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I like Transformers. I watched the cartoons on TV, which were silly fun with good robots trying to make their way on Earth, while suspicious humans and evil Decepticons tried to destroy them. Then the animated 1986 movie came out, which was so dark and mature for a children's movie that it was almost disturbing. How many franchises would have the guts to kill off their most beloved character in the first 5 minutes, and have his followers fall to pieces in the ensuing, bloody civil war? Can't imagine that happening in Pokemon...
Then there were the comics, which go beyond the typical good vs. evil routine, and explore morals, madness, betrayal, and other adult themes (and by that I don't mean Megan Fox's bum). Transformers as a franchise had a lot of potential in its development and stories to translate to the big screen in an impressive way.
Fast forward twenty years or so, and enormous Hollywood budgets, coupled with some market research that revealed 1980s nostalgia and comic franchises were the prime cash cows ready for the slaughterhouse of the film studios, and Transformers is resurrected. Step in Michael Bay, the Hollywood equivalent of EA Games, to ruin everything. And I mean *everything*.
The first Transformers movie was just about OK for fans of the series, as it had enough in-jokes and self-references to satisfy the geeks in the audience. The plot was ropey, the acting dire, and the action scenes somewhat confusing, but it just about got there somehow and saved itself from being utterly inexorable by a whisker. This sequel, however, has no redeeming features at all, and should be erased from history.
At nearly 2 and a half hours long, it is only useful as a sedative, as your spinal cord will no doubt leap up into your skull and strangle your brain until it passes out rather than subject it to witness the whole movie. The plot is non-existent, seemingly cobbled together from bits of National Treasure (follow the clues to the Maguffins in the National Landmarks! And fast! Even though they're all hundreds of miles from each other!) and the previous Transformers movie. Apparently if the lead characters don't do this in time, the sun will explode and kill everything. For the first time in a movie review, I'm going to give away the ending - they do unfortunately save the day, and you don't get to see the entire cast vaporised in a supernova. (Not much of a spoiler since the producers were somehow criminally allowed to finish the trilogy).
This 'plot' is strung together with a landslide of loud, garish, confusing action sequences. When the robots transform, the screen is so busy with thousands of moving parts it is impossible to see what the hell is going on, even when slowing the framerate down to a crawl. Have all this done with Michael Bay's trademark pointless jump cuts, and it's hard to even enjoy this on the most superficial 'oh wow that's the 423rd building to have exploded' kind of way. Special effects aren't special if the whole movie is made up of them. Clearly Mr. Bay has never heard of the phrase 'too much of a good thing'. Not that the SFX in this would be good even if rationed like sugar in wartime.
The acting is dreadful. Shia LeBeouf turns up to play Shia LeBeouf with the incredible consistency he has shown in all his films. Megan Fox gets covered in sweat and pouts rather a lot. And there are lots of deadly-serious military types who walk in slow motion and look all manly, simultaneously throwing fuel on the cliche fire of action films and serving as a recruitment tool for gung-ho wannabe soldiers who have gone to the cinema to take a break from playing Call of Duty.
The worst thing about this for anyone who enjoyed the original incarnation in the 1980s is what they have done to the Transformers themselves. Optimus Prime is meant to be a reluctant leader of the rebels, despising war and questioning his acitons at every turn as he struggles to do the right thing. Here, he is a sanctimonious, cold-blooded killer of his enemies (a bit like a robotic, flag-waving Jack Bauer from the later series of 24). Megatron, his nemesis, is meant to be a hyper-intelligent, Machiavellian warrior, with his ruthlessness channelled by his own, self-imposed code of conduct. In this, he is a big dumb robot with no cunning or guile at all. The Decepticons are also meant to be almost indestructible, and suffered very few casualties in the comics, adding to their threatening presence and making them all the more terrifying. Here, they drop like they are made of tinfoil. And there are countless other non-canon, illogical alterations such as the robots being able to turn into humans. Or teleport anywhere instantly. Or give birth.
It also hurls in so many new Transformers, it's the most transparent marketing ploy for toy sales since Phantom Menace. I paused near a toy shop window shortly after this was released, and sure enough it was groaning under the weight of horrible plastic incarnations of these robots, tagged with ridiculous prices. I felt a bit sick afterwards.
Worse still is the inclusion of two hip-hop robots, who are so crassly stereotyped to be borderline racist. I don't think Michael Bay has ever met a black person in his life, and directed Bad Boys from a remote video link from a bunker somewhere in the desert. These jive-talking characters are the most irritating since Jar-Jar Binks, and just rub salt in the wounds already caused by this vacuous, contemptible bilge.
I strongly urge you not to see this film. It is utter crap, that appeals to the lowest common denominator of pubescent frat boys. It urinates all over the careful legacy of the 1980s comics and graphic novels with mature stories that Transformers fans found so captivating. The producers of this movie take the word 'mature' to mean cheap jokes about marijuana, gratuitous shots of Megan Fox, and lots of square-jawed army types swearing at each other. If the DVD cover meets your gaze in HMV, walk away and find a copy of Terminator 1 and 2. Those films serve as a reminder of what an exciting, thought-provoking, sci-fi action film should be. Hollywood does not need to be encouraged to continue making these stains on our culture. And I find it galling that I have to give this even 1 star to rate it.
*Film only review
Transformers 2 - Revenge of the fallen is a sequel to 2007's relatively average attempt at the Transformers franchise. Directed again by Michael Bay (Bad boys, Pearl harbour) and starring many big names returning from the first film, including Megan Fox and Shia LeBouf.
