So, how does Michael Bay show his appreciation to the Egyptian government for granting him the rare privelege of shooting part of the latest Transformers film at the actual Great Pyramids? By destroying one of them of course!* Such is the scale and reach of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in that things go global this time out. Just to get it out of the way, yes, there are a couple of scenes with a dog showing his dominance over another dog (bad, Mojo, bad!), a little ‘bot that humps a leg, two Autobots that turn wannabe Gangsta (part of what the Transformers do is assimilate bits of Earth culture, right?), a flaming fart or two and some potty humor here or there. You know, what you usually get in a summer blockbuster film, but far less than in, say, a Martin Lawrence/Will Smith buddy flick. All of that is peppered here and there throughout the film and takes up a minuscule amount of the two and half hour run time so, really, get over it already. Ahem.
If you actually pay attention, there is a lot going on in this film. The opening prologue reveals that natives of Cybertron were up to something on Earth around 17,000 BC. Something is being constructed, but what it is and what happened to it are both saved for later. In the present day, two years after the first film, an elite military group called NEST, comprised of American, British and Autobot forces, is hunting down the remnants of the Decepticons left on the planet and dispatching them with prejudice. Their latest target informs them that “The Fallen will rise” shortly before Optimus Prime ends him. National Security Advisor Galloway meets them at their base with grave concerns about the Autobots continued presence on our planet. At the same time, the Decepticons launch a successful rescue and revival mission of Megatron from his watery grave in the Laurentian Abyss. From there he travels off world to reunite with Starscream and the true Decepticon leader, the aforementioned Fallen. Basically, the bad bots need more energon and hatch a plan to get more. Bottom line, things don’t bode well for the longterm future of mankind.
Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is heading off to college and leaving everyone behind. That includes his parents, his girlfriend Mikaela (who’s running an auto shop with her recently paroled father), Mojo the dog and Bumblebee the Autobot. It seems that Sam is the only one that wants to put the events of the first film out of mind and move on to normality. Of course, as script and fate would have it, things don’t go to plan. While packing Sam finds a small shard of the Allspark which does something to his brain while also activating nearly every electronic device in the kitchen into a lil’ Decepticon. Eventually, Sam makes it to college where he has to contend with a new roommate, a sexy co-ed that has her eye on him and a suddenly hyper-energized brain. At this point we’re probably only thirty minutes into the film. Things escalate wildly out of control from here and don’t let up until the end. Storylines converge, old frenemies meet again and, much more importantly, an insane number of giant robots beat the crap out of each other. I mean, this isn’t Catcher in the Transformers or A Midsummer Night’s Transformers, it’s Transformers, full stop, so it should be big damn robots going Mike Tyson on each other and there had better be a lot of it.
If you think of the first Transformers film as a three or four, this one goes to eleven. Really, Michael Bay just cranks things up all the way and goes for broke. Sure, not everything works, like the few things mentioned in the opening paragraph, but there is a tremendous amount of story and action with both humans and machines and the two hours and thirty minutes will zip by. It’s as if the writers, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Ehren Kruger threw everything they could think of into the script and then Bay decide that wasn’t enough and ratcheted it up even further. The pace is relentless and the sheer number of Autobots and Decepticons is staggering, but with nods to the cartoon, the comics and the first movie abounding, plus just seeing favorite characters rendered in full CGI glory, this is one case where too many ingredients make for one intense yet enjoyable soup. I recommend this film without reservation. Don’t listen to any reviews, go in with no expectations and make up your own mind. Remember when movies used to be just for fun and occasionally you’d get one that was deeply profound, but mainly you could just enjoy the roller coaster? I still do and so does Michael Bay. Too many supposedly geekily hip critics are trying to out “Comic Book Guy” each other. Lighten up, get a huge tub of popcorn and enjoy the carnage. It’s Autobots versus Decepticons in live action on the big screen with some great human stories to boot. What the hell else do you want from a movie with Transformers in the title?
*No actual pyramids, Great or otherwise, were harmed in the making of this film.
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures, we have some video interview for you. Enjoy!