Transformers 2: Megan Fox on a Bike Review
Transformers 2 is, both literally and metaphorically, a film of two halves. On the one half we have phenomenal special effects, giant robots, and some of the best action scenes you'll see at the cinema this summer. As for the other half... well, we'll get to that later.
The film begins with a suitably impressive fight, showing that the Autobots have now formed a secret military team with the Americans and are travelling around the world defeating the remaining Decepticons. Everything in this fight looks extremely impressive, from Optimus Prime's first appearance to the giant Decepticon that smashes its way through traffic on a busy highway. It's a great way to start the movie and sets the tone for the rest of the film, which includes Sam's college getting blown to pieces, an immense forest battle, and a ridiculous finale in Egypt. In terms of pure action, Transformers 2 definitely cranks things up a notch from the first film.
It should come as no surprise that the special effects have also gotten better, not just because the robots all look more polished, but because there are now absolutely loads of them on the screen at the same time. Some reviews have criticised the film's inclusion of several robots with little backstory (or in some cases even names), but I actually thought this was pretty awesome. Afterall, in a lot of military films you often don't know who all the soldiers are, because it's a war and there would be far too many characters to name or give backstory to. In Transformers 2, exactly the same thing applies, and it helps to make the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons seem, well, just like a war - these two armies have been battling for years, and both sides have many followers. If you're going into the film craving big battle scenes and huge explosions, it's frankly irrelevant if you know that the robot over there is called Ironhide and that the big old one is called Jetfire, all that matters is what side they're on and how much stuff they can blow-up.
Additionally, the majority of the robots have fantastic voice-work, with Optimus Prime sounding suitably authoritative and Megatron (played by Hugo Weaving) sounding like a total badass. The human characters are also pretty decent, and while none of them are going to win any Oscars for their performances, I didn't think any of them did a bad job. Even Tyrese Gibson from 2 Fast 2 Furious is ok, so that's got to mean something!
You're looking at about 90% of the movie. But also woo, explosions!
So, that's Transformers 2 then, a movie with great effects, nice locations, superb action, what a film! Five out of five!
Oh wait, hang on a second, I just remembered - this is a film of two halves, and I've just written about the good half, which is full of special effects and explosions. So what does the other half of the film contain? The script.
Transformers 2 is a dumb film full of dumb dialogue which was written by a dumb person. I would actually label this the dumbest film I've ever seen, except I've seen Bad Boys 2, which was also directed by Michael Bay. Still, there's plenty of ridiculously stupid stuff here. Do you want a list? Sure:
There is a lot more dumb stuff than this but I think you get the point. Actually, after reading through this list, I think I've started to realise something horrible about the film. This isn't Transformers 2 at all, it's actually Bad Boys 3.
Remember the attic scene in Bad Boys 2 where we see two rats humping each other for no reason? The exact same joke is done in Transformers 2 with the dogs. Do you also remember the scene where Martin Lawrence accidentally takes ecstasy, and spends the next couple of scenes acting like a moron? Again, the exact same thing happens in Transformers 2 with the main character's mum, and it's just as contrived as before. Transformers 2 even introduces a pair of new Autobots that constantly bicker, swear and talk 'jive' at each other - Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in robot form? I think so. There is even a prolonged shot where Shia LaBeouf goes a bit mental and starts writing all over his college dorm's walls, and one of the things he draws on is - I kid you not - a poster for Bad Boys 2. Is all of this just one big coincidence? I'm not entirely convinced.
A scene from Transformers 2. No, really.
Another huge problem with the film is that it has no idea who it's trying to appeal to. The big Hasbro credit at the start of the film and the slapstick humour would suggest it's for young kids, but then we have all the ball jokes and dogs humping and it seems like the film is for 12 year-olds. But then of course we have drug references, swearing and gratuitous shots of Megan Fox's cleavage and so it seems like this film is for teenagers. But then we have a few attempts at serious drama and some wordy monologues from Optimus, so... what's going on here? Parents are going to feel a little awkward showing this film to their kids, teenagers are only going to find it half-funny, and everyone else is going to think 'this sucks, when's the next fight going to start?'.
Going back to Megan Fox, I lost count of the amount of times the camera pans slightly to focus on her arse, or how many times she falls over so everyone can look down her top, or how many times she lies seductively over a bike. To make matters worse, when Shia's character goes to college we have about 20 minutes of film when Fox doesn't really feature very much, and the writers have shamefully added a new, hot girl to fill the time. I don't want to give anything away about this character, but there's a slight twist involving her that is actually pretty cool, but it didn't require a) her to be smoking hot or b) a shot where she's lying on a bed and the camera is literally pointing RIGHT UP HER SKIRT.
Some pictures can speak for themselves.
This is not to say that I don't enjoy looking at Megan Fox, but the way her character is treated in the film speaks volumes about the film itself - absolutely everything is as grotesquely excessive and gratuitous as possible. We don't just get explosions, we get EVERYTHING BLOWING UP EVERYWHERE! We don't just get robots, we get GIANT CGI ROBOTS SMASHING OTHER GIANT CGI ROBOTS TO BITS! We don't just get subtle innuendo or witty dialogue, we get DOGS HUMPING and JOKES ABOUT ROBOT BALLS and SOMEONE'S MUM SMOKING POT! This may not be the dumbest film I've ever seen, but it sure is the loudest and most over-the-top. This even applies to the film's running time, which - just like Bad Boys 2 - is over two hours, and yet when you leave the cinema you can only really remember about half an hour's worth of decent material.
Still, as I said at the start, this is a film of two halves and while one is full of inane dialogue, plot-holes and contrived story, the other is full of great action sequences and crazy effects. The problem, however, is that the latter is far overshadowed by the former, which leaves us with a lopsided stinker of a movie.
Tom's final verdict: 1 and a half out of 5