(DISCLAIMER: What follows are my opinions on a movie. You are welcome to have your own opinions and to disagree with mine. You are not welcome to treat your opinions as fact in an attempt to tell me that I am wrong for liking what I like. General Internet douchebaggery is no longer welcome in my corner of the world. Respectful debate and discussion are, as always, welcome. Violators will be flayed.)
I’m just going to get this over with right now–sort of like ripping off a band-aid–so, here goes: I loved Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Loved it. It was awesome. It was two-and-a-half hours of nonstop fun. Fun, people. Was it a great movie? Hell, no. Was it a good movie? Eh…probably not. But. It. Was. Fun.
I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly shocked that this movie, which was directed by Michael Bay, looked like a Michael Bay movie. Damn. Never saw that coming. It’s like this one time, when I went to a sushi restaurant and the waiter brought me a bunch of raw fish. What was up with that? There was nothing going on in Revenge of the Fallen that Bay hasn’t done before in pretty much every other movie he’s made. The only problem is that the Transformers are sacred to some people…and, to be honest, nothing is sacred to Bay. Bay doesn’t give a shit about what people expect. He just does things because he thinks they’re funny or awesome and, you know what, he’s usually right. Bay is an auteur in every sense of the word. I have no idea why Bay thought a tiny robot humping a hot girl’s leg was funny…but, dammit, he was right. That’s why he’s Michael Bay and I’m not.
This movie was not perfect. But, nothing is. As my good friend, Mr. Data, once said: “Believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind.” However, this movie was a blast. I laughed for almost the entire two-and-a-half hours. I don’t care if I was laughing with the movie or at it (and Bay doesn’t care, either), but I laughed. I forgot the annoying, soul-crushing abyss that is work. I forgot the troubled economy. I forgot the fact that NYC has had a grand total of two sunny days in the last three weeks. I forgot all of this and just had fun, like pretty much everyone else in the packed theater. I mean, c’mon, how can you not laugh when one character shows another character a film that was supposedly made in the Thirties…and it’s in color? That’s funny shit, cats and kittens.
I know a lot of fans are upset because these Transformers are radically different from the Transformers they know from television and comics. Well…um…which ones? I’m G1 guy. I watched the show when it was originally broadcast in the early-eighties. I bid farewell to childhood innocence when Optimus Prime died in 1986. I collected the Marvel comic (which, by the way, had a continuity separate from that of the cartoon, yet I was still able to enjoy it). Then, “my Transformers” went away. Everything that’s come since–with the exception of Beast Wars/Machines and some of the comics–has not thrilled me. So, should Bay have been forced to use the G1 characters for my benefit? No. And it would be silly to expect the filmmakers to pick any of the other pre-existing continuities to blindly adapt for the new movies.
Now, about the acting. I know that hating on Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox has become almost as popular as pretending that a dearly departed pop star didn’t rape young boys, but enough. I happen to like LaBeouf quite a bit. He was Louis Stevens for god’s sake, it’s not his fault that he’s been cast in two different geek-centric franchises, neither of which could have possibly been good enough to satisfy the angry nerd-quakes that ripple across the Internet. As for Megan Fox…well, she’s not my cup of tea–but, neither are about 89% of Hollywood “It Girls”–and, maybe she should think a little longer before she says things to the press, but otherwise, who cares? There’s also been rumblings about John Turturro. A lot of people “feel sorry for him.” Why? Look at him…he’s had more fun in these two Transformers flicks than he’s had in his entire career. Show me one other movie he’s been in where he gets to run around in a banana hammock? It’s okay for that Borat jag-off, but thrown in a few giant robots and it somehow becomes humiliating?
And, you know who I could watch for hours on end? Ma and Pa Witwicki. Those two characters are hilarious. Do a direct-to-DVD movie about Kevin Dunn and Julie White’s suburban empty nesters and I’ll eat it up. With a spoon.
Like I said before, this wasn’t the best movie I’d ever seen. It certainly wasn’t the Transformers movie I would have made…which probably explains why I’ve stopped getting those phone calls from big Hollywood studios. Yes, the story was retarded and, at times, a little jumbled…but, at least a goal was set and attained. That’s what movies need, folks: a fucking goal. Something (anything) needs to be accomplished and either the protagonists accomplish it or they don’t.
I do, however, have the same problems with Revenge of the Fallen that I had with the first Transformers movie. First of all, the Decepticons continue to be way too grey and pointy to be even remotely discernible from each other most of the time. The Autobots? Cool, man, I can tell them apart. Not so much with the Big Bads. Someone get those guys an Earth-based alt mode, please; a little splash of color, a wheel here, a door there, some kind of identifiable markings. Secondly, at least in my opinion, there’s a lot of unnecessary robots running around: Tiny little bug things…way more construction vehicles than I’d ever thought possible. I think it goes back to my recognition issue. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Ratchet: I know these names. It doesn’t matter what they look like, I’m already on board with these characters. Jolt? Skids? Mudflap? I know these characters exist in some continuities, but I’d have been happier if they were called–oh, I dunno–Wheeljack, Windcharger, and Cliffjumper. I also wouldn’t have said “no” to the inclusion of Shockwave, Rumble, and maybe Blitzwing or something…y’know, names I’d recognize. However, I did finally get Soundwave; too bad he was kinda lame. Oh well. But, none of this impeded my ability to enjoy the movie. Why? Because it was FUN.
A final thought: A lot of the negative reviews for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen seem to revolve around the idea that the movie is stupid and, therefore, anyone who would enjoy “a movie like this” is unintelligent. Well, all I have to say to that is “Fuck you.” You don’t have to like the movie, that’s cool. What you do have to do is respect the people who liked it. It’s their opinion, which is equally as valid as yours, professor. There are scads of movies out there that I wouldn’t see, even if you forced me at gunpoint. But, other folks seem to like them, and that’s enough to justify their existence to me. At no point, while earning my two degrees, was I asked what kind of books, movies, music, or TV shows I preferred. Probably, I’m assuming, because that shit has nothing to do with someone’s intellect. There should be every conceivable kind of movie being made. Options, people. Options. Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean that you should keep those who do from enjoying it. Also, just because someone doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t make them stupid, unintelligent, or uneducated. Want to know how I know this, Mr. and Ms. Reviewer? Well, it’s simple: even on my worst day, I’m still smarter than you. And furthermore, I am confident enough in my intelligence that I don’t need to flaunt it or pretend that I am somehow above “the masses.”