Set 2 years after the first film many changes have occured in the relations between the Autobots and earth. Optimus prime leads a crack force alongside the US military (Well they would want the extra firepower) to hunt down remnants of the Decepticons. But after a mission a message is revealed that "the fallen shall rise again" and apparently this is very bad news. Evidentley the Transformers are not new to Earth and have in fact been there for thousands of years, searching for a hidden energy source called Energon (nearly as rare as unabtanium in Avatar).
While this is happening Sam Whitwicky (Shia lebouf) is off the college, but not before he trashes the house as "The Shard" turns everything into a enemy and he is set upon by a toaster. He then begins to see symbols which could lead to what the Decepticons are after.
Thrown into this mix is also Mikaela (Megan fox) who is Sam's girlfreind , she..... no actually she doesn't really do anything in the film, except wear tight clothes and be very seductive.
The storyline isn't great, what seems to have happend is that Michael bay thought up the explosions and all the really exciting stuff, then it was a work experience person's job to fit these into a film.
The first hour of the film is set-up for the second half, this could have been cut down a lot and nothing would have been lost because of it.
Along with Bay's usual balls to the wall action, there is comedy thrown in as well. If your kind of comedy is casual racism, farting parachutes and swinging robot testicles then you will be fine, otherwise it's too childish and it's a point which follows through the film that they dont know quite what age their target audience is.
His directing isn't completely bad, your always in the center of the action even though you may not know why it's happening.
The relationship shown between Sam and Mikaela is pretty love/hate throughout the film, which I guess is trying to show the average teen romance. But their is never any moment where you really care what happens to their relationship, as soon as you get close the film throws an explosion in incase people are bored with the story.
Acting-wise, Shia lebouf is meant to be the front man. It would be nice for him to really impose himself once in a while in the film, although the story is meant to be about him he never makes himself a big focus point, attention is always drawn towards robots and Megan Fox which leaves his acting looking basic.
Megan Fox didn't have to act in this film really, as long as she pouts her lips and regularly shows some skin then she is beating the rest of the cast.
Any fans of the Transformers series will be glad to see both new and old faces in this film including Optimus prime, Ironhide, Starscream and Bumblebee. If your not a fan of Transformers then it can be a little difficult to distinguish between them during some fight scenes as it all becomes a blur.
One of the main hooks of the film is of course the CGI wizardry, and it does come in by the truckload. Big explosive set pieces and fighting robots look stunning and are very well crafted, during close ups of the Transformers you really notice how intricate their design is and a lot of praise has to go to the creative team. However, one thing about the amount of CGI is that you soon become a little desensitized to it and the big moments dont feel as important as they should because of this.
Sound and picture are always pretty objective to what system you have, with a decent sorround system and a good telly this is a very nice film. A lot of sorround sound is used to give you a feel that the action is going on around you and immerse yourself in it, the quality of image in HD is also top notch with dirt and scratches showing up on the robots shiny bodies.
Similarly the Musical score does a good job of capturing the moment and raising the atmosphere. It helps cover some of the acting and improves the feel of the film as it progresses.
I would also like to mention that this film is a 12, which surprises me because it does have a few bits of strong language (Mainly when Sam's mum gets high) and quite a lot of sexual suggestion which can be quite awkward if your watching it with family members.
For example when Sam meets a robot/women in a short skirt to rival Megan, as she lays Sam down on the sofa the camera proceeds to swing round to an angle where you can see a robot tail coming from a pants.
The film is available on Amazon for £5.93 and I would say that it's a film to watch when you don't want to think , you just want something exciting and includes Megan Fox.
I watched this DVD for the third time last night... It wasn't my first choice for a Sunday evening but 'im indoors became quite excited when he came across it whilst looking for our original film choice of Return of the Jedi...
Anyway, I must admit that I'm really glad we watched it as I'd forgotten how good it was..
The story does make a connection to the first film in that the Autobots are now working with the US Military although they still remain top secret to the outside world..
Sam still has his autobot from the first film... Bumblebee... which is a yellow cheverlot and also his protector. However Sam wants a normal life and goes off to college..
The fallen is the name of one of the Decepticons who are the bad guys... they want to darken earth by taking out the sun...
Without giving too much away, it comes down to the autobots fighting the decepticons to stop this happening... and Sam gets involved as he has important information to enable the decepticons to carry out their plan...
As with the first film, the graphics are incredible when the robots transform, I also like the way that the decepticon 'tags' onto a US Satellite in space... it just wraps itself around it... very clever...
There is lots of shooting, lots of action, pretty good storyline, some comedy moments (Sam's mum is hilarious at the beginning!) so a good all round film...
No film based a children's toy deserves to be this good. Yet it really is a solid, fast paced action film with a fairly sharp script written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Transformers, Alias), directed by action King Michael Bay (The Rock, Bad Boy) and produced by Steven Spielberg (every film that is good).
Picking up immediately, the Decepticon forces come to Earth got get revenge for everything that happened in the first film and take Sam Whitwicky (Shia LaBeouf) hostage, because when he touched the cube, information and maps were passed into his head which lead to the location of an object that when inserted into an Alien machine in great pyramid of Egypt will destroy the sun and thus the Earth.
Naturally the good guys won't let that happen, so as soon as they know Sam is injured, they go to protect him.
The actions starts in the college, where Sam has a mental breakdown in a class and recites everything in his head into a blackboard. He then returns to his room, where he is almost seduced by what he think is a woman, but it really a Decepticon. Mikaela (Megan Fox) comes to rescue him, and once again they set off around America and then the globe to find out what the cube has transferred into Sam's head and leading a to very good finale in Egypt right on top of the great pyramid.
