Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) (part 1 of 6)

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The Cast of Characters:
Shia LaBeouf as Sam WitwickySam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). An annoying guy who was somewhat endearing in the first movie, and now just irritates whenever he’s on screen. Doesn’t do much aside from run around, scream, get blown up, and not tell his girlfriend he loves her.
Megan Fox as MikaelaMikaela (Megan Fox). Sam’s insanely hot girlfriend. Her purpose in the movie is… is… actually, I’m not really sure. I know it’s something. Oh, wait. It’s standing around looking hot, and also possibly being a director stand-in for Michael Bay, which is disturbing on multiple levels.
Kevin Dunn and Julie White as Sam's ParentsSam’s Parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White). Exist only to embarrass their son and generate cheap laughs. Somehow, even more stupid and annoying than they were in the first movie, and that’s saying something.
Ramon Rodriguez as LeoLeo (Ramon Rodriguez). Sam’s idiotic roommate. He runs a conspiracy theory website about how the alien robots are real, man, and they live among us! The truth is out there, dude! But mostly, he just irritates, too.
John Tuturro as Seymour SimmonsSeymour Simmons (John Tuturro). The Sector 7 jerk from the first movie, who’s now here to show off his hairy butt to the world. Also, one of roughly sixteen comic relief characters in the film.
Voice of Peter Cullen as Optimus PrimeOptimus Prime (Voice of Peter Cullen). Leader of the Autobots. He stands around and makes grand statements and speaks in noble sounding quotes, while reminding the viewer how much better the crappy animated version of Optimus was.
Voice of Hugo Weaving, not that you'd notice as MegatronMegatron (Voice of Hugo Weaving, not that you’d notice). Leader of the Decepticons. Well, sort of. His boss in this movie seems to be a new character called the Fallen, so I’m not sure what Megatron’s job is anymore. Appears here despite being killed off in the last movie.
Voice of Tony Todd as The FallenThe Fallen (Voice of Tony Todd). Megatron’s boss. Yeah, it’s news to me that he had one. Galvatron had one, you know? In the animated film, which was way better than this movie? I hate Michael Bay so much.
Voices of Reno Wilson and Tom Kenny as Skids and MudflapSkids and Mudflap (Voices of Reno Wilson and Tom Kenny). Dese be a couple hard workin’ Autobots, yes, dey is! Dey’s gonna work mighty hard for you, massa! You don’t need to worry none about them bein’ uppity, and you ain’t gonna need to whup ‘em none, cause dey keeps to dey place!

The critics rave about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen!

“…Michael Bay’s latest bid to bludgeon audiences into dulled submission is the reductio ad absurdum of a summer blockbuster. It is loud (boom!), long (two and a half hours!), incoherent (poorly explained intergalactic warfare!), leering (Megan Fox in short shorts!), racist (jive-talkin’ robot twins!), and rife with product tie-ins (Chevy! Hasbro!)… John Yoo would not be able to draft a memo excusing the torment this movie inflicts on its audience…”
—Dana Stevens, Slate

“Bay stages battle sequences the way a three-year old plays with Legos. He dumps everything out at once in one loud crash, and just starts snapping pieces together and tossing them into each other… And much like a child at play, things get loud, there’s a lot of screaming, and shit gets destroyed.”
—Capone, Ain’t It Cool News

Transformers: 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 the original 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.”
—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

These days, it doesn’t feel like summer until Michael Bay gets the chance to visit upon us his latest cinematic abortion, and in the case of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, he has truly set the gold standard for awful blockbuster films.

I liked (or at least tolerated) the first movie. I didn’t think it was great cinema by any means, but it was reasonably entertaining and succeeded despite Michael Bay’s best efforts. At the time, I figured Spielberg had managed to reign in Bay’s habitual excesses, and actually found myself looking forward to the sequel.

How naive I was…

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Multi-Part Article: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

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  • Shatbox

    I saw the first one and hated it and stopped there. I went back and watched the original cartoon as an adult and it wasn’t just absolutely terrible science fiction and not at all by children’s standards. i wondered why the original story wasn’t used (An Allspark? Really? Is this science or fantasy fiction here?). Then I realized that’s what Michael Bay does. He takes a decent story, strips it down to it’s shell, and uses that to blow shit up for 2 hours. He will rot for all time for raping my childhood.

    • Guest

      The idea of an Allspark-like device goes back to the cartoon, with the supercomputer Vector Sigma. The Marvel Comics introduced the Creation Matrix, which is part of the Transformers’ creator god Primus, who along with Unicron and The Fallen is a multi-universal being that exists as part of or the entirety of the planet Cybertron (or Gobotron in the Go-Bots universe) in all the Transformers franchises/universes.

      Complaining about Bay not making his movies like G1 is like complaining about the creators of “Car Robots”, the Unicron Trilogy, or the Aligned universe for not making them like G1. People are allowed to make different versions of established franchises (which is as much of Transformers as Optimus dying at least once in every universe), and Bay’s movies are “Citizen Kane” compared to some of the other efforts (look up “Transformers: Kiss Players”, if you dare).

  • Priscilla

    I know this is old, but I have to correct to things.
    – Jetfire was called Skyfire in the cartoon presumably due to issues with Takara.

    – A minor one, but the purple motorcycle we see get blown up is not Arcee, but Elita-1. Arcee is the pink one… which gets blown up in the next shot. The only one we don’t see get blown up is the blue one, Chromia. Michael Bay said on the commentary that she dies offscreen which makes we wonder why he even included them, since they get less than a minute of screen time. Granted that could of been at Hasbro’s insistence since they and so many other minor characters got toys made of them.

    Also, it’s common knowledge now that the script wasn’t finished when they started filming because of the writer’s strike, but most people don’t know is that the man who stepped in to finish it was Bay himself, which explains a few things, like why the supposedly heroic and noble Optimus acts like sociopath who executes defeated prisoners.

  • drdvdplayerhandbook

    I don’t meant to defend this film, but I want to pinpoint something about the Allspark only making Decepticons, and it’s that, given the story of the movie, it actually makes sense.

    You see, in the first movie it was explained how all current technology on the planet has been reverse-engineered from Megatron’s frozen body. That would mean that all Earth’s existent technology is potentially a Decepticon, since they basically used Decepticon blueprints for it.

    Now, if Michael Bay actually noticed this or he’s just having dumb luck, I can’t tell.

  • Matthew K.

    The reason Wheelie humps Mikaela’s leg is because we are informed Megan Fox meets some intergalactic standard of supreme hotness, but he’d been holding off because they’re enemies. When Jetfire (or Skyfire, or Jetstorm, or whatever) reveals that being an Autobot or a Decepticon is really more of a political choice, Wheelie can finally express his stupid, perverted robot feelings.

    Of course that somewhat goes against the whole “Allspark only makes Decepticons because technology is reverse-engineered from Decepticons” thing that the movie tries to establish.