Movie Review - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
By Matthew Huntley
July 5, 2009
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the biggest, loudest and dumbest Hollywood blockbuster since, well, Transformers (2007). Not much is different between this overblown sequel and the original. Both have the same look, style, cornball characters and a ridiculously overwrought plot. And why wouldn't the studio want more of the same? The first one made so much money that it was practically a no-brainer to copy it. What's interesting is the fact that Revenge of the Fallen has garnered some of the worst reviews of the year, many from the same critics who liked the original. Do they not see it as more or less the same movie?
For me, that's problem number one, because I was not much a fan of the original. It was an overproduced, overstylized and ultimately confusing mess, stuffed with sitcom-level humor and cartoon characters that got on your nerves. Luckily, Revenge of the Fallen is slightly better and seems to have grown up a bit by relinquishing some of the elements that made the first one annoying and frustrating to watch. It's still loud, crazy and all over the place, but at least it's more tolerable, especially on the comedic level.
Because the first one was such a bona fide hit, the sequel also seemed surer of itself, although it still suffers from an exceedingly long running time and a plot that's too complicated for its own good. Come to think of, why do both movies spend so much time on their plots anyway? Does anyone really care about them? So many scenes are about putting pieces of a puzzle together that it comes at the expense of character and story.
About that plot: It's been two years since Optimus Prime and his team of alien Autobots arrived on earth to do battle with Megatron and the evil Decepticons. Megatron now lies at the bottom of the sea, under heavy surveillance, and the Autobots have formed an alliance with the United States Army called Nest, in which they team up and search for the remaining Decepticons around the world.
If you can believe it, the movie actually opens in 17,000 B.C. and a voiceover explains how humans and Transformers first came into contact thousands of years ago. Primes, as they were called, searched the universe for solar energy but agreed to spare those planets with sustainable life. But there was one renegade Transformer, nicknamed "The Fallen," who went back on this agreement. Now, in present day, he wants revenge, as do his followers, including a revived Megatron and his faithful Decepticons.
Over on the human side of things, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is starting college and trying to build a long-distance relationship with his hotter-than-heck girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox). But he comes into contact with a shard of the All Spark, the source of all Transformers' life, and it infuses his mind with mysterious symbols that provide a map to the Sun Harvester, the device sought by "The Fallen" and the Decepticons. In a nutshell, the Sun Harvester will be used to destroy earth and mankind. Naturally, a battle ensues between Bumblebee and friends to prevent the bad Transformers from getting their hands on it.