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Transformers: Revenge of the Filler

I just finally watched the first Transformers on Monday, and it should be no surprise to anyone who knows me that it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I thought that it had its moments, but overall it was far too long, built almost entirely out of the most tired and shopworn cliches, and its attempts at humor were almost universally groan-worthy. Frankly, I was a bit bored by the whole thing, and I wasn’t terribly impressed by the final battle (during which I often had a difficult time telling the various giant robots apart as they threw each other into the scenery).

I initially watched the movie in case I should happen to want to go see the recently-released sequel to write a review. However, given my feelings about it, I have not yet decided when or if I will see it. Having experienced some difficulty sitting through Transformers on DVD in the comfort of my own home, where I could pause it anytime that I liked, I can’t really imagine braving the theater alone to be held hostage for another two-and-a-half hours of more of the same. And, really, who needs it when you have the far more entertaining spectacle of dozens of hilarious critical reviews of Michael Bay’s latest masterpiece? Jim Emerson, who rather amusingly refers to Revenge of the Fallen by the well-known internet acronym “ROTFL,” has noticed the reaction as well.

For my own part, I was so entertained that I thought it would be worthwhile to share a few of my favorites from the blurbs on Rotten Tomatoes, that you might perhaps understand how I might not be overeager to hit up the local cineplex this week. I have to wonder, when there is such a void of creativity as there seems to have been in this movie, do critics feel some kind of deep-seated need to fill it? Like some sort of simple defense mechanism designed to somehow redeem the experience? I don’t know, but that’s one possible explanation for what I’m seeing here.

First, a few eye-catching entries from several dozen negative reviews:

“It’s like being hit over the head repeatedly with a very expensive, very loud train set. After two and a half hours in this bludgeoning company, you’re begging Bay to put away the boys’ toys and make a rom-com.”
(Ed Potton, Times UK)

“The only part of Fallen more boring than when things are exploding is when things aren’t exploding.”
(Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly)

“If you ever wondered what a movie would look like geared toward the underdeveloped brain of a gestating zygote…then Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the insipid illustration you’ve been waiting for.”
(Bill Gibron, PopMatters)

“[L]ike the most totally awesome artifact ever of the end of the American empire… loud, obnoxious, sexist, racist, juvenile, unthinking, visceral, and violent… and in love with ourselves for it.”
(MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher)

Oddly, though, it was the positive reviews that caught my eye even more; not because they were so few, but because I couldn’t manage to wrap my brain around how someone could say any of these things about a movie and still recommend it to someone else:

“Good when it is good, but extremely, shockingly, horrifyingly bad when it is bad.”
(Willie Waffle, WaffleMovies.com)

“This is cinematic poetry for pinheads. It’s less of a film than a reason for a noise ordinance.”
(Kevin Williamson, Jam! Movies)

“While it would be hard to make a case for ‘Revenge of the Fallen’ as ‘good’ in any normal sense of the word, it possesses such brute force that the viewer is left with two options: surrender, or suffer in silence.”
(Tom Huddlestone, Time Out)

“It’s like watching a blender for two hours while someone shouts at you. And then the last half an hour is the same, except it’s more like having your head strapped to a washing machine while you watch a blender and someone shouts at you.”
(FHM, UK)

Seriously, what in the world? Ah, well. I’ll leave you with this lovely gem, which is the first paragraph of Ebert’s magnificent evisceration, and the recommendation that you go read the rest of it:

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

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~ by Jared on June 27, 2009.

2 Responses to “Transformers: Revenge of the Filler”

  1. You should check out all the comments at MetaFilter. A couple of my favorites:

    My younger brother was excited about Transformers 2, made fun of me for suggesting that it might not be that great, and left the house last night expecting to enjoy it. When he returned, he said “The entire movie was like a woman with enormous breasts running in slow motion while behind her two blenders have non-consensual sex. Also the camera is spinning around.”

    His final judgment: kind of lame.

    And this one:

    Good or bad are not useful concepts in discussing Michael Bay’s films. “Exploded” or “not yet exploded” is useful, however.

  2. Oh, as you might guess, following that link probably isn’t a good idea for people who are easily offended by language.

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