The worst of Hollywood excess

2009-06-29 00:00

THIS is Hollywood at its most crass. A paper-thin plot and an orgy of explosions combine to deliver a spectacle for the blockbuster movie season. Director Michael Bay ratchets up the pace, delivering a movie that plays out at breakneck speed.

The plot involves the continuation of the original Transformers story. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) sets out for college, but begins seeing symbols in his head which hold clues to the Transformers’ origins on earth.

It is not long before Optimus Prime, a transformer tasked with saving mankind, pleads with Sam for his help. He suspects the potential resurrection of the evil Megatron and an impending doomsday for mankind. Some minor waffle about leadership is meant to inspire Sam, but falls on deaf ears. Rather it is the seductive charms of a female robot that cues Michael Bay to unleash his visual prowess.

Revenge of the Fallen is certainly seductive in a similar way to action director John Woo’s early films. The violence is sometimes balletic, but always frenetic. CGI has simply added fuel and confusion to Bay’s visual panache and at times it is difficult to see who is fighting who. A subplot involving Sam’s parents is introduced to create a more human angle, but this is merely colour by numbers. Likewise, Sam’s girlfriend (Megan Fox) becomes meaningless while being lovingly caressed by Bay’s camera. This is a juvenile boy’s dream and certainly the kids in the audience were marching in tune to Bay’s beats.

Shia LaBeouf reprises his role as Sam and he certainly has screen presence. The character developed in the original Transformers, however, is given little breathing room. Likewise, John Turturro who brought a humorous edge to the original, is now merely a prop. To some this may be escapism, but Revenge of the Fallen also represents the worst of Hollywood excess.

**

Mike Hatton.

 

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