Had I not read reviews of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen before I watched the film, I would have been shocked to see that it’s now only hitting 22% on the Tomato Meter. Most critics have panned the film, saying that it’s too loud, too long, and underplotted.
Well, here’s the gist of my take on Transformers 2. (1) Transformers 1 was clearly better, but (2) If you want a thrilling break from your bleak and dry life, this movie is definitely worth watching. That is why I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
The Plot You May Have a Hard Time Understanding While Watching the Film
Of course this movie has a plot. Critics are being exaggerated when they tell you it has no plot at all. One critic also said that its plot was unintelligible. Now, that is closer to the truth.
See, Transformers 2 is so action-packed and so peppered with special effects and so explosive that it’s kind of hard to relax your mind in the brief moments of peace to digest the plot underneath it all.
Here’s the gist. Two years after the events of the first film, the Autobots and the American and British militaries have formed a secret organization named NEST to fight hiding Decepticons on Earth. Yes, apparently, there are other Decepticons who have landed on Earth since the first film. Other Autobots have also found their way to the planet mostly through the call that Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, sent out in space.
Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), who just entered college, experiences trance moments when he sees unknown ancient symbols. He later discovers that these symbols lead to a place where a source of energy for the robots (just like the destroyed AllSpark) can be found here on Earth. Sam learns that the Transformers have already been on Earth thousands of years ago for that source of energon (the special type of power used by the robots). However, to gather that energy, the robots would have to destroy the Earth’s Sun, killing humans, which the original Transformers didn’t want. One Decepticon though, named The Fallen, despised humans and sought to gather the power by blasting the sun away. Fortunately, The Fallen is defeated by Optimus Prime’s ancestors who hid the key to the sun-destroying weapon, as well as the sun-destroying weapon itself somewhere in Egypt.
Back to the present time, Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons (but who is later revealed to be working for The Fallen), is revived and he kills Optimus. Sam, together with his human allies and Autobot friends, races to find the key which supposedly has the ability to revive Optimus. The Decepticons do everything they can to stop Sam and activate the sun-destroying weapon. All the while explosion after explosion after explosion explode in the film.
Why You May Not Like to Watch This Film
If you’re a person who relishes complex, logical, and clearly laid out plots, then this movie isn’t for you. It’s not as if the film is that hard to understand. In fact, I did understand 90% of the plot while watching the film. The problem has to do with the plot being too deeply buried under all the special effects and noise director Michael Bay heaped into the film. You may find yourself desperately trying to understand hurried plot explanations of some characters in order to make sense of the story. However, unless you’re an idiot, Transformers 2 is pretty understandable.
Transformers 1 had a good balance between scenes involving humans and scenes involving robots, so your eyes get refreshed after watching a dizzying fight scene by detailed CGIs. The second film though, is different. Bay, probably taking cue from fans, put vastly more robots in the film, so there are more transformations, more clanking metals, and more intricate details that assault your eyes. A lot of scenes are so filled with CGI robot parts that you may find it hard to decipher who’s hitting whom and what the hell is happening. But this ultimately depends on the viewer. I, for one, could see 95% of the time what the CGI characters were doing to each other, but maybe because I’m a geek. However, my reluctant girlfriend who I convinced to watch the film with me, had a much harder time understanding the furious special effects on the screen. So this “negative” aspect is up to you. In fact, I can imagine some people actually loving this hardcore special effects extravaganza.
Finally, critics have also trashed the film for having too many stereotypes, too many explosions, and especially for being too long (147 minutes). What can I say? This is a Michael Bay film. This director is notorious for his overblown action sequences but he keeps on making them anyway. In fact, Hollywood always has a place for Bay’s talent for exploding bombs and guns despite the critics. In Transformers 2, Bay is unapologetic for his noisy style of filmmaking. You may have the sense that 85% of this film is about explosions (small, big, and gargantuan explosions). At 147 minutes, even the most firepower-hungry audiences should feel greatly challenged by Bay’s latest film.
Another aspect of the film that has been criticized is the great volume of stereotypes. There are robots here who act too much like caricatures of black men, babes who just scream “Sex!”, and even anti-Arab sentiments. If you’re sensitive about such aspects, then don’t go see this movie because you may feel you’re being treated as dumb by the filmmakers.
Why I STILL Recommend this Movie
My cousin basically summed up my own rationale for watching Transformers 2. She said, “What do you expect?! I mean, you don’t watch a movie like that for the intellectual content. Show me the special effects and explosions. Bring it on!!!”
Life is too bleak these days. You have the global recession that makes you feel so worried about the present, the swine flu which makes you so weary of contact with strangers, and other problems of everyday life that just drain your spirit away. If you want a nice jolt to wake you up from the doldrums, then there’s no better way to do that than to watch this movie.
Transformers 2 will literally rock your senses, but especially your eyeballs and your eardrums. It actually feels more like a heavy metal concert than a regular action film. It’s sex, drugs (yeah, there are drugs), and rock and roll with the volume turned up high way up into the sky. It’s a popcorn movie that will keep you munching and munching ’til your eyes, ears, and mouth are all sore.
I myself was really satisfied with the film. In my opinion, it didn’t suck, although the first one was more “magical.” But the second one is still a treat and a great experience. It’s just like a fast food meal that gave you triple the calories and the flavor you expected. But then again, it looks so good that it’s really a shame to let it slip by untasted.
Transformers 3, of course, will be released on 2011 or 2012. To tell you the truth, I can’t wait for it. They’re thinking of putting the fan-favorite Dinobots in there this time. Dinosaurs, robots, babes, and explosions? Man, to hell with critics, but I’d savor that.