One again Michael Bay shows why he's worth every penny, as only he could take a story this ridiculous and turn it into something that is actually very good. And Spielberg must have ensured there was a big budget, because the special effects are truly exceptional, second only to Avatar. The script is solid, with some fun dialogue at times between Sam and his parents. The only thing that holds this back is that it's a story about a children's toy. Genuinely a fun film that you just have to watch and not think about at all.
Two years after the events of "Transformers" the Autobot transformers led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) are now teamed with selected members of the American military in an organization known as NEST. Together they seek out and destroy remaining Decepticon transformers on Earth. After one incident, they are threatened by a Decepticon about the return of The Fallen. Thousands of years ago The Fallen tried to harvest the power Earth's sun, but was thwarted by the Primes. He swore revenge and now his Decepticon followers with the newly resurrected Megatron aim to restore him and carry out his original plans.
Meanwhile Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) tries to lead a normal life. He leaves for college, leaving his Autobot friend Bubblebee and his girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox) behind. Problems ensue as he shares a dormitory with a conspiracy theorist who is fascinated with the evidence of the transformers' presence on Earth. On top of that he is being tracked by the Decepticons as he unknowingly possesses part of the Allspark (the source of transformer life) in his mind and the Autobots also need his help...
If 2007's "Transformers" inspired a haze of nostalgic self-delusion in grown-up '80s kids then 2009's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was all the stimulation required to clear their heads. Both films have become huge box office smashes, netting a fortune for all those connected, making the franchise stronger than ever and gratifying a new generation of children. However, the critical response the second film received, in spite of its undeniable commercial success both at the cinema and home release, paints a different picture.
Transformers have existed for almost three decades now. They enchanted my generation from being a gimmick toy to becoming a favourite fixture on morning television to a cult animated movie that is loved to this day. The UK edition of the comic-book kept going until the very early 1990s and had such a strong following that its main writer, Simon Furman, was the man chosen to end the whole of the US strip's saga. Of course, the franchise never died it just kept reimagining itself through the country that gave it birth, Japan. There was a vast number of different re-boots, but the golden age of "Generation One" fans was over. Then the news arrived that a live action picture was going to be made and behind it was none other than Steven Spielberg. Best news of all seemed to be the consistent message that the film would pay due homage to mythology of our youth. This Transformers movie would take its inspiration from the characters we knew and loved from our youth, even bringing in Peter Cullen, the man behind the 1980s' Optimus Prime, to reprise his role. Time passed and it was little surprise that the film would not be directed by the hands that gave us "Jaws" and "Schindler's List". His role was as the film's producer. The director's job went to summer blockbuster leave-your-brains-at-the-door action movie guru Michael Bay. We took it on the chin. Whatever the average fan might want to think, Transformers has its core in a cynically created and marketed toyline. The TV series, the comics and animated movie, which we often hold in higher regard than they really deserve, were all the mythology woven around a shrewd gimmick - toy vehicles, cassette decks and guns that transformed, through a complex series of twists and turns, a la the rubrics cube, into warrior robots.
So 2007's "Transformers" came and past like the Obama election. Rather than facing the film with grimaced acne-scarred faces ready to hit it with the same degree of derision that Star Wars geeks threw at "The Phantom Menace", the old fans and the new were determined to like this picture. It had to work, it must work and, on reflection, it did work to a fair degree. We appreciated that there was need to give us heavy sub-plots involving the human characters in order to help create a connection with cinema-goers who might feel that over two hours solid of shape changing CGI mechanoid action was a little too much. Even the decision to change Megatron's look completely into an unrecognizable image was forgiven for our idea of the greater good. We were content that most of our favourite characters were accounted for in the story, that Cullen was voicing Prime, that there was due homage paid to the TV show at the beginning with a certain sound effect, that Prime at least bore his recognizable colour scheme and sometimes wore his mouth piece (a distinctive feature), that respect was paid to the original comic-book story in having the character Bumblebee be the first good guy to make contact with the human teenager Sam Witwicky (he was Buster in the comics and Spike in the TV show) and that Megatron and Prime duked it out at the end, especially as Prime announced the immortal words he used in the animated movie "One shall stand, one shall fall!" As far as geeks go the Transformers fans were pretty easily pleased.
However, "Revenge of the Fallen" was going to be a different story. Having introduced and established this re-imagining of the brand it was time to see where Bay and writers, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Ehren Kruger was going to take the universe. Most of us suddenly realized, as if waking from a dream that this was not going to work out...
With a complex yet somehow incredibly shallow mythology surrounding the actual Transformers, the strength of the picture was going to rest on the shoulders of the established human characters. They were never going to be strong enough. The original story had nerdish Sam Witwicky appeal to geek wish fulfilment and get the school sex goddess, Mikaela Banes, part two decides to follow their romance.
Shia LaBeouf does a reasonable enough job as the teenage lead struggling to keep a normal life after the events of the original film, but it all just seems rather irritatingly familiar. It also seems rather out of character considering the ambitions and sense of adventure he had in the original picture. If Megan Fox was being marketed as pre-pubescent pin-up fodder in the previous film, this time around there is no such subtlety. The painfully contrived opening shot has her lying astride a motorbike in high cut denim shorts with the camera angle perfectly pointing up said shorts to reveal whatever a 12a certificate will allow. Despite continuing her career working in a garage she spends the entire film looking immaculate with perfect hair and make-up, the camera framing her in every scene as if not to miss an opportunity for a sexy movie still. I'd like to say that she also gives at least a journeywoman performance, but the script really doesn't provide her with more than the clichéd extended love interest role.
It's a tired episode that would slot into any lowbrow weekend morning teenage sitcom, complete with "out of touch" parents embarrassing Sam by getting themselves into all sorts of unlikely slapstick situations. Add to this with true blue one dimensional patriotic soldiers who fight alongside the Autobots and then bringing in the alien conspiracy theory angle via Sam's college and also the disgraced government agent Seymour Simmons turned ally, and we have a very confused and unstable framework indeed.
