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High- and low-brow cultural goings-on in the Second City, brought to you by a roving microtechnoanthropologist

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

De Trop: Transformers 2—Revenge of The Fallen

There's really so little point in my attempting to review Transformers 2: Revenge of The Fallen, first because it is not really a movie, as such, second, because you can't top Topless Robot. But when have I ever left it at that?

In some ways, T2:RotF (hmmm, is that a 533kr1t message in the title's acronym?) is more successful than the first movie, because it does not make the mistake of shorting you, the viewer, on the Giant Robots Kicking The Asses Of Other Giant Robots front as the first "film" did. Even Optimus Prime's stabby, stabby swordfist makes a very early appearance in Shanghai.

Speaking of Shanghai . . . oh, damn, I was about deploy my Home Movies–based "shooting day-for-night, like Truffaut" joke ('cause the helpful War Games-era computer-y text at the bottom of the screen says "Shanghai, 22:15," but it's bright daylight), but I just realized that this could be a time-zone thing. Alas. Can I still quibble about the movie's deep confusion regarding to which branch of the military Josh Duhamel (still pretty, still charming) belongs? Can I note that I appreciate Rainn Wilson in . . . an opera cape? . . . as much as the next gal , but I have never, in my whole born life, been to a huge lecture class attended by "the Dean" or even "a Dean"? Yes, I think I can.

I'm not even going to have a go at this plot, because, really "Michael Bay does not understand what a robot is" and "Because... because FUCK YOU, that's why" pretty much sum it up. I'm not sure that these statements are any less true of the first movie, by which, you will recall, I was pretty charmed. I was not charmed by Transformers 2.

Despite the aforementioned stabby, stabby swordfist, despite the fact that Devastator is pretty freaking cool, despite the complete absence of the demented Australian Black Canary rip off from the first movie, and despite the fact that Michael Bay clearly stopped creaming himself long enough while watching The Incredible Hulk to write in a car boxing gloves scene of his own, I was really not charmed. Why?

Well, you've seen the trailer, right? So you, like everyone else in America, are qualified to comment on Megan Fox's pelvic health, courtesy of the scene of her dry humping the motorcycle. If that struck you as a bit much, let me tell you that the scene in the movie would have required lights, gels, and make-up for her freaking fallopian tubes. It is that extended and invasive. Even if I didn't think less than nothing of Megan Fox, to say that this is creepy doesn't begin to describe this sequence.

Of course, Fox has competition this time in the form of Isabel Lucas, the human-form Deceptislut planted at Sam's college for God Knows Why. At first, it simply seems that "Alice" is simply the most frequently objectified blip on the radar of Sam's web entrepreneurial roommate (I do have to be grateful to Michael Bay for NOT exploring the purpose of the serial killer wall of photos of young women in the cyberden). You see, women go to college to walk the hallways with washcloths wrapped around them, and Alice excels at fitting into this environment. But then she enters upon her campaign to show Sam that MF knows exactly jack about dry humping.

I find that here I really must pause—and I apologize, because I know you're excited about the humping—to address a "plot" element not covered in the Topless Robot FAQ. So Sam lives in LA, right? And it's mentioned several times that he is going to college "On the East Coast." There's a whole baked scene at his natal home with them all packing up the minivan before the appliances come to life in a scene that I'm pretty sure is just doctored footage from Gremlins.

(Here I pause in my pause to, once again, thank Michael Bay for NOT including one of Sam's mother's sex toys among the appliances come [so to speak] to life. Given your rock-bottom opinion of women, Michael, it must have KILLED you to skip the "ZOMG! Middle-aged women like sex! HOW GROSS IS THAT?" joke.)

ANYWAY. LA to East Coast, presumably by minivan. Except that all members of the Witwicky clan are wearing exactly the same things when they arrive at the college as they were when they left LA. Fine, whatever, they were loading up the minivan to head to the airport to pay another $40K in extra-baggage charges, rather than driving cross-country. BUT THEN Bumblebee, who was cruelly left behind by Cool!CollegeBound!Sam in move that smacks of Act III of any nerd-based 1980s classic, shows up on Sam's first night of college. Can he, like Jetfire, inexfuckingplicably teleport? AND WHY DO I CARE?

In truth, I do not. I want to get back to the Deceptislut for a moment. So Sam, who is having the world's least convincing quasi-epileptic episodes, courtesy of the Hellraiser shard, initially tries to fend off her advances. Bumblebee, like a true nerd!friend, is determined to save Sam and his relationship from Sam himself, so he drives up on the hedge of the fraternity house. Sam beats feet out of there, and Deceptislut calls shotgun. She starts talking car!pr0n to him, and Bumblebee deploys the possessed radio gag, beginning with "Your Cheatin' Heart." Funny! He then switches to "Superfreak." Still funny! And then he whips the passenger seat forward, slamming Alice's face into the dashboard. HILARIOUS, right?

You can certainly feel free to call me a hypocrite, because I enjoy violence-laden action movies. So what is it about this that really chaps my hide? It's a passing moment in a comic relief scene. It's hilarious that Sam is such an over-caffeinated boob! It's touchingly funny that Bumblebee is so devoted Sam, despite the fact that Sam has spent their time together in this movie being a complete prick, that he will totally put that bitch out of commission to protect Sam. So he—I have to say it again—slams her face into the dashboard for comic relief purposes. And, yes, I know she's a Bad Guy! (although Sam doesn't know that, and his reaction is so underwhelming that that's a huge part of what's disturbing about the scene).

Moving on. With all my sensitive girly worrying about misogyny here, I'd certainly be remiss if I did not give a WTF?!? shout out to racism in the movie as well. Recall, this is from the same director who included a scene of unbelievably old school racism with a human in the first movie, BUT STILL. Skidz and Mudflap both have giant, sticking out ears and buck teeth. Their dialogue out-Jar-Jars Jar-Jar by a loooong shot. Also, please note the gold pimp tooth. That's Klassy with a K, Mr. Bay.

Overall, the movie is just without charm. It's just as baked (literally in this case, and I'm with Topless Robot in wondering what the hell they were thinking with the pot brownie scene) and nonsensical as the first one, but there's very little that's fun about it. John Turturro seems sort of pissed off and slightly bitter. Also, though I love him, I did not need to see his butt crack being flossed by a Sector 7 thong (although that provided postproduction hilarity when the ZK asked me, "Did he say I wear it when I fuck?" No. No. he did not. He said, "I wear it when I'm in a funk.") The EBIL GOBERNMENT subplot makes no sense at all. The attempts to inject emotion into the relationships Sam has with MF and his parents were a tragic mistake.

This thing is One Hundred And Fifty Minutes Long. There is no excuse for that in a well-ordered society. A lot of the dead weight that the movie is carrying seems to be 12-year-old boy-directed humor. I do not begrudge my up-and-coming tween nerds their dumb comedy, but there has to be 20 minutes of ill-advised scenes like Johnny 5 or whatever the hell his name is humping MF's calf, and every one of those 20 minutes was met with dead silence in our theater, which was heavily populated with the presumed target demographic.

So I have to ask myself, as you should be asking yourself: At what price more hot robot-on-robot violence?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Erin Sleme said...

Well. After that, I can say I'm pretty glad I didn't spend any money at the cinema seeing this movie. I am glad that I spent some number of minutes reading this though.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so do you not have any life what so ever but to just go watch movies and spend countless hours on the internet trashing them? I'm 28, watched transformers when I was 5 years old and and still love them now. I think the movie was well made, and maybe some things were done wrong, but that's no reason to talk shit about the whole movie. Go out and get laid and maybe you won't be so stuck up.....lol

6:52 PM  

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