Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (Part 3)

Click here for Part 2!

Sam asks why they're in Egypt, Jetfire telling him because his ancestors traveled to Earth “millennia ago” to search for Energon. This was like 19,000 some years ago which would make this BEFORE the All Spark was lost in space. The All Spark just creates life, it doesn't nourish it? In the first film what was Megatron planning to do when his new army was going to need energy? Also in this film we see the Decepticons are growing new ones without the All Spark, so why did they even NEED it in the first place?

And what about the Primes? Were they all Decepticons? That can't be, because Optimus is a Prime. How does one become a Prime then? Are you created one or is it something you have to upgrade to? WHAT EXACTLY IS A PRIME?! How come nothing in this movie makes any sense when you stop to think about it?  Jetfire begins to go off on another tangent about nothing, Simmons interrupting him with what is probably the most unintentionally profound line of the ENTIRE franchise:

Beginning, middle, end. Facts. Details. Condense. Plot. Tell it.”

We're told somewhere in the desert the Primes built a giant machine that can harvest Energon by destroying suns, something they did on a regular basis on their travels. They did have a rule though, no doing it on planets where there was life. So why did they build the bloody machine in the first place?! Did they not SCOUT OUT the planet first before going to all that hard work? For that matter, the Decepticons were originally concerned with lives besides their own? I thought they were always evil.

One Prime tried to violate the rule, becoming the Fallen in the process. He tried to activate the machine anyway, which is done through the... Matrix of Leadership?! WHAT THE HELL?! How much shit are they going to pack into this movie?  This is officially a live action video game at this point, our characters are weighed down with more inventory items than a freaking Final Fantasy game! Also the fabled Matrix of Leadership, the ultimate symbol of the Autobots that will “light their darkest hour” has been downgraded to a KEY? Ugh.

Jetfire plays a hologram of the film's opening scene, as we see the Primes battling the Fallen for possession of the Matrix. They win but can't kill him for... some reason... so they KILL THEMSELVES and turn their bodies into a tomb to hide the Matrix away forever. Uhh, alright? Um, if only a Prime can kill the Fallen LIKE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED then why couldn't SIX Primes SUPERKILL him? I wonder what kind of napkins the script was written on? Taco Bell? Burger King? I'm going with Burger King.

Sam wonders if the energy that'll be used to reactivate the sun-blowing up machine could be used to bring Optimus back to life. Jetfire thinks it's a possibility, telling Sam where to go to find the Matrix but not coming with because... he's old and worthless? He gives Sam a clue on the exact location of the latest Macguffin, “When dawn alights the Dagger's Tip, Three Kings will reveal the doorway”.  They head to the location, Simmons calling Lennox and arranging to have Optimus's body brought to them. They find a pyramid at the location and then proceed to... sit around and do nothing. Sam and Mikaela try to put us to sleep by talking about the “L-Word” again, but ONCE AGAIN they do the “Character instantly cooks up a master plan to save the day based off a throwaway line someone else says” bit as Sam gets a burst of insta-knowledge when Mikaela mentions the pyramids.

He's able to decipher the rest of Jetfire's riddle, and we're now off to the mountains of Petra for the next side quest. They find an ancient temple hidden there, but unfortunately it's an EMPTY ancient temple. Oh wait Skids and Mudflap start fighting because that's how they roll, yo. Their battle breaks a wall, Sam of course finding the long lost tomb and the Matrix hidden behind it. Shoot, THAT was lucky in a “the screenwriters are getting lazier by the second” kind of way!

Sam picks up the Matrix and it promptly DISINTEGRATES into dust! Ha hah, that was actually cool! NEST arrives with Optimus, Sam still bound and determined to resurrect his friend so he scoops all the Matrix dust into a bag and heads out to meet with them. However the Decepticons also show up, and all the pieces are now in play for a Big Dumb Ending!  This is actually EXACTLY like the last film, where Sam runs towards his destination holding the magic item while the Decepticons try to stop him and the Autobots try to help him. Only here it goes on MUUUUUUUUUCH longer with the action cranked up to twelve, because Michael Bay.

Fan favourites the Constructicons make an appearance and transform into Devastator, not to be confused with the tank Decepticon ALSO named Devastator in the last film. He's named Brawl now, because it's perfectly normal to already have continuity issues with your film series only two movies in. Devastator is HUGE, so big he can't even walk on two legs but has to crawl around on all fours.  Mikaela runs along with Sam, and I don't want to say her only point in this entire film was so we could watch her breasts bounce as she runs but her only point in this entire film was so we could watch her breasts bounce as she runs.  Emily Blunt feels her pain.