Cliché really is the word here. The script and the direction seem to run on a veritable "how to make an action movie" dictionary. In fact, it seems like a concerted effort has been made to shoehorn as many clichés as possible, even giving us two for the price of one in some instances. First of all we have alien conspiracy theories involving the government and the pyramids of Egypt. Then we have the infamous "twins", a ruination of Skids and Mudflap that provide both supposed comedy relief and exhibiting racial stereotypes that would embarrass a 1970s blaxploitation producer. Next we have attempts to bring in parts of the Transformers mythology, like the Creation Matrix, which should have been mentioned in the first film and now seem like a clumsy wink to the fans. Then there is all the aforesaid teen sitcom nonsense and square jaw militarism I mentioned earlier. On top of that even the action scenes are ridiculously corny and formulaic in their execution. There's even a slow motion emotional near-death scene in a combat zone with typical Adagio for Strings inspired music being played whilst all the cries of the characters are muted and the soundtrack is mixed with the sounds of the beating rotors of helicopters.
However, I think the greatest disappointment of all with this picture was the way actual robot characters were portrayed. Promises were made that there would be more character development, but aside from their extended battles their screen time seems to be little more than as fantastical material for the human actors to play off. Far from being the treacherous, ambitious and scheming lieutenant of the comics and original TV show, Starscream is just a battered, abused and grovelling lackey to Megatron. Megatron, himself, is neutered by the presence of The Fallen character and they share a relationship that seems directly copied from Darth Vader and the Emperor. Megatron is even referred to by The Fallen as "my apprentice".
When the robots do engage in the battles that most viewers have come to see it just seems like a whirl of machinery. Bay's Transforrmers, with one exception, are just too - well, mechanical. There is no emotional investment in their performances or their fight scenes. CGI can leave audiences cold. It often has this effect on me, but there are enough exceptions to prove that it can be carried off effectively. The action in Peter Jackson's "King Kong" is a great example there. In an ideal world, I guess, the Transformers would have best been handled from a Dark Crystal perspective. Humans always were part of the storylines, but the appeal lies in the actual Transformers and how they interact.
In this sense Peter Cullen is perhaps the film's main saving grace in the whole picture and Optimus Prime is still the kids' favourite and we can see why. He is the closest any character resembles in look as well as sound and actions as to the original. He's the sort of noble hero leader that would sit well with any young generation.
However, on that note perhaps I should cut the picture a little slack. This might have been a wake-up call for nostalgic fans that over-praised the first film, but should also be seen as a reminder of who the film was made for in the first place. Transformers were a toy marketed with children firmly in mind. Making them collectables and their cartoon and comic-book tie-ins become the stuff of nostalgia was a fortunate by-product for Hasbro, Tomy and their partners. Perhaps the problems and annoyances felt by older fans of the franchise were really just examples of the generation gap.
Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky prisoner, after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers. Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle.
Running time: 150 minutes
Director: Micheal Bay
Producer: Steven Spielberg.
This is the sequel to the first movie Transformers that came out in 2007. Although this sci fi light movie has not gotten good reviews it was a box office success. The reason for this must be: beautiful people to rest your eyes upon (read Megan Fox), predictable yet entertaining and the promise of a happy ending.
In my opinion this does not make it a high quality or intelligent movie. The lack of suspense makes it at times boring to watch, but I am still intrigued. I find the autobots and the decepticons amusing, and I embrace the idea of a Warner Bros- look alike movie for grown ups.
Sometimes you simply don't want to watch the high end demanding films that can drain you for energy. I would watch Transformers if I was looking to relax and spend no extra calories on intricate plots and metaphors. If you choose to see the film going in with this attitude - "it aint bad"!
* Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky
* Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes
* Josh Duhamel as Major William Lennox
* Tyrese Gibson as USAF Master Sergeant Robert Epps
* John Turturro as Seymour Simmons
* Ramón Rodríguez as Leo Spitz
* Kevin Dunn as Ron Witwicky
* Julie White as Judy Witwicky
* Isabel Lucas plays Alice
* John Benjamin Hickey as Theodore Galloway
* Matthew Marsden as Graham
* Glenn Morshower as General Morshower
* Erin Naas as the Arcee rider
* Rainn Wilson as Professor R. A. Colan
* Deep Roy as an Egyptian guard
The 2009 American Sci-Fi Action and follow up film to the first installment of the Autobot versus Decepticon epic is directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg. You would think 2 years has given the Transformers team a lot to work with especially give the immense special effects and advancements in technology, having said that 2 years really is very little time to complete a film of good quality on this scale. Much like the first movie then we can see much of the same characters and rehashed plot with an impressive show case for the American Military thrown in (perhaps I'm reading too much into it, or perhaps the subtlety of the subliminal messages really aren't that subtle...)
The fact's then; this film does exactly what it's meant to do - entertain with brilliant graphics, awesome large scale action scenes, a couple of scantily clad semi hot (if not slightly scary, depending on your personal fetishes) girls and a nostalgic sense that once upon a time, many a moon ago, we were watching these guys blast the engine parts out of each other in cartoon format...
The concept 'Rise of The Fallen' actually works considerably well and creates a real background to the robotic civilisation that have seemingly been amongst human kind on Earth for Millenia. I was a little disappointed with the resurrection of Megatron after it took nearly all of the Autobot's capacity to bring him down in the previous film however the return of 'The fallen' overshadowed that part of the film quite nicely. There's only so much excitement the Megatron enstills in viewers but when you hear the throttle throat of an Autobot call out 'OPTIMUS PRIME' something judders in your core a little.
