Heh heh heh. Hee hee hee. Ya know, there’s a part of me that is secretly relishing the prospect of writing what I’m about to write. I’m excited at the catharsis I’ll feel having vented about Michael Bay’s latest piece of cinematic art. Because for the last twelve hours... minus the few hours sleep I got... I have stewed slowly. I’ve allowed what I witnessed last night to seep slowly into my brain, and I’ve attempted to arrange the images and sounds into an understandable and comprehensible series of sequences so that I can give Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen the review it deserves.
Okay, it’s been two years since Optimus Prime and his little human buddy Sam Witwicky (having still not changed his name by deed poll) defeated Megatron and the Decepticons. Sam is now ready to head off to college. He will be leaving behind his parents, girlfriend Mikaela, and best buddy and Autobot, Bumblebee. However, once Sam hits the campus, things go wrong. It seems the Decepticons are searching for Megatron’s body in order to resurrect him. It turns out Megatron is only second in command to another Decepticon, The Fallen, who wants to return to Earth (he was here at the dawn of civilisation.... don’t ask) to destroy our sun in order to get the power to give birth to more Decepticons.... Queue explosions and all manner of utter bollocks for two and a half bloody hours.
There is so much that is wrong with Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, that it’s difficult to know where to start. I’m not that easily offended by movies. Admittedly, I actively seek out the films that create controversy and make people walk out of theatres. It’s not that I enjoy being repulsed. Though there is some sick fascination with the depth to which some directors stoop in order to shock. Take Martyrs or Cannibal Holocaust as examples. They’re both pretty reprehensible films. But they’re made for a specific type of viewer and don’t in any way try to be entertainment for the masses. What I absolutely object to, however, is a director who is so low-brow, he makes Rob Schneider look like the 21st Century’s Lawrence Olivier. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is the freak bastard child that would emerge if Nuts magazine got absolutely twisted drunk and had sex with Top Gear and a military recruitment video. Michael Bay is the sick voyeuristic neighbour filming it all to jerk off to later.
The film is incredibly misogynistic. There are three female characters in the film. Bay treats them with all the subtlety and depth of a slap-happy pimp. When not filming Magan Fox as is she’s in the opening few scenes of a hard-core porno, he’s getting up-skirt shots of some other starlet or treating Sam’s mother with sneering disdain for her kooky antics. Were he able to get away with it, I’d imagine Bay would have had Sam’s father go Ray Winstone on her ass and beat her into the ground a la Nil By Mouth... although with swooping camera moves and slow motion impacts. All Megan Fox has to do for the entire film is wear a low-cut top, keep a permanent pout on her face and occasionally run awkwardly from an explosion. Which, thankfully for her, encompasses the entirety of her talents. She is a dreadful actress. And I’m pretty sure she was born without a soul. Whenever the camera stared, nay, leered into her unquestionably beautiful eyes, you can’t quite help but feel there’s a deep, gaping, black void of humanity staring back. I don’t know whether that’s Bay’s work, or Fox herself, but it was somewhat unnerving.
Then there’s the xenophobia. Good christ, there’s plenty of that. Bay has made some sort of deal with the US military, because the last hour of the film is just an army recruitment video shot, again, as explosion porno. Planes, tanks, trucks, guns, missiles, aircraft carriers, high-tech weaponry are all wheeled out and fired at the enemy, who, for the record, are completely ineffectual against humans. I mean, THEY’RE GIANT FUCKING ROBOTS. Yet none of them are capable of defeating a small platoon of squishy humans with guns that fire tiny bullets. Anyway, all this ordnance is fired at the Decepticons in the last battle, which takes place in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. And as a consequence, pyramids and thousands of years of history are wiped out and reduced to dust. And do the Yanks care? Not a jot. Bay may as well have gone the final step and had one of the GI Joes prance to the top of the crumbled remains of the pyramids and jam an American flag into place. In one spectacularly ‘look how stupid Johnny Foreigner is’ moment, Sam and his pals try to cross the Jordan-Egypt border. It is here that they encounter Johnny foreigner’s army, which has a midget in charge. Yup, a midget. I thought crossing borders was a difficult thing in today’s political climate. But apparently shouting ‘NEW YORK’ in an American accent gains you access to any country. Stupid foreign army. Trey Parker and Matt Stone parodied this attitude in Team America World Police. But Bay obviously doesn’t get parody or irony and took that film as a serious appraisal of American Foreign Policy.
The special effects are spectacular. There’s no denying that. Hundreds of millions of dollars were pumped into the film and it shows. The team at ILM and Digital Domain are top-notch and you can feel the heat in every explosion. But special effects should be there to help tell a story. Not be the centre-piece that the story is written around. And that is how this film feels. The story is all over the place. Every few minutes, everybody has to stop to explain to one-another what’s going on. When that’s not happening, logic is thrown out the window. One scene takes place in the Smithsonian Air And Space Museum. The characters crash through a wall, and are in the desert. The wall was obviously some sort of portal through space-time, because the last time I checked, the Smithsonian is in the middle of Washington DC. A FUCKING CITY. It’s this utter contempt for the intelligence of the audience that I really have a problem with.
The problems with the film are innumerable. It’s indefensibly bad. The script is a bloody mess of confusing decisions, illogical situations and ludicrous events that defy reality; I know it’s a film about giant robots, but when a man rings an aircraft carrier and gets them to use a top-secret experimental weapon without any question of authority, chain of command or procedure, you’re going too far from reality. The acting is terrible. It’s really shocking to see John Turturro slumming it so badly. The guy was a darling of the Coen Brothers. What the fuck is he doing in this crap?
There’s also the question of the Autobot twins, two of the most ill-conceived and insulting sidekicks since Jar Jar Binks. Every moment of their screen-time sucks out a bit of your soul. They aren’t funny. They’re cringeworthy. Shame of the writers for creating them, shame on the designers for making them look like they do. Shame on all involved.
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is a film made by idiotic scumbags for the entertainment of imbeciles. If you think two small dogs fucking is hilarious, then this film right up your alley. And for that, fuck you. It is the intellectual equivalent of a home movies television show. It’s a lads’ magazine filmed for the big screen. It’s like climbing into the mind of a hyperactive thirteen year old boy who’s been sitting at his Playstation for too long. I don’t object to a bit of entertainment for entertainment’s sake. But I do think that this kind of film sums up exactly what’s wrong with the industry. It’s a prime example of what happens when film companies aim to squeeze as much money out of the audience’s pocket as possible. The executives at Dreamworks and Paramount may as well drop to their knees and start giving blow-jobs for pennies. Because there is infinitely more dignity in that than having your name attached to this film. And I’m an idiot for spending money I worked for on this shit.
Fuck you Michael Bay. Fuck you Dreamworks Pictures. Fuck you audience around me who laughed at all the incredibly unfunny jokes and stared slack-jawed at the shiney things and ‘splosions. Fuck you universe for allowing this film to happen.
Oh, and just before I forget... Decepticon testicles... Fuck you, Michael Bay.