Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

This is probably the first and last time I’ll ever mention a Kubrick film while reviewing a Michael Bay flick, so enjoy it while you can: this sequel to the 2007 blockbuster starts with a prologue set in 17,000 B.C., as primitive men come across an extra-terrestrial object, not unlike the apes at the beginning of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, except that they’re not just staring at a black monolith, but at a giant robot!

That prologue might be the only clever thing in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, and I’m not even sure if it’s intentional (does Bay even know who Kubrick is?). As you might remember, I had mixed feelings about the first film. Loved the special effects, hated just about everything else. Now here’s the thing: in this new movie, the FX are still awesome, but they’ve lost their novelty factor. As for everything else, it still pretty much sucks.

So Shia LaBeouf is back, putting on a valiant effort to breathe some life into things, but the kid can’t possibly overcome how awful the character work, dialogue, storytelling, comic relief and everything else about the Ehren Kruger-Roberto Orci-Alex Kurtzman screenplay are. The scenes with the parents of Shia’s character are even worse this time around, and most of the stuff having to do with his first few days in college feels like an afterthought. His relationship with the pornstar-next-door played by Megan Fox also falls flat, but at least we can look at her gorgeous bod during her scenes.

Early on, we learn that after the warring races of Transformers nearly levelled Los Angeles at the end of the first picture, the U.S. government somehow managed to keep their existence a secret. Yeah, right! Anyway, Autobots are now part of a covert ops military unit that tracks down Decepticons around the world. The latter are still looking for the last fragments of the super mega powerful energy cube that’s supposed to do, er, something and… It’s also transmitted encrypted info into Shia’s brain, info about, hum… The location of a space dagger that’s the key to ignite a machine hidden in one of the pyramids in Egypt, a machine that will destroy the sun because, well…

Aww, screw it. As I said, the writing is spectacularly inept, and that extends to the absolutely nonsensical mythology that’s introduced in this second instalment of the franchise. Despite all the endless boring exposition, I’m not even sure I could tell you who or what The Fallen is exactly, beside apparently being Megatron’s boss and a distant relative of Optimus Prime (I think?).

We could always ignore the plot and just focus on the giant robot action, I guess, and there are indeed two or three intense sequences of clashing metal frenzy and mass destruction, but the ratio of dull crap to cool moments is even worse than in the first flick. You’d think that Michael Bay would have learned from his mistakes and delivered a not only bigger, but better “Transformers” movie, alas he’s done precisely the opposite. If he makes a third one of these, I’m not even sure I’m gonna bother checking it out…