Monday, July 13, 2009


Yes, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is totally BANANAS-- but I like bananas, generally speaking. The transformers are giant shape-shifting robots that fall into two camps: The AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS. Like the Democrats and the Republicans, they've been at war with each other since day one. On their home planet, Cybertron, they battled over Allspark--the energy source that gave them life. The Allspark gets shipped off the planet (Federal Express?) and ends up on Earth. That's the bare bones backstory from the first movie, and now the stage is set in Transformers 2 for the autobots--led by Optimus Prime, and the decepticons, led by Megatron--to battle it out again, this time with the fate of our planet hanging in the balance.

Hapless college student Sam Witwicky, (Shia LaBeouf) who killed Megatron in the first film, is swept up in the conflict again--along with his girlfriend Mikaela, (Megan Fox-the obligatory eye candy for teenage boys) and his parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White).

Transformers 2 is nearly non-stop action, with a few short breathers here and there--and sometimes it's hard to tell who's beating the living crap out of whom, since one big hulking robot looks pretty much like another (which wouldn't be politically correct to say on Cybertron). It's a big, ostentatious, chaotic, clang and bang fest--and I was just impressed by the sheer immensity and spectacle of it all (but then, I'm impressed by the 4-slice toaster!)

It's kind of like may not know what's going on, but you can still enjoy yourself.

My favorite scene has got to be when Sam's mother gobbles some pot brownies, totally loses it,
and then runs amuck--which I've always wanted to do in a gorilla suit. There's something endearing about a gorilla suit that makes people more forgiving of the one who's running amuck.

There's a lot of off the wall humor in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen--surprising, and yes, refreshing--since most action/thriller flicks take themselves much more seriously.

But I suppose that, when it comes down to it, what really appeals to me about this film is the many faces of heroism--both human and otherwise. I'd like to think that we'd all step up to the plate if some crazy, two-storied, clanking hulks of scrap metal were fighting and screwing around on top of the pyramids and causing them to, like...start to crumble and stuff. Somebody already messed with the nose on the Sphinx, and I'm still annoyed about that.

And now a word about reviving "dead" characters in sequels. Ever since J.R. Ewing got shot and supposedly died in the TV finale of Dallas in 1980--then got resurrected five years later in a follow up film--TV and screen writers have been playing fast and loose with the facts of life and death in Freddy Krueger-like fashion. A character like Megatron can be killed and revived as many times as may be convenient, when millions of bucks are on the line. The special effects (or computer graphics imagery) are the real stars of these blockbuster movies, and because it takes a lot of time and and a grueling amount of work to design and animate one of these big bad boys, expect that the dead shall rise again in the inevitable third installment.