Saturday, 20 June 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen - Dir. Michael Bay

Michael Bay’s first ‘Transformers’ film gave the audience an entertaining blow of knock-out proportions and I (like many others) left the cinema with a childish grin from ear-to-ear after watching two and a half hours of robots beating seven bells of scrap metal out of each other, however the sequel ‘Revenge of the Fallen’ felt like nothing more than a soft jab into the abdomen. I didn’t particularly enjoy it, I found it tedious, incredibly boring at times, and apart from one or two sequences, the action felt very stale and was concerned more about how each explosion could out-do each other for the extended destruction of our dear planet.

So I will start by addressing what made the first film so enjoyable for me; the god-damn action! With the colossal budget and the build-up of how this was going to be ‘bigger’ and ultimately ‘better’, I was expecting a computer generated onslaught of pure, unadulterated robot-o et robot-o brutality, but sadly only found two scenes out of the whole two hours and thirty minutes running time that matched the first film for childish squealing and prolonged smiling of excitement. One came an hour into the film as Optimus Prime battled his way spectacularly through a forest of evil Decepticon Robots at a vicious pace, while the second scene was at the very end of the film as Bumblebee had a very short, yet enjoyable tussle with Rampage. Aside from these two; battle, fight, action (what-ever you wish to call them) sequences, Michael Bay seemed to be more concerned with how he could create larger and louder explosions with every rocket being fired, or bomb being dropped. The perfect example is in the drawn out final sequence in which we are continually blocked from seeing the actual robotic destruction take place as the screen fills with copious amounts of dust, smoke and sand due to the amount of explosives being thrown around! With the entertainment value slightly eroded for myself, I found little joy in the rest of the film.

From viewing just the first thirty minutes of ‘Fallen’ I noticed Michael Bay seems to have somewhat of a penchant for the use of pointless long-angle shots and slow-motion sequences. If you removed all the pointless, unemotional, tedious scenes involving the sour intimate embraces by Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox (which takes the biscuit in one scene as the camera constantly revolves around both parties around forty-three times before eventually ending, not only the most annoying scene of the film, but also my suicide attempt due to boredom) then the film would be considerably shorter and a lot more engaging. This is another problem the film comes up against, a running time at nearly more than two and a half hours, yet it could quite easily have had at least forty minutes of ‘filler’ material trimmed (such as various incredibly unfunny acts involving Judy Witwicky), and some of the cringe-worthy jokes toned down or removed (however, maybe it’s just me, as some of the jokes did get a good reaction from some of the younger members of the audience). Oh and there is that much information thrown at you during the time that the film is on-screen that you’ll be hard pressed to understand everything that is going on, that is if you are actually trying to follow the plot and the history/motives regarding the new characters entwined within the Transformers universe.

I went into ‘Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen’ with quite low expectations, I wasn’t expecting to see a great film, nor was I really expecting to see a good film from the King of the Cinematic Explosions, but I was hoping for one thing; to be entertained with violent robots hacking each other to bits in a blaze of beautiful destructive glory. But this was unfortunately not fulfilled for me. When I saw Michael Bay’s first ‘Transformers’ film I was sat on the edge of my seat throughout as every action sequence made my jaw-drop a few feet, it was something different and something special, however during ‘Fallen’ I found myself for the majority of the film propping my own head up with my palm, trying to keep myself awake...
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