Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Giant Robots! Megan Fox's Boobs!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
1 out of 4

Michael Bay's "Transformers" was a surprisingly good summer movie that put the Hasbro toy franchise to perfect use. It was full of special effects, explosive action, and silly fun. Michael Bay's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" undoes all of that. The explosive action of previous has exponentially grown to a mind-numbing amount as it's a barrage of crunching metal over and over again. There's no room for spectacle because one spectacle just keeps trying to outdo the other to the point where it overbearingly becomes the entire movie. The sequences revolving around the humans, which were funny and charming before, now just feel painfully forced. The human aspect of the whole fiasco becomes like an afterthought as if Bay only later realized the whole movie really couldn't be all mechanical mayhem because, from the looks of it, that's all he really had his mind set on. The only thing left going for this overly oil-soaked, greased-up, robust, summer blockbuster overload are the dazzling special effects as they're even more dazzling than last time out, and thank God for that.

Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is off to his freshman year at some fantasy world of a college where dorm rooms are like bachelor pads, frat parties are like night clubs, and everyone is tan and beautiful. This includes Sam's girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox), who he has to leave behind, and the creepy girl who pursues him with a tongue tasting of diesel. Sam accidentally touches a shard of the Cube, which begins putting symbols into his head that cause him to have embarrassing episodes in front of his astrology professor. The Decepticons are making their return to Earth led by The Fallen and want to destroy the sun. Megatron has been resurrected from his burial underwater. Starscream is in space waiting to invade. And apparently Transformers have been around since 17,000 B.C., and we're told this in a wholly unnecessary prologue. There are lots of Decepticon minions and new Autobot sidekicks, all of whom are annoying as all hell. Too many other Transformers begin popping out of everywhere, and they all start looking the same. I like Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Megatron. That's about all I can handle. When a giant Decepticon made up of multiple construction vehicles started climbing onto a pyramid, that's when I lost it completely.

Yeah, they end up in Egypt for a good while, and the army shoots at a lot of Transformers like the movie randomly decided to turn into a really colorful war movie. This comes at the movie's climax where Bay felt the need to have more, more, more, more! Megan Fox runs in slow-motion a whole lot. Her acting consists of pouting her lips, showing her cleavage, and following Shia LaBeouf around. And LaBeouf looks much less enthusiastic in this outing probably because he had to run around with a bandaged hand from a real injury he got during shooting. Sam's parents, played by Kevin Dunn and Julie White, make a return and bring back the humor of the predecessor for a bit, but then get sucked into the sappiness of the film's end when they randomly get zapped into Egypt. No explanation on that one.

Lots of other actors are running around in the mix, too, but it's not like they matter. This movie has the "Spider-Man 3" syndrome where it just comes down to there being way too much happening all at once. By the time the movie starts wrapping anything up, it's already too late. Too many hulking chunks of robotic machinery brawled, too much smashing metal had been ripped, torn, and mangled, and far too much incoherence had occurred in the entire plot. God, and did the miniature Decepticon have to really start humping Megan Fox's leg? We get it, she's hot. And why the extended monologue from that bearded Transformer guy from the Smithsonian? That only made the whole thing overblown to despicable absurdity. And why did the random roommate have to tag along? And why, above all, did the movie have to clock in at 2-and-a-half hours long? Its predecessor did, too, but this time it felt endlessly exhausting and excruciating. Note to Michael Bay: sometimes bigger isn't always better. And yet everything about this movie is massive as will be the box office turnout, unfortunately enough. Let the shooting for the next sequel begin. I liked "Transformers." But I sure didn't like "Transformers: Rise of the Fallen." Every ticket should come with a dose of Advil.

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