Revenge of the SEQUAL

So I just got back from seeing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Overall, I’d say I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s a pretty standard Michael Bay action film, but it’s got giant transforming robots. So you can imagine I happen to enjoy that sort of thing.

I kinda dug on the whole plot, if for no other reason than it’s adapted from IDW Publishing’s Transformers: War Within: The Dark Ages trade paperback. It’s always pretty cool when they take a concept from a comic and adapt it to the film, especially when it’s a fairly minor one.

Yeah, there’s a lot of Shia Lebouf and Megan Fox in the flick, and neither of them are two of my favorite actors in the world. Lebouf annoyed the HELL out of me in the first Transformers film, and while yes, it’s true, Megan Fox is a very attractive woman, her behavior off camera (insulting her fans and posing nude) makes her extremely UNattractive.

That being said, both of them managed to, for the most part, make me give a crap about the characters. Lebouf was nowhere near as annoying as he was in the first film, and Fox actually did a pretty standard female-love-interest role decently. You get the usual tropes of “young lovers seperated by distance but trying to make it work, girl catches guy apparently cheating but its not what it looks like, both are scared to say they love each other, but a crisis brings them closer together” in this film, but somehow they both manage to pull it together to where you believe it.

But of course, the real reason to see any Transformers film is the Transformers themselves. And we not only revisit all your old favorites, we get new ones to boot. LOTS of new ones. So many that it’s impossible to tell in a lot of cases just who is who.

One of the things I enjoyed about the first film was that every robot was clearly named, and in many cases had moments which showed you their capabilities and distinct personalities. Every Autobot and Decepticon got clear screentime, lines, action shots, and overall a lot of development. You could pretty clearly tell who was who.

The same cannot be said here in this film. Several new Autobots are introduced in this movie, including the Twins (Mudflap and Skids), Arcee (a female Autobot that controls three bodies which transform into motorcyles), Sideswipe, Jolt, and Jetfire. The Twins get the most screentime out of all of them, as they serve as the comic relief of the film, a role formerly occupied by Bumblebee and his “using the radio to speak” shtick. Arcee, Jolt, and Sideswipe pretty much spend the movie as background characters, with each getting one distinctive thing about them shown (Arcee being a triplicate bot, Jolt using electricity, and Sideswipe getting to slice some unknown Decepticon in half and say “Damn I’m good”).

The Decepticons on the other hand….there were a ton of them shown that never got named, never had any distinctive shape or ability shown for them, and never had any real personality as characters. Megatron, Starscream, and the Fallen are about all you get, as they are the central villain characters that the plot moves around. Aside from them, you have a veritable TON of Decepticons show up: very few of them are mentioned have names. You see Soundwave as a satellite coordinating Decepticon activity, and of course he launches one of his more famous companions in the form of Ravage. The Constructicons also show up, but only recognizably when they combine into their bigger robot form of Devastator (and even then only because he is referred to as such in dialogue). What makes it so confusing is that the individual robots making up Devastator are seemingly re-used later on in the film, making them essentially in two places at once, and in some cases, three. One of the Decepticons who died in the first film (Blackout) even makes a reappearance in a battle against Optimus Prime with no explanation as to how he was still alive. Needless to say it becomes nigh impossible to tell who is who, and that bugged the hell out of me.

I understand that none of the new robots are really central enough characters to the overall plot that the film was going after to really warrant a whole lot of screen time, but I would have appreciated some more indivual attention to them, and the fact that individual Decepticons were apparently in multiple places at once points to extreme laziness in the part of the writers.

Sidenote, a quick check on Wikipedia shows that these “multiple places at the same time” Decepticons are explained by the fact that these are somehow “different characters with the same robot forms”. Yeah, that’s extremely lazy all right.

Overall, don’t expect anything deep or overly meaningful here: This is a Bay action movie. Enjoy it for what it is. Because overall, despite my nitpicking about robot re-usage and the lack of development for the newer characters, it was still a very enjoyable film. There’s lots of good things to enjoy here. I recommend you go see it.

Aight, that’s it for now folks. Catchya later

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    • Anonymous
    • June 28th, 2009

    I think you pretty much summed it up, I love this film but thought there was something a bit lacking, though til you named it (it being character development as far as the bots go) I wasn't quite sure what it was, but great film!!

    • kwil
    • June 28th, 2009

    i agree… So the twins (and bumblebee) acted like E (my lil bro) and it was all i could think about for a bit.Anyways, getting ready for church. Peace out!-Kwil

    • Josh
    • July 1st, 2009

    I agree with you, except you knew a whole lot more than I did! I couldn't keep any of the robots straight, besides the obvious one. I thought the movie overall was *okay*; however, I think the first one is MUCH better.Not to mention that creepy robot chick was WAY disturbing.

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