Awfully Good: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen + Maximum Overdrive video!
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro
Shia LeBeouf and some robots wander around the planet in search of a plot.
I don't expect too much out of the TRANSFORMERS franchise. Take, for instance, the poster for the fourth movie AGE OF EXTINCTION: A giant robot wielding a giant sword riding a fire-breathing robot dinosaur. I realize that's really, really stupid, but that's exactly what I want from these films. Check your brain at the door for big action, stellar visual effects, and… well, that's pretty much it. Unfortunately, REVENGE OF THE FALLEN expects you to completely destroy your brain before it gives you anything else.
Michael Bay's remake of MILO & OTIS was predictable.
Granted this first sequel is something of a special case. The 2007 Writer's Guild strike hit right as production was ramping up and forced the film to shoot without a finished script. Obviously with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman behind the words there wasn't too much hope to begin with, but in this case it was the worst case scenario—they turned in a 60-page treatment the night before the strike, leaving Michael Bay to fill in the blanks as they shot. And REVENGE OF THE FALLEN is exactly what you get when you let Michael Bay make things up as he goes along: unnecessary humor, broad stereotypical characters, a nonsensical story that is literally just a collection of action beats, and humping. Oh, so much humping.
I feel like I could write an entire thesis on all the ways this movie fails, but let's cover the
Oh, look. Ron Jeremy's cell phone is transforming.
The length. There is no reason on God's green earth that this movie needs to be two and a half hours long. Even if the action scenes weren't repetitive and oftentimes incomprehensible, there's so much unnecessary, extraneous stuff that makes the film something I never thought a Michael Bay film could be—boring. You could take out the entire college section. Sam's parents. The roommate character who tags along for no reason. The government bad guy who is literally jettisoned from the film when it figures out it has nothing for him to do. You could easily trim an entire hour out of this movie without affecting the "story" whatsoever.
Nothing says solidarity between two alien races like peeing off an overpass together.
The "story." After a prologue that suggests epic historical battles between cavemen, tigers and alien robots, we learn that in the two years since the first movie, the Autobots have teamed up with a secret military squad to hunt Decepticons all over the world. That's an awesome movie! Why can't we have that movie?!
Instead they just rehash the first film. Sam finds a shard of the All-Spark in his clothes (which he apparently hasn't washed in the two years since) and it embeds itself in his DNA and drives him insane—even though he grabbed the entire All-Spark barehanded in the last movie. Also, the Decepticons steal the All-Spark and use it to bring Megatron back to life, even though it was what killed him in the last movie.
This all somehow leads to an aimless apocalyptic adventure around the world. Towards the end of the film, the filmmakers realize they never explained the plot, so a character actually projects a mini-movie explaining what's going on: Super bad guy The Fallen has a device called the Matrix of Leadership which controls a machine that will destroy the sun. Earlier Transformers stole it and hid it in a tomb made out of their own bodies, which Sam now has to find. Though if he doesn't find it, the Fallen will never get it, so…
Caffeinated drink. Pictures of random hot girls. Assorted tech equipment. Minority character off to the side. This shot perfectly encapsulates Michael Bay.
The direction and the script. Your typical Michael Bayisms are all present. A constantly moving, often spinning camera. Slow motion, orange-tinted humans. Hiring a badger on PCP as the Director of Photography. And a gigantic ego that would allow Shia LeBeouf's character to drawn attention to a BAD BOYS II poster hanging up in his dorm. However, the screenplay is the real downfall here. How bad is it? Not only does it use exposition to awkwardly explain things to the audience, but also to drive the plot forward. My favorite example is the government agent who perfectly sums up Megatron's precise location, where they're keeping the All-Spark and who's guarding it—all in casual conversation in front of a Decepticon spy.
The "humor."Here are things Michael Bay finds funny: Robot testicles, robot penis guns, robot farts, robot humping and dogs humping, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a robot Cleveland Steamer in the fifth movie.
Shia LeBeouf reaches maximum douche.
Shia LeBeouf. He's there. He runs around a lot. And for some reason refuses to tell Megan Fox he loves her despite the fact that they've been dating for two years and she looks like Megan Fox.
This photo is the extent of Megan Fox's character arc in this movie.
