Transformers: Robots too big to disguise

Transformers: Robots too big to disguise

With that calamitous stateside civil war between shape-shifting space robots now a couple of years behind him, young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is off to college. It means leaving behind his protective pet Camaro Bumblebee and his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), to whom Sam swears he’ll stay true, even though neither of them wants to be the first to say, “I love you.”

Director Michael Bay trades plots for ’bots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Maybe they’ll get some perspective when a forgotten souvenir from their mechanized adventures fills Sam’s head with strange robotese runes and suddenly another Transformers war is at hand. Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and his benevolent Autobots, now in covert alliance with America’s military, will again need Sam’s help to keep down the evil Decepticons, whose new plan is to fill our world with transforming, trash-talking, leg-humping, orifice-invading nonsense, plus many large loud explosions, then destroy the sun.

Also, other actors are employed for the mostly failed comic relief of D-list sitcom shtick and wince-worthy minstrelsy.

Pausing only occasionally to gawk at babe brulée Fox—seriously, she looks like a custard, finished with a layer of sugar and a butane torch—the camera seems less jittery than during the first Transformers movie, but it’s still restless as hell, swooping, swirling and gliding off when it should be seeking out a better view of whatever it’s recording.

As for that “whatever,” well, whatever. It’s weird how annoying it is not to be able to tell what’s going on when you know perfectly well that what’s going on is robots wailing on each other. But then, it’s even weirder how annoying it is to actually be incensed (then overwhelmed, then exhausted) by the cheesy idiocy of a movie developed from another movie developed from a crudely animated 1980s TV cartoon developed from a line of action figures. Even by the lowest possible standards, this should be better.

Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman muster the same “Oh, like you care about plot” abandon they supplied to Star Trek, with The Brothers Grimm writer Ehren Kruger also on hand apparently to polish up the leaden bloat. That being the most realistic-seeming metallic surface in the film does not constitute an advantage.

I was trying to go the whole length of this review without writing the words “Michael Bay,” just to see if it’s even possible. But Bay, America’s greatest-ever auteur of asininity, has a gift for just not going away.

Is it because he has something to say? How about Sam and Mikaela’s three little words? Right: First we’ll need some aimless, aggressive jingoism, for context. Keep your eyes peeled for flapping flags, solemn Marines and the biggest pair of truck nuts anyone should ever have to see. Come to think of it, maybe the movie’s several references to testicles are intended somehow to compensate for the neutering of General Motors, whose vehicles some of its heroes become.

Anyway, the climax occurs in Egypt, because it’s the world’s biggest sandbox and Bay has lots of toys.