by Rick Grant
Grade: C / Rated PG-13 / 150 min
There is one word to describe this movie-overkill-raised to the nth power. Director Michael Bay has never heard of the word “subtlety.” The film assaults the senses with an overload of loud special effects, explosions, and the big chunky transformers that morph from cars and heavy equipment into absurd looking scrap heaps of heavy metal armed with serious ordnance. The ending is drawn out ad nauseam, with enough explosives to blow up London. “They want explosions, I’ll give them explosions,” Michael Bay could have said.
Only the humor saves this picture from being a big boring sound effects clunker, that could give viewers a headache. The jive talking bots that are helping lead character Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) are hilarious. Then there is the smaller smartass bot that has some funny lines until Micaela pokes his eye out.
The convoluted story, written by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman is confusing and vague. To wit: the Decepticons’ forces return to Earth on a mission to find Sam because he possesses a magic shard key that will revitalize their forces. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime formed an alliance with Earth’s international armies to help humankind fight the Decepticons in the epic battles that will inevitably happen.
Sam wants to continue a normal life as a college student and still see his girlfriend, Micaela (Megan Fox). His goofy parents (Julie White and Kevin Dunn) are going away when Sam finds the shard and it morphs into metal Gremlin-like creatures that destroy his house. Still, he shows up at college but his mind is warped by the alien mind melds, or some such gibberish. He freaks out and is attacked by the Decepticons now on earth disguised as dump trucks and other heavy equipment.
As Sam’s location is compromised, the movie turns into a chase film as Sam and Mikaela are on the run from the evil bots. All hell breaks lose as Optimus Prime and Sam’s entourage of cars that turn into bots fight off the Decepticons As the scenario progresses, the story gets lost in the endless battle scenes, as Earth’s forces line up against the alien invasion.
Sam finds out that the alien Transformers have been on earth for thousands of years, with the Primes hidden away in an Egyptian temple. All they need is Sam’s shard key to be reactivated. About half the way through this cacophony of noise, all the overblown action and clanking metal gets to be too much for most anyone’s inputs to process. So, viewers just tune out much of the jarring action on the screen. In other words, the action cancels itself out.
John Turturro steals the movie as nutty conspiracy theorist, Agent Simmons a.k.a Jetfire. All his predictions of a major apocalypse have come true and he’s ready to serve his country with his trusty walkie-talkie with a direct line to the general in charge. He calls in an air strike on a Transformer destroying the Giant Pyramid in Egypt. Yes, Simmons has waited a lifetime to witness the alien invasion on a grand scale. Man he’s pumped. It’s as if some UFO nut job witnesses a flying saucer land on the White House lawn.,
Just when the viewer thinks that the movie is coming to its big noisy climax, the mother of all Transformer battles continues, ad infinitum, until the viewer’s mind wanders and the viewer forgets the reason all the forces are gathered in the desert in the first place.
Of course, although the second edition of the Transformers franchise is critic proof and a gazillion teenage boys will flock to see it, the film is heavy handed and takes the action scenes well passed their critical mass. It’s as if Michael Bay wanted to take the special effects into a new realm of explosive force.
Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen
by Rick Grant