made the film did! Jesus.... So, how are we expected to ignore this huge plot hole. By laughing at Sam's mom (Julie White), who accidently eats "special brownies" and gets really loopy! Are we also expected to buy this fact even though she apparently bought it from stereotypical looking stoners and that a woman in her late 40s does not know what a marijuana leaf looks like (the symbol is clearly labelled on the bag). I guess there is nothing we can do about these plot holes, is there?

So Sam continues to adjust to life at college, which is filled with hot girls as far as the eye can seen, some of whom walk around only wearing towels, and a number of them have the hots for a strange professor, played by Rainn Wilson. Yeah, because when I think of sexy college professors, I think of Dwight from "The Office". But Sam cannot really focus on this because he is having weird visions and displaying odd behavior as a result of it. He is also being stalked by a psycho chick who is trying to seduce him. Little does he know that another part of the All-Spark was stolen by Decepticons, who use it to revive Megatron and others. Megatron then meets with the Fallen on his base in outer-space, the Nemesis, to discuss plans for global destruction.

It is eventually revealed that the psycho chick is actually a Decepticon that was seeking to eliminate him and steal his All-Spark piece. Wait...what? Hold on, hold on! They are able to make almost perfect replicas of human beings. Since when?! Are they using the Skynet program from the "Terminator" films to help them out? Well, guess what? She gets destroyed shortly afterward and so we never get an exclamation for this new type of technology they posses and it is never mentioned or seen again. Great. It turns out that Sam isn't the only one with problems: Mikaela has to deal with a very annoying Decepticon named Wheelie who sounds like a PG-13 version of Joe Pesci. She eventually "trains" him and turns him into a pet that fits in her purse. Its like Megan Fox is Paris Hilton and Wheelie is her robotic Tinkerbell. That's super! But believe me, it gets worse than this guy.

After being captured by the Decepticons, they are recused by Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. The enemy attacks and while Optimus fights bravely, he is killed in the assault. Bumblebee then escorts Sam and the others to safety, while the other Autobots come in to defend them. Where were they beforehand? Probably could have helped Optimus out a bit, couldn't they? Not that it will do him much good now. The humans go into hiding and are guarded by Bumblebee and twin robots named Mudflap and Skids and oh my god those are the most racist robots I have ever seen! I mean, I am not usually the sort of person that goes after random bits of pop culture and accuses them of being discriminatory, but even I have my limit. The guys speak in Jive, they are depicted as unintelligent, they don't like to read, have no character depth, and...come on, one of them even has a gold tooth:
"But Sam! I don't know nothing about birthing no Autobabies!"

Despite the fact that he is wanted by the government so he can be handed over to the Decepticons as part of a bargain to leave Earth (and so Mudflap and Skids can get handed over to the NAACP), Sam still wants to help save the world and Leo makes his only real contribution to the movie by contacting a guy who he thinks can help them. As it turns out, the guy is Simmons, the government douche-bag from the first movie. He is played once again by John Turturro, because I guess the Coen brothers and Adam Sandler are no longer taking his calls anymore. He helps Sam decipher the codes in his head, and their quest eventually leads them to National Air and Space Museum where they run come across a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird with a Decepticon symbol on it. Not sure how that got by both the Air Force AND the museum's curators!

It turns out to be Jetfire, an ancient robot who has switched sides to the Autobots. I think I hate Jetfire more than anything else in this movie. He is not the most annoying or the most racist character in the film, but he pretty much represents almost everything that makes it so dumb: he yells and screams a lot, he fumbles around on a walking stick (I don't care if he is old; why does A ROBOT need a walking stick?), and when he farts (yes, he farts too) a parachute comes out of his ass...or what is supposed to be his ass. Its kind of embarrassing to watch and it destroys what very little dignity this film already had left. Why...just...why?

Anyway, Jetfire transports them to Egypt, tells them about how there is a machine there that is to be used to give the Decepticons energy and destroy the Earth and only a Prime can stop the Fallen. They devise a really elaborate plan to find a magical object called the Matrix-
Sorry Keanu, Megan Fox is already in this film, but the next time we want a big name star who can't act their way out of a paper bag, we'll give you a call.

-and use it to revive Optimus Prime. They eventually find the Matrix, but it crumples to dust upon touching it. Sam still insists on using it to revive Optimus. Eventually there is a big battle between the Autobots, the Decepticons and the military like in the first film, except the Autobots are rarely shown. Seriously, why were they even in this movie? Oh, I forgot, there is also a part where Simmons find out that one of the Decepticons has a scrotum. That is not as disgusting as it sounds, but it would be best if we not look to much into this.

Well,Sam's annoying parents (White and Kevin Dunn) are transported to Egypt and used as leverage against him, but they are freed after at most five minutes, making this plot point completely pointless. At another point, Sam is seemingly killed by a blast. Wow, the main human character in the second installment of a multi-million dollar movie franchise might be dead; there is no way he is going to come back to life! Well, as you can imagine, it doesn't quite work out that way. He has an out of body experience in which the deceased Primes congratulate him on his courage. He is revived and the Matrix is reconstructed. Umm...quick question. What would have happened if Sam did not get hit by the blast, could not reconstruct the Matrix, and was unable to revive Optimus? Wouldn't the Decepticons have won and the Earth would be destroyed? I mean, for the sake of ending this movie series, that would have been great, but from a storytelling perspective, that seems to be a bit of a flaw in the Prime's design plan, isn't it? Oh forget it, the movie is almost over anyway.

Okay, let's wrap this up. Optimus is back, but is not at full power. Jetfire, realizing that the only thing he has done in his life is hog screen time for a sequel that never should have been made, sacrifices himself so that Optimus can meet the challenge. The Prime then kills the Fallen, leaving Megatron and Starscream to retreat to the Nemesis to prepare for an even crappy sequel for the summer of 2011. Don't you love a two and a half hour movie that ends with a cliffhanger even though the movie you just finished watching wasn't worth sitting through? Optimus gives a stupid speech about unity and all that crap, and the movie finally, FINALLY, ends, with scenes showing Sam returning to college during the closing credits, which serve no purpose what so ever. REALLY LIKE TO END THE WAY YOU STARTED, DON'T YOU, MOVIE?!

This...was...terrible. I expected this film to be bad when I saw it, but I was not prepared for just how bad. I've seen stupid movies before, but with this film, I really thought my intelligence was being purposely insulted. And as far as sequels to recent blockbusters go, this was by far the worst that I have seen. This was worse than the third "Spiderman" movie. This was worse than the last two "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. This was even worse than the "Matrix" sequels. It was way too long, it had so much stuff that did not make sense, it was filled with uninteresting, annoying, pointless, and/or racists characters, and above all, it just really came off as a film that set out to prove that people will see anything with big robots, sexy women, and mindless special effects. Sadly, they were proven right, as this film made more money at the box office than any other film in 2009 except for the all-time box office champion, "Avatar," despite the fact that it won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (among other dubious honors). Now, to be completely fair, Shia LaBeouf and even Michael Bay himself have both gone on the record to say that the film was not one that they were particularly proud of. Either way, it was released as it was, and those involved will have to suffer the consequences of their actions. If the upcoming third "Transformers" ends up being a flop, they will know why.

And that is it. I strongly DO NOT recommend this film. Unless are an idiot like me and you want to see a train wreck, that is. A really, really, big train wreck.