Aug 10, 2017
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) (part 5 of 6)
Sam and the Gang break into the Smithsonian, and use the Allspark shard to find one of the old Transformers. We see various old WWII bomber planes and NASA space vehicles, giving me hope that we might see something really cool.
Instead, we get Jetfire.
Jetfire, the toy, was originally a Veritech fighter from the anime Robotech. Hasbro liked the design and turned it into a Transformer, who had a backstory where he started out as a Decepticon, and was friends with Starscream, but then set aside his evil ways and became an Autobot. He was one of the few multi-dimensional characters on the Transformers TV series (where he was called Jetstorm), and when I heard he was in the movie, I was pretty psyched.
Then I saw the character.
First, his vehicle form is an SR-71 Blackbird. It seems an odd choice, but it doesn’t really matter, since once he turns into robot mode, he stays that way. But secondly, and most annoyingly, he’s played as an old man robot, complete with a “get off my lawn!” attitude, a cane, a long beard, and at least one incontinence joke. Yeah, that’s Jetfire, alright.
He stomps around sounding pissed off, and then blows open the doors to the hangar. He stomps outside where it’s suddenly (a) broad daylight, and (b) an airplane graveyard in Arizona. Yes, apparently when you walk out of the Smithsonian’s back door, you travel through time and space! Well, I guess you actually do, but only in a metaphorical sense.
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There’s some banter between our heroes and Jetfire, who goes on about how these damn robots today have no respect for their elders. Along the way, Wheelie farts, Jetfire farts… there’s lots of robots farting in this movie. And then, for no reason, Wheelie starts humping Mikaela’s leg. There is literally no reason why this happens.
And then the movie decides to return to the actual story, where Jetfire tells Sam and the Gang that they’re part of his mission on Earth. Of course they are. So he grabs everyone and brings them all nearer to their goal by teleporting them to Egypt.
Wait, teleporting? Only one character in Transformers lore could ever teleport, and that was Skywarp. Why bother having Jetfire teleport anyone? He can turn into a freaking jet! Shouldn’t everyone just pile in and fly? The SR-71 was incredibly fast. They’d be in Egypt within a couple of hours, and it would make a lot more sense then everybody just teleporting! Argh!
And then we find out that Bumblebee, Mudflap, and Skids have also been teleported here. What the hell? They weren’t even at the museum! And when Mikaela teleports in, her face ends up in Leo’s crotch. Thankfully, Leo makes this even funnier by telling her she “landed on my testicles.” Moving on.
So everyone has been teleported to the middle of an empty desert wasteland which Leo, apparently tipped off by the absence of hookers, bright lights, fountains, money, and cars, guesses is Las Vegas. And I believe the plot is officially missing, presumed dead.
And then we get one of the hallmarks of a true bad movie when all of the important exposition gets crammed into this one scene.
Here, Jetfire reveals that his ancestors came to earth thousands of years ago looking for the energy source creatively called “Energon”. After he farts some more, he explains that his ancestors used a machine to blow up suns and create Energon, but they had a pact never to destroy the sun of an inhabited world. That is, until the Fallen decided to create a machine to blow up earth’s sun, because he hated the humans for reasons never explained. And that machine turns out to be the Decepticon outpost we saw in the “17,000 B.C.” prologue.
Some robots named the “Primes” came together and defeated the Fallen, and took away the Matrix of Leadership, which apparently powers the sun-destroying machine. They buried it somewhere in the desert, inside of a tomb made of their own bodies. And the symbols in Sam’s brain are somehow the key to locating that tomb and the Matrix.
I hope you got all that, because I’m not going back over it. Too much exposition makes my brain hurt.
Now that they have an actual goal in mind, the gang heads off to call in the military. And this is where we learn the characters are currently in Egypt, which we only know by all the camels and shots of the Pyramids.
Suddenly, the Egyptian police are chasing them for no reason that I can determine. Maybe it’s due to a lack of chest hair and ‘80s music pumping forth from their cars.
And this movie, I swear to you, gives us an actual honest-to-god Fruit Cart Scene™. It’s like Michael Bay is deliberately trying to hit every Bad Movie Cliché he can think of.
The heroes escape from the police, but the movie gives us no clue how they get away. Instead, we cut to Bumblebee, Skids, and Mudflap hanging off a building while Mikaela keeps watch in a burqa.
Our heroes are still trying to remain hidden from the authorities, so Sector 7 Guy (hereafter called S7G) calls up the military and speaks in code to tell them where they’re headed, so they can send in reinforcements. He speaks in an incredibly clever and obscure code, and then ends the call by giving them his latitude and longitude coordinates.
Sigh. I think I lost ten IQ points just from that.
Our characters need to get to Jordan, so they hop into Bumblebee and Skids and Mudflap and drive to the border between Jordan and Egypt. Yes, they drive to the border between Jordan and Egypt. Apparently, Google Earth is wrong, as is every map in the known world. It turns out Egypt and Jordan share a land border which is, I assume, news to Israel.
The team crosses the border through the cunning tactic of saying, “We’re from New York.” The border guard commander (played by Deep Roy, known to the world from such works of art as The NeverEnding Story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang) apparently thinks that’s good enough.
But Sam’s face is recorded by cameras at the border checkpoint. Soundwave, still monitoring satellite communications, picks this up and sends Starscream off in pursuit, and we thankfully get a caption that says, “Starscream in Pursuit”.
And so, Deep Roy lets our heroes cross into Jordan, where they set up camp for the night at the Pyramids. In Jordan.
Like I said, the Pentagon in D.C. is the least of the geographical fuck-ups in this movie.
You might think maybe that wasn’t actually a border checkpoint, but Sam quite clearly yells “Checkpoint!” when they drive up to it. Plus, the guards on one side are wearing different uniforms from the guards on the other side.
They make camp for the night at the Pyramids of Jordan, making me really wish Jaws would pop up and take a bite out of someone. Then Sam spots Orion’s belt and deduces that under the belt is where the Matrix is located. The stars, I can’t help but notice, are much larger and spaced much farther apart then they are in real life, but what the hell? This is a world where the Egyptian pyramids are located in Jordan, so why not fuck with the stars, too?
And just to mess with our heads a little bit more, S7G says the stars point “due east, towards Jordan.” I hate this movie.
Meanwhile, the NEST team is scrambling to get to the gang. On the plane, they decide they need to get rid of Mr. NSA, so they trick him into bailing out.
Yes, they just pushed the president’s National Security Advisor (you know, the job Condoleezza Rice once had) out of an aircraft for no particular reason, putting him into a situation where he could get captured by god knows who and give up intelligence that would put our entire country in danger. This makes perfect sense. What’s the lives of 300 million Americans when you can stick it to stuffy government bureaucrats?
Now come shots of one of the great archaeological sites in the world: Petra. It’s an incredibly beautiful site, and it was used to great effect in Spielberg’s own Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Here, its only job is to be the location of the tomb of the Primes, which was hidden over ten thousand years ago. This is quite impressive, given that the site is only about 2,100 years old.
Petra is, in fact, located in Jordan, and the Pyramids aren’t. Looking at the scenes again, I wonder if maybe someone just wasn’t paying attention in the editing booth. If the scene of everyone crossing the border was shown in the early morning, before they got to Petra, it would’ve made sense and shown that they were in Egypt during the night and Jordan in the morning. But as we all know, continuity is for losers.