D: Michael Bay. DP: Ben Seresin. W: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman. Starring: Shia LeBeouf/Megan Fox/Josh Duhamel/Tyrese Gibson/John Turturro/Ramon Rodriquez/Isabel Lucas/Kevin Dunn/Julie White/Rainn Wilson.
As they say, the fallen shall rise again, and so the recycling begins…
With a running time of a flat two hours and thirty minutes, the film forces you to fain interest in a sprawling and basic storyline that never gathers momentum or a hint of emotional weight. LeBeouf, as Sam, is forced to pull out all his developing chops here and unfortunately, in this film, is little match for his transforming friends as they steal the film. Fox, as Mikaela, poses through most of her scenes, providing little for the plot or support for LeBouf as the only contribution she makes is seducing a tiny deception into passivity. Let’s not forget the male writers of this film and three of them is took to complete this script. And though it’s set two years later than the last Transformers, the film shows little signs of change in the characters except the current college transitions we witness. With even that transition being so brief that there is hardly a setting in place when, OH NO, disaster strikes.
And disastrous it is. But, frankly, what I got is what I expected. Bay held nothing back, he gives you a long winded story, loud theatrical voice overs, crude parental jokes, Fox (with enough lip gloss on to seduce the world), and the cutest explanation of an actor’s off-set injury I’ve ever seen. He takes his film across continents, into space and allows the youngins to helm the story despite constant explanations of situations by the army, autobots, and the VOICEOVER. But, unlike the first, this package of everything is just too much. Where the first film had good pacing, this one slogged, weighting too much time on the big shots. Where the other film’s transforming moments felt fresh and incorporated into the scenes, the second film gorged on time and produced the most gratuitous and enormous transformer possible. And one would like to assume that with Spielberg in the wings as executive producer, that there would be a call once in awhile saying, “Hey Michael, BIG is sometimes to big, you know?” But, alas, he must have been out lunching.
Who is he out lunching with you ask? Hopefully someone who can remind him that with the popcorn flick, blockbuster blowout or mainstream movie, a certain caliber of filmmaking is still desired and yes, expected. Recent films toting hefty budgets continue to reiterate the necessity for the pairing of complex storytelling, special effects and detailed directorship and acting. It is well for the business that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is monetarily exploding, but how much of that is a reflection of its value as cinema?
And keep in mind that ‘cinema’ is an all-inclusive term, without snobbish art-house undertones. Since after enjoying the first Transformers for its engaging ability to translate a comic book and animation series, I recognize that the sequel represents a loss. As the films will now be paired together for marketing and sales purposes. Similar to the final X-MEN film, a greater loss in my eyes, Transformers is now a disspointment where it used to reside amid ample entertainment.