The performances on all parts are much the same as before as are the action scenes but the they are tweaked and perked up here and there with fresh ideas and unfortunately a few overbearing moments of "comedy"... I would recommend it if you like action films that you don't really have to pay much mind to, it is purely about the aesthetic and leaves you quietly glad you've reached the end after 149 mins of running time.
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE?
I grew up with Transformers toys. The tag line "More Than Meets The Eye" is indelibly linked to my childhood thanks to the Hasbro marketing machine that had me hankering after a fully transformable Optimus Prime around my twelfth birthday. As such, when the opportunity arose to revisit my childhood with the first Transformers movie, I relaxed under a warm blanket of nostalgia, turning a blind eye to its obvious deficiencies.
It wasn't the best of films, but it was visually arresting, chock full of humour and, putting aside the obvious money to be made in spin-off's and character tie-in's, a worthy cinematic exercise. However, as is often the case in the world of Hollywood, the lure of the almighty greenback beckoned, they could not leave well enough alone and, as a result, an ill-conceived sequel was born - "Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen".
Calling the developments in this film a "plot" would be exceedingly generous. In a nutshell (trust me, it's all you need) it is two years after the events of the first film, and our hero, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), is about to decamp to a high-brow east coast university, leaving his unfeasibly attractive girlfriend, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) to run a garage with her ex-con father. Across the world in Shanghai, a special military unit called NEST, a combination of human troops and good guy robots (called Autobots) led by their leader Optimus Prime, set about tracking down and destroying remnants of the bad guy robots (Decepticons) from the first movie. During this encounter in China, the Autobots are warned that "the Fallen will rise again...".
After some scene setting and narrated flashbacks, the film quickly descends into a stereotypical battle of good versus evil as both factions scramble to uncover an ancient artefact on which the fate of Earth rests. There are several sub-plots to the main "story" and some faintly ridiculous background that does not survive even casual scrutiny, as the film rushes around from one set piece battle to the next in a whirlwind of flying bolts, wheels and shrapnel.
Shia LaBeouf reprises his role as slightly geeky, put upon Sam Witwicky and proceeds to spend most of the film with a gormless "I can't believe how lucky I am" look on his face. Lucky to have a shiny yellow Chevy Camaro that transforms into a butt-kicking guardian Autobot called Bumblebee, lucky enough to have a drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend who for some reason only known to her, is in love with him, and lucky enough to earn an outrageous packet as an actor doing much of nothing, least of all acting.
Mikaela Barnes, as his girlfriend, is totally unconvincing. These two have no chemistry and nothing at all in common. The only thing that makes their relationship even remotely plausible is the "ordinary good guy gets stunning girlfriend who adores him for his personality" schlock that exists only in the movies and the fertile minds of socially inadequate teenagers. Megan Fox does her utmost to live up to her more than appropriate surname, but it's no surprise (to me at least) that she is quickly exposed as the latest and arguably most successful graduate of the "look pretty, learn to act later" school of drama.
There are a fair few human supporting characters, but only two worthy of any serious mention. The talented John Turturro does his best to raise the level of the film above the ridiculous, and despite a cracking turn reprising his role as a spook called Seymour Simmons (now disgraced and sacked and going by the cyber-moniker of "Robo-Warrior") he gets just as lost as the rest of the human cast in the sheer scale and white noise of this noisy film.
Some much-needed comic relief is provided by actress Julie White as Sam's mother Jane, who finds herself in some unlikely situations (a scene where she accidentally drugs herself early on in the film is priceless) and is given some great one-liners which she delivers brilliantly. The rest of the human cast are just there to make up the numbers, with Sam's new college roommate, Leo Spitz, an entrepreneur who also runs an alien conspiracy website, being a particularly notable waste of celluloid.
At the end of the day, this is a movie about alien robots, and it's rather telling that director Michael Bay seems far more adept at bringing his mechanical creations to life and imbuing them with some semblance of character than he manages with his human cast and crew. However, that's a pretty back-handed compliment given that even these robotic characterisations rarely rise above caricature and have more in common with their cartoon roots than the director may care to admit.
That said, There are one or two rare gems lost in this blizzard of white noise. For instance, British actor Mark Ryan manages to breathe life and personality into a world weary robot called Jetfire, an ageing Decepticon usually disguised as an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane that has defected to the Autobots. However, on the flip side, a pair of small robots called Mudflap and Skid, with their "street" moves and "street" language, are far too close to the stereotypical buffoonery of Jar Jar Binks from the Star Was prequels for comfort.
So far, you have every right to conclude that Revenge of the Fallen, on the face of it, seems to be an overlong 150 minutes of utter, irredeemable guff. However, despite the fact that it misses some crucial cinematic elements - basic things like an understandable plot, decent characterisation, and at least some idea of what it is doing and where it is headed - is it still worth a look?
Although the acting and story - such as they are - seem like obvious and necessary exercises in getting the action from one place to another as we segue from one gigantic battle to the next - boy oh boy what great big set pieces they are! The chaos and wanton destruction are reminiscent of those halcyon days, before the advent of draconian health and safety regulations, when young lads in a playground with their toy soldiers, hurled pebbles and dirt at each other's positions with an excitement, dedication and youthful abandon only small boys in shorts can manage.
This film feels like it was filmed by a big kid with a big budget and a big toy company only too happy to let him create a two hour plus advert for their global merchandise machine. As such, it won't come as too much of a surprise that Hasbro had a much greater role in making the sequel and approving the robot designs than in the original film.
