In 2007 director Michael Bay took the formerly popular children’s toy franchise Transformers and turned it into a multi-million dollar film franchise. With the success of the first, a sequel was immediately green-lit and Bay given the reigns once again. Having introduced the main characters in the first film, he took the opportunity to expand the Universe considerably in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Having defeated Megatron (Hugo Weaving) the Autobots and US military agree to work together going forward as part of a new initiative called NEST. While on a mission to Shanghai, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) learns that a powerful Transformer , The Fallen, is about to return and this could mean devastation for planet Earth. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebouef) leaves his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) and Autobot friend Bumblebee behind and goes off to college. Before leaving he finds a shard from the Allspark in an old T-shirt which causes him to start hallucinating and seeing Cybertronian symbols that lead him to The Fallen.
Michael Bay has always been a controversial director. Aside from some excellent early films, his work divides critics from large parts of the film-goer public more than almost any other. His returns on blockbusters, notably Transformers, are enormous, while the critical reception is lukewarm at best. Most critics take issue with his super-zoom technique, his lasciviously leering camerawork and his overall ˜laddish’ story-telling. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a film for which he publicly apologised expresses all the worst elements of his film-making to the highest degree.
The action scenes between the transformers themselves may well be exciting, but the camera is so close that all the audience can see is cogs whirring in their abdomens. Speaking of abdomens, whenever Megan Fox is on screen, the camera leers toward her, taking in every possible curve or piece of flesh. It’s an uncomfortably voyeuristic and really has no place in a blockbuster aimed at selling toys to children. His use of product placement, a necessity in film-making, is so brazen that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen becomes more like a two-hour advert for cars, soft drinks and mobile phones.
Yet strangely, you could probably stomach all of these faults had the story been interesting, or made an once of sense. Sadly even here it’s a crushing disappointment. The audience are introduced to so many characters and plot strands that seem to serve no purpose before be subjected to an hour-long final fight in the desert between characters you don’t care about, squabbling over something you don’t understand. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a complete creative fail, offering nothing new, exciting, original or remotely enjoyable during its bloated running time.