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Overall Rating
1.95

Awesome: 7.87%
Worth A Look: 10.24%
Average: 7.87%
Pretty Bad: 17.32%
Total Crap56.69%

7 reviews, 85 user ratings


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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Alas, It Can't Transform Into A Watchable Movie"
1 stars

I will cheerfully admit right upfront that I did not go into “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” with any high artistic expectations--I hated virtually every frame of the original 2007 blockbuster and based on everything that I saw of the new film from the trailers and commercials, I just assumed that the follow-up would be pretty much the same thing, only bigger, dumber and more expensive than before. (In fact, in order to properly reflect that view, my original plan for reviewing this film was to take my review of the original, retype it all in caps, add in a few more typos and charge double what I was paid the first time around.) And yet, despite having lowered the artistic bar to Death Valley levels, director Michael Bay has somehow managed to figure out a way to slither beneath with the flexibility of the pole dancers-in-training that he prefers to hire as his female extras. This isn’t just the worst of the summer mega-movies--this utterly incoherent craptacular is one of the worst things of any type to come along in a while. In fact, I almost feel as if I should go back to my reviews of such other summer misfires as “Wolverine,” “Terminator Resurrection” and “Year One” and give them an extra star apiece on the theory that while they are all dreadful measure, they are at least run-of-the-mill bad and not the kind of apocalyptically awful garbage seen here.

Set two years after the events of the first film, we learn that the Autobots, the good robots from the first film led by the heroic Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), have teamed up with the U.S. military to form NEST, an elite task force sent on top secret missions around the world to hunt down any remaining Decepticons, the evil robots that tried to destroy the world the first time around under the leadership of the sleeping-with-the-fishes Megatron (Hugo Weaving). Of course, battling the forces of interstellar evil, especially when you aren’t exactly sure what they are ultimately up to, can be difficult and when a mission in Shanghai results in what appears to be the destruction of half the city, the President (and yes, it is supposed to be Obama) sends in some nerdy egghead type who ominously warns that he is just about to shut down NEST and force all the Autobots to leave for good. Meanwhile, back in California, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the twerpy teen who helped save the world the first time around when his first car turned out to be a Transformer, is about to leave his comedy relief parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) and eye-candy girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) to go to college out east. Luckily for him, the dorm rooms are large and spacious, there are no classes to attend and all the women appear to be paying for their tuition by working as prostitutes--in other words, he is either attending Michael Bay University or Brown. (Note to any Brown students or alumni who may be reading this: I meant no offense by that incredibly rude and uncalled-for jab at your fine institution of higher learning--I am hurting right now and I suppose I am lashing out as a way of dealing with the pain.) Anyway, while packing for the trip, he discovers a previously undetected shard of the AllSpark, the all-powerful doodad that everyone was looking for the first time around. This time around, it fills his head with all sorts of crazy symbols and allows him to absorb information at incredible speed so that he can stand up in the middle of a lecture and confidently proclaim “Einstein was wrong,” which sadly isn’t close to being the film’s worst line of dialogue.

It turns out (to the best of my recollection--if I am mistaken on a few of the details, please do not write in with long and involved explanations because I fear that I will then have to mock you severely) that thousands of years before the events of the first movie, Transformers were battling on our planet during caveman days (something that “Quest for Fire” somehow managed to overlook). It seems that there was a group of seven Prime robots, of whom Optimus is the final descendant, and one of them, eventually known as The Fallen, attempted to destroy the Earth by utilizing a device called the Matrix of something to harvest all the power of the sun. To prevent that from happening, the other Primes buried themselves and the device in an unknown location. Now that both Fallen and Megatron are up and running again, they need that device to continue their plans and realize that a map leading to it has been imprinted on Sam’s brain. Luckily for them, their hunt for Sam is made much easier when that namby-pamby government geek shuts down the NEST program for good on the orders of the president. (At this point, I expect some viewers to stand up with pride and shout “See--Glenn Beck was right!”) Before long, Sam, Mikaela, Sam’s obnoxious roommate (Ramon Rodriguez) and (John Turturro), the former government spook whose ineptitude got him drummed out of the agency, find themselves going from Washington D.C. to Egypt to Jordan to track down the Matrix and use it to save the mortally wounded Optimus, the only thing capable of destroying the Fallen, before it can use it to destroy the world. Have I forgotten anything? Well, there is a college cutie (Isabel Lucas) who has a secret or two underneath the dress she s barely wearing, a wacky little Decepticon that becomes Mikaela’s pet (even going so far as to dry-hump her leg in a demonstration of evolution gone wild) and a pair of jive-talking Autobots, one even sporting a gold tooth, that are like the 21st-century version of the black crows from “Dumbo,” lacking only the subtlety and sensitivity. Oh yeah, it seems that Sam is having trouble telling Mikaela that he loves her. Sam, to paraphrase an infinitely better summer blockbuster--“If someone who looks like a younger and sluttier version of Angelina Jolie and whose tops are always cut all the way to Argentina asks if you love her, YOU SAY YES!”

