Film Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Starring: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Rated: PG-13
Rating: ** (two stars out of five)

I’ve waffled for some time about whether I should give this two or three stars.  I’ve decided on two.  It just wasn’t that good, but all the spiffy, reflective robots had me thinking it was better.

I was not a terribly big fan of the first film.  In the transition from one website to another, my original review has been lost.  I gave that film two stars as well.

Revenge of the Fallen begins with a cheesy voice-over from Optimus Prime, providing some of the most unneeded narration I’ve heard.  The opening starts with some strong action, as the Auto-Bots find and eliminate another Decepticon.  The move doesn’t get much better than that.

The general plot revolves around Transformers lore and the history of the Prime’s – the strongest, truest Auto-Bots.  The last of the Prime’s is Optimus.  Well, that’s not exactly correct – there are two Prime’s left.  The other is The Fallen, Megatron’s mean mentor, who fell from grace after attempting to destroy Earth.

One of my biggest complaints in the first film was the lack of clear visuals on what should have been a major achievement in CG animation.  Even the scene immortalized in the previews of Optimus fighting with another bot on a freeway was blurry at best.  The amount of work, the sheer count of polygons and moving parts – that should have been crystal clear on screen.  It wasn’t.  And it’s not here either. 

Another major complaint was the lack of Michael Bay’s typical gorgeous use of color and dust.  Bay is nothing if not a master of action, and, while some may successfully argue that his films are weak, they are incredibly colorful with very beautiful violence.  The first film was obviously lacking in Bay’s usual flair.

Luckily, this film does add some of that flair.  But it’s not enough to make it a better film.  The characters are weak.  The story is overly complicated.  The animation is blurry.  The action isn’t noteworthy until the end.

And the end … the brief, anti-climactic ending … the voice-over narration again.  Oh, the agony.

Two stars is plenty for this film, and that’s simply because the action at the end of the film is quite good.  Anticlimactic for it’s finale, but quite good until then.

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