Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [Film Review]

By Mihir Patkar Published Date
10 - Jul - 2009
| Last Updated
10 - Jul - 2009
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [Film Review]

Take a bunch of giant robots that transform into cars, add one of the hottest actresses on the planet, sprinkle it with breath-taking graphics and then get the Big Shiny Things (BST) to fight each other in exotic locales: It’s the perfect recipe for a blockbuster. But like any great recipe, the second time you make it, it’s just not as delicious…

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen seems quite like a thesis paper on ‘How to make a big-budget action flick’. Director Michael Bay has thrown in almost every cliché you could think of, and also those that you couldn’t. It’s among the best “Leave your brains at home” movies you’ll see on a large screen; but refrain from putting even an iota of thought into it.
After the events of the first movie, the Transformers team – led by Optimus Prime – has now started helping the US military to round up those Decepticons (the aforementioned evil bots) that are still hiding on Earth. Some of the new bots that have come to join Optimus are unbelievably cool! 
However, these 30-foot-tall BSTs that transform into cars and battle each other in the middle of large metropolitan cities have somehow managed to slip past the gaze of the whole world. And they make fun of Clark Kent for wearing glasses...
Shia LaBeouf returns to play the role of Samuel ‘Sam’ Witwicky, who has now begun dating love interest and ceremonial auto-lovin’ hot chick, Mikaela Banes, played by Megan Fox. Sam is going to college, Mikaela’s stuck home, they’re going to have to figure out how to do a long-distance relationship… you just know right then that Sam is going to get into an awkward position in college and get caught in a web of misunderstanding.
The gratuitous uber-geek’s slot is filled by Sam’s roommate, Leo Spitz – played by Ramon Rodriguez – who runs a Web site that talks of sightings of the Transformers, while John Benjamin Hickey finely fills the shoes of the “grumpy Government official who just doesn’t trust those damn robots” as National Security Advisor, Galloway.
Meanwhile, the Decepticons have rallied together under the leadership of The Fallen, a mystical autobot who seems more powerful than any of the others, including the returning Megatron.
A series of events leads the Decepticons back to chasing Sam for a lost fragment of vital information (really, again!), who has to rely on the Transformers and a few other support characters to figure out an ancient riddle for good to win over evil.
The plot is really insignificant in comparison to the true objective of the movie: Big Shiny Things Fight!
Bay has really gone all-out with the special effects on the fight scenes, and even hunted some great locales for the same. A sprawling fight through a large forest is an amazing juxtapose of heavy machinery and nature. There’s a particular scene where Optimus uproots what is probably a 1000-year-old tree and clubs Megatron with it – pure awesomeness!
What is disconcerting, though, is the visual overload. There were times in the first movie when it was difficult to follow the big battles between two Transformers; in the sequel, this has been magnified quite a bit. 
It’s the use of the first-person “running cam” view from behind trees and pillars that irks the most. Perhaps when you put three robots in a single frame, a single tree blocking a portion of the action saves you a lot of money on the CGI. In the end, there is just so much happening on screen that it’s a visual nightmare. A lot of frames, quite literally, have more than meets the eye.
There is absolutely no doubt that Transformers 2 is worth a watch for those who liked the first movie, and fans of action films in general. It perfectly fits the “American summer action blockbuster” category, and Bay should rightfully get his doctorate degree for the same.
The problem, as such, is that this is supposed to be a sequel. But at no point does it feel bigger or better.

Mihir PatkarMihir Patkar