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'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' Movie Review

Nothing More Than Meets the Eye

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

By

Megan Fox in Transformers 2

Megan Fox in 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.'

DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures
More so than the first film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is all about the robots. Yes, there are lots of scenes with flesh and blood actors, but really, who cares about them when you've got cars and trucks and planes and kitchen appliances changing into machines whose sole purpose appears to be to fight with other metallic objects? Even Megan Fox in all of her pouting, posing glory is no match for Megatron and Optimus Prime doing battle.

And oh yes, Michael Bay does put Megan Fox's physical assets to use in this Transformers film. Clad in leather biker gear or shorts and skimpy tops, Bay must have given Fox just one simple direction: "Don't bother acting, just look sexy." And if that's what sets your engine revving, then fine. Bay fulfills fanboys' fantasies by making Fox's Mikaela into a pin-up girl who talks but doesn't say anything interesting. Her character's only purpose in the film - aside from providing eye candy - is to try and get Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky to say he loves her. Even one of the lessor Transformers points out Mikaela's lack of intellect, saying, "You're hot, but you're not too bright."

Nice work there, Bay. As if most of your female audience wasn't already offended by your film's only female character's (outside of the supporting performance by Julie White as Sam Witwicky's pot brownie-eating mom) one-dimensional personality. Personally, I could have done with less Fox and more robots. I'd have even settled for more John Turturro or the tag team of Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson over the silly 'romantic' scenes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen between Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.

Bumblebee in Transformers 2
Bumblebee in 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.'
© DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures

The Story

2007's Transformers set up the story of the Autobots versus Decepticons for Transformers newbies like myself, and then served up a semi-decent plot along with a whole lot of action. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen doesn't even really attempt to follow more than the most threadbare of storylines. The Decepticons want to blow up our sun, the Autobots want to protect us, the Army guys are fully behind the Autobots, Sam Witwicky is at the heart of the problem/solution, and there's a government idiot who tries to block the good guys from helping us fight the bad guys. Nutshell, meet Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

The Bottom Line

Michael Bay ups the ante this time, bringing in bigger robots, bigger explosions, and longer fight scenes taking place in more exotic locations. It's Transformers on steroids. Even the humor of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is bigger, with Sam Witwicky's parents doing an empty nest syndrome display of emotions taken to the nth degree. Bay even throws in 'twin' transformers with personalities lifted straight from badly written urban sitcoms. You'll either find these two characters offensive or flat-out funny; there will be no middle of the road reaction to Skids and Mudflap. And, of course, Turturro can be counted on for a laugh or two or three or four. Remember, everything is bigger in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - even Turturro.

Transformers 2
A scene from 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.'
© DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is what it is: a big-budget spectacle with an incredible amount of action, a frivolous plot, and one hot chick. The robot on robot fight scenes are fantastic (even if you can't tell who is who), the visual effects are absolutely terrific, and the sound effects will nearly have you bouncing out of your seat.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen goes on too long (at least a half an hour too long), but it never attempts to be anything other than what it is - a big, bombastic, brainless summer action movie. If it's wit and depth and gritty performances you're looking for, then you're looking in the wrong place. But if all you want is to spend a few hours in a theater getting your ears pummeled and feasting your eyes on over-the-top but totally entertaining fight scenes, then Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is like Christmas or Hanukkah (or whatever winter holiday you celebrate) in June.

GRADE: C

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was directed by Michael Bay and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material.

Theatrical Release Date: June 24, 2009

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