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Transformers 2: Electric Boogaloo

December 3, 2009

Oh Michael Bay, what are we going to do with you? Your movies used to be enjoyable. They had just enough plot to allow the audience to overlook the destruction of countless national treasures, characters one would cheer on (even when it was Nicholas Cage), and best of all, they were just long enough to be a nice two hour time waster. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. By sheer coincidence, they have fallen with the making of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. The Universe must be laughing about that one.

It’s not that it didn’t have lots of explosions. It’s not that it lacked identifiable characters from our childhood. It’s not even that it was missing the semi-attractive-scantily-clad-female-who-can’t-act-and-is-simply-there-as-eye-candy aspect. It had all of that; and maybe that was the problem; that’s all it had.

My biggest issue with this scrap heap of a film is the giant plot holes.  First off, the humans are actually still trying to fight the Decepticons. These massive, dozen ton aliens typically take the form of military weaponry which is so vastly superior to that of humanity that if one even looked at a human, the fleshbag would most likely soil himself to the point that his very soul would end up as a tread mark in his tighty whiteys. I mean, the US military (the only military that the Autobots deal with by the way) could save the lives of thousands of soldiers and just have Optimus Prime do all the fighting for them, but I’m sure it’s better this way. And that’s not even really a hole in the plot, its just idiocy.

So I guess my issue isn’t really with holes, but rather plot stupidity. For example, Sam Witwicky gets placed with a roommate who somehow has enough money to fill two rooms full of computers and top of the line hacking equipment, while hiring two kids to run it all, but somehow says his family’s poor. Oh, did I forget to mention that Witwicky’s hacker roommate is obsessed with “finding out the truth about the robot aliens that the government has been keeping secret.” You couldn’t find a nicer formula in an algebra textbook.

Being a Decepticon is a choice... a fabulous, fabulous choice

Fun fact: Transformers can teleport across entire planets. Yeah, they can. It’s a nifty little plot device that Michael Bay whips out instead of explaining what the hell is going on. From the Smithsonian to the Egyptian desert in under 3 seconds. It happens shortly after a formerDecepticon mentions off-hand that being evil is a choice, so he’s now chosen to be an Autobot. What?!?! This is a completely new concept to me. Apparently being evil is a choice, like the Republican take on being gay. When I would play with Transformers as a kid, you didn’t buy plain civilian Transformers and then decide what side they would fight for. Furthermore, I don’t need anybody telling me that Megatron was a sweet little bicycle growing up, but later decided to become a 20-ton killing machine. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the movies to get lectured about Good and Evil. If I wanted to be taught about ethics, I would stay at home and learn about them from Sesame Street. Television is for teaching, movies are for fun.

I suppose I could read about evil in the Bible. Interestingly though, Transformers 2 does, in fact, have some of the best parts of the New Testament. Namely the whole “resurrect the being who

Yeah, that looks about right

will bring all salvation to the universe and mankind” bit. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good old fashioned salvation myth like anyone else, but not when Jesus suddenly becomes synonymous with Transformer. If Jesus was Optimus Prime, then I can tell you how he got out of the cave on the third day: he blew it open with a plasma cannon, made his little “jhoop jhoop jhoop” sound when he turned into a Mack truck, and drove off into the Judean sunset.

But let’s ignore the fact that the plot was so weak and holey that it couldn’t even act as a vehicle for the violence and explosions Michael Bay is known for. The worst part is that the violence and the explosions were nothing but utter chaos. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to know who is getting their ass kicked when the kicking is happening, not once the fight is over. Half the time I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to be rooting for the robot that just had his arm snapped at the elbow or not. And all the while there were explosions. Oh were there explosions. Explosions of such scale and magnitude that I couldn’t make severed heads nor severed tails of what was happening on screen. Everybody loves a good explosion; whether it’s fire-bombing Alcatraz, destroying a KKK cross burning, or detonating Meat Loaf during Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell II – Picture Show, but there’s a point where it starts detracting from the film. Actually, an explosion in that last Bay picture would have made it far more interesting…

In all honesty, I could live with a bad plot, and blowing up too many things is a mistake we all make at some point in our lives. But making me sit through over two and a half hours of this inane, pseudo-ethical, half-assed resurrection, childhood-memory raping money machine for the final battle to last less than 60 seconds: that I cannot allow. What kind of first-grade script writing, Deus Ex Machina loving bullshit are you peddling, Bay? What, so all Optimus Prime has to do is strap on a rocket pack and some lasers, take out the sun-eating death machine with one shot, decapitate the Fallen with three hits and roll credits? FOR SHAME!

I wanted to be generous and give it a B-, but I couldn’t lie to myself that this film deserved to keep the Hollywood scholarship fund that let it get into theaters in the first place. So you get a C, because you should not only be kicked out of film school, Michael Bay, but you should not be able to look your parents in the eye when you tell them what grade your “biggest success” received. It also didn’t help that he’s already planning Transformers 3…

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