Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
Release Date: June 24, 2009
When Transformers came out in 2007 and was a huge hit, you had to have known that a sequel was waiting in the wings. While it was an entertaining movie, it was far from perfect, due to the fact that it had to set up a lot of the origin story. Now with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the sequel can hit the ground running, but does it deliver like its predecessor?
It has been two years since our main protagonist Sam (Shia LaBeouf) has encountered the Transformers and life has moved on. He is going to college and trying to maintain a long distant relationship with his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox). He has all but put the Transformers behind him but unfortunately, the Decepticons have other ideas. Apparently remains of the All Spark, the cube that brought all electronic machines to life, are still on Earth and hold the key to giving the Decepticons the upper hand in the destruction of the Autobots. This puts Sam smack dab in the middle of the war between the Transformers once again.
Now, just so no one gets the wrong idea, if you have seen the first movie or have seen trailers of this movie, I am already assuming that you are not paying money to see Revolutionary Road. Revenge of the Fallen is about as big a popcorn flick as can be. The explosions are bigger, the action sequences are more eye-popping, and the overall story and dialogue are virtually non-existent. This is one movie that is all about eye candy folks, but that is not to say that that is a bad thing.
One of my biggest problems with the first movie was that it tried too hard to be an actual film. There was entirely too much story and dialogue for a movie about cars that can turn into robots and fight each other. Revenge is also a pretty long movie, clocking in at an impressive two and a half hours, but at least this one had bigger explosions and fight sequences to keep me entertained amidst the dialogue.
Another thing that Revenge seemed to improve on from the first film was the inclusion of the human soldiers into the film. For Transformers, the soldiers’ inclusion felt a little forced in my opinion. Here, they feel like an organic part of the storyline, fighting side by side with Autobots as part of the government-sanctioned Decepticon-hunting team known as NEST.
And while acting is secondary to effects in any big summer blockbuster such as this, this is not to say that the actors themselves are not necessary or important. I personally believe that anyone can interact with another person on screen but to interact with a 50-foot-tall robot that is not even really there, and make it look believable? That takes a lot of acting talent and all these actors do that job rather convincingly, with LaBeouf’s performance at the top of the heap.
Playing as the everyman with efficiency, LaBeouf’s frantic and somewhat spastic Sam is really a hero everyone can root for. He is not the most smooth or the most efficient, but what he lacks in that he makes up for with bravery and overall spunk. I was surprised by the range of LaBeouf, being able to dramatic in one scene and a total goofball in the next. It is no wonder Steven Spielberg himself has dubbed him the next Tom Hanks.
Parents beware though: Like the Transformers themselves, Revenge of the Fallen is more than meets the eye. Yes, this is a movie based on a toy line, but don’t expect it to be geared toward kids. The PG-13 rating is exactly correct. It is not a misprint. The language is colorful, the violence is graphic, and just so you know it is geared for a teenager crowd, there’s a scene with two dogs fornicating. And while I didn’t want to address the issue of the Autobots Skids and Mudflap because everyone else has, I sort of feel I have to because everyone is so quick to throw the race card into any issue. First of all, the characters are not racist. Are they stereotypical caricatures that are borderline offensive and in poor taste? Yes. Are they racial stereotypes directed toward one race or creed? No. If there are any racial undertones projected in the film, it is the ones the viewers themselves have projected onto the screen.
If you are going to see this Transformers sequel, chances are you know what you are going into. It is a loud, obnoxious summer blockbuster that is light on story and heavy on things that go boom. It is pure unfiltered escapist fun and is a blast to watch.