I’ll strap myself to a polygraph if you think I’m lying. Not more than ten minutes after the closing credits of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ran, I was sucking back a McDonald’s Big Mac.
It was an apt act of parallel consumption. The Big Mac exploded pleasure sensors throughout my central nervous system as I loaded up on sodium and grease. As soon as I was done I was nauseous and filled with shame.
The fundamental truth is this: if you have a good sense of humor, smuggle in a flask of whiskey and can keep your voice down low enough so as not to disturb other guests whilst zinging, you will have a great night out at the movies.
Think of this film as like the first one multiplied by ten. Everything that was good about Transformers is better here (you can actually see most of the fighting!) and everything that was bad (the utter, relentless stupidity of its story) is worse.
Michael Bay’s cinema has the subtlety of repeated smacks dead in the face with a spiked iron cricket bat. If God forbid there is no explosion in the shot, there is T&A. If there is no T&A, there is absurd technobabble. If there is no technobabble, there is lewd race-based humor. While the script is a complete mess, the film does follow an intelligent design. There is no Hollywood director who knows how to take a budget larger than the GDP of most nations and turn it into furious, testosterone-driven scorched-earth piece of stupidity.
I’d summarize the plot if I could. It has something to do with a “cube shard” leftover from the props department of the first movie. The day before leaving for Princeton (a bigger party school than Arizona State, you’ll learn) young Shia LaBeouf discovers it in the hoodie from the last film’s climax. (“It still has the bloodstains!” will shut up any nit-picker who wonders why the shard didn’t come loose in the washing machine.) Anyway, the shard imprints a map in Sam’s mind, which you’d think would lead him to treasure or something, but as far as I can tell all it leads him to do is shout the awesome line from the trailer “Megatron wants what’s in my mind!”
If that’s what Megatron wants, poor Megan Fox, blazing with some killer lip gloss and bright white pants, just wants commitment. Will they have to save the world again to strengthen the bonds between them?
There is much absurd backstory and crammed-in explanation for what is going on and despite much of it being voiced by the thunderous Peter Cullen (surely the greatest non-James Earl Jones voice working today) it still gets annoying. Even John Turturro, standing up for the audience, demands some simple facts during one of these exposition breakdowns. And yet, despite all this, I still have no idea what Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is about. I think Cybertron is still out of Energon, if that helps. Sure, I could spend energy and try and get the plot straight in my head (or get upset that they drive from Jersey to New York via the Ben Franklin Bridge – which is in Philly), or I could also just watch the fireballs and the bosoms. This time, I choose the latter.
By the end of the picture, when I had seen Devestator’s wrecking ball testes and heard a RoboGod declaim “Merge the Matrix with his Spark! It is, and always has been, Your Destiny!” I was exhausted. My ears hurt, my eyes hurt and my stomach ached from laughter.
Laughter is a good thing.