I suppose this is worth a post, because as a mecha gearhead, I saw the movie coming. And oh, did it strut in bombastically…and immediately fall on its face.
Honestly, I thought that the 2007 live-action Transformers movie was pretty good. As in, it had a decent plot, many good characters, amazing computer-generated mechs, and a somewhat-smooth action-to-story pacing. Even despite some bumpy shortcomings (unbalanced favor in humans compared to the robots, some overdone battles at the end, underdeveloped antagonist leads, etc.), it primed my mind, no pun intended, with fun, over-the-top action, and some great nostalgia of what my childhood could’ve been. It got me excited about a potentially-better sequel. It urged me to buy Transformers figurines and to relive the animated cartoon era. Then again, that was a busy summer with an extra class and Otakon, haha.
The eye candy only works once or twice, though. Here, only once. Because the real sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, didn’t meet any of my expectations for a great 2.5-hour movie. Or even a good summer blockbuster half-a-plot over-edited 2.5-hour movie. After seeing it last night under a free Regal Cinemas movie ticket, part of me wanted to undo it all and view a thrilling family film like UP instead. Why? I’ll let all the official negative reviews of RotF do the talking – because they were right. Though I knew the plot and the involved characters beforehand, and even despite spoiling myself completely a week ago (I do that on occasion), it really didn’t flip my skeptical mindset, but reinforced it instead.
Here’s the fun aftermath: I had a nice surge of ideas post-viewing about how to “appropriately” craft a working title for Revenge of the Fallen. Many spoilers abound, so please don’t read unless you’re up to a non-existent revelation of sorts. Comments are in [brackets]. So let’s see…
Transformers: ROFL [No, not really. It had terrible, non-witty, pre-teenage humor all throughout.]
Transformers: How Did Star Trek‘s Writers Fall So Far?
Transformers: Pan to the Right, Pan to the Left, Pan to the Right, Pan to the Left, Cha Cha Now Y’all
Transformers: Megan Fox De-leveled In Sub-Skill: “Acting”
Transformers: Everybody Else Who’s a Human Also De-leveled In Sub-Skill: “Acting”
Transformers: Any One Find Megan Fox To Be a Serious Distraction?
Transformers: $194 Million Without A Steadycam
Transformers: Slow Motion Is Too Fast [When I thought one sequence was already slowed down too much, they presented an even slower successor minutes later. And once again. Etc. The “Matrix Effect” has died many times over!]
Transformers: Fast Ending Is Too Fast [They rushed the ending. AGAIN. No real “feel” whatsoever.]
Transformers: I’m So Glad College Wasn’t Like That
Transformers: ASTRO 001 At Penn State Isn’t Like That
Transformers: We’ve Managed To Avoid An R Rating! [Say it in that voice, in that pattern.]
Transformers: How Many Crude Jokes Can You Fit In Without Losing The Game?
Transformers: Terminator 2 [Really? A Decepticon Pretender named Alice whose behavior mocks the Terminator 2 T-1000?]
Transformers: I’m gonna RIP YOUR FACE OFF! [In particular, Optimus Prime was NOT his G1 character in this film. He’s normally a very noble, humble leader of an Autobot, using only as much reasoning/force as necessary to convince his opponents.]
Transformers: Skin the Cat [Yes, it happens. Bumblebee rips apart and successively skins a jaguar-like Decepticon named Ravage, with the resulting skeleton and fluids dripping all over.]
Transformers: I’m gonna IMPALE YOU. AGAIN!
Transformers: Megatron Is A Miniboss’ Servant
Transformers: What Revenge?
Transformers: Optimus Prime Is Out of Character [Ahem.]
Transformers: But Finally, Starscream Is In-Character!
Transformers: Bumblebee Does The Time Warp [Wasn’t his voice in fairly good condition at the end of TF1? Apparently, it didn’t carry over into RotF.]
Transformers: You Could’ve Been So Much More, Jetfire… [I had hopes for him, especially given his geriatric character; unfortunately, bad pacing and poor jokes caused his displacement for likability by Fallen’s brothers]
Transformers: Soundwave (Who?)
Transformers: BAYSPLOSIONS [someone linked that to me a week ago. How appropriate!]
Transformers: Army Recruitment Media Center
Transformers: Navy Recruitment Media Center
Transformers: Air Force Recruitment Media Center
Transformers: Stock Footage Land
Transformers: We Can’t Get Our Military Knowledge Right Even After TF1
Transformers: What Happened to Israel?
Transformers: What Happened to the Israeli Air Force?
Transformers: This Pyramid Looks Wrong
Transformers: Geography -1
Transformers: What Happened To Jazz and the Others?
Transformers: Jar Jar Binks is Not Needed. Both of Them.
Transformers: Racial Stereotypes -1 [Again, way to go, Autobot Twins “Skids” and “Mudflap.” And way to go, Middle Eastern Culture portrayals and all military/government characters. Shame.]
Transformers: Railguns Don’t Work That Way
Transformers: Railguns Are Plot Devices
Transformers: The Ride There And Back Was Better [Really. Driving to and from the theatre, I listened to Pat Metheny’s We Live Here album. Bliss!]
Transformers: What Happened to the NoNoNo‘s?
And on the flip side:
Transformers: Fallen’s Brothers Were Awesome [Yes, I found the Primes to be noble, great characters, particularly in their unselfish act to protect the Matrix of Leadership from Fallen’s evil plans, and their uplifting reminder of life’s role to the unconscious Sam Witwicky. More noble than Optimus, really; they should’ve been fleshed out greater than just two clips of ~10 seconds each.]
Transformers: Do NOT Direct The Sequel, Michael Bay!
Of course, there are many more issues I won’t rant two more pages about. There are also many more fallacies I failed to realize until I read this goofs list. And after a look-over, it suddenly became even more true: RotF was not even worth a free ticket.
And I shall now sleep with a verse to rest upon – something that I realized during the movie:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
– Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
I think I’ll think about what it really means to be a Godly leader. Sadly, Bay’s re-imagined Optimus Prime isn’t quite a commendable fictional example anymore…