GUILT FREE PLAESURES-Part 3
The last time Michael Bay directed a sequel was Bad Boys II starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The difference between the first Bad Boys and its subsequent follow up is very similar to what Revenge of the Fallen is to Transformers, the first “Giant Fuckin’ Robot” film he directed in 2007. He ramps up the action to the point of ridiculousness. I knew exactly what was in store when I sat down to watch ROTF. After 2 years of much hype and speculation, Bay shoves gives us what could possibly be the GREATEST, MOST EXPENSIVE SCI-FI, ACTION, B-MOVIE, EPIC WAR FILM, SEX-COMEDY ever! You know, for kids!
Up until Transformers in 2007, Michael Bay has been making pretty niche films for young males. We all know the movies. He made the Fresh Prince a movie star with Bad Boys. The Rock featured Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery. Armageddon with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck was a pretty decent Aerosmith video, although a tad too long. Then there’s Pearl Harbor and that…um, looked amazing! In 2005, with future Transformers scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Bay directed The Island for DreamWorks Pictures. Also this was his first movie not executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. 2 years later Michael Bay was handpicked by DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg himself to bring one of my most beloved cartoon series to life, the Transformers. They are equally more than meets the eye as they are robots in disguise! Bay directing a kids movie? You bet your male, 13-35 year old ass he is! And that’s the brilliance of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Michael Bay actually got away with making a movie that should no way in hell be marketed for kids. In ROTF he ups the ante well past the house limit, goes all in, loses his hand, but steals the loot and comes out the winner. More is more is not enough with this guy. Revenge of the Fallen is a total exercise in excess and there’s nothing quite like it in the history of cinema.
The movie opens with scary giant robots crushing, stomping, and tearing apart primitive humans. After the opening titles we jump to present day Shanghai with Optimus Prime and his team of Autobots. With the help of a human military group called N.E.S.T. they are hunting “punk ass” Decepticons and murdering them in cold blood! At this point in the movie the Decepticons are without their leader Megatron and are simply hiding, trying to survive without the remorseless Autobots shooting them in their faces! It actually seems like this time out the Autobots are the Decepticons. Didn’t Prime once say, “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings”? Well not if you’re a Decepticon. Prime and company handle their foes by slicing one Decepticon in half and blowing the head off another. We learn that the alliance between the Autobots and the N.E.S.T. team was formed to both protect the Earth from Decepticon enemies, and to guard a shard of the Allspark cube that was used to defeat Megatron in the first movie.
Meanwhile Shia the Beef is back as Sam Witwicky. He is college bound and is leaving his sitcom-like parents and Megan Fox behind. What about his guardian Bumblebee, the yellow speechless Autobot from movie 1? Well apparently freshmen are not allowed to have cars so he gets the shaft as well. Sam discovers a sliver of the Allspark cube stuck on his old shirt and starts to see visions and symbols, generally acting like a nut. When the Decepticons learn about the whereabouts of both the shard and the sliver, Decepticon Soundwave dispatches a Remote Control car (Wheelie) to retrieve the sliver from Sam, and a robot jaguar (Ravage) to steal the shard from Prime and N.E.S.T. so that they can revive their… ahem, fallen leader Megatron.
In case you missed the first movie; Sam and the Autobots spend the entire film keeping the Allspark away from Megatron. He defeats him by giving him the Allspark. This time they need that same Allspark piece to revive Megatron. (What?)
After his revival, Megatron is instructed by his master, The Emperor Fallen to kill Optimus Prime because doing so will allow The Fallen to get up from his Cybertronian Lay-Z-Boy and actually do something because he pretty much just sits around all day to the point where nobody really knows he exists, hence the omission of the mere mention of his character in the first movie. The Fallen’s plan is to destroy the Earth’s sun, harnessing its energy to create energon which the Decepticons need to survive.
This movie received some of the worst reviews from critics and audience alike when it premiered in the summer. Some considered the movie too long. Others believed the racial stereotyping had gone too far. Skids and Mudflap, the comic relief Autobot Twins, are portrayed as two jive-talking…um, retards. Chief among the criticism would be the suggestion that this movie lacked a plot, when in fact its problem was that it had too much plot. They literally throw in everything, exploding kitchen sink and all. You get the battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons, the military, Sam’s parents dealing with him leaving for school, Sam and his straining relationship with Mikaela (Fox), Internet conspiracy theorists, an elaborate Decepticon plot to enroll a sexy robo-babe with an Australian accent in college to spy on Sam, we catch up with John Turturro as Simmons from the first movie, and giant robot testicles. Sometimes I feel like Michael Bay movies are like porn and drugs and I don’t quite know why.
This movie was pure joy for me. I think it’s because my love for Transformers have met my love of exploitation films, and I would never have predicted that would ever happen. Michael Bay made exactly the movie he wanted to make. He also delivered what everybody wanted even though nobody wanted the same things. Somehow this goes beyond catering to the lowest common denominator. It simply demonstrates that Michael Bay can do whatever he wants.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN -2 DISC SPECIAL EDITION
The movie is rich in visuals, naturally. Bay clearly knows how to shoot anything and make it look “sexy”. Explosions become art. 360 camera pans, slow motion, car chases, ninja robots the size of small buildings, and humping dogs have never looked better.
-Commentary with Michael Bay and Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Michael Bay recorded his commentary separately from the writers but it’s edited together for this movie. Bay offers more insightful information compared to the first movie, where he just came across as a racist braggart. Orci and Kurtzman are amusing enough and seem to know what they are talking about.
-The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge Of The Fallen
A 2 hour plus documentary on the making of the movie. In it you actually see the footage of the exact moment Michael Bay conceives of the idea of giving Devastator balls. Cinema history.
-A Day With Bay
Showcases how the effects crew just barely finished putting the final touches on the movie mere hours before the Tokyo premiere.
-25 Years Of Transformers
Fantastic documentary about the brand. Features clips of the various shows, comics, and toys from past to present and upcoming. A real treat for fans!
-Nest: Transformers Data-Hub
Character profiles on some Autobots and Decpticons
–Deconstructing Visual Bayhem
Animatics of certain key scenes and set pieces with commentary by pre-vis supervisor Steve Yamamoto
-Deleted / Alternate Scenes
3 of them. All comic moments with most of them featuring Sam’s mom acting either high or horny.
-Linkin Park’s New Divide Video
Sorry, never watched it.
Um, the preview of the movie they show in theaters months in advance.