Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great Poster But ...

Over the weekend I went to the cinema to watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and I have to say I came away feeling somewhat disappointed.

The first Transformers film pretty much had it all as far as I was concerned - it was visually stunning and had an engaging, well-paced storyline that included a number of nice comic moments.

This time out it's almost as if the filmmakers have taken a 'let's make it bigger' approach - let's have even more good guys versus bad guys battles, have bigger and louder explosions, make the comic comments into comedy comments and make the film longer than the first - hoping that 'bigger' would mean 'better'. Indeed, sometimes it does but not this time in my opinion.

The fight scenes were superb I have to say - visually very convincing - but there were just so many of them I found them rather 'samey' once the novelty had worn off: 'oh look, it's another Decepticon getting whacked!'.

Whereas the first film had a comic-charm about it this film drifts into all-out comedy, and at times farce, and I just don't enjoy that type of film. For example, there are a couple of Autobots that are known as 'the Twins' that feature heavily in the film and I found them particularly annoying, especially their childish dialogue. I'd describe them as the Transformers answer to Jar Jar Binks: yes, I found them that annoying. As for the Decepticon 'testicles' shot ... what can I say, it probably would have been the low point of the film if it wasn't for the dog-on-leg/robot-on-leg/dog-on-dog scenes?

As I intimated, the visual effects are stunning however when I looked beyond them there just wasn't enough substance to carry the film for me. The plot itself felt weak and disjointed and certainly not strong enough to carry a film with a running time of just short of two and a half hours: we could have easily lost 40 minutes from the running time and we'd have had a better film I think.

I appreciate that the film is trying to appeal to a very broad audience and I really do realise that at 41 years of age I am probably not part of the *core* target audience. I'll also readily acknowledge that I'm at best a Transformers fan from afar and therefore many of the subtle relationships between characters that I'm told were representative of the older Transformers material simply passed me by.

I remember when I saw the first trailer of the film, about 6 months ago I guess it was, saying to a friend that I was concerned that the film might be all explosions, running and shouting at the expense of a good storyline. I'm currently feeling that my initial reaction was well founded but I'll watch the film again when it's out on DVD and maybe then, with my expectations low, I might see more in the film than I did at the weekend.

In summary, I'm not saying it was a bad film, I'm saying it wasn't what I was hoping for. As someone said to me earlier in the week, someone who's a lot younger than me and who really enjoyed the film 'you have to remember that they [the film makers] are trying to please a lot of people, from youngsters to old people like you'. How very true.