Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
Michael Bay was never going to win an Oscar. That is unless they created a category for personal masturbation. In the latest addition to the Transformers franchise, Bay has raised the illusion that he is giving the audience exactly what they want.
Cue more explosions, more machines, more Megan Fox mimicking the cast of Baywatch on a soundstage. Unfortunately, in attempting to give the test market (here it was evidently ignorant, white men with the mentality of a 14 year old) exactly what they want, it only highlights everything that is wrong with Bay’s technique but also with modern cinema; sacrificing story for explosions and lowest common denominator comedical techniques that are now removed from 70’s British television.
The story again centres on Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) as he leaves his parents and apparently more significantly, his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) to attend an East Coast college. What he seems to be trying to escape from are the Autobots who are now part of a highly elite government agency known as NEST to combat the continual attacks from the Decepticons, who despite their leader Megatron being absent seem to be search for something else and with increasing frequency. Unfortunately, beyond this the story never attempts to regain any significant momentum. New transformers are introduced constantly without any explanation and exit just as quickly. Embracing action and stereotypes has always been the directors prerogative and given considerable more reign on this outing has done nothing but add the issues that were inherent in the first outing. Bay’s ability to insult is more impressive than many other factors; whereas his employed stereotypes of the Jewish and African American community seem forced and stilted with every joke, which come with increasing frequency throughout the bloated 150 minute run time, he rather impressively manages to insult women as an entire gender without any forward planning.
Another potentially overlooked element is Bay’s ability self-reference. Whereas some directors will take minor cameos, happy to fulfill their ego by filling a background spot, Bay is happiest when filling as many scenes as possible with his image or works; in repeated scenes of Sam’s dorm-room, one of the clearest items on the wall is a Bad Boys II poster, filmed front and centre as if the the camera is anchored upon it. It’s not often that you find images of someone blowing themselves so clearly, the impressive thing about it is the length and frequency with which he does it, as if he is immortalising himself for posterity.
As for the action, it suffers from its own complexity. The set pieces are so rehearsed and complex, especially those involving the ever CGI-heavy robots that it becomes nothing more than a large pixilated mess. It is impossible at times to tell who or what is involved in the action and even that depends on whether the scene itself seems mildly probable.
Overall, it’s not worth the 9 euro ticket or the length of time it will take you to figure out that you won’t get that spent watching back.