Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen can be summed up thusly: better action and CGI, more hot chicks, funnier jokes, and more grating, abhorrent dialog than its previous incarnation. There are moments in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen where human characters keep talking and talking and talking, almost as though they narcissists in love with their own voices. Characters blather on and on and in no way advance the film’s plot while doing so. I found this curious, even more so than in the first film. The humans in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are given some much dialog and the most interesting characters, the Transformers, are given so little. In a well thought out script, the opposite would be true.
The story to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is disposable and will not be repeated ad nauseam here. Bumblebee and Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) are the best aspects of this film. Prime is stoic and upright as usual and Bumblebee is the quality, comedic relief. Both are fighters. Emil Blonsky would be proud. At the other end of the spectrum is Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf)’s college roommate, Leo Spitz (Ramon Rodriguez), who is a waste in the second and third act of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, much like Ruby Rod in the second and third act of The Fifth Element. He, Sam, and his parents, Ron Witwicky (Kevin Dunn) and Judy Witwicky (Julie White), are the biggest blatherskites in the entire film. A large percentage of their dialog is supposed to be humorous but most of the time it falls flat and is completely unnecessary.
Characters and concepts from Transformers: The Movie were introduced this time around into Michael Bay’s Transformers’ universe, namely Arcee and The Matrix of Leadership. Energon aka Energon Cubes, Ravage, and Soundwave (Frank Welker) were introduced from The Transformers television show as well the real Devastator (with a face-lift. Man I wanted to hear: “Constructicons, unite!” Oh well.) Watching Arcee get her ass blown the f*uck up was a joy. She should have been killed in Transformers: The Movie yet they killed Brawn (with one shot!), Iron Hide, et cetera from the original cartoon television series instead. At least that sin, in part, has been rectified. Ravage was insanely cool in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He decimates a military fast response team arriving at an underground bunker where a fragment of All Spark Cube is kept with his rear hip mounted weaponry in deliciously destructive fashion.
One wonders what Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen would be like with a more serious tone and the Conan the Destroyer slap stick removed, like Michael Bay’s superior The Island. Showing what The Autobots do in their downtime instead of just sitting transformed as vehicles would have been an insightful and evolutionary addition to the Transformers franchise as well. Maybe show them conserving with each other, repairing each other, setting up a base, a home, something that did not involve humans on screen with them. We are given some of that between Megatron (Hugo Weaving), Starscream (Charlie Adler), and The Fallen (Tony Todd) but not much.
In addition, now the Transformers can take on human form, something very Terminator-esque. How they can spontaneously generate realistic flesh and blood is never explained but in a popcorn film it really does not have to be. Brains shut off. What I found curious and vastly entertaining is that Decepticon Pretender Alice (Isabel Lucas) would try to come on to Sam Witwicky instead of trying to befriend him like Terminator Cameron Phillips did to John Connor on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Why would a machine, a Transformer, do that? How would it know the intricacies of human seduction and male hormones? Why did it constantly try to “jump” Sam and make-out with him? Do not get me wrong, I was very entertained by it but I would have liked to know the mental or cybernetic process behind such action. What did the Decepticon Pretender hope to gain from such actions? If Sam took Alice up on her abundant sexual overtures, did it possess the necessary autonomy to engage in coitus? Was she fully functional like Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Why would she walk away upset after being splashed with liquid (it’s not what you think, lol) inside of Bumblebee? Why would it bother intimating being pissed at an individual it is trying to get close to, observe, and seduce? Inquiring minds would like to know. If Brody from Mallrats had seen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, he would be asking very similar questions, except coitus would be replaced with a colorful expletive.
The Autobot Twins, Mudflap (Reno Wilson) and Skids (Tom Kenny), in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are walking, talking, idiotic, clichéd, stereotypes of an ethnic group that resides within the borders of the United States and abroad. They are pugnacious towards each other, illiterate (“We don’t do that much reading”), and their ethnocentric faces are the icing on the deleterious cake. All that was needed to complete the shameful display were for The Twins to be decked out in platinum chains, say bitch or bitches as frequently as c*ocksucker was on HBO’s Deadwood, and for them to have aspirations for a career in rap music. Writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Ehren Kruger stooped to new and vitriol levels of ignorance with this aspect of their Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen script.
Showing old robots with beards and canes, Jetfire (Mark Ryan) and The Fallen, was a bad idea and looked foolish on screen, even for a brain-optional popcorn film, along with Transformers, e.g. Wheelie (Tom Kenny), being attracted to human beings. These segments of the film could have been cut and the film would have had a higher adrenaline factor because of it. That was not the case with the final battles in the third act of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen though. They were great.
Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was more entertaining film than its predecessor yet still tries to be nothing more than popcorn. I always found this strange since with cybernetic brains, Transformers should be infinitely smart yet half the time act like spoiled children and do not seem all that concerned, save for the leaders, at all times about the war they are involved in. Only the cartoon television series seemed to get this right, which is ironic, since the cartoon was made for children twenty years ago.