Home > Movies, Reviews > Robotic Revenge: (A Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Review)

Robotic Revenge: (A Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Review)

transformers_revenge_of_the_fallen03The first “Transformers” movie didn’t really sit well with me, but maybe that’s because I expected something different from it, certainly something very different from what I got. Watching it a second and third time recently on TV, I thought it was a little bit better, but it did little to save me from that earlier disappointment I had on the first viewing.

I’m glad to say, however, that the second movie, “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” did for me what the first didn’t and I really rather enjoyed it.

The full review is below, and for anyone wondering, it gets a B- grade, which is still much better than most of this summer’s big action films.

Only two years after the release of the first live-action “Transformers” movie, Michael Bay brings the second instalment in the franchise to the big screen in “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.” The subtitle might have many people thinking that Megatron is the titular Fallen, returning after his defeat in the first film, but in true action movie fashion, the villainous threat in this movie is bigger than anything we’ve seen before.

The film opens with a prologue explaining some of the Transformers’ history, hinting that their relationship with the people of Earth goes back to the very origins of the planet’s civilisation. The secrets of this interaction are uploaded into the brain of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) when he accidentally discovers a shard of the AllSpark, thought destroyed after the climactic battle of the first film. When he goes to college, he leaves the shard in the hands of girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), but it’s not long before the Decepticons find out and start to pursue them both for the information they can access. Meanwhile, Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) is working with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and the other Autobots on a top-secret team apprehending Decepticons, and one encounter makes Prime aware of a long-standing plot by The Fallen (Tony Todd) to resurrect his apprentice Megatron (Hugo Weaving) and finish the job he started millennia before.

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Where the first film took some time to get started, “Revenge Of The Fallen” kicks into the action early on, and most of the action set-pieces areimpressively well conceived. As with all Michael Bay films, there is plenty of slow-motion, lots of explosions and, in some cases, the action obscured into the background, but there are also scenes where Bay’s usual techniques are easily forgotten. When the giant robots get fighting, the consequences are as brutal as they should be, with crunching metal and giant robots ripping smaller ones apart. The stand-out scene is easily in the middle of the film, with Optimus fighting Megatron and several other Decepticons in the middle of a forest with all the destruction you can expect.

The Transformers themselves look much better than in the first film and as such, have a much bigger presence here, with the design for some of the Decepticons and their base having a much more organic feel, in ways reminiscent of “Alien” and the Borg from “Star Trek: First Contact.” Thankfully, the larger presence of the robots means that the human characters take a back-seat to the action: while the story follows Sam, even finding a way to include his parents and the returning Agent Simmons (John Turturro), this is really a film where the Transformers step into the limelight and take their rightful place as stars, with more than just a few nods to the animated human-less “Transformers: The Movie” (and TV series) from the 1980s. As such, the film is at its weakest during the moments of human interaction, and although the humour sits better in this than the first film, some of the ‘jokes’ still feel forced, specifically when Sam’s mother buys some organic brownies while visiting him at college.

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLENAt  nearly two-and-a-half-hours long, “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” fills the time well for the most part, but suffers from an over-long third act, cramming a lot of exposition into a point when the action should be kicking into overdrive as Sam’s quest leads him, Mikaela and Bumblebee to Egypt for the final battle. It’s a bad slump, and really breaks the otherwise action-packed flow of the film: unfortunately, some of the better scenes come before this, and there’s nothing quite big enough afterwards to make up for this drop.

“Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” is easily a big improvement over the first film, and in the action-packed summer of 2009, it manages to rank surprisingly high, better even than “X-Men: Origins – Wolverine” and “Terminator: Salvation” and despite not liking the first film, I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing what else the franchise has to present in the future.

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  1. Hedgie
    June 27, 2009 at 8:48 AM

    Couldn’t agree more with this review. I loathed the twins, dislike John Turturro’s character anyway and thought the roommate was idiotic t best but over all I was thoroughly entertained.

    🙂

  2. June 20, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    Wow, I’m surprised you liked it. I found the humour to be terrible in the film, far worst than the first one. The action is certainly impressive and the Transformers on the whole are cool and done well. It still centres to much on pointless human characters though. The only character worth being there is Sam, which is basically what the cartoon was in relation to human characters. First third was very impressive and the end battle sequence was pretty decent too, but the middle section of the film sinks it with lack of robots and juvenile humour. Loved the first one, still do, but this didn’t impress as much, especially when I start thinking about it more.

    • burnallzombies
      June 20, 2009 at 5:44 PM

      I dunno, the more I think about it, there are bits that don’t stand up, but I still didn’t think it was terrible overall. Maybe my standards and expectations were just incredibly low after the first one.

  3. morethinking
    June 18, 2009 at 2:05 AM

    Huh, so it’s actually good? And it actually delivers on Action? Hmm…

    I disliked the first one, but maybe I will give this one a try.

    • burnallzombies
      June 18, 2009 at 12:24 PM

      Well I actually enjoyed it this time around, so yeah, I’d give it a shot. It’s no worse than “Terminator: Salvation” anyway!

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