A blog about movies and filmmaking.

God, is Summer over yet?? (Or, I’m under its scrotum. Clang!)

In action, sci-fi on June 24, 2009 at 4:54 am

Ok, so I’ve fallen a bit off the wagon of keeping up with the summer movies. I haven’t written about a couple that I actually liked a lot (Pixar’s UP and Sam Raimi’s DRAG ME TO HELL). But, I do plan to; those movies were both really good, very different from one another and I kind of feel like I need to see them again before I can concretely comment on them. Well, not so much for DRAG ME TO HELL, actually. Here’s my short review for it: GO SEE IT!! It’s fun, and horrible (in a good way) and Sam Raimi back in top form!! But, I will need another viewing for UP, before actually fully posting about it.

But, what I’m here for now – and timely fitting in with this weeks release – is TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN. The new movie from Michael Bay, featuring everyone’s favorite family, hot chick and alien robots. I have to say, right off the bat, that I actually really liked the first TRANSFORMERS movie in 2007. It was a fun, action movie that reinvigorated a childhood property that I enjoyed as a kid. (Although I was disappointed that the movie’s robots weren’t the simple bend-up feet and flip-over heads like the toys.)  But, I personally rank it up there with Bays other best movies (THE ROCK, ARMAGEDDON) and was happy to learn of a sequel. I thought that the original movie showed a good mix of what I saw as Bay’s bombast and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg’s heart.

But, this second movie is essentially an exhibition Michael Bays nuts (along with the Devastators). The middle of the road humor from the first movie (car urinating on a guys head, a guy wearing superhero underwear, masturbation jokes) is here taken to new lows. There’s the off-color remarks of mostly a pair of new robots (called “The Twins”) but really a lot of characters get some pretty “offensive” dialogue and actions. But, where the movie really falters is in the fact that it really falls back in kind of stealing from other movies that have come before it. There’s scenes from TITANIC, THE MATRIX sequels, the INDIANA JONES series – mostly LAST CRUSADE – and even STAR WARS. There’s so much of this movie that sadly, takes the worst parts of these movies and bastardizes them and really lowers what could have been another fun romp with these characters.

All of the actors from the first movie that appear here, do an adequate job. The parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) take their hilarious characters to new heights in this movie. The mom especially, who gets a ridiculous moment where she gets stoned and tells people that she heard her son lose his cherry. John Turturro as (former) Special Agent Simmons, is back and funny again. Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox return as our main characters, and again manage to be fairly convincing in their roles, if not believable as a couple.

The robots are rendered fantastically, as all of the effects in the movie are. But, for the most part we get even less character or development from them than we did in the first movie. At least there, we had an introductory scene of the Autobots that at least gave us a couple of clues on how to separate them from the less distinguishable Decepticons. But in REVENGE OF THE FALLEN the only new characters we meet that are really distinguishable are The Twins (although, I don’t remember their separate names), Jetfire – a character that really could have been more interesting based on the short background we get – and the little RC-truck that talks like he’s seen GOODFELLAS too many times. But, I know that there are a number of new robots, who we learn nothing about, other than to see them get blown up.

The worst sin in the movie though, really has to be the dialogue. I think that if the movie was kept exactly the same – ok, remodeling the faces of The Twins, to get rid of their “gold teeth” – but just changed a good bit of the dialogue to be more serious and actually make a bit of sense, this movie would be a lot more fun and possibly even good.

So, I have to place it as not being as good as the original movie; but I will say that it’s still better than what I thought of WOLVERINE. I’d still recommend a number of the other Summer movies this season over it though.

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