Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
Directed by Michael Bay
It's tempting to dismiss Michael Bay's long, loud and ludicrous sequel to2007's Transformers with one word — hunkajunk. On every level this movie is as bankrupt as GM. But there is more to be said about a movie this gargantuan ($200 million spent on robot hardbodies) and galactically stupid. Transformers: The Revenge of The Fallen is beyond bad, it carves out its own category of godawfulness. And, please, you don't have to remind me that theriginal was a colossal hit ($700 million worldwide) and the sequel will probably do just as well. I know it's popular. So is junk food, and they both poison your insides and rot your brain. But I do accept that Bay is unique. No one can top him for telling a story with such striking, shrieking incoherence.
Bay picks up the Transformers story by sending Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeoufelling every line of dialogue) off to college, leaving behind his mechanic girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox). Let's pause a moment and talk about Bay and his masterful objectification of women. He intros Fox in tight shorts, bent over a motorcycle. I can almost hear Bay behind the camera like a porn director who's captured a clone of Angelina Jolie: "Push that butt out, Megan, twitch it. Now turn, bend, show the rack. Now lick those lips, pout that pout. Hey, makeup, we need more lip gloss." He even brings in another hottie, Isabel Lucas, as Alice, another student who never cracks a book. I assume this is Bay U. Alice gives Sam tongue in ways you won't believe.
Oh, where was I? Yeah, the bots. Sam also leaves behind his first love. That'd be Bumblebee, the yellow Camaro who morphs into Sam's robot guardian angel when needed. He's letting his friends the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), work out their differences with the feds. But what of the devious Decepticons, led by Megatron and The Fallen? Do you think they'll escape confinement and try to destroy the world in battle scenes where you can't tell who's fighting who? Do you think Bay cashes his paycheck?
The plot devolves into a chase story in Egypt and the destruction of theyramids. More importantly, the story answers the question of who will say "I love you" first — Sam or Mikaela? I'll never tell. I have to salute Bay for helping to create two of the most offensive bots in screen history — Skids (Tom Kenny) and Mudflap (Reno Wilson), Chevy concept cars who do black stereotypes in ways that would shame Jar Jar Binks.
But I've said enough. Go ahead, have your senses senselessly pounded for two and a half hours. And, please, it's not that I hate robot movies. I stand second to no one in admiring the power and dark poetry that James Cameron brought to the first two Terminator films. I even have a dream that the great bots of movie history — Robby, Gort, HAL, R2-D2, C-3PO, the alien from Alien, the sentinels from The Matrix and all the Terminators — will one day march on Bay, who is the true Decepticon. Disguised as a human director, Bay is actually a destroyer of dreams. When Hasbro invented those Transformers toys, the intention was for kids to use their imagination about what those bots would morph into. Bay crushes that imagination with his own crude interpretations that seem untouched by human hands and spirit. I know there are still 17 months to go, but I'm thinking Transformers 2 has a shot at the title Worst Movie of the Decade.
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