Transformers 2 : Michael Bay in a nutshell
 

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posted Friday, July 3, 2009 - Volume 37 Issue 27

Transformers 2 : Michael Bay in a nutshell
by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen
Now Playing


Michael Bay was born on February 17. Paris Hilton was also born on February 17. I too, was born on February 17. I'm not sure what I think about this; I'll have to get back to you.

Four young upwardly mobile professionals dressed in urban smart-garb exited the theater in front of me. They weren't hipsters, but I knew by looking at them that they didn't live in Tukwila. They were talking about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. They weren't excited, but they weren't being derisive either. So I said, "What did you think of Transformers?"

The tall blonde guy wearing a brown leather jacket over a hoodie with creased jeans and Skechers said, "It's a Michael Bay movie."

This was not stated sarcastically, or with baited irony. It was said with an inevitable shrug, an exhausted affirmation that watching a Michael Bay movie is like anonymous sex with a pretty stranger; it's something you enjoy, but you know it won't matter in 20 minutes.

There, I said it (sort of). I liked it. Okay, I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. Hey, it's a Michael Bay movie.

I was even a bit irritated as the strapping frat boys behind me goofed on the flick at a couple of crucial points near the end. In retrospect, they were right and I was in denial. They also know how to enjoy a film like this.

If you go to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen because you're in the mood for tight storytelling, high drama, or enlightened perspectives, you are in the absolute wrong place. If you want to see some cool special effects, awesome explosions, and you like to goof on movies like in Mystery Science Theater 3000, pony up and enjoy. In fact, I think talking out loud during screenings should be mandatory.

The special effects are terrific. You can't take your eyes off the action, even after nearly two-and-a-half hours that easily could have been cut in half.

Shia LaBeouf (whose last name I choose to loosely translated as "the beef") is charming and Megan Fox (no translation required) is absolutely gorgeous. Everybody else, including John Turturro who I've loved since Miller's Crossing and Barton Fink, is stuck in stereotype hell.

Deus ex machina translates from Latin to English as, "God from the machine." Grad students love this term, which they use to describe a person or thing that shows up inexplicably and solves a narrative problem. It's sort of like a narrative non-sequitur but with a purpose. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is full of them. Also, divine robots, godbots (machina ex Deus?), play an important role in the previously mentioned moment late in the film when the frat boys were goofing. I have a weird sense of humor so I find this amusing.

It's also filthy. I was totally surprised by how thoroughly filthy this film is, especially in light of the innocence of the first film from 2007. I don't mind filthy, I've read The Canterbury Tales and Xaviera Hollander and enjoyed both. But I still wouldn't let my 10 year old see this flick, which is sad because isn't that who plays with Transformer toys in the first place?

In the end, this movie is pretty much what is expected. Unfortunately, the 2007 film, which was more than expected, set the bar really high. But what are you going to do? It's a Michael Bay movie.



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