Movie Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Short version: See it.
Medium version: People complain too much. See this movie and enjoy life.
Longer version: Critics have complained that the sequel to the blockbuster hit Transformers is too long, its violence is too gratuitous and its plot is nonexistent. These are the same people who complain about the lack of any emotional context of the dialogue in porn. Different movies fill different needs. Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer, Roland Emmerich, and Ridley Scott movies are not intended to make you think or feel in the way a Steven Soderbergh or even a Woody Allen film would.
These films are intended to rip through your rib cage, grab your inner caveman and drag your latté drinking, blog reading, aeron chair sitting, metaphor mixing ass through 210 minutes of heart pounding, libido stirring, pride swelling man-venture. If you’re looking for subtlety, read Jane Austen. These films are not about depth of character development, allegories and metaphors for Jesus Christ. This is about “Throg smash.” If you’re not into that, shop somewhere else.
As for complaints about the lack of a plot, I won’t dismiss those so easily. This film has a plot. It’s not “I see dead people” complicated, but it’s a plot. It hangs together and it is internally consistent (spoiler warning). The plot centers around a Palpatine to Megatron’s Vader, known as the Fallen, one of the earliest of the Cybertronian race. The Fallen was one of the “Primes”, an ancestor to Optimus, who, like Satan, fell from grace. The Fallen did so when he tried to destroy the Earth’s sun and was stopped by the other Primes. The Fallen has been somehow banished so long as a Prime lives.
Back in the present day, Megatron is resurrected with a sliver of the Allspark, and meets with the Fallen in a remote lair. The Fallen tells Megatron that he can only be killed by a Prime and Optimus is the last Prime left. He commands Megatron to kill Optimus, which he does. Optimus out of the way, the Fallen returns to Earth to finish what he started. The good guys fight to stop him and resurrect Optimus. Boom, bash, bang. Throg smash. Aaah.
That is a plot. Some snooty bastards might not like it, but it qualifies as a plot. The mere fact that some movie critics have to look down their noses in order to see the kinds of people who would enjoy a Michael Bay films does not mean you should avoid this one. After all, my enjoyment of a movie is often inversely proportional to the professional reviews of it.
As for the recent reports that the film depicts Obama was an appeaser, I disagree. Obama is barely mentioned by name, and it is a generic “National Security Advisor” (played snivelingly well by John Benjamin Hickey) who is the cowardly foil. There is no overt implication that Obama or his administration is attempting to appease the Decepticons. And, for the record, this kind of tension is formulaic in films where an enormous destructive force demands the other side turn over one, usually innocent, person. The fact that some people are so sensative when it’s Obama at the top of the chain of command speaks volumes.