This is one heck of a noisy movie. I watched it on a Blu-Ray projector set up with surround sound and although it was visually stunning - a veritable feast for the eyes - I was left with the beginnings of a headache by the time it finished. The special effects are admirable and wholly realistic, but there is simply too much going on in some of the main sequences for the human mind to keep up. In keeping with this theme - aesthetics at the expense of any substance - the camera takes every possible opportunity to linger on the delectable Ms Fox - not that any red-blooded male would protest too much, but after a while, the scenes she appears in seem more like a calendar photo shoot than a proper movie.
Revenge of the Fallen is lazy sequel-making at its worst and does not have an original bone in its body. Almost every frame seems highly derivative. You spend most of its tiresome running time wondering where you had seen a particular scene before. The icing on the cake for me was the location of the all important artefact, an ancient site that will be more than familiar to fans of the Indiana Jones movies. The film is actually executive produced by Steven Spielberg, so perhaps they wanted to save some of the estimated budget - a staggering $200 million - on scouting locations.
After the relative success of its predecessor, a sequel was inevitable, but the lack of any real effort to make a decent film was not. Sadly, the original Hasbro tag-line for the Transformers toys "More Than Meets The Eye" could not be further from the truth with "Revenge of the Fallen" - what you see is exactly what you get. It's BBFC rating of 12 gives some clue as to its suitable target audience, which probably starts there and ends at 15.
Unsurprisingly, the film garnered seven (7) Razzie nominations - the industry's "anti-Oscars" for the worst films produced in Hollywood in any given year, winning the dubious honours of "Worst Director", "Worst Movie" and "Worst Screenplay". On the flipside, it was nominated for an Oscar for "Best Achievement in Sound".
However, the film does have one redeeming feature that deserves a mention. Given that it tests cinematic boundaries with its soundtrack and action sequences, I would suggest that Revenge of the Fallen would be a perfect DVD or Blu-Ray with which to test a potential new home cinema system. At around £9 on DVD and £17 on Blu-Ray, you even get a free movie with it - if you can be bothered to watch it.
© Hishyeness 2010
>> FILM ONLY REVIEW <<
Although I enjoyed the first Transformers, I did find it a little silly and not as enjoyable as I thought I would so I was a little hesitant to watch second one. But the trailers made it look great and reviews on it all seemed to be good so I decided to watch it anyway.
The second Transformers film is set two years after the first when Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBouef) sets off for college only to end up in the middle of a war between the Autobots and Decepticons once again. The war takes them to the setting of an ancient legend and into a top secret national security mission. But this time around, Sam already has the help of his girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox), and his trusted Autobot car, Bumblebee, as well as his old friend Optimus Prime.
I was so impressed by the special effects in this which were so amazing. The robots and their movements were all so fantastic and it all somehow looked real and like it was actually happening. Many of the fighting scenes between the robots were up very close to the screen though so a lot of the time you couldn't properly see what was going on and I kept getting confused with which robot was on which side, but generally it was all just brilliant and exciting to watch.
Megan Fox had a larger role in this film whereas in the first she just seemed to have a very small part which was mainly due to her good looks. She actually had quite a large part this time around though so it was nice to see her actually acting.
Shia LeBouef stole the entire film again though and he's just so good in this. His character is so easy to warm to because he's just a young and innocent boy who's friendly but very brave and he's also quite funny too.
I thought this second film was so much better than the first. It had much more of a story to it - albeit a rather long-winded story - but a much more interesting and in depth one than the first. It was much more action-packed and the special effects were just outstanding.
Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen continues the story of the Transformers and once again stars Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox.
The first Transformers film starring Shia and Megan, was successful but was one of the worst films I've ever watched. The success of the film seemed to be in its CGI and Megan Fox bent over a yellow Corvette. This seemed a bit thin for a sequel as though Fox is probably the hottest woman on screen at the moment and the CGI is well evident in every film around but the producers dragged another film out of the franchise and inflicted this film on the viewer.
Sam Witwicky (Shia) has visions of the decepticons returning to earth, they will activate a machine which will power them up but of course in the meantime will destroy the Earth. He soon brings his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan) in on the problem and the film starts in earnest. The rest of the film is then endless chases, fights and Megan Fox in skimpy T-shirts and tight pants.
This film was so bad I can't believe such drivel can be sent out and people watch it. There was little or no story, the plot when they bothered to return to it made no sense and the CGI robots were brilliant but after the first couple of times you soon stop noticing the seemless movement and fluid changes. Was all the money spent of these effects and the script forgotten about?
This is a film for those who like there screens filled with moving colouful metal bits, it has no thought and little interest for anyone who thinks a film should have some kind of story or plot. At 147 minutes long, its in my opinion 148 minutes too long because I wasted a minute putting the DVD in the machine.
What else can you say? This film failed to appeal to me on any level, you know your in trouble when your attention wanes even when Megan Fox is stretching her spectacularly awesome rear end in a flight from some improbably titled Decepticon. The plot is incomprehensible, the language of the Bots is some weird combo of New York, British, Hip hop it makes Jar Jar out of Phantom look concise and well structured.
The fighting is odd, after all these are huge metal creatures which after morphing from a truck are left fighting each other with errr there fists, the fights themselves are totally incomprehensible, one Bot is a confusion, make three clash and it appears just like you've dropped a few toy cars in your cake mixer.
This film has no redemption, all the action doesn't make sense there is no plot and the lines which they do say are so bad you cringe, at this lasts over 2 hours and feels like 2 days.
Please please please please please (thats not just to pad out the word count) don't make another Transformer film.
