TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE FALLEN :: ACTION :: 018


By the power of Grey Skull!

Hollywood steals my childhood toys and then sucks away 2 and a half hours of my life!

There is no real need in me to describe the plot to you, as it is clearly the most horrific hollywood pornification of a beloved cartoon/toy I have seen in my many years.  As a child born in 1978, I had the priviledge to play with “real” toys of the 1980’s.  They were the best.  Die-cast metal transformers, Go-Bots, and Voltron – action figures like He-Man, ThunderCats and G.I. Joe.  Imagine for once, my excitement when I notice a bulldozer, crane and cement truck in a scene.  The child in me gleamed a nerdy half-smile as I knew what was going to happen.  Or at least I thought I did.

Those behind the making this film can thank their lucky stars for signing Shia LaBeouf, because if it wasn’t for his girlish shrieks of realistic fright, and for basically carrying this movie on his shoulders, director Michael Bay would have had on his hands a one-bearclaw-review.

The other claw is awarded for living up to the promise of the poster:

More Robots. Bigger Explosions. And much more Megan Fox.

Bollocks! Never in my nightmares would I imagine that they’d CGI (computer-generated-imagery) one of my favorite toys into a shape-shifting pile of junkyard sick.  Where was my favorite Decepticon, Soundwave; whose voice and robotic-counterparts-o’-stealth always brought great amusement?  He might have been there, but it was hard (even for me) to decipher between any of the hunks of metal, especially as they fight Matrix-like on the screen.  Oh yeah… I see yellow… “that must be Bumblebee.  And was that a flash of red I saw?  Could that have been Optimus? I dunno.”

Sam Witwicky (Shai LaBeouf) gets accepted to Princeton University, which we are to believe is a huge “party school.”  And as we get a glimpse of his coed hall, the campus quad and Sam’s Astronomy class, the entire Uni is made up of none other than “The future poll-dancers of America.”  Young, slutty, females, media-based-attractive in every way, swinging their hips and making winky faces at the teacher – oh what a good way to corrupt our youth and give them a false impression of one of the country’s foremost Ivy League schools.  I’d love to see the look on the face of the kid that aspires for greatness, only to find that his dream school beholds no female of the Maxime-realm.

A note for future directors of action – make it strong and memorable, not relentless and confusing.  Audiences (myself included) will be forgiving if the hero miraculously weaves a field of gunfire, or even escapes a kungfu-fighting-orgy-of-robotic-mayhem, but the barrage of explosions [never even a shrapnel wound] must wears thin to anyone over the age of 13 [it’s PG-13 in the first place].  So, with the target audience of teens-to-35 year olds, we have far too much sexuality, lowbrow humor (humping dogs, even a leg-humping robot), crass ebonics, not-to-mention the idiotic, manipulative portrayal of our military forces.

“Hello.”

(voice on the phone) Here’s the latitude and longitude that I need your highly-classified weapon to hit.

“Who is this?”

(man on the phone).  There’s no time! If you don’t do it, they’re going to destroy the sun!

“Roger that. I’m on it.”

Boy! I can’t wait for Transformers 3.  Are they going to bring in the ever-so-popular(-in-my-day) Dinobots?  If so, they might earn an extra claw.  But they’ll have to earn it.  Those looking for good action movie sequels rent Aliens or Terminator 2, as quick, off-the-top-of-my-head suggestions.

The lines are open. What were your thoughts of this movie?

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6 Responses to “TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE FALLEN :: ACTION :: 018”

  1. Yea….I agree. I like action but that movie was too much. Plus, some things were annoying and unbelievable. For example, the ghetto talking robot couple that cussed were annoying, and the tiny robot with the mafia accent cussed as well, it just seems for kids who come to see this….it’s inappropriate. And Megan Fox? Sweety, no one sits on a bike that way, too slutty. I’m sure guys would root for that though. Plus she needs to work on her acting range because all she did was give smoldering looks that said,”what?” She gave only one scene of emotion of fear when in some sort of shack or whatever, so that seemed out of her character considering she wasn’t scared at all throughout the whole movie until then. But yeay for Labeouf for holding down the movie, too bad it couldnt save it.

  2. “It is clearly the most horrific hollywood pornification of a beloved cartoon/toy I have seen in my many years.”

    I’ll have to disagree with that entirely. In fact, it would be more fair to say that this film was much more representative of this original toy/cartoons than the first. That’s not to say that I believe this film is better than the first. Quite the contrary; it is worse than the first by far, but the real issue was the first was so much better than the cartoons. I understand having fond memories of them as I too am a child of the great ’78. However, go back and rewatch all those old shows we grew up with decades ago. While mildly entertaining, when viewed objectively, they are actually pretty awful. ThunderCats is a big one that sports absolutely dreadful dialogue and voice acting, but I digress.