They run along, the Decepticons unleashing their next obstacle to stop them: the fact they have Sam's parents. FOR GOD'S SAKE, THEY'RE IN THE GRAND FINALE TOO?! I hate this movie, I hate it so freaking much. Once again though, Bumblebee proves he's the worst Transformers of all time and save their lives again. For good measure, he RIPS RAMPAGE'S SPINE out of his body. Fatality! Also, nice touch by putting robo-guts in there to make this as graphic as possible.  Devastator starts climbing a pyramid, tearing it apart to reveal the sun harvester underneath. Simmons grabs a walkie to coordinate an attack from a nearby aircraft carrier, as they set this up as a ticking clock that the Decepticon MUST be stopped before he unearths the machine despite the fact they CLEARY set up that it won't work without the Matrix.

Sam and Mikaela's breasts continue running, Bay upgrading us to slow motion so we can REALLY watch those things jiggle. CLASSY AS FUCK! They meet up with Lennox, but are unable to get any closer to Optimus as they run smack dab into a Decepticon named Mixmaster who fires up his weapons to kill them. Suddenly Jetfire arrives to save the day, but then almost immediately gets taken out by Scorponok. As he falls to the sand Jetfire manages to crush the mecha-scorpion's head, quipping that he's “too old for this crap” as I slam my head into a wall a few times. We're REALLY swinging for the fences with this movie, aren't we?

The movie is also mixing in tons of soldier porn, the camera heroically framing every shot as they deploy around the desert and fire on the attacking Decepticons. These scenes are a nightmare however, as they also cut to the Autobots returning fire and you CANNOT TELL who belongs to what side. WHY does every robot besides Optimus, Bumblebee, and Ratchet look identical with their monochrome colour schemes? Why is it so hard for Bay to understand people might actually be interested in being able to follow the firefight?

Back to the pyramid, where Simmons has climbed right underneath Devastator because he can't call an carrier strike from the ground apparently? Actually no, the only point of this scene is to give us a FUNNY AS FUCK (if you're Michael Bay) image of Devastator's gigantic metal testicles. BALLS! ROFLCOPTER!  Sam is JUST ABOUT to Optimus when Megatron pops out of nowhere and kills him with a laser blast. Mikaela's breasts and Mikaela cry out in agony for the love of her life as NEST drives Megatron away. She screams at Lennox to “FUCKING DO SOMETHING!” as the soldier tries to give Sam CRP, but it's too late and he dies. Mikaela cries over him, finally telling him that she loves him.

And now we go to TRANSFORMER HEAVEN, where Sam is approached by the deceased Primes. Transformer Heaven. Why is a HUMAN BEING in robot Heaven? I suppose you could make the case it's because he's carrying the remains of the Matrix which are... no, you know what? Fuck all of this. Sam's in Transformer Heaven and we're just going to have to accept that. What do the Primes have to say?

We have been watching you a long, long time.”

No, it's only been about two hours it just FEELS like a long, long time. Trust me, I can relate.

You have fought for Optimus, our last descendant, with courage and with sacrifice, the virtues of a leader. A leader worthy of our secret.”

Descendant. Does this mean Transformers actually have sex? If so, why has Bay completely missed the boat on THOSE fun scenes?

The Matrix of Leadership is not found, it is earned. Return now to Optimus, merge the Matrix with his spark. It is, and always has been, your destiny.”

Sam's destiny has always been to shove a key inside Optimus's chest? Geez, what's he going to do for the rest of his life with THAT out of the way?  Sam comes back to life and finally tells Mikaela that the loves her.  PRIORITIES!  The Matrix reforms out of the dust so he grabs it and stabs it into Optimus's chest to resurrect him because all rules are out the window at this point. Optimus is about to get up when the Fallen leaps on him and snatches the Matrix away, going to use it to activate the machine.

Does this remind you of Spider-Man 2 at all? Where Dr. Octopus's main goal was to activate a machine that'd create a ton of power, even though the main reason he had for doing it is long since passed? Sure, he wants to use the Energon to create his robot army BUT doing so is going to destroy the planet he wants to rule so he's going to have to pack up and find a new world to call home anyway? That just stuck out to me.  He activates the machine, which is only minutes away from firing up and destroying the sun. A dying Jetfire tells Optimus to take his parts so he can upgrade himself to become Bad Ass 2.0, and BLOODY HELL what am I looking at here? It looks like Optimus merged with every junkyard on planet Earth!

