How terrible was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen? You can’t possibly imagine. Unless you love jokes about balls or Jar Jar Binks, in which case, you’re in luck!
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (T:RotF) is a magnificent achievement. It is bad in all of the ways a movie can possibly be bad, while breaking important new ground in movie-badness that movie-philosophers will be puzzling over hundreds of years hence. I sat, immobile and horrified as the sheer magnitude of its unholy bulk rolled over me, as an eyeless, legless, mad serpent would roll, crushing me mindlessly beneath its poisoned scales. As painful as the movie was, and it was painful indeed, what drives me into a despair from which I doubt I will ever recover was the twofold knowledge that it is making such spectacular amounts of money that we will never be rid of its influence unless a nearby undiscovered magnetar mercifully pounds our civilization with a gamma ray flare that destroys all electric technology on Earth, and that the audience around me on that fateful night absolutely adored the movie. I’m sure a few of you will/did, too, and may God have mercy on your souls for what you have done.
T:RotF opens two years after the events of the first film. Optimus Prime (played by a truck) is working with the military, while Sam (played by Shia LaBeouf) is preparing for college far from his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox). Meanwhile, the Decepticons are doing something evil in ways that don’t make sense and ultimately don’t matter. Look, the plot is not important, and that’s not just a thing I’m saying to make a joke this time. The plot is literally not important. This is scale invariate, too, like a fractal of plotholes. The highest level of plot makes no sense, but neither do individual scenes. Occasionally, continuity isn’t maintained from shot to shot. Honestly, maybe it’s best to think of it more of an exercise in character-driven cinema rather than trying to mentally track the plot.
Unless you would like to remain sane. Remember Jar Jar Binks? I don’t, because he never happened. There is a Jar Jar Binks character in T:RotF, except for stupider, and this time they’re twins. Plus, I’m pretty sure that the character interactions in T:RotF say things about women that are best not delved into. So maybe, instead of thinking about the characters so much, it would help to just focus on the huge fights and pretty people and catchphrases and explosions. Right? Isn’t that the point here?
I know that Megan Fox is hot to most dudes, although she’s not at the top of my personal list (and frankly, I’m a little baffled about what the big deal is). So there it is, one nice yet backhanded thing I can say: Megan Fox is in this movie. But for the ladies, and for those dudes who prefer these sorts of things, is Shia LaBeouf your cup of tea? What about John Tutorro – does he get your motor running? I hope so, because T:RotF includes footage of significantly more of Mr. Tutorro’s rear than I would have wanted to see, ever.
In terms of fights, the biggest problem is that we can’t really see them. Director Michael Bay’s addiction to moving the camera around like it’s taking evasive action makes it tough to see all of the cool fighting that I assume is taking place on screen, the way you could in (say) a Lord of the Rings movie.
The explosions were cool a few times. Let’s not get too excited though.
But mostly, if you’re considering whether you will enjoy adding to Michael Bay’s fabulous wealth to experience the worst yet the highest-grossing movie of the year, ask yourself one question. Do I enjoy jokes about balls? Not clever jokes, really, just the kind where someone is kicked in them, or someone else lands on someone’s balls, or maybe that a robot has balls. To many, and certainly to the audience I shared a theater with for the duration of this experience, ball jokes are incredibly hilarious. For them, T:RotF was a comedy-packed laughter-filled romp.
But this is what causes such vitriol from the rest of the movie reviewing community, and what caused me plenty of cognitive dissonance for the last couple of days. People love this damn movie. And who am I to stand as some sort of movie-loving arbiter? Is what I love about movies somehow better than what those people love about movies? Yes, and I will tell you why: I disapprove of $200 million computer generated robot testicles. For the love of pete, will someone please reverse the 2009 trend of putting CGI private parts into action movies? Thank you.