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Put in your earplugs and grab the aspirin, kids, Transformers is back.  The sequel to the 2007 blockbuster is an endurance test that defies a human being’s ability not to squirm in their seats.  Director Michael Bay has been handed even more cash for the requisite explosions, destruction, gun battles and pyrotechnics that are his signature.  If the director had paid more attention to actually inserting an engaging and well-paced plot then maybe I wouldn’t have had such a hard time keeping my eyelids open despite all the racket.

Sam Witwicky is off to college.  The earnest young man we met in 2007 is leaving behind his doting (re: obsessed) parents and Mikaela, his super sexy grease monkey girlfriend.  The other person Sam is leaving behind is his faithful pet/guardian Bumblebee, the sparkly yellow Camaro with a secret.  Bumblebee is a member of an alien race of morphing machines locked in an eons-long civil war.  The leader of the good-guy faction, the brilliantly named Optimus Prime and his troupe of Autobots have already saved the earth once against the machinations of the evil Megatron and his Decepticons, who have no qualm about laying waste to our little blue planet.  In this latest chapter, the Autobots have formed an alliance with our military to defend humankind against rogue Decepticon forces still awaiting the inevitable return of Megatron.  Megatron is waiting for someone’s return, as well; an elder Transformer who holds the key to the final defeat of the Autobots.  So, Vader and the Emperor, I mean Megatron and “The Fallen” Transformer wreak havoc on earth once again.  Will Sam stand by Optimus Prime again or turn his back to pursue college at the Playboy Mansion campus he’s chosen?

Who cares?  In this droning display of extremely expensive bad filmmaking, Bay employs every kind of action overload and it all means nothing.  How can so much Sturm und Drang be so utterly boring?  Maybe it’s the fact that you can’t tell one Transformer from another unless it’s Optimus Prime with his pretty flame paintjob, the bright yellow Bumblebee, or the two jivin’ shuckin’ Stepin Fetchit stereotype bots that are a botched attempt at comedy relief.  Apart from one bellowed “Starscream” from Megatron, and the appearance of a crotchety, elder Decepticon turncoat, there’s not another Transformer who displays a whit of personality, so why would we care?  On the plus side, we do get more daytime battle scenes with the Transformers; one between Optimus Prime and a horde of Decepticons being the only highlight in the entire film.  Other than that moment - because it’s impossible to tell which bot is which - you can’t care who’s winning.  All the audiences sees is a ceaseless, soulless array of twisted CGI metal.

Shia LaBeouf does his best with a nonentity of a character; the whole reason Sam is necessary to the Decepticons’ plan is a muddled mess of a plot device.  On the other side of the acting spectrum, Megan Fox’s performance is as vacuous as her character.  Granted she is picturesque; Mikaela clearly enjoys cell phone chats with her fella while draped alluringly over a shiny motorcycle in FHM-type poses.  I’ll bet if I looked hard enough, I could find staples not only on Mikaela, but all the hyper-nympho college coeds Sam comes into contact with.  It’s amazing how much time director Bay spends on the college sequence, yet somehow not surprising.  Maxim must’ve done the ladies’ casting for these scenes with every female in the camera’s range looking totally airbrushed and in a soft-porny heat.  Maybe Bay should think about making college recruitment films? Back from the first film, Josh Duhamel tries gamely to do something with his nothing of a military man, and his partner, Tyrese Gibson looks as if he was just woken up to deliver occasional misfired one-liners and collect a check.  Sam’s new college roommate, Leo, tags along in these dire and perilous situations for no apparent reason, as he and Sam have literally known each other for minutes.  Way to bond, I guess.  There is a horribly clichéd government official who doesn’t appreciate the help of the Autobots and screeches his disapproval of their every move.  Neither of these obnoxious additions adds a single thing to the story but more time wasted.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a grating, painful thing to sit through. All the booms, bangs and blown up stuff throughout the film generate no excitement and only irritate over the long, long running time. If Excedrin had received special thanks at the film’s end credits, I would not have been surprised. Enjoyable for the only the easiest-to-please 10 year old boys; this deafening, tiresome epic is a skull-splitting hot mess for everyone else.

 

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

June 22nd 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos

(Courtesy of  Paramount Pictures)

 

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