We at Impact Film originally wanted to offer a speculative look at which summer blockbuster was going to be worse – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or Terminator Salvation. Thing is, we received so many pieces attacking Transformers that we had no choice but to make this our unremitting HATE PAGE.
Despite the jaw-dropping special effects, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen seems likely to suffer from an affliction that plagued its predecessor: Michael Bay. Trailers for this sequel appear to show that Bay’s thirst for big, loud, homo-erotic action is yet to be quenched. What is this film’s major selling point over the first? A cleverly constructed narrative? Maybe some emotional character development? No, how about a bigger, meaner robot the size of a 10-storey building smashing stuff!
I’m not against the fun action-packed blockbuster genre, it’s just that Bay takes this to an extreme level, using a confusing and inane plot with two-dimensional characters to bypass any sort of drama and move head-first into the action, and even that is often ruined with a camera which is too shaky to actually see anything. Don’t forget lens flare – plenty of lens flare. And what a cracking list of two-dimensional characters we have on offer. Megan Fox will once again be saying and doing very little other than pushing out her breasts and pouting occasionally, while Shia LeBeouf will be running around with a look of panic on his face which he’ll attempt to hold for the entire film. And let’s not forget former rapper Tyrese Gibson and his bunch of clueless marines who are inexplicably returning despite adding absolutely nothing to the first film.
The plot this time round involves a shard of the ‘allspark’ from the first film transmitting information regarding the Transformers into LaBeouf’s brain, which all of the Decepticons want to get hold of. It seems Michael Bay is determined to best his last effort in the ridiculous plot stakes; although, to be fair to him, how can you weave an Oscar-worthy narrative around giant transforming robots beating the crap out of each other? This, then, sums the Transformers franchise up. It is a big loud thrill ride for the special effects alone but under the surface there is nothing to this film other than tired gender stereotypes, banal dialogue and lazy acting. But then again, what do you expect from a film based on a range of toys from the 80s?
If you thought you enjoyed the first Transformers movie, you were wrong. What actually occurred was somewhere during the ridiculously overlong catastrophe your mind was unwittingly deceived and forced into submission by the mind-numbing tirade of crashes and bangs. The rest of us had to endure an awful lot of twaddle. The film was full of irrelevant subplots and pointless characters that only served to pad the running time and give less attention to the robots. It’s called Transformers, I expect to see robots fighting for 90 minutes, not some crappy actors chatting about their trivial problems. And then when we finally get to see the robots in action the transformations are too fast to follow and the fights themselves descend into an indecipherable blur. The cartoons and toys were great, so surely the film should have been too. The finger of blame points in one direction and that’s squarely at director Michael Bay.
Any hope that Revenge of the Fallen is to be any better than it’s predecessor is extremely slim due to the fact that, ironically, Transformers is one of Bay’s stronger films. His films epitomise much of what is fundamentally wrong with cinema today, and their money-making lust is odious. It’s films like Bay’s (whose style is worryingly spreading) that undermine the integrity of film as an art form. Budgets are perpetually wasted on unnecessary SFX which means skimping on a decent script or any real acting talent. There’s no excuse for sacrificing quality in order to make money when you’re dealing with a beloved franchise that means a lot to the fans. Bastardising Pearl Harbour is one thing, but for the love of god keep your sweaty palms off the Autobots.
One can’t help but imagine that this summer’s sequel will follow the bigger is better mould; more robots, more explosions, more Shia, longer running time. In fact the only exception to this trend will be the amount of material covering Megan Fox’s lovely parts. At least there’s hope for Terminator Salvation, but we’ve already seen what Transformers will be like and it ain’t pretty.