Saturday, January 15, 2011

Movie Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I was pretty excited when I saw the teaser trailer for the first Transformers movie. I remember watching the cartoon series in my childhood (though, to be honest, I don't remember many actual details of the series). With computer graphics the movie promised to be a visual spectacle and it was. All the reports I'd read about the sequel said that they'd tried to outdo themselves in every aspect and that the final product simply collapsed under its own weight. After watching the film I'm inclined to say that their criticisms were more overblown than the movie was. 

I'll admit, though, that the movie was a little excessive, sometimes. For example, some of the action scenes were overdone—too big and to frenetic to really follow. Ironically, they also tried to keep a human interest angle throughout the film, but this consistently fell flat. The angst between Sam and his girlfriend [1] over their long-distance relationship and his commitment issues felt forced. And when Sam's father suddenly grows a backbone and wants to protect his son, it seems out of place.

The Autobots and Decepticons exhibited a wide variety of accents. It's silly and rather unfortunate that critics picked out the two [2] who sound like Antoine Dodson and used them to accuse the filmmakers of racism.[3] The filmmakers apologized for that decision, but I really feel like they shouldn't have. It wasn't stereotyping, it was creating diverse characters (which, ironically, is what those critics are usually all about).

My verdict: While the movie could have been a little more streamlined and comprehensible, it was enjoyable and I appreciated the addition to the series. The filmmakers have promised to correct their mistakes in the final film of the trilogy. I just hope that they don't over-correct and make a real dud.[4]


[1] It is just me or did Megan Fox's plastic surgeon waaaaaay overdo it on the collagen in her lips? She looks like a duck, now.

[2] The twins, Mudflap and Skids, who incidentally are fun and interesting characters, not just just minstrelsy stereotypes.

[3] I have to suspect that this criticism was sparked, in large part, by the film's characterization of the Obama administration as heedless, myopic, willfully ignorant, and dangerously pacifist. And as we all know, any criticism of Barack Obama must mean you're a racist.

[4] I also hope they're also wise enough not to include the Dinobots, which would just be silly.

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