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Fred Reviews Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Published June 23, 2009 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen Poster Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers is no longer better than sex. Now it’s just a sequel. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is not better than sex. Now there’s hope Transformers 3 will be better than sex again. If Revenge of the Fallen were still better, I don’t know what I’d say the third time.

Review: Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

The first teaser trailer was right. The one where it looked way too busy and you couldn’t tell what was going on or who was who, and without any of the whimsy or magic, that’s what it actually turned out to be. Not that second trailer that made it look like an actual sequel to the first one. It’s not that.

I tried to go with it. Starting in 17,000 B.C. is some 2001 sh*t. Big robots stomping prehistoric natives is fun. The idea of the military having procedures for containment of rogue Decepticons is a nice bit of reality, like how would the government of 2009 handle this fantasy problem?

At first the bigger destruction seems to flow. It’s like Parkour robots, so even though there’s stuff all over the place, you can see the robots moving gracefully within it. Even if it’s not the magical wonder movie, this is promising for another episode of Transformers. I’d still want that to exist. Indiscriminate destruction is fun.

If the human storylines in the original were knowingly silly to make the robots seem like mature, real entities, they really lost that here. The parent scenes are totally lame and it just barely knows that the whole “L word” issue is a total cliché. It’s like whatever people forgave the first time, they pushed their luck way too far.

Honestly, why are they trying to have it both ways? No one’s here for the college/relationship story. The humans were only tolerable at best in the first one. One funny thing is the college douche bags. “There is no tighter shirt. We checked,” is the funniest line of the year. But that only suggests the promise of having fun with college douche bags who get their comeuppance via robot destruction. That never happens, it’s just a worthless detour of a scene. <P:> More plot is not the answer though. They could cut 20 minutes of talking out and get right to the robot fights. Way to tell us, and the Decepticons, all the exposition. A suit gives everything away for anyone listening in. Also, jive talking Autobots were a really bad idea.

The action scenes get way too busy. They’ve made the mistake of doing everything they’re able to do. They need limitations to be creative. It was much more compelling when one robot car was chasing the hero in a factory and transformers when he’s able to. Now Imax screens full of robot parts just lose you. They wrestle in a forest, so what? Something major happens too and there’s no investment.

It’s an hour before you see an Imax sequence anyway. After that, it’s two. The Imax doesn’t really do anything for the movie though. It’s bigger, but there’s no scale or focus. The Dark Knight sequences directed your eye to a portion of the screen. You need empty space to achieve the Imax effect of enveloping you. Just filling the frame with action makes it nothing more than a blow-up of a normal film scene.

Bay starts doing the shaky cam thing too. Et tu, Michael? The shots are proficient. They have robots interacting with the foreground and the camera moving around, so it’s not static to accommodate for the effects. They do fun things to show the scale of the robots, but that’s lost in the business.

Transformers is still better than sex. I stand by that. I know my current girlfriend isn’t happy about that, but she knew this about me when we got together. It was the first review of mine she found, and I’m not going to change for anyone. But honey, you’ve got it all over Revenge of the Fallen. Even the tags in the end credits suck.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Paramount

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