Somewhere around the two-hour mark of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a character requests that a plan be made concise and to-the-point. I’d like to think that’s a wink from the trio of screenwriters to the audience, because next to nothing in Transformers 2 makes any sense. Perhaps that is the point. Who needs story when you have been handed $200,000,000 (in a Michael Bay shot that transaction was probably shot in revolving fashion with plenty of “whoosh” noises) to blow people’s minds away?
If only that were the case. Sure, the effects are amazing. No one will deny that. But even with the finest special effects comes the risk of excess, and Transformers 2 takes excess to a whole new, untapped level. I’m pretty sure the entire world blows up in this movie, or at least most of Egypt. For an entire two-and-a-half hours we are pummeled with machines fighting, often incomprehensibly so, and after about a full hour of it boredom sets in. That’s right – boredom, the last thing that should be happening at a summer event movie.
The story picks up with Sam (LeBeouf), who’s now headed off to Ivy League college. He’s leaving behind girlfriend Mickaela (Fox), but they promise to keep in touch via webcam. The two seem to be having trouble spouting the “L” word, and that does become a plot point. Upon arrival to college, Sam begins experiencing weird visions and characters in his head after coming into contact with a stray shard of the Allspark (remember that piece of metal from the first film?) This culminates in the revelation of another plot by the Decepticons to take over Earth, helmed by the ancient Fallen (voiced by Tony Todd).
Bay is the most popular punching bag in Hollywood for critics, and most of the time it’s for good reason. He makes overblown, criminally expensive movies that usually do not contain a shred of brain matter. On top of that, he whines about critics (never a good idea). But here, he appears to have done precisely as he was told. Judging by the ridiculous applause after the screening I attended, this is exactly the movie that people want. Any male under the age of fifteen is practically guaranteed to gobble it up. It’s an interesting dilemma because the movie really isn’t good by any definition of the word.
I suppose it never really had to be. Much like the 80’s cartoon, these movies only serve as overlong commercials for toys and fast food promotions. In what has been an alarmingly weak summer, Transformers 2 really doesn’t contribute much to improve it. That will stop no one from seeing it, but at this point I only hope that the die-hard fans are open-minded enough to call shenanigans on this series. Without doubt, however, there will be a Transformers 3.
Length: 150 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material.
Theatrical Release: June 24, 2009
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger & Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman.
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Rainn Wilson