    With its large and ensemble cast, the first Transformers film was done in the style of a disaster movie. Many threads of character and plot coming together to form a larger scale tapestry of a film. One must also recall that was also one of the big things audiences hated about the first film… it was about the characters and not the Transformers. Problem was it was the humans that made the first Transformers film so successful. It’s basic ecconomics… supply and demand. You want to keep the demand slightly above the supply. The first film was a bit short on supply and people remember that feeling of wanting more. Thing is when a film creates a sense of wanting more and there isn’t any more to be gleamed from the film itself the only way to get more is to re-watch it again and again. Revenge of the Fallen did exactly what the cartoons did… put a ton of robots on the screen and had them duke it out with a couple humans here and there.

    Go back and watch the original Transformers movie from 1986 and you will see just how similar Revenge of the Fallen truly is to it. I’m told (by someone who avidly follows comics) that the Fallen was actually a servant of Unicron (the villain from the 1986 film which would potentially explain why they seem similar.)

    As for the Dinobots, while cool back in the day, have less than no place in the current film mythology. They have established that the Transformers can change into other devices besides their primary ones (Bumblebee was both an old & new Camero for instance), so why on Earth would certain Transformers choose to imitate giant extinct animals? You think giant robots stick out? Just wait till people see giant robotic… dinosaurs!??! Barring some sort of time travel the addition of Dinobots would simply be idiotic, and if that were to happen one would expect all the Transformers would then turn into animals as well.

    I entirely agree that Megan Fox has no dynamic range, and that no-one would sit on a bike that way. Now for the real question… Do I care? Heck no! She’s hot. Fact is, in daily life hot (and even semi-attractive) people can and often do get away with murder. We may say nobody would be caught dead sitting like that, but I guarantee if someone were to see a certain foxy Miss Fox people would be going up to her just trying to get her number. In fact, I’ve seen this exact sort of thing done before by people that are barely semi-attractive at best and it does work. I’m not saying anything about the actual quality of either person; simply that it works very well at attracting people. You tend to see this sort of thing in people with an external locus, but that’s another story altogether. To Miss Fox I say this, “Milk it for all it’s worth, for as long as you can. Then retire and live a relaxing and comfortable life.”

    If it seemed like the Transformers were always a blur of color, I would highly recommend seeing it in IMAX or at least watching the BluRay on a well setup 1080P set (ideally 120 or 240hertz LCD, or a Plasma.) The difference truly is huge in something like Transformers (1 or 2) between even 720P and 1080P. I watched Transformers 2 both on a standard screen and in IMAX. The standard screen felt exactly as you described, but the IMAX had no such issues. (For video reproduction reference, my home system is a calibrated 7 Series Samsung LCD driven by a PS3 over HDMI.) Even upscaled DVDs suffer from a basic lack of source resolution causing them to appear murky or blurry. I’d hazard a guess to say you were reviewing a DVD copy or perhaps a BluRay on an older 720P (possibly rear projection) set. I can assure you when viewed at an optimal resolution/rate the film doesn’t have the blurry look you describe. (The BluRays of Transformers 1 & 2 are great demo discs for displays as they show the weaknesses readily.)

    In the end, I feel Transformers 2 lives up to it’s namesake of yesteryear, but not to the previous installment of the rebooted franchise.

  3. joycereview Says:

    Matthew
    Thank you for your input. So far, it’s the longest comment on The Joyce Review (we are young still).

    When I critique films, I have (like many other critics) solid points and flexible ones. When I talk about “pornification” I am speaking mainly of the quest for sexual appeal. Bumblebee is a sexy camero and not a voltswagon bug. Transformers and Transformers 2 are the only ones I am comparing. The animated cartoon (1986) is in a different realm of reviews and I don’t consider it part of the “true” filmology of Transformers.

    As for Megan… you say she should milk it, and alas, that is what she is doing. I’ve heard her in interviews, and I have to say, I don’t dislike her. She knows she’s good looking and that she’s no Gwenyth Paltrow. She’ll improve and hopefully she’ll pick roles in the future that will require more of her. But I fault the industry and the “men” behind the film for objectifying them. At the end of the movie, amid all the explosions, she was clean, except for a slight smudge mark on the top right side of her head. 🙂

  4. So… you’re saying you wanted Megan to be dirtier! Works for me! 😛

  5. Helicon Says:

    What an awful movie. Not even going to see it in Imax saved it – in fact, it made it worse!! Big fight scenes were just a big mess due to the size of the screen. Why the hell Bay decided to put those two annoying little transformers in I don’t know.

    I quite enjoyed the first one. But after this effort, it makes the first one look like a masterpiece.

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