Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Initial Review
Overview: TF2 picks up where the first movie left off, delivers a lot of fun and will make many feel like a kid again.
The Good: Amazing special effects, lots of content for both semi-fans and the fanatics, well worth the price of admission and Optimus kicks major butt!
The Bad: A rewind button is needed, WAY too fast action at times, some ugly stereotypes which don't make sense and Michael Bay needs to learn how to edit a movie properly.
SPOILER INFORMATION BELOW - PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK
Overall, TF2 (or TFROF) is a great sequel to the first movie. We get more of the robots talking, more action sequences and the human factor has been toned down a whole lot. There are some action sequences that will leave you blown away, and there are some that will require some Tylenol. Have no doubt, if you blink for a second in this movie you miss important parts which is good if you like watching a movie several times, but bad if you don't want a headache.
Michael Bay, Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman (the writers) delivered what the fans wanted. We get a movie more focused around the actual Transformers themselves which is good because we see more Optimus, and more of Megatron and Starscream bickering. The human elements make sense, but there are still unnecessary humans in the movie with unneeded scenes that could definitely have been cut out.
Michael Bay is great at directing action, and he's okay for serious/romantic scenes. But when it comes down to editing this is where the movie falls apart like the first one. You'll have various scenes of robots fighting and then cut to a human face or dogs humping for no reason. And yes this definitely is PG-13 so if you have kids, be ready to cover their 'ears' or more-so their 'eyes'.
The biggest flaw I have with the movie is that you can tell they are making the Transformers move around way too much to make the computer animation seem more real. In fact there are only about two scenes where Transformers are standing perfectly still. One is with Prime and he looks great, and the other is with Bumblebee. Every other scene the characters are moving or moving so fast that with the complexity they are, you can't tell what the heck is going on. And if you blink you've lost track. I can see the animators did this to fool your eye into making them look more real but it gets really painful in some parts when you just want the robots to slow down (and the humans to speed up or go away).
Don't get me wrong, its great fun and great action, but don't bother turning your head to talk to your friend cause you'll miss an important plot point. Either the animators knew they couldn't make everything look too real so they made Jetfire move around like he's an old man on enegron-crack, or they simply ran out of time.
The special effects do look perfect for about 95% of the time. There are a few spots where you can tell they ran out of rendering time and there are a few spots where the cars don't Transform but just stay in the background. I think they could of have a couple more pick-up shots in these places.
Also don't even bother trying to understand the plot. It's there but unless you've read the comics you won't have any idea what's going on. Also don't try to compare this with the original Generation One story from the 80's. This is a completely new set of Transformers which only Optimus and Bumblebee relate to anything from the past.
All in all, this movie was a little better than X-Men 3, in that I walked out feeling good but wanted to change a 'few' things to make it better. As my good friend Jason (aka ZePiper) says, 'Its the little things that I can appreciate'.
So a quick run down of good/bad characters.
Good: Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, The Fallen, Jetfire, Soundwave, Ravage, Ironhide, Ratchet, Sam, Sam's Parents, Demolisher
Bad: Skids, Mudflap, Sam's Roommate
Undetermined yet (how I feel): Wheelie, Devastator, Arcee, Alice, Simmons, Sam's Girlfriend
The movie starts off with some great action in Shanghi with the Autobots and humans working together to track down the Decepticons. The Autobots not only take out these guys (and Prime does with flare), but they literally KILL them which was weird to see compared to the cartoon. The big-wheeled Demolisher didn't end up bothering as much as I thought he would and the battle with Prime is actually really good. We see Sideswipe and the Arcee twins (although there are three?) but only for a few and that's it. So much lost potential on these characters.
We then get into the typical "goverment wants to help but there's one big a-hole that's making issues for everyone' scene. Which is fine, but has been overdone way too may times before. Prime looks great in this scene and all in all it really shows how far the special effects have come.
Sam's going to college, going to class, escaping a 'Pretender' (human than is really a Transformer) and capture by the Decepticons is played well although I could have done without seeing Dwayne from 'The Office' as I swear that guy can't act his way out of an energon paper bag. Sam's room-mate character 'Leo' is also REALLY annoying and not necessary at all. He is probably the worst character in the movie this time. Megan Fox is better here this time around acting, but there are parts in the movie where you're like 'Why is she here again?'
We then get what is probably the best scene in the movie with Optimus battling Starscream, Megatron and Grindor at once! Which begs the question where the heck are the other Autobots? This is an amazing scene, perfectly done and shot. Couldn't ask for more.
After Optimus gets hits the second part of the movie begins, which has Sam running around with the Autobots hiding him, the discovery of Jetfire, some major dialogue and then going to Eygpt.. Agent Simmons returns and he isn't too bad this time around. He does get a bit annoying but at least he seems to have a 'point' this time in the movie.
The second half of the movie all centered in Eygpt is fun. But once again Michael Bay's editing can drive you crazy at times. There was too much of the 'U.S. military getting ready to save the day' and too much of 'I'm a human how can I help?' crap here. Where we wanted more Transformers scenes here there are way too many human scenes and the balance and pacing gets off.
There's tension for danger that ends up being 'nothing to worry about' and some of the characters gets downright annoying here. There are new Decepticons but we barely get a chance to see them before they die. The climatic ending is great, but by that point I was so exhausted mentally I had to blink at least a few times, and then you start losing who's hitting who due to the complexity of the robots. This is where I wanted a 'slow-mo' button so I could tell who was who. You know someone is getting hurt, but it moves so far you can't tell if that was Sideswipe or Starscream.
I will say when Prime does get up to kick some major butt, you defintely feel proud of him. The same for Bumblebee who is defintely not a weakling. At the same time you have 'the Twins', Skids and Mudflap who are so over-stereotyped that you're like 'Okay this movie was definitely written by white people.'
The Megatron and Starscream relationship is played off perfectly, and Devastator looks downright awesome. There is definitely some confusion in that there are Constructions who form Devastator and then are Constructions who do not which I have a bit of a problem with and will confuse a lot of old fans.
The ending is great but once again way too fast and the movie needed about two more minutes to wrap up what happened to all the Autobots here. All in all though this movie was great, a lot of fun and definitely a pleasure for old fans and new. There are some small problems but I can look past these because everything else is done very well this time around thanks to Mr. Bay and Co listening to what everyone wanted.
8.5 stars out of 10
(I would rate the first movie 7 stars out of 10)
|Date||June 25th 2009 |
|Score|| (8 out of 10) |