On the surface, I realize that “Revenge of the Fallen” may seem virtually indistinguishable from any of the other lousy mega-movies that Hollywood has seen fit to inflict upon us over the years--the type that arrive upon an avalanche of hype and make an enormous amount of money in their all-important opening weekend, only to be quickly replaced by the next big thing and largely forgotten until the sequel comes around a couple of years later. Unfortunately, this film is far worse than your typical stab at four-quadrant foolishness--this represents one of the most complete abdications of artistic principle that I can recall in all of my years of moviegoing. Simply put, not only does nothing work right here, everything is so bad in so many different ways that you get the sense that all involved privately decided make one of the most nightmarishly awful movies ever produced on purpose as some kind of sick private joke. The screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman is an atrocity for the ages--it doesn’t make a lick of sense at any given point, even on an individual scene-by-scene basis, the story goes absolutely nowhere and there isn’t a single line of dialogue heard (not that you can hear many of them over the explosions that dominate the soundtrack) that you would ever want to quote to someone unless it was out of pure derision for what passes for screenwriting these days. (In that regard, the high/low point would probably have to be the moment when an Autobot taunts its enemy with the semi-immortal “Punk-ass Decepticon.” Even more bewildering is the borderline racist tone that is on display throughout--besides the aforementioned jive-talking Autobots, virtually everyone in the film who isn’t a true-blooded American type is portrayed in a stereotypical manner that makes “Mandingo” look like a lesson in cultural sensitivity by comparison.

The acting from all involved is on a level not seen since the days of Irwin Allen--everyone just screams their dialogue in the laziest manner possible and then ducks from whatever is currently being tossed at them. Even John Turturro, who was the most entertaining aspect of the first film simply because he alone seemed to realize the ridiculousness of his surroundings and responded in kind with a deliberately hammy turn--this time around, he just looks mortified to be there, never more so than in the moment in which he is inexplicably forced to reveal that he is wearing a jockstrap. The only performer worth watching is Megan Fox and that is only when she is standing around while the other actors are talking around her--the sight of her patiently awaiting her cue while trying to look anything other than bored beyond belief is borderline hilarious. Then again, you can hardly blame the actors for not really trying since they have been given some of the least developed characters outside of the porn industry or an Uwe Boll film to portray. Yes, all of the actors surely cashed big paychecks this time around and while that is as pure as a motive for doing something as anything, the results here are so bad that everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.

Of course, I realize that talking about the screenwriting and performances in a film like “Revenge of the Fallen” is patently irrelevant. Face it, you are far more interested in the numerous scenes in which giant CGI robots pound the crap out of each other while explosions go off all around them. Astonishingly, this is actually where the film is at its worst. For starters, the fight scenes are as bad as they come--between the fact that all the robots pretty much blend together after a while and that the brawls have all be captured via spinning cameras and rapid-fire editing, it is virtually impossible to figure out who is fighting who and who is winning at any given time. Then there is the fact that while the army of technicians have been able to create imaging programs that allow the robots to transform in an instant, they have failed to depict them in even the most slightly convincing manner--since these lumbering contraptions have no real sense of mass or weight to them, it is impossible to buy into their reality for a second. As for Michael Bay, who once displayed a keen visual eye in such genuinely enjoyable films as “The Rock” and “Armageddon” (both of which I will admit to liking), his skills have atrophied to such a point that not only is there not a single interesting image to be found in any of its 150 minutes, his inability to depict even the slightest amount of competent spatial geography that would allow us to get a sense of where everyone is in regards to everyone else during the big battles is so glaring that if he turned this in as a class project in a community college film course, it would get a failing grade. (If you want an example of the importance of proper spatial geography within the context of an action movie, I urge you to wait a couple of weeks and check out Kathryn’s Bigelow’s stunning “The Hurt Locker”--that film writes the book on the subject while this one never even bothers to crack it open.