Sam Whitwicky is getting on with his life after his epic battle with Optimus Prime and the other Auto bots against the Decepticons and s heading off to college. Unfortunately his life is about to be changed again when he finds a small piece of the cube which he was defending stuck in an old jumper. After touching this small piece of metal small robots come to him and try to get the metal from him. Fortunately his trusty car / autobot Bumblebee is waiting in the garage and he manages to destroy these small robots.
Elsewhere Optimus Prime is also battling against the Decepticons and during this he learns that they plan on raising the fallen and to do so they must retrieve Megatron from the bottom of the sea. The Decepticons are successful in the rescue of Megatron and soon Optimus Prime is seeking out Sam to help him.
Sam is trying to settle in at college but things go from bad to worse for him when he gets flashing symbols in his mind and he cannot stop them, he manages to get back to his room where he is able to write them down. His long term girlfriend does arrive at college with the metal from the cube and says she will help him try to work out what the symbols are.
Will Sam and his girlfriend be able to work with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and the other auto bots to stop Megatron and the decepticon's from rising the fallen and destroying the world?
I was quite looking forward to seeing this film as I was surprised by the first instalment and my boys had been driving me crazy for ages asking to see it, unfortunately I have to say that I was left feeling very disappointed with it. The storyline was quite average when I sat and thought about it after and I think a lot more could have been done to make it so much better and engaging.
I found the role of Sam, played by Shia LaBeouf was quite good and he managed to work very well with all of the special effects which were used for Optimus Prime and Bumblebee and at no point did I not believe that he was actually talking to them. He also had a great on screen chemistry with his girlfriend who was played by Megan Fox. She also gave a great performance, I think she did play on the sexy image more than was necessary but hubby did not complain about this one bit! There were a lot of additional characters and actors in this film and they each gave good performance and all brought a different element to the film with their characters.
The saving factor for this film has got to be the special effects, they really were amazing. I thought that all of the Autobot and Decepticons looked very realistic and I think it took so much imagination to make them look so good and see how them transformed and moved. I liked seeing the way different vehicles could all come together and fit so well into making robot people and how they used the parts of the vehicles for different body parts. I think that the scenery was also very well done and I did not at any time see any notably added backdrops.
The music throughout the film was not very memorable but I do remember thinking that it fitted the places in which it was used and did help with the tensions and emotions of the scenes in which it was used.
There is a lot of action in this film and it did all work well and I think this what makes the film appeal more to the male audience than to me but I have to say hubby did agree with me about it being a lot weaker than the first film especially with the storyline. I was quite pleased when we did have some little funny moments in the film as this made it easier to watch and slightly more enjoyable.
The DVD which I have does not have any bonus features but this is no loss to me as I am not a fan of them anyway. The running time of this film is 144 minutes and I do feel that this is slightly too long and the storyline may not have seemed so draw out if they would have taken around 20 minutes out of the film. The certificate is a 12 as there is some moderate action violence, sex and drug references but I have to admit that my 7 and 5 year old have both watched this film and they have both loved every minute of it. The DVD is available for around the £10 mark but I would have to say that it is not worth this price and if you still really want to see this then wait for it to come to around the £5 price.
Overall I am going to sit on the fence with this film but for the sake of the statistics on here I will recommend it. The storyline is quite average and the film is only saved by the amazing special effects. I would say that children around the 10 years age range would absolutely love this film.
This film is great and has almost everything the first didn't, however it was one of those sequels that appeared to be made just to rake in more cash so the story was very weak.
The Autobots have joined with humans to help destroy the decepticons who are trying to destroy optimus prime (Good guy leader) so the fallen (Ultimate bad guy) could harvest Earths sun. Its not ideal when comparing to the first and it starts slowly but the action and effects make up for it. Disappointingly the story did include the crude, cheap jokes and puns that largly ruined the first film some of which may not be suitable for younger children.
It has most of the main cast from the previous movie who all play their parts well but some characters were brought back for no reason at all, and other pointless characters added which did draw attention to the lack of reasonable plot. The special effects were great but no improvement from the first and there was lots of action and better fight sequences between the robots which the first film lacked.
The movie was over 2 hours long which at times seemed unessary as it was slow to start while the main character settled into college. But overall is worth seeing for the action, I might consider for blu-ray but if you're just watching to follow from the first then DVD should be okay. Children will enjoy the stupid toilet humor and effects but as a warning it does have some inappropriate moments such as the vague referance to drugs. Other than those few parts most of the family should be able to enjoy.
[Film Only Review]
I'm a big fan of the first 'Transformers' movie, so when the second one was released I headed straight to the cinema and have since also watched it on Blu-Ray.
~~~ Synopsis ~~~
The decepticons return to Earth, this time their main target is Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) who has information that they want. Optimus Prime and the rest of the gang are still on Earth and are trying their best to stop the decepticons getting what they want, but there are complications and the race is on to find what both sides are looking for.
~~~ My Opinion ~~~
Just like the first one this follow-up is full of big explosions and gunfire in true Michael Bay tradition, which I think is great. There are big fights throughout the movie all looking spectacular. This seems to be criticised by a lot of people mainly movie critics, saying that a proper story is sacrificed in order to accommodate all the explosions.
However, I think the storyline is pretty good and generally find that movie critics don't know what they're talking about, but that would be a whole other review. I remained fully concentrated from start to finish by everything that was happening in the movie. Yes, the storyline is the most in-depth, but it does provide the basis for a very entertaining movie, which is what it's supposed to be about.
There are plenty of laughs in this, delivered much in the same way as the original. The delivery of the lines is excellent and that's where the real comedy comes from. There is also a new decpeticon robot with a sort of Italian mobster accent, which is very funny.
The same cast returns and Shia LaBeouf is as good as always. I know some people don't like him, but I still feel that any movie he has been in has been good in my eyes. Megan Fox is back as well and wasn't in it as much as I would have liked.
