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Thursday June 25, 2009
Transformers: ROTFL (Rolls On The Floor, Laughing)
I saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen yesterday, and it was not my favoritest thing ever. Here are the rankings as they now stand:
1. Star Trek
3. Terminator: Salvation
4. Angels & Demons
5. Transformers: ROTF
6. Land of the Lost
7. Night at The Museum 2
I got my fill of giant robots beating the cybersnot out of each other, yes. I even liked some of the bits that other reviewers despised (specifically, the twin robots "Jar-Jar" and "Binks," or whatever their names were.) And the film had me completely gripped for the entire first Act, which concluded very powerfully.
But then we switched movies. It went from exciting and powerful with a touch of humor to being silly and stupid with a touch of "why am I still sitting here?" And there was the big Act II Continuity Flaw, in which a Transformer who has been hiding in the National Air & Space Museum (which we all know to be in the heart of Washington, D.C.) pounds his way out the back through a hangar door and steps onto an airstrip somewhere in Nevada - arid landscape with mountains on the horizon, nary a city in sight.
I can understand taking certain shortcuts for the sake of the story, but this knocked me right out of the film. I stopped believing in Transformers, and started seeing the whole thing as a dumb cartoon for kids, only with too many boob-cam shots for me to be comfortable treating it as a kids' show.
That's a high crime right there. When a film-maker manages to convince me to put on my suspenders of disbelief, it's okay for him to tug on my pant leg from time to time. Ripping my pants off sideways and then giving me a wedgie? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Anyway, that was Act II. Act III had another continuity problem, this one more obvious. Four people in car, one freaking out. Somebody tases the freaker-outer, and he slumps. Cut IMMEDIATELY to car exterior, swerving to a halt. All four people jump out heroically. I actually spoke out loud... "It was nice of them to wake him up."
But Act III's big crime was that it meandered. Oh, sure, there were giant robots blowing the crap out of stuff and each other, there were Constructicons being all huge and dangerous, and our heroes were being all heroic and outnumbered, but it just went on and on and on. With lots of boob-cam.
By the time the film ended I didn't care. I wanted to get out of the theater into sunlight and the real world. I wanted to go to the gym. You know the old theater saw, "Leave 'em wanting more?" This movie was like a buffet of mediocre all-you-can food at which I unwisely ate enough for three days and then left, swearing I would never come back.
Perhaps appending the "L" to ROTF is misleading. But I bet this movie would be riotously entertaining with a group of like-minded friends shouting at the screen, or maybe just RiffTrax. In fact, that might get me to sit through the whole thing again.