July 1, 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge Of Michael Bay

So the first Transformers was pretty good. Shia LaBouf showed some level of acting skill, or at the very least that he desperately wanted not to be the kid from Even Stevens. Megan Fox provided eye candy with mechanical aptitude. The parents were funny, and the action scenes were alright. The biggest gripe I had with the first movie was that the robots came in too late.

Man, those were the days. The fact is, Michael Bay is Michael Bay, and as the linked clip states, he cares more about making things go boom than he is about characters. If you want to watch a Michael Bay movie, just watch that clip on repeat for about 90 minutes and you'll get the idea. (This movie does have the biggest recorded explosion in film history, so I guess you have to give Bay that.) Intersperse a love scene once in a while that's poorly acted. Seriously, Megan Fox went on record saying this movie isn't about the acting. What actor(/actress) derides the ACTING in a movie?

Now, to specify the formula to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. WARNING: Spoilers. Sort of.

Regale us with a backstory about how machines were actually around when the dinosaurs were. Really? Creatures who go around draining suns of other planets to restore their powers. Sort of a "we're solar powered" type thing? Hide your secret weapon where no one has ever thought to before - in the pyramids. Real original. I think I saw Nicolas Cage and Brandon Fraser lurking in the scenery. Have Sam touch the cube that was thought to be destroyed but isn't completely (wait for the theme here...) and have a nervous breakdown. An intelligent nervous breakdown that has him showing up cameo Rainn Wilson and drawing symbols all over the campus lawn, the walls of his and his techno-geek conspiracy roommate's dorm, and God knows where else. Have Sam completely ignore his girlfriend until she tries to dump him (and does, a few times), fight to get her back, and then refuse to tell her he loves her until - and here's where the spoilers come - he dies, she says she loves him, and he comes back to life and FINALLY telling her the same, in a breath of relief for the one or two people who have actually been trying to dig a plot out of this movie. Never happened before. But wait, Sam's not the only one who dies! Optimus Prime dies too. That matters, right? No, wait, it doesn't, because he comes back to life with the power of some magic dust. Did Tim Kring ghostwrite on this movie? What the hell? It's all well and good to do that with one character, but two? C'mon.

This movie did have some good parts. The action was palpable and popcorn-inducing (or in my case, Junior Mints-inducing as I never buy popcorn at the theaters). The parents didn't fail to be hilarious (especially when the mom, played by a wonderfully hilarious Julie White, indulges in some "special brownies") and some of the new characters were pretty decent (Mudflap and Skidz, caricatures though they were, provided some of that good ol fashioned tag team comedy in the vein of Andy Wainright and Andy Cartwright from "Hot Fuzz"), and John Turturro's Agent Simmons played up his pain-in-the-ass character to decent comic effect. It was a very decent action movie that maintained the comic elements of the first, and I appreciate that. But if you're not interested in things going boom, then seriously, avoid anything with the words Michael Bay on it.

Final Score: 76.

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