Overall, this is one of the best movies I have ever seen (Transformers is my favourite movie of all time). It's maybe a little behind the first one, but still a very, very entertaining movie and that's all I'm after. I'll no doubt watch this a few more times and would recommend this to everyone, although your opinion on the first one will no doubt be replicated for this. Looking forward to the third.
Shia LaBeouf ... Sam Witwicky
Megan Fox ... Mikaela Banes
Josh Duhamel ... Major Lennox
Tyrese Gibson ... USAF Master Sergeant Epps
John Turturro ... Seymour Simmons
Ramon Rodriguez ... Leo Spitz
Kevin Dunn ... Ron Witwicky
Julie White ... Judy Witwicky
Isabel Lucas ... Alice
I was very lucky this Christmas to receive quite a few new DVD's as presents from my wife and family and spent a lazy afternoon yesterday watching a couple of them. I wanted to review them for here whilst the stories were fresh in my mind. So here goes with the first film I watched:
Transformers 2: Revenge of the fallen is the sequel to the 2007 blockbuster by Michael Bay and is a continuation from where the original ended and set 2 years into the future. The Autobots (good guys) are working alongside the US military to ensure that the Decepticons (bad guys) don't cause any trouble. Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) is trying to lead a normal life and is about to leave home for college leaving his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) behind, they decide to continue their romance long distance. When Sam finds a fragment of the "Allspark" from the original film on his clothing and touches it his mind is filled with alien symbols that originate from centuries ago and this information causes Sam to wonder about their origin. Meanwhile the Decepticons find out about another piece of "Allspark" that is being kept in a secure military facility and knowing that by retrieving it they can bring back to life the defeated Megatron they set about to get their hands on this powerful fragment thus resurrecting Megatron from his watery grave.
Now that Megatron is back and realising that Sam has knowledge about ancient folklore concerning a long forgotten artefact that could bring about the destruction of the Sun the Decepticons want to capture Sam to get this information from him. The Autobots have to step in to rescue Sam but a faceoff between Megatron and Optimus Prime results in tragedy for the Autobots and Sam with the help of his friends must try and get to the bottom of the mysterious symbols in his head and piece together the puzzle before being captured by the Decepticons.
How will Sam survive without the help of Optimus Prime and can they defeat the Decepticons and stop "The Fallen" from destroying the sun? That's all the plot I'm going to reveal here so you will have to see for yourself.
I had seen the original film back in 2007 and enjoyed the film immensely so was looking forward to seeing this sequel. From the start the characters were the same as the original so the film didn't take too long in introducing them all to us again and pretty much started as it meant to go on. The first film was an all-action good versus bad romp and this film attempted to out-do the first in the action stakes, there are some amazing set pieces that are visually stunning and incredible to watch with CGI being heavily relied on. The Transformers themselves are impressively designed and the transformation from cars/trucks/planes etc to robots is seamless and extremely effective and the effects do look incredibly real.
There were a few things that let this film down for me though and the main one was the amount of robots included, at times it was difficult to distinguish who was who and if they were the good guys or the bad ones, there are epic battles that feature numerous robots together and as they all look pretty similar to one another so they ended up all blurring into one for me.
The other let down for me was the length of the film, at 2 and a quarter hours it was far too long and had far too much padding during the middle sections, It could have benefited from at least 30 minutes being trimmed from the final edit and two versions of the film being offered with a "Directors Cut" featuring the additional footage. My patience and boredom levels were tested during this which is not good to say it was an all action film and I found myself willing the film to end from the 2 hour mark.
The acting from the humans was for the most part good, Shia LeBeouf seemed to pick up some heavy criticism from others for his portrayal of Sam, but to me was absolutely fine. Megan Fox as his girlfriend Mikaela provided something nice to look at and whilst that sounds harsh she didn't really contribute anything else to the film, in fact including Sams mother and a random Decepticon in the guise of a hot female college student there were only 3 females with speaking roles in what turned out to be an all-boys-together testosterone packed film.
For the special effects, CGI work and the Transformers themselves the film deserves much praise, but the meandering storyline and length of the film do let the film down overall. For me it was an overlong, maximum action - minimum believability film that tried to be bigger and better than the first film. In reality it was overly loud and confused and could have been a lot better than it actually turned out being.
Rated 12 in the UK there are fleeting expletives that you don't really notice due to the action and there is at least one use of the "F" word which didn't really need to be there, there is no blood or gore and the rating does seem fair to me. It probably would be a little intense for very young viewers but teenagers and fans of the cartoon version of the show should love it.
Me? It was good but not great, far too long, a bit too loud and had a confused storyline. As far as my rating is concerned it gets 3/5 Dooyoo stars from me; a good rating for a good film.
Available from Amazon for £9.98 or from the usual places that sell DVDs. Certainly worth renting but I would think twice about buying it unless the price came down in a sale.
Thanks for reading.
In Tranformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, the humans and autobots have formed an alliance to hunt down evil decepticons hiding out on Earth after the defeat of their leader Megatron in the first film.
Unknown to the autobots, an ancient decepticon known as The Fallen, is waiting in the wings to exact his revenge on the autobots and particularly Optimus Prime, one in a long line of Primes who have protected the Matrix Of Leadership, an all powerful power source.
This film follows the template of the first and amps up the volume...Explosions, big metal bad boys(and one girl bot who lasts two seconds. Boo!) kicking off, and...well that's it.
The plot would shame a good kids TV show, but that really doesn't matter. This is all about eye candy special effects and robo-rucks and if you take it too seriously, thats a bit sad. It's great fun and will entertain little kids and big kids alike.