Michael Bay is back with the sequel to the 2007 hit the Transformers, with the Revenge of the Fallen. Co-written by the original writing duo, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen fast-forwards two years to find Sam Witwicky making his way to college on the east coast and trying to leave behind his life in California. Reprising his role as the one destined to save earth, Shia LaBeouf joins the gorgeous Megan Fox, as Sam’s girlfriend Mikaela Banes, as they join forces with the Autobots to stop the Decipticons planned destruction of Earth.
Led by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), the Autobots are now members of a joint U.S. and British task force called Nest, who’s primary objective is to smoke out Decepticons who’ve been hiding out on Earth. Joining Optimus are a bevy of new Autobots, from newcomers Arcee and the twins Mudflap and Skids, to familiars like Ironhide and Ratchet. We’re treated to newer, bigger, and in some cases smaller, robots that portray every personality in the spectrum. The Decepticons also have a number of new faces joining the fight, from fan favorite Soundwave to Ravage and the ever popular Constructicons. We also get a glimpse into a number of older Decepticons like Jetfire and the last of the Prime’s, The Fallen.
Sam’s story is nothing new, boy grows up, boy leaves home to forge his own path. Unfortunately for Sam, nothing in his life is normal. While packing for college he comes across a sliver of the AllSpark which zaps alien glyphs directly into his brain. Unbeknown to him the ramifications of his new found knowledge will lead him on an adventure he’d never expect. From his first day at college everything that can go wrong does go wrong, from the alpha male roommate to him spacing out at a college frat party nothing is going as planned. Unfortunately for Sam it’ll only get worse. He’s got Decepticons hunting him down and becomes drawn into a battle to save Earth. I’m not going to get too much into the story, because there’s no real fun in spoiling it for everyone, but to say that there are explosions, heart pounding action, comedy and hot women wouldn’t be off the mark. As a matter of fact it’s exactly on point, and a typical formula for Michael Bay movies.
Make no mistake, this is a Bay movie from start to finish. From his signature action scenes to the near patented circular camera shot and lens flares, you can help but get caught up in the entire thing. Clocking it at two hours and 29 minutes it’s entirely appropriate to say that the Revenge of the Fallen has a number of dead spots, but every time the movie hits one, you sit back in eager, childish anticipation because you just know he’s going to throw something at you with a loud bang and wake you up.
There are a lot of complaints about the acting, but let’s be realistic here it’s a summer action flick, not some pretentious art house film. Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox perform their roles admirably. Fox does an excellent job playing the sultry kick ass girlfriend every guy desires. LaBeouf plays the role of akward teen developing into his own great. Ramon Rodriguez, playing Sams roomate Leo Spitz, does a great job bringing his own motormouth brio. The return of John Turturro as former Sector 7 Agent Simmons provides some comic relief and you actually like the fact that he’s back.
The biggest stars though are the robots, whether it’s the Autobots or Decepticons. Revenge of the Fallen showcases a diverse brigade of robots, from gremlin like kitchen appliances to vintage airplanes and even a coed with a tongue of steel. They all have an organic fluidity to their movement. They look alive, not just some robots that clank and roll around and the voice actors do a great job giving them life as well. Had they failed on their presentation of the robots the entire movie would have failed. Thankfully Bay, Industrial Light & Magic and the rest of the team managed to nail them down.
While Revenge of the Fallen is a fun, action packed movie, it does has its fair share of mistakes. The biggest being its length. They could have easily cut roughly twenty minutes and it still would have been just as good, perhaps better. Everything was building up to a huge fight, which there was, but the ending came very quickly. It felt almost too short. The only other complaint I can really make is how sometimes it become difficult to differentiate between the robots when they were in close combat. Other than that, I walked away satisfied.
While Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen may have its drawbacks, they’re really minor when looking at the big picture. The movie is meant to be a big, fun, loud display of robots beating the hell out of each other, with a bit of humanity thrown in for good measure. It’s a summer blockbuster, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that. If you enjoyed the first Transformers then you absolutely need to see this. Even if you haven’t, you won’t find yourself lost. You’ll simply find yourself entertained.