In a skit on the Second City Television sketch-comedy show from the late ’70s and early ’80s, two farmers do movie reviews. Their favorites included one aspect: explosions. They would say, “It blowed up good! It blowed up real good!”
These two would have loved “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” It is a movie where it blows up good. And that is about it. There is nothing more good about it.
It is two years from the last movie. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is preparing for college. The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, are doing clean-up operations capturing Decepticons that are still attempting to invade the Earth.
The Decepticons want to bring to earth the Fallen, a Transformer that came to earth back in the days of prehistory. Back then, a group of Transformer kings came and hid an energy source somewhere on earth. Because Sam finds a shard from the Allspark, which was supposed to be destroyed in the last movie, he knows where the source is.
For the Decepticons to fulfill their intentions, they must resurrect Megatron. Megatron was placed at the bottom of the sea. The government has shards of the Allspark as well. The Decepticons take these to bring Megatron back to life.
Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), Sam’s girlfriend, joins Sam and they go on a journey to find the source to destroy it. It is a worldwide search that takes them from Philadelphia to Washington to Arizona to Egypt. All of this is an excuse for the larger part of this movie: explosions.
This movie has plot holes large enough to drive Optimus Prime through. A Taser hits one character, who is back in action two minutes later. The Decepticons now can take the form of a human, but they must break into the base where the Allspark shards are. Why not just become a soldier on the base and go into where they are? These kinds of things happen over and over. But that is not the worst thing about this movie.
It is racist and impossible to follow. The battle scenes fill the screen, but you cannot discern what is taking place. The racist part is that some of the robots now talk like they are from a stereotypical hip-hop video; one of them has a large gold tooth. They look like they are slack jaws from some crazed imagination. If you remember that this movie is based on a toy line, you get the picture of the problem of the movie.
The humans in the movie lack any direction or real acting skill. A good example is the romance between Sam and Mikaela. There is no chemistry between these actors. It looks like they are doing line readings and no real acting. Fox is here only as eye candy. Most shots of her are from the lower angle to show us the short shorts she is wearing or from a focus where we can see her chest. I kept waiting for her to tell the cameraman, “My eyes are up here.”
What is sad is that the movie has such a noble character in the person of Optimus Prime. He speaks such great philosophical pronouncements, but they are sandwiched by all of the explosions, poor acting and weak characters.
There is one point in the movie that spoke to me. Sam is at a point where he has nothing more to go on than his faith. He speaks of depending on it at a critical moment in the movie. But that is easily overlooked with all the other things going on. Sadly, my view is that this movie needs to be avoided at all costs. It is too long, too loud and too stupid.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sci fi violence, crude language and implied sexuality.
Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Cast: Shia LaBeouf: Sam Witwicky; Megan Fox: Mikaela Banes; Josh Duhamel: Major Lennox; John Turturro: Agent Simmons; Ramon Rodriguez: Leo Spitz.
The movie’s official Web site is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.