Megan Fox. Fox may be bored out of her mind, but thankfully she's so hot she can turn an evil Decepticon in to a slobbering horndog that goes from trying to kill her to humping her leg.
Sam's parents. They're included for comic relief, which in this movie includes taking turns fighting, being horny and eating pot brownies. Their dogs are also constantly humping each other as visual metaphor for what Michael Bay is doing to your humanity.
"I call this The Bat Wing. Up next is The Goat." -John Turturro
John Turturro. When he's not staring at mechanical gonads or showing you his ass in a thong, the talented character actor is delivering lines like, "Oh God, this is it. The Pyramid's built right over the machine! They turn that machine on... no more sun. Not on my watch. Not on MY watch!"
The college roommate. Jonah Hill was originally offered this role, but turned it down when he realized how stupid it was. Sam just happens to room with a Tansformers conspiracy theorist hunting down the truth about robots in disguise. Which begs the question—how is the government managing to cover up their existence? They publicly attacked L.A. in the last film and Shanghai at the beginning of this one. Was nobody on Earth paying attention?
Having the character break the fourth wall to ask the audience for some watermelon was the last straw.
The twins. Sam is forced to travel around the world with the Transformer versions of Jar Jar Binks: Skids and Mudflap. With their gold teeth, ghetto speak and admissions of illiteracy, the twins are painful racial caricatures that are as annoying as they are offensive. Who thought this was a good idea?
Yep, that's a girl covered in Bumblebee juice. Stay classy, Michael Bay.
The human Decepticon. While at college, Sam runs in to a girl who shows a keen interest in him. They go back to his place where she reveals herself to be a Decepticon with boobs. She then chases Sam and destroys a library because that seems like something Michael Bay hates. So, let me get this straight… the Decepticon applied to college, was accepted, and enrolled in classes on the off chance that she would be assigned to Sam's dorm? This raises so many questions. Can they all transform in to humans? How do they create organic material? And more importantly, why does she bother to seduce and make out with Sam before trying to kill him?
It wasn't hard to spot what was edited in the TV version.
The ending.No matter where they were on the planet previously, everyone shows up in Egypt for the pyramid-destroying finale—Megatron, the Army guys from the first movie, even Sam's parents. (Although they're pretty quick to drive away and abandon their son when things go down.) During the chaos, Sam actually dies in an explosion. For some reason, he goes to Robot Heaven where the other ghost Primes tell him the Matrix of Leadership is not found, it's earned. Then they send him back to Earth. <-- This really happens.
Just as in the first movie, Sam puts a random device in to a robot's chest. This time he stabs Optimus with the Matrix and brings him back to life. (Oh yeah, Optimus died at the beginning and sat out most of the movie.) Predictably, The Fallen finally shows up out of nowhere and steals the Matrix so he can destroy the sun (…ugh). But it's okay; Optimus didn't really need it. An elderly Autobot who farts and walks with a cane named Jetfire offers to sacrifice himself and give Optimus all his parts. For some reason, fusing himself with the skin of some old dude gives him a "power you've never known" and wings, like Red Bull.
At this point, you've suffered through one of the longest, purposeless movies on record, so get ready to be rewarded with the shortest, most anti-climactic fight ever. Two Prime Transformers fighting to the death should be amazing. Instead, the duo exchange a couple punches before Optimus just rips off The Fallen's face and punches through his heart. The end.
Excuse me, I need to go watch BAD BOYS II to get the taste of robot dung out of my mouth.
The "best" of the twins, Autobot one-liners, and Shia LeBeouf acting like a crazy person five years before that was a real thing.
Robot testicles, robot penis guns, robots farting, robot humping, dogs humping, and the entirety of the disappointingly anti-climactic final fight.
So it's possible in this franchise for one Transformer to teabag another? Got it.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Something is supposed to be funny
- Someone runs in slow motion
- The camera spins around a character
- The twins do something racist
- Someone gets humped or tazed
- There's obvious product placement
Double shot if:
- Another Michael Bay movie appears
Thanks to Ryan for suggesting this week's movie!
And check out this week's video of Awfully Good Movies: MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE!
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|Extra Tidbit:||I saw this movie at a screening with Michael Bay back in 2009. He told an amazing story about yelling at a Navy admiral to "get his f*cking aircraft carrier out of my shot."|