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Sunday, 12 July 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Hollywood blockbusters are pretty much reviewer-proof and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is no exception. That's because, like most blockbusters, it's amazingly good at lowering your expectations. Be honest: so long as you get to see a whole bunch of giant robots wrecking up the place, with a lot of explosions and the occasional shot of American fighter jets whooshing past thrown in, this will pretty much get the job done. And on that level this does everything you could ask for. There are more robot fights than in the first film, there are more robots than the first film, there are bigger robots than in the first film, and there's enough fighting and shouting and exploding going to make pretty much anyone not fully laden with energy drink feel like taking a nap once this all-action two and a half hours is over. But if you're interested in anything at all past the giant robot side of things - and there are a few brief scenes without giant robots here - then this is one big sloppy mess. The plot is one of those plots that's extremely complicated without ever actually getting interesting: the Decepticons (the bad robots) are constantly looking for stuff - their defeated leader Megatron, a bit of the All-Spark left over from the first movie, some giant machine that'll turn out the sun - while the Autobots (the good robots) are working with the humans to kill the Decepticons even though this is such a blatant commercial for US military might it's not exactly clear why the humans even need their robot friends 95% of the time. Then Shia LaBoeuf runs around doing something or other while shots of Megan Fox's arse flash up on the screen, and by the time we get an old man robot with a cane, two robots who talk in ebonics, and a close up shot of a transforming robots' testicles it's safe to conclude that everything that doesn't involve a robot fight is a waste of time. Sadly, because all the robots look basically the same and have this extremely complicated design that only looks cool when they're standing still, pretty much all the robot fights are just a blur of grey metal parts twisting and turning on screen until someone gets their head ripped off, which is nowhere near as exciting as it should be. As big budget spectacles go this is state-of-the-art: as a film for people to enjoy, it still has a lot of transforming to do.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #456)

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