2009 was full of anticipated movies, with Transformers 2 being the most hyped about. Opening during the summer with both regular and an extended-length IMAX versions, this movie quickly made back its $200 million budget and more. But like many sequels, this was a big letdown from the first movie, as both critics and fans took jabs at the various parts of it. Here is my take on why the movie sucked.
First, the comedy was a rehash of that found in the first movie, except closer to the gutter. Transformers 2 features humping dogs, a humping decepticon, and dialogue around sex among both couples, Sam and Mikaela, and Sam's parents. Nobody really wants to see old people talk about sex, especially if they remind them of their parents. The stereotypical parents are worse than before; the wife, Julie is ditzy, with her ditziness juiced up by some pot brownies. The husband, Ron, is still a knucklehead; cheap, conniving, and loud-mouthed. Besides the sexually-oriented comedy, we also have the racial jokes and stereotypes. This time, instead of having Anthony Anderson playing a geeky homeboy, we have two autobots who talk, and act like gangsters from the hood. Everything from their slang, use of profanity, to their notions about reading, seem geared towards attracting the East LA crowds of hoodlums and bro's into buying tickets. And last but not least, John Torturro is back as Simmons, sarcastic, bombastic and pretentious. Having watched this movie twice, once at the theater and now once on DVD, I finally realize that the entire comedy routine of both the 1st and 2nd Transformers movies is built on dichotomies. Basically, half the character are dead-serious all the time, and the other half are ridiculous all the time. There is no-one in between, no person who acts serious when needed, and then cracks an occasional joke at the right moments. Every character fits and is defined by a specific stereotype.
Second, the action scenes were totally unrealistic. We see about a dozen autobots and several dozen decepticons in this movie. All the decepticons are killed in battle except for Megatron and Starscream. All the autobots live, except for Optimus, who is killed but brought back to life. How is this possible, especially when many of the decepticons looked bigger and meaner than most of the autobots? This was basically a robot version of Rambo or James Bond; the vastly outnumbered good guys never miss and never die of, while the bigger, meaner, bad guys all get killed of, with a couple of exceptions to make sure there is a sequel. Its as if Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg took a storyline from one of the 80's action flicks, and replaced half the human characters with robots. Utter lack of originality.
Third, the storyline is chock full of holes. The most visible example is at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. When Jetfire stands up and opens the door to go outside, we are suddenly in the middle of a desert airfield. How do we go from Washinton D.C. to a desert? Another example is when the decepticons go live on worldwide TV and threaten to destroy the world's cities if mankind does not give them Sam Witwicky. We then see decepticons standing atop various towers throughout the world's cities. And then nothing. Its as if all the decepticons left. Why not destroy a couple of cities to make good on their threat. For an action movie about a war on earth, there seems to be minimal collateral damage of any sort!
Probably the worst part of this movie is the dialogue. All the transformers speak english almost the entire movie. Even Soundwave, when giving orders from space, speaks in english. Why would an alien race go out of their way to speak english. The first Transformers movie was very realistic in that the decepticons always spoke their own language except when conversing with humans. Why the letdown here? Did Bay and Spielberg spend so much money on the explosions and other visual effects that they had to cut money on screenwriting some transformer dialogue in? And then when the robots do speak, they have accents. Why does Jetfire have an australian accent? He lives in D.C., so if anything, he should have an East Coast or Virginian accent. Its as if the movie makers decided that since australian actress Maggie Madsen was not in this movie, they could make up for her absence by having one of the transformers speak with an australian accent.
And my biggest beef with the movie is the brazen copying of the POTC movies. In the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, we have Barbossa die and then come back to life, then we have Jack Sparrow die and then come back to life. Here in Transformers 1 and 2, we have Megatron die and come back to life, followed by Optimus Prime who dies and comes back to life. Can we have some other plot device please?!
All in all, this is probably one of the worst movies of 2009. The only redeeming value is the package the DVDs came in, a case that opens up to become Bumblebee.
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About the reviewer
Newton Ooi (newtonooi)
Hi everyone, so here is the rundown of me. I like reading and writing, nonfiction for both. I love movies, especially original ones. I like nonfiction music, eating out, and basketball. I love to travel, … more
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Includes limited edition Bumblebee case that transforms into a 14" robot!
Michael Bay returns to helm the sequel to the highly successful big-screen adaptation of the Transformers toy line for DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures. Much of the original cast returns for the second installment, including Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro, with Rainn Wilson joining in the fun as a college professor.