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is such an assault on the senses that the experience of watching is not unlike being in “The Accused”--the audience members are the brutalized victims while the film serves as both the savage attackers and the relentlessly pounding pinball machine. In fact, the best thing that I can possibly say about it is that it isn’t the single worst film that Bay has made to date and that only because, unlike the odious “Bad Boys II,” this film doesn’t have an extended car chase scene in which the corpses of dead hookers begin spilling out of the back of a morgue truck in order to serve as speed bumps. Then again, there is always the inevitable extended DVD to look forward to, I guess.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18124&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/24/09 14:00:00
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User Comments

1/21/12 Chris Not a fan of parts of it and it has low points but still has some ok action scenes 3 stars
11/21/11 cody a good sequel with great effects , good actions scenes, and good directing 4 stars
10/19/11 Magic To date, the worst movie I've seen in a theater. And I've seen Epic Movie in a theater. 1 stars
10/14/11 ashley rexrode its okay but megan fox cant act 3 stars
7/26/11 Meep A mixture of awesome shit and just plain shit 3 stars
5/26/11 chris c Stabbing my eyes out would be less painful to watch, fire Michael Bay 1 stars
5/08/11 MOJOJO Somehow a worse film than the first Transformers. Quite an accomplishment! 1 stars
5/15/10 mr.mike While pretty much non-stop action , it goes on far too long. 3.5 stars. 3 stars
4/13/10 Jeff Wilder A cheap amusement park ride disguised as a movie 1 stars
3/04/10 dude horrible 1 stars
1/22/10 Corey Weaver A film that thinks talking down to the audience is a good thing. 1 stars
12/27/09 randy todger bay is a hack.editing is piss poor.give big budget movies to talented directors 1 stars
11/12/09 cr a pretty good sequel , with lots of action and laughs, but to much language man. but cool 3 stars
11/05/09 PAUL SHORTT A NOISY, UNDERPLOTTED AND OVERLONG SPECIAL EFFECTS EXTRAVAGANZA THAT LACKS A HUMAN TOUCH 1 stars
10/26/09 Mr.Carrot66 Besides the fact that some are only there to fill the politically correct quotas but seem t 5 stars
10/25/09 Roy100 They put their hands in to the crystals and Ah'len amazes Trip by telling him that his favo 5 stars
10/25/09 Wolf45 This narration suggests that Veronica is explicitly speaking to an audience within the stor 3 stars
10/25/09 Koitus Wow, was this BAD... Two passable action scenes and Megan in leather does NOT make a movie 1 stars
10/24/09 SouthWind59 The definition of a stable model was generalized to programs with choice rules. , <a href=" 4 stars
10/24/09 BadGirl21 That's exactly the strategy which the party successfully followed in the local elections - 2 stars
10/23/09 Maxx68 For it clearly matters for its own sake. , 2 stars
10/23/09 JXL10 Oh but we already had a clue about the power of Africa to sanitize a reputation or a cause. 3 stars
10/23/09 BadGirl72 Institute of Museum and Library Services. , 2 stars
10/21/09 Felix Why do I get the feeling that nearly all the five-star rates are the same people?? PATHETIC 1 stars
9/25/09 george webster What a jumbled mess 2 stars
9/12/09 Sugarfoot So awful...I barely know where to start. 1 stars
8/03/09 David A. Two hours listening to robots grunt and groan--how bad can it get? 1 stars
7/26/09 arn magnusson i felt dizzy watching this on iMAX 1 stars
7/23/09 michael mann simply awful 1 stars
7/22/09 WTF? Gumby, you're a dumbass there are way better movies adapted from a cartoon you dumb cunt 1 stars
7/22/09 Gummby3 A+. You're viewing a movie adaptated from a cartoon. Expecting Shakespeare? 5 stars
7/21/09 Wow, Just Wow Wow.......I simply cannot understand why people like this movie. I simply cannot understand 1 stars
7/19/09 Stevo I never fall asleep at the cinema. Until I saw this film. Why? BECAUSE IT'S SHIT. 1 stars
7/18/09 optimus prime ilike you bumblebee 5 stars
7/18/09 farah hasyeena it great because many adventure and funny 5 stars
7/18/09 farah natasya its is awesome .itsi so interesting.the optumus prime and the bumblebee is so cute. 5 stars
7/15/09 Abhishek Chakraborty What a betrayal of expecations from the first film. fixed MTV style action camera though 1 stars
7/14/09 faiche13 Not UNentertaining at all - but somewhat insulting to one's intelligence. 3 stars
7/13/09 austin wertman okay, i loved the first movie, but i hated this one 1 stars
