15th June 2007 – 20 June 2009
The period of good films is at an end – all hail a two year unbroken viewing experience!
All hail Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for breaking that glorious two years that have not only been good but also presented some absolute classics! Such is its mighty power that the glory days of cinema are over – from henceforth we expect nothing but utter crap!
Actually it isn’t as bad as the last piece of utter shite I saw at the cinema (Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End) but it’s the slimmest of margins. Everything that I liked about the first film, all its likeable charm and humour is gone in favour of bad jokes, annoying comedy side-kicks and military fetishism – and worst of all a wildly uneven tone (actually in that respect it resembles POTC:AWE).
It looked promising – a pre-credits sequence hints at the possibility of a darker tone (it hasn’t one, just wild shifts for no rhyme or reason) before kicking off with a superb action sequence that culminates in a free-falling Prime, but even here the signs of what’s to come can be seen – the gloriously pornographic shots of military hardware, the bad comedy squabbling between the “comedy” (and I use that phrase in the loosest terms) robots and explosions – can’t think of which way to take the plot? Fuck it, here’s another explosion!
This promise even extends to the effects which appear to be even clearer than last time, but even they seem to suffer in a drop in quality as the film progresses becoming less & less clear and more & more frantic – another reason for the wild shifts in tone – as if the direction that things were supposed to go wasn’t decided until the very last moment. I just hope to God that this wasn’t the result of test screenings as I don’t want to contemplate the mess others saw before it was finished.
Now I’m not looking for Godfather levels of plotting from a film about giant killer robots, but the first film actually set out its stall quite well by having such things as characterisation, a sense of fun and didn’t take itself seriously. Unfortunately here instead we have bad stereotypes, a race just to be bigger, better & faster and a crippling sense of “Cosmic Destiny” – everything that just kills a Summer movie dead.
(Aside – not to say that “Cosmic Destiny” can’t work, Star Trek did it very well but succeeded because it didn’t take that aspect too seriously, something this instead attempts to give a sense of gravitas).
The problem is that even without a basic remnant of plot and characterisation a film stands no chance as there’s nothing for anyone to hang any sense of commitment onto. Instead you end up with gloriously over the top slow motion running towards the camera in an effort to install gravitas – sorry, we’ve seen Hot Fuzz, that doesn’t work anymore – it doesn’t. It just kills the pace. Seriously, run all the slow motion sequences at full speed and you’d drop twenty minutes off the running time. Remove all the military porn shots and you’d hit the magic two hour mark.
So, no plot, no characterisation and a wildly uneven tone and I’ve not even got to the most crippling (and unfortunately, a sign of potential promise in Bay’s future) aspect of the film.
Porn, Military Porn.
The real stars of the show are the US Military and all of the technological marvels that they use to win the day for the good ole’ USA. Its sabre rattling at it finest – fuck giant killer robots and their weapons (largely ineffective unless operated by Optimus Prime) nothing stops the bad guys dead like a 5” diameter piece of metal. Hell, the enemy even has to resort to cheating and using magnets to even the fight. More worryingly the briefest mention of Obama (Bush was never in the first) indicates that he wants to close down the military and take away all their toys, it’s an ad campaign for “might is right” and an unsubtle one at that.
Okay, I’ve spent all this time dismissing it and I haven’t even mentioned the comedy dog-rape, the comedy leg humping scenes, the comedy toilet role incident (you may notice a theme emerging here) simply because you just know they’re bad. And to be truthful they just aren’t as bas as the two comedy robots with their bad black stereotypes (buck teeth – subtle). The list of things this film gets wrong is monumental.
Save your money, or go see Star Trek again – at least that’s a proper Summer movie.