Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Movie Review

My wife and I went to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen during the 4th of July Weekend.

Despite being panned by an overwhelming number of critics, we both really liked the movie. I'd say it was almost as good as the first movie. (Sequels have a way of degrading due to their own accord). However, some of the criticism against this film have some merit.

Warning: This narrative contains some plot-spoilers.

First, more Decepticons and Autobots make their appearance. But you barely get an idea of who, or what they are. Two stood out but not in a good way: The "twins" Mudflap and Skids, or as one of my friends called them--the Ghettobots. These two characters, meant for comic relief, ended up causing as much annoyance--and controversy--as the Star Wars character Jar-Jar Binks.

Second, while the CGI effects are awesome, it can feel too busy and overwhelming. Sometimes it was hard for me to tell who was who among the 'bots, especially during the fight scenes. For instance: After reading the synopsis on Wikipedia, I was surprised to learn that it was the Decepticon known as "The Doctor" who interrogates Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf). Heck, I thought it was Megatron!

Also thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that the movie's femme fatale Alice, is a Decepticon "pretender." That is, she's able to assume human form. (Is there some Decepticon-Terminator cross breeding going on or what?).

I'm not sure if the critics complained about this, but my wife and I thought the "going to college" scene was out of place in this movie:

Sam is off to college, leaving his parents and girlfriend Mikaela Banes (played by Megan Fox) behind. This brings out all kinds of conflicting emotions any family faces under such circumstances. This scene forms what Christopher Vogler calls "The Ordinary World" in his book The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.

(Vogler's premise is that epic adventures and myths follow a similar, stylistic pattern. After getting a glimpse of the character's ordinary world there are such phases as: The Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Meeting with the Mentor, and so on).

The problem with Sam's ordinary world is that it's not at all ordinary. Not only is he moving away, Sam's also leaving his Autobot guardian/Camero, Bumblebee behind as well.

How "normal" is that?

Sam's already knows what's at stake in the on-going Autobot-Decepticon War. This inconsistency is further compounded as Sam "refuses the call" when Optimus Prime asks for his help. Sam also fails to mention finding another fragment of the Allspark, a key artifact from the first movie.

Fortunately as in other epics, Sam can't "escape his destiny" and is forced to re-join the fight to save our planet from destruction.

Despite my comments above, I really enjoyed this movie. What I loved most was portrayal of our men and women serving in the armed forces. Once again, Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg made our military look awesome!

I give this movie 3.5 stars. As long as you enter the theater without any "movie critic" expectations, you will be entertained.

Wikipedia movie synopsis, characters, production and filming information:


Transformers Official Website:


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