When the first Transformers movie released in 2007, I was a bit more than a fanboy. Prior to 2008’s Iron Man, it was one of the best summer popcorn action movies I’d seen in forever. And yes, I know there are more than a few people out there who didn’t like the first one. If you’re among them, I wouldn’t plan on seeing the sequel. However, I’m happy to say it’s more of the same!
If you didn’t see the first movie or need a refresher in your Transformers history, it boils down to an intergalactic battle between two groups of giant, transforming robots. The Autobots are the good guys. And the Decepticons are the bad guys. We puny earthlings (in the blow-everything-up universe of Michael Bay’s mind) get caught in the middle. Destruction ensues. Bad guys lose the first round.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen picks up two years after the last movie. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is on his way to start college and endure a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox). The military friends Sam & Mikaela made in the first movie have become the leaders of a unit created to find and destroy any remaning Decepticons. Aiding the unit are the Autobots.
We come to find that in recent months, there have been multiple Decepticon battles in various parts of the globe, almost as though they’re searching for something.
That’s the setup. And we end up with some huge battles between the good guys and the bad guys. These battles are bigger and badder than the first movie.
I was quite impressed with the fight choreography this time around. Though the Transformers themselves are fast, furious, and amazingly smooth. I think they must have done some serious motion capture and then had ILM lay the shiny bits on top, similar to what was done for Iron Man. Though I’ve heard complaints about the sheer amount of movement involved (in some of the transformation sequences and battles of the first movies), I found the combat in Revenge of the Fallen to be much more fluid.
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
What I had some issues with were some of the Transformers in the background and the use of a Terminator-style Transformer in the college scenes. “Alice” (Isabel Lucas) was not only a bit over the top for me, but out of whack with the rest of the Decepticon strategies.
Yes, in the first movie we had a robot transform into a boom box to hide in plain sight as well as many everyday objects and devices transformed by the Cube into maniacal little robots intent on doing some damage. But Alice was a humanoid robot with a fleshy “tongue” at the end of one of her appendages. How did she gain skin and hair?
Beyond that, I thought the human story elements of this movie were actually better than the first one to some extent. The relationship between Mikaela and Sam was more believable, as were the issues Sam’s parents Ron (Kevin Dunn) and Judy (Julie White) had with letting their little boy go away to college. Dunn and White played up the comedic angle while keeping the emotional bond there in plain view.
Ultimately, I was impressed by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I think Bay and company did a great job coming up with a logical next step and bumping this film to the next level. It’s bigger, faster, and definitely has more exploding stuff than the first one.
Is it Shakespeare? No. Is it better than the first one? No, but I think it’s just as good. My problems were relatively minimal overall and I was never bored during the 150 minute film. That said, it didn’t blow me away like the first one did. Maybe the “new Transformer smell” has worn off a bit and I was just left with a very satisfying summer action blockbuster. If that’s the case, I’d like to have this problem more often!
I give it a solid 3.5 out of 4 stars. It’s fun, action-packed, and has more Transformers than you can shake a stick at. (Not that shaking a stick at a Transformer is a good idea.) If you liked the first one, go see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and check your brain at the door!
I’m VERY curious to see what the “extra scenes” were that are in the IMAX version, but I may have to wait for the extended version on DVD to satisfy that curiosity. 🙂
Let me know what YOU thought of the movie… Leave me some comments!
p.s. Pick up the FIRST Transformers movie and other goodies at Amazon here: