Saturday, June 27, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

By: Judson Rusk


Dear Michael Bay,

I am writing to you as a fan of not only movies but as a childhood fan of Transformers, therefore I have some things to say to you. First off, you are a pathetic excuse for a director and if there is any true justice in this world, you would never be able to make another film as long as you live. Secondly, there is a very basic principle of film making that draws a line between making a film that you want to see and making a film that the audience wants to see. It is obvious that you have not learned said principle. Third I would like to clarify something for you. When you type the word “plot” into the first result reads “a secret plan or scheme to accomplish some purpose, esp. a hostile, unlawful, or evil purpose.” The second result reads “Also called storyline, the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story.” You, Mr. Bay, should be working towards #2. I need to clarify this to you because it has been obvious for years that you have these two mixed up, but with Transformers 2, it was just too blatant to overlook. To me, that seems to be the only justifiable reason that you would willingly make and distribute this movie. You MUST have thought that it was a good idea to put millions of people through such pain and misery simply because you had your definition of “plot” mixed up. So I have to give you some congratulations because you definitely accomplished a “hostile, unlawful, or evil” film. And lastly, I must ask you a favor. I simply ask that BEFORE you make a Transformers 3, please please PLEASE actually watch the original cartoon. Please. It would help out your film immensely. So with that, I bid you adieu.

I hope you choke,


Now that I have that out of the way, I can proceed with my review. As you probably have figured out, I went to watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen last night. It’s no big secret that I hate everything that Michael Bay has ever put his name on and it is even less of a secret that I hated the first Transformers movie. I was expecting more of the same from its sequel and I had a very firm feeling that I was going to hate this movie just as much as I hated the first one. I was wrong. My original rating of Transformers would have been a 2/10 but after watching Revenge of the Fallen, I will have to change my rating of the first movie to 6/10. Yes, Transformers 2 was so bad that it actually has made me like Transformers 40% more than I did before yesterday. I know, I didn’t think it was possible either.

There are so many things that are wrong or just terrible about this film that I find it hard to believe that anyone involved can even take themselves seriously. If I had worked on this film, I would honestly be ashamed to show my face in public. Oh man, where to start?

In this film we find out the Optimus Prim is the last descendent of the Prime family. The rest of the Primes had sacrificed themselves in order to build a tomb out of their own carcasses in order to hide “the matrix.” The never explained why they had to kill themselves, but they did. But alas, many millennia ago, one of the Prime brothers had fallen from grace (yes, pun intended) and was forever known as The Fallen. He had been taking refuge on Earth since before recorded history. He is looking for the matrix key in order to turn on a machine that is concealed inside the pyramids that will harvest the sun and only a Prime can defeat him. But Optimus bites the dust early in the film after getting a giant Decepticon spear shoved through his fabulously painted chest. Sam Whitwiki follows his mind map to the tomb of the Primes and retrieves the matrix and uses it’s power to bring Optimus back to life. He then transforms into something that looks like the Super Shredder. But instead of Shredder, its Optimus Prime, and then he totally whoops ass.

That sounds awesome, but it gets less cool when you figure out that the Fallen has about 10 minutes of screen time out of a 2 ½ hour long movie. He appears in random places (like on the underside of a sinking aircraft carrier) at random times for no reason to give witty one liners and then has a very anti-climatic battle at the end. This movie suffers very badly from what I call “X3 syndrome” where they throw in way too many characters and then don’t get around to them later. Especially fans of the Decepticon Soundwave were pissed after seeing that he had super little screen time, a very small and insignificant part, and never transformed. Instead of being a CD player, he was a giant satellite that just hung out in space and acted like a giant cell phone. Woo freaking hoo.

After Transformers came out back in 2007, there was a lot of buzz over whether or not it was offensive or racist to have Jazz be such a stereo-type black guy. He has wonderful lines of dialogue like “What’s crackin’ little bitches,” as well as break dances and is the only Autobot to die in the film. But since it wasn’t solidified, all the controversy slowly died out; but not this time. The twins in this movie are possibly the most offensive characters toward a specific race of people in a film since Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. By having the demeanor and personality of Flava Flave, spouting out lines like “I’m gonna bust a cap in yo ass,” having huge ears, eyes, and lips, sporting giant buck teeth, one of which is gold, the twins are officially offensive to almost all five senses. Yes, I literally had a bad taste in my mouth every time they were on the screen. It was not only offensive, but completely degraded every single scene that they were in, which was a lot. There wasn’t a single scene that featured either of the twins that was suitable for viewing. It was disgusting.

In the first Transformers, one of the biggest complaints that I had against the movie was that it had too much over the top, slapstick, goofy humor. It didn’t seem to fit or flow nicely at all. Revenge of the Fallen has taken that to the next level. It had significantly more “humor” then the first one and even went so far as to put in an entire character just to drive home the fact that it wasn’t subtle what so ever. The character is a Decepticon turned Autobot that is old and complains about how he is rusting and falling apart. He tells frequent stories that start out “Back in my day…” and he has a beard. No joke; a metal, dangly, beard and a cane. I can’t even begin to describe how out of place and unnecessary that is. I mean,…come on. A beard?! But there was one part that made me laugh really hard. After Prime kicks the bucket, they fly his body via helicopter back to the Marine base. Instead of lowering him down gently onto the ground, the stop about 50 feet up, and just drop him. Awesome.

There is a difference between writing a movie based on a childish concept, and writing a childish movie. This was a proud example of the latter. The overwhelming amount of infantile and childish jokes was appalling and insulting. Screw anyone who was involved for ever thinking that my time and money wasn’t important enough to make a movie WITHOUT having to stare up at Devastator’s “testicles.” Or not having to watch the little leg humping robot fart out a cloud of fire while running away. Or not having to watch multiple shots of small dogs having sex. Screw you.

Of everything that I hate about Michael Bay, the one thing that I can say is that he really knows how to blow stuff up. There isn’t ever a frame in any of his movies (besides Pearl Harbor, of course) that is necessarily “boring” because there is always some sort of action going on. Whether or not that action is justified is a different story, but it is always there. But in this film, he broke from that pattern and there was a good hour in the middle of this film where nothing happened. No explosions, no gun fights, and no car chases. I was legitimately bored. He tried to fill the gap with something else that he’d never tried before, character development, but failed miserably. I haven’t checked my watch so many times during a movie since Benjamin Button.

Enter Devastator, possibly the most badass of all the robots in the Transformers universe. Made from multiple parts of construction equipment that come together to make a robot that is kind of like the Mega Zord. His entire existence is to destroy things. Yet in this movie, he makes a small appearance at the end with no explanation as to why there are so many construction trucks that are also Decepticons just sitting in Egypt and then they takes his sweet ass time taking down some stones off the top of the pyramid. What an incredible let down. But we got to see his balls, does that make up for it?

Its as if Michael Bay took a poll of every single Special Education classroom in America and asked them what they would like to see in a movie, and then he made that movie. It was a hollow shell of a film and an absolute caricature of the first one. It was dull, stupid, and painful to watch. I would go as far as to say that Michael Bay is the first man since Hitler to put that many millions of people through that much pain and misery. I wish more than anything that I hadn’t watched that movie. Please don’t make my same mistake.