Ultra Optimus flies up to the pyramid and THROWS THE FUCK DOWN on the Fallen and Megatron. Their battle is brutal as you could ever want, but is also a typhoon of insanely fast CGI blurs that want to BURN OUT YOUR EYEBALLS. I'm sure what's going on in Revenge of the Fallen is quite awesome if I were able to comprehend any of it. Optimus wails on Megatron, then RIPS THE FALLEN'S FACE OFF AND PUNCHES OUT HIS GODDAMN CHEST. I'm guessing when the Autobots were learning about Earth's culture from the Internet, Optimus paid keen attention to Quentin Tarantino movies and took EXTENSIVE notes.

Megatron and Starscream see their FALLEN leader and GTFO, Megatron vowing “this isn't over”. On the plus side I'm happy they didn't kill Megatron again, on the negative side this just means there'll be ANOTHER sequel.  All our heroes unite with lots of slow motion hugs and props, giving way to our final shot of Sam and Optimus standing side by side on an aircraft carrier as the Autobot narrates us out.

Our races united by a history long forgotten and a future we shall face together. I am Optimus Prime and I send this message so that our pasts will always be remembered, for in those memories we live on.”.

Cue the credits, set to another Linkin Park song. I think this one's about mall security guards that give you the stink eye when you walk into Hot Topic.

One simple question: WHY did the shard of the All Spark imbed Sam's brain with knowledge about the Matrix's location? That is what kicks the plot into gear and is responsible for driving the ENTIRE movie. In the first movie, the All Spark turned machines into robots and could repair them. Sam even HELD the cube up to his face and didn't get the Matrix's coordinates burned into his brain there, so why did he this time?

That sums up the entire movie, NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE. None of it holds up against any kind of scrutiny, but does that even matter anymore? Complaining about the story in a Bayformers movie is pointless, hell complaining about ANYTHING in a Bayformers movie is pointless.  So let's CELEBRATE what worked in this movie. First and foremost, there was a decidedly stronger focus on the title characters which made this much more entertaining. It still had unbearable stretches of rough boredom, but they were SIGNFICANTLY less than the first movie which was basically put me into a coma.

The action, while still suffering fairly badly from all the issues I've pointed out, was cleaner and easier to follow this go around. Hell, the opening in Shanghai is downright awesome. It all went to hell in the end, but even that had its moments  Shia LaBeouf's character started off as an asshole, but once he learned the error of his ways he achieved total redemption. Once again, I found myself caring for his character and rooting for his character to succeed and that is an ACCOMPLISHMENT in a Bay movie. I really want to point out I cared not because of how badly he was written, but how Shia infused him with actual personality and regret.

John Turturro also had a major turnaround in this film. I HATED him in the first movie, which I know was the point, but just the way he played Simmons was so off putting. This movie he seemed repentant for his actions and ALSO found redemption by making up for his past behaviour, and was someone else I was siding with.  Wow, reading all of that it almost sounds like this was a good movie. It wasn't, it was terrible. It WAS a MUCH better movie than the first one, but when we're talking about a film that was one of the worst I've ever seen we've not gotten very far. Critically, this film got blasted more than the first one but I think everyone focused on the WRONG REASONS why this film sucked, namely the Twins.

Yes, nearly everyone focused on Jar Jar in their Phantom Menace reviews because he was so Godawful and stuck out so hard it was hard not too. Just like the Twins, so many Revenge of the Fallen reviews are all “racist, racist, racist, minstrel show, the new Jar Jar” while missing out on what was REALLY profoundly bad about it: it's SO fucking lazy. Lazy! Lazy!! Lazy!!!  And how about virtually every single scene being cliché as fuck? LAAAAAAAAZY. The Death of Cinema, right here. Keep hammering in those subterranean levels of low expectations, reuse entire tropes we've been seeing for decades, it's all okay because HOLY SHIT BRO, DID YOU SEE THAT CHICK'S BOOBS BEFORE SHE EXPLODED?!

But hey, only one film left to go though, because thankfully Age Of Extinction won't be on blu-ray for quite some time. You gotta take your victories where you can.