OK so other than the fact Megan Fox is in it, I had very little desire to watch the sequel to the Michael Bay Transformers movie. Despite a few opportunities, I never got around to seeing the first one and I honestly didn’t think it would be so great. Yet, when my friend asked me to go, I figured a $5 matinee was a small price to pay to get out of the heat for a few hours and relax.
After getting filled in on the events of the first film while grabbing some popcorn and drinks, I took in Transformers 2 expecting some light hearted escapist entertainment and some good CGI. This movie has it in spades, but sadly, story-wise it pales in comparison to the 1986 animated Transformers film. That movie was sooooooooo much better. (see trailer above)
While this film franchise manages to take the premise of the intergalactic war between the Autobots and Decepticons and manages to weave its own story around it, it spends too much time throwing dizzying effects at the viewer, so much so that halfway through it I realized I cared very little which faction actually won, I just wanted the conflict to be over.
This is primarily because the personalities of the characters barely translate into Michael Bay’s creation like they do in the animated flick or even the cartoon show in which the movies are based on. The noble selflessness and bigger than life qualities of Optimus Prime are there, contrasted with Megatron’s evil, but the latter has been devolved into a big scary monster, instead of the flawed leader from the original Transformers. Optimus and Megatron’s rivalry always had an engaging component to it, even though Prime was always ahead of Megatron, but in a movie where the former spends half of it in pieces and the latter at the bottom of the ocean, the creators fail to make maximum use of this rivalry.
What’s more, with the exception of Prime, and possibly Bumblebee, the Transformers themselves are reduced to nothing more than animated prop pieces spewing inane dialogue, obscenities, or silly soundbites which are intended to be comedic in nature.
It seems silly to be talking about characterization in a movie where half the cast is made up of talking cars, but the original’s Transformers had a lot of personality and heart, something that is sadly lacking in this film which instead chooses to focus almost exclusively on a clichéd love story between two humans, non-stop action, and enough hackneyed characterization to render it almost unwatchable. Is this a visually engaging movie? Absolutely, but without a solid story foundation behind it, Transformers Rise of the Fallen seems as lifeless and barren as Cybertron, and that’s a pity.