Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Revenge of the Fallen

Two years have gone by since Transformers introduced us to the awesomeness of childhood playthings becoming a life-sized reality on the big screen. Two years in anticipation, waiting for the inevitable sequel, hoping against hope that a part two would be equal its predecessor in the category of all things awesome. I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but be warned, a few bits of information not revealed by the trailers may be thrown in here and there.

All of that culminated last night as I was among the possible millions in this country who stayed up late to catch the midnight release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It was a last minute decision to see the movie at midnight last night, and even that was a difficult one to make. Yes, I was looking forward to this movie about as much as I had anticipated The Dark Knight last summer. But with it being the middle of the week, and with the burden of a full-time job, I assumed I would need to wait at least a few days before finally seeing the new film.

That wasn’t the case as Nicole suggested that I go with Kevin and their oldest son, Bryce, to the midnight showing. Now, I love going to the theater, especially when it’s overcrowded. The people-watching possibilities are limitless. And thanks to the fact that school is out for the summer, there was no end of adolescent fanboys hanging out with groups of girls modeling the latest in hookerwear. Though we had pre-paid for our tickets, we were forced to wait in line until we got the okay to enter the viewing rooms. After a roughly half hour wait, we were allowed to wade our way through all the teenagers flaunting their new-found freedom from chaperones and curfews. Like cattle being led to the slaughter, we were ushered into our theater to finally see the sequel to greatness.

And then the movie began. The months of anticipation was not met with a whimper, but it really wasn’t met with a bang either. We pick up two years after the first film ended. The Autobots are now working with a military division that is hunting down the remaining Decepticons and attempting to rid the Earth of their threat. In the meantime, the Autobots have grown their ranks with a few more visitors that have joined the battle in between stories. But the Decepticons have been at work as well.

Our hero from the first movie, Sam (Shia LeBeouf) is all grown up and heading off to college, leaving behind his protector, Bumblebee, and his unrealistically hot girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox). When he comes in contact with a forgotten shard of the All-Spark, he is somehow infected with information that the Decepticons will kill to get. All of this leads to an action-packed adventure that delves into Earth’s ancient past, where we discover that the Transformers have been here before, leaving behind a source of great power that may be vital to the survival of their race.

Like the previous installment, this film continues the theme of sacrifice for the greater good. We see it over and over again in each of our good guys. Optimus Prime sacrifices himself to save Sam. Sam does the same for Prime. Sam’s parents argue with him about whether or not they will stay and fight or run and hide, as Sam tells them. Mikaela shows a great amount of faith in her fella, even when the odds are impossibly stacked against them.

The plot and the action alone made this movie well worth seeing. And for anyone who is as big a fan of Transformers as I have been, it is a must see. However, there are disappointments.

While the movie is a great action flick, there are a lot of elements that have been stripped from other, well-known franchises. A few of the most obvious ones come from Star Wars, Terminator, and Indiana Jones. When you see the movie, you’ll see those influences.

My biggest problem comes with the crudity and the over sexualized mentality of the movie. I can get past the use of certain characters purely for comic relief, that’s not the problem. The problem is when they resort to crude language and humor to break the tension with a cheap laugh. And remember how I said the girls at the theater were modeling their hookerwear? It’s easy to see where they get their fashion sense when Megan Fox is spending all of her screen time fairly scantily clad.

Not that I normally would mind staring at Megan Fox in low-cut tops or short shorts. But I was sitting next to an 11-year-old kid. And as good as the action was and as exciting as the plot may have been, it was hard to enjoy that when the whole time I’m thinking, “He really shouldn’t be seeing this.” I realize that the MPAA has their guidelines that they follow when rating a movie. And it’s not that this particular movie contained anything worse than you would find in any other PG-13 rated film. It just contained so much of it. There was so much sexual innuendo and crude humor that it seemingly pushed the envelope for this range of the rating system.

Maybe my opinion would be a little different and skewed in another direction had I seen it with the guys I went to college with. After all, those are the guys with whom I can sit through Anchorman and laugh hysterically. Seeing this with them, I may have walked away going on and on about how awesome the effects were or how cool it was when such-and-such exploded or how hot Megan Fox actually is. Instead, I walked out with a father and his impressionable young son talking about how inappropriate the content was and how disappointed we were after a huge and exciting build up.

So my opinion? The movie was good. The story was thrilling. The action was exciting. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. Just leave the kids at home.

1 comment:

  1. I most like that you called Mikaela Sam's "unrealistically hot girlfriend." Not that I debate the truth of that statement. I mean, Shia's cute and all, but he's clearly outranked here. I just felt I should add that she (Megan Fox, not necessarily the character of Mikaela) is also kind of a skank, so it evens out.
    Then, I read the rest of your blog and realized, maybe Mikaela IS a skank, but that seems only to make it MORE unrealistic.
    Regardless, I'm still excited about it. Thanks for the detailed review.