Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers 2 Is Just 2 Much

Because I actually have to work today, I want to keep this short and sour. Seriously, going for a short word count here.

Let me just start of by saying that Transformers 2 is not a good movie. I am, for the most part, a Michael Bay apologist. I don't think any of his movies are QUALITY entertainment, but they are ENTERTAINING. Michael Bay knows how to direct action. He can make a blockbuster, special effects extravaganza. But Transformers 2 was any 2 of his old movies slammed together (like so many giant, alien robots within the film itself) and then turned up to 11.

At two and a half hours, Transformers 2 feels too long by at least a half hour, if not more. There are so many parts that could have been scrapped as they serve absolutely no purpose in the movie (besides earning some laughs at the utter stupidity of the situation). We see dogs humping, Transformers humping, a mother whacked out on pot brownies, Transformer testicles, Transformer farting, racially-stereotyped Transformers...the list goes on and on. Sure, I saw a lot of these things and smiled or even chuckled, but it was from a state of shock; I was reacting to all of the asinine imagery in the way the filmmakers wanted, but for all of the wrong reasons.

The plot is...not there? Kinda there? Maybe? I'm not sure. Long story short, Transformers have been to earth before. Transformers arrive, help humans build pyramids, build a machine to steal our sun even though they're not supposed to because it's OUR sun so the Transformers are divided and thus we have Autobots and Decepticons, yeah. Oh, and the Fallen? Why, exactly, is it that he can only be defeated by a Prime (did not realize the Prime in Optimus Prime was actually a last name, passed down the ancestral tree)? Because it's revealed to us in scene of exposition, of course.

A lot of the characters are back, but not necessarily for the better. Shia is still Shia, Megan is still hot, Turturro is still zany, but others are just...there. Josh Duhamel's character now exists to be that guy yelling orders on the battlefield--and Tyrese is there to spout one-liners and act as a wall for Josh to bounce lines off of--the end. A new hottie is introduced but, SPOILER, she's a Decepticon in disguise and gets run over by a Volvo (or something) during the first half. Shia has a roommate who decides to run with Shia and Megan as giant robots attack, and thus becomes a major character in the film--and by major character in the film I, of course, mean he's in the movie ONLY to provide comic relief in a movie that is filled to brim with comic relief.

The action is still big and flashy, but not all that involving. I was never really awed by any of it--unlike my first viewing of the first one. Big, CGI robots bash heads and there's sparks and explosions and fire--your typical Michael Bay fare--but there were a few points where I couldn't tell which Transformers were in the fight. I think everything just went so over-the-top that I stopped caring about anything; instead, I switch my brain to stand-by mode and just stared at the pretty pretties.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will make lots and lots o' money (the Amigo here in Bemidji had it in 3 screens last night at midnight, and they were all sold out), but that doesn't mean it's GOOD. No, it's the very definition of a summer popcorn flick AND THEN SOME. It's too long, too over-the-top, it's just too much. Dial it back a bit, Bay. Give us a high octane special effects/action flick where we can actually respect the characters and the story, not pity them.

By the way, what is it with Michael Bay films looking like recruitment ads for the military? I understand that Bay gets to save some money because he's got the right friends in the right places--I assume it's one of those "make the military look badass and we'll let you use some tanks, jets, etc"--but at some point, it just gets to be a bit too much.

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