Movie review - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

BY ERIC ANDERSEN | JUNE 29, 2009 7:21 AM

*** out of *****

A summer blockbuster such as the Michael Bay-directed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is hard to tackle when doing a review. The script is weak overall, there is a lot of cheesy dialogue, and most of the characters lack personality, but in the end, most people will go see this movie no matter what critics say. There’s nothing wrong with that — just make sure to check out the flick at matinee price.

Transformers 2 takes place two years after the original film left off — with the government planning to destroy the last of the Decepticons (bad robots). The government is receiving help from the Autobots (good robots), and the officials are still wary of trusting the machines.

Shia LaBeouf fans will be happy to see the actor returning as Sam Witwicky, an awkward teen who is heading off to college. The role fits LaBeouf and is no different than what he has done in past performances. Sam leaves home expecting to live a normal college life while pursuing a long-distance relationship with sexy girlfriend Mikaela (played by Megan Fox), but, of course, that isn’t the case. An incident with an ancient crystal shard leaves Sam with visions of symbols from an early robot language.

The Decepticons want to use the crystal to resurrect evil leader Megatron and enact revenge on the Autobots. Soon Megatron is back, and another new villain by the name of the Fallen appears who wants to do the most evil of things — destroy the Sun and harness its energy to become the most powerful robot of all time.

Seriously, that’s the story, and it sucks. There are several points where the viewer will not know what to make of what’s happening onscreen or won’t care. This wouldn’t be so bad for an action flick, except Bay draws out the story over an almost two-and-a-half hour running time. Every dialogue scene after the halfway point of the movie feels like it is in the way of the action.

It was also odd during this movie that only one of the Decepticons is able to transform into a human. If a single one could transform, they all should have that ability, and it doesn’t make sense that they don’t. There are plenty of other loopholes, but Transfomers 2 is an action flick in the end and should be judged with those standards.

Speaking of action, that is what the film does well. Bay and company provide enough special effects to keep even the most ADD viewers entertained — but they can only go so far. Though it may be cool to see robots ripping each other’s spines out, there is not enough of a connection made with any of the characters — robotic or human — to care.

Transformers 2 may have more robotic destruction, special effects, and attractive women than the original, but for some reason, the second time around it just isn’t quite as fun. Whenever Transformers 3 comes out — and it will happen — whoever is directing it needs to figure out a way to reinvent the series. The action is there, the story just needs some work.

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