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Brown Tweed Reviews: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

June 27, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen revels in its ridiculousness.  It is unapologetically absurd.  It scoffs at moderation, believability, and consistency.  And it is absolutely awesome.  Before I give my take on Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen, or “The Movie That Must Be Shown In Slow Motion”, read this fantastic review from, as it pretty well sums up the visual element.  (Caution: this review contains spoilers that aren’t really spoilers if you’ve ever seen an action movie before.)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, hereafter called T:ROTF, is not a good movie by any means: the dialog stinks for the most part, the plot overloads and confuses , and the acting consists mostly of running and screaming.  But while T:ROTF is not a good movie, it is a great movie.  I have seen no greater visual spectacle, no better use of CGI (morphing robots, of course, but also a perfectly-rendered Megan Fox), no more brazen—and effective—pander to hyper-masculinity.  You were expecting something different?

If you feel it necessary to know the plot synopsis, realize that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman also wrote the new Star Trek movie.  While writing T:ROTF, they must have gotten a call from J.J. Abrams reminding them that they were also supposed to be working on that movie, whose plot people would actually care about, so they put Abrams on hold and said, “Shit! OK, so Megatron comes back to life and flies off to another planet where there’s a more evil Decepticon like Emperor Palpatine to Megatron’s Darth Vader and he’s hooked up to some weird chair and they both come back to earth to find a machine built 18000 years ago that was supposed to eat our sun to make this stuff called Energon that keeps Transformers alive but the machine’s hidden in Egypt in a pyramid and even if they did find it it can only be activated by some weird looking thing called the, uh, Matrix of…Leadership!  that’s hidden in some temple thing and can only be found by translating some Transformer symbols that have to be deciphered by an old British Decepticon-turned-Autobot but then the Matrix turns to dust but it really didn’t because it’s about the leadership in your heart and you can bring Transformers back to life if you jam it in their chest and Megatron and Starscream fly off again so we can write Transformers 3: The Awesoming of the Savened.  Sweet!  Hey, J.J., are you still there?”

Michael Bay cares not about plot.  He feels that you will accept cursing, crude sex jokes (Devastator has giant testicles), objectionable ethnic stereotypes (the illiterate, big-eared, gold-toothed, ebonics-dropping ghetto-twin Autobots are as offensive as you’ve heard), and drug references instead of even remotely acceptable dialogue.  He expects that you will set aside notions of gender equality to ogle scantily-clad gorgeous 19-23 year-olds (the only women in the movie besides the main character’s mom and a couple women in uniform responding to military chatter).  He knows you will suspend your disbelief to be dazzled by more rockets, warplanes, gunfire, and explosions than you have ever seen in one movie.  (Strangely, though, retired Navy Seal Harry Humphries, with whom Bay has consulted on lots of movies, explains that this clocks in as one of the most realistic war movies out there–barring the giant, alien, technologically-superior robots part). Bay is supremely confident that you will do all these things, because he has constructed for you the paragon of the summer movie: big, loud, long, intense, and visually unmatched.  The freeway skirmish, the clash in the forest, and the desert battle are so pixel-packed with jaw-dropping action that you’ll feel like you were in a horrible car wreck but emerged unscathed.

So insult the movie, if you must, for its lack of insight.  Assail it for its shallowness.  Condemn it for its stratospheric, record-crushing success, for it will encourage of more of the same.  I however, spent $6.25 (matinee), and got what I wanted out of every damn cent:  entertainment.

  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 30, 2009 11:00 pm


  2. Mark M permalink
    July 1, 2009 12:23 pm

    I saw it compared to the Book of Revelation: it doesn’t make a lick of sense and at the end everything explodes.


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