7/13/09 TrekFan Michael Bay is to JJ Abrams what Uwe Boll is to Francis Ford Coppola 2 stars
7/12/09 gc Yeah, dogs humping and robot balls are SOOO funny, definately put that in the script 2 stars
7/10/09 whitelaw This is the first movie that made me want to walk out of the theater, it's THAT bad! 1 stars
7/09/09 Special K Look, if you stop paying to see shitty movies, maybe they'll stop making shitty movies. 1 stars
7/06/09 The Grinch I didn't think it could get worse than the original. Guess Bay thought that was a dare. 1 stars
7/06/09 Oscar G Yeah It's not Gandhi, but escapist fun does not mean braindead. 2 stars
7/04/09 Rio This is what happens when Michael Bay's brain takes a dump. 1 stars
7/04/09 roger federer worst sequel ever. Decapitate Michael Bay 1 stars
7/01/09 pantera this is the worst blockbuster sequel ever made 1 stars
6/30/09 Crispy I hated this movie, because I have a brain. 1 stars
6/30/09 MEGATRON fantastic pornographic robotic sequences.. LOOOOVVVEEE it man!! 5 stars
6/30/09 Real-person reviewer This is not meant to be a meaningful movie like "Ghandi", but pure escapist fun, so enjoy!! 4 stars
6/30/09 GrandMaster T You get given $150mil to make a movie about transforming robots. How do you f*ck this up? 1 stars
6/30/09 Kent I won't argue with everyone's plot criticisms-- the visual effects were impressive, though. 4 stars
6/30/09 MVC its an 80's animated episode turned into a 2009 experience, enjoy it for what it is! 4 stars
6/30/09 Fruit Loops Such a BAD movie. I wish I had read reviews before I went to see it 1 stars
6/30/09 BoyInTheDesignerBubble stereotypes are hillarious. God save us!! This movie was trash. 1 stars
6/30/09 Luisa monotonous loud action became annoying; ran too long too 2 stars
6/29/09 alan good 4 stars
6/29/09 Used39 Eh... entertaining enough. Pretty stupid, but enjoyable. 2 stars
6/29/09 Tom Servo 'the action in this one was more intense than the 1st'-yeah so was the boredom 1 stars
6/29/09 Monty A True sign of the end times. 1 stars
6/28/09 god am anyone who liked this should be executed promptly - seriously. 1 stars
6/27/09 gandalf worst movie i have ever seen 5 stars
6/27/09 Michael Bay's Soul ROBOT TESTICLES R FUNNY! This movie is not. 1 stars
6/27/09 Brock Sampson It will be fun watching the illiterate fanboys defend this garbage. Insultingly bad movie. 1 stars
6/27/09 Dave if I could give this movie negative stars I would. 1 stars
6/27/09 pran absolute crap, cant believe a piece of art can be this bad. its a disgrace to human rac 1 stars
6/27/09 Jack From Jaws to this? Spielberg should take his money as exec prod. and go into hiding. 1 stars
6/26/09 Steve Michaud Dear God, is this what summer entertainment has come to? 1 stars
6/26/09 KingNeutron 4.5 / 5 *s - the action in this one was more intense than the 1st 4 stars
6/26/09 JR I feel sorry for those who actually enjoyed watching this POS. 1 stars
6/26/09 Aaron I'm not a fanboy, but I did enjoy the hell out of this. 4 stars
6/26/09 George Critics are so full of themselves. See the movie an judge for yourself people. 5 stars
6/25/09 TB I was sent to review this film for on-air, and walked out. IT'S THAT BAD. 1 stars
6/25/09 Craig Ranapia I didn't much like this film, but the experience was nothing like being raped. 3 stars
6/25/09 Maven Brick headed stupidity mixed with racism! Another 1-2 punch from Michael Bay! 1 stars
6/25/09 Pato This is entertainment people, not a doctoral thesis, it was fun!! Critics suck!! 4 stars
6/25/09 Brad Schroeder If your over 25 and thought this movie was good i feel sorry for you 1 stars
6/25/09 Kevin Meyer I thought the film was better than the first, and easily his best, most epic film yet. 5 stars
6/25/09 Viral Hey, fuck you. How can you say anything released this year was worse than Dragonball. 4 stars
6/25/09 V8Thrasher i stopped taking this review seriously once i saw how much he hated Bay. Prejudice he is. 4 stars
6/25/09 Anthony An honest review, but I think 98 percent of normal people disagree. 4 stars
6/24/09 Darkstar Just remember, it's Michael Bay not William Shakespeare. I didn't think it sucked. 4 stars
6/24/09 Daniel Kelly A massive annoyance, cool CGI but everything else is sub par 2 stars
6/24/09 Michael Yeah, I can admit too that I like "The Rock" and "Armageddon". 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Jun-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Oct-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Jun-2009
  DVD: 20-Oct-2009



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