It has been a long time since I got so pissed off at a movie. But let me begin the review by highlighting the positive things about it: All the bots still look terrifcly awesome and the explosions are, well, quite a blast so to speak.
Alright, with all that out of the way, let’s see why this movie totally sucked.
First of all, the story. Sure, these kinds of films don’t really need a strong story anyway. It isn’t actually that the story is necessarily bad, but rather how it comes together with the other negative aspects of the film, things really become ridiculous. The film picks up a couple of years after the first one. The Autobots (good guys) are allied secretly with the human race (ie USA only) to hunt down the Deceptions (bad guys). Things go awry of course when the hunter becomes the hunted when Sam (the main teenage hero) is in possession of some shard of the AllSpark, apparently something terribly important to the Deceptions. So everything goes afuss and big explosions happen.
Like I said, the story is sufficient to provide some action, which is what the film should be about. Unfortunately, lots of time is wasted in vain to flesh out the story or give background on certain Autobots/Deceptions that you really wouldn’t care about unless you’ve been avidly watching the cartoons and have memorized each and every bot’s background. Lots of time is also wasted in actual combat scenes. Though they serve the highlight of the flick, lots of the mech fights could have been made shorter, or skipped altogether. It seemed to escape the producers (both of which are good, which comes as a shocker) that most mortals can only handle so much action. It’s even worse when the battles make little sense, as you never know what really is going on until some crucial storyline event triggers in the middle of the fight to wake you up.
How long is the movie? It’s almost 3 hours long. That’s an overdose of long action no one needs.
Bad things don’t end there either. There are many gaps in logic. I completely understand that one should enter such a movie with suspended sense of belief, but there are matters you simply cannot overlook.
First is Orion’s Belt. When our heroes are in the Egyptian deserts, they seek Orion’s Belt to find the location of the artifact. As I recall, Orion’s Belt is somewhat horizontal, yet in the movie they refer to other three stars. I took the liberty to put an infrared filter to make the major stars more pronounced; the three stars encircled in white comprise the Belt, the three stars in green are what the movie tells you is the belt (click for bigger view):
it looks like a man with a penis
The next part is what drove me insane, which is that, according to the movie, the stars point to Petra. It’s as if by magic that they point to Petra, though it could be really any city within that line of sight. I will also overlook the fact that they were probably facing east or west (I don’t recall if it was dusk or dawn), so technically speaking Petra isn’t even an option.
The maddening part is that Petra is in Egypt.
There is no indication that the heroes went to Jordan. In fact, it is told in the story that the artifact is buried here in the deserts of Egypt (which looked a lot like Wadi Rum) and that the stars shall point at the location. Suddenly Petra is in Egypt. The next thing you know, a battle ensues around the Pyramids, and the heroes travel from Petra to Egypt within minutes of course to join in the battle.
Another odd aspect is that during the course of the battle, the Americans ask the Jordanians for help (the battle is in Egypt). Jordan sends in two choppers which instantly get blown up. The Americans then show power by sending their entire well-equipped fighter jets. There is also no sign of any Egyptian forces.
Speaking of which, why is Egypt depicted in the “traditional Middle Eastern stereotype”? What’s shown of Egypt, other than the ever-present athan, is some run-down ghettos. Sure, it’s the desert part of Giza, but seriously? Now I also have never been to Egypt, but I do know Egyptians do not look like Mexicans (nothing wrong with Mexicans) and that they do speak Arabic, not some jibberish which was actually subtitled to Arabic! And then when an actor says “we are from New York!” the security chief of the borders say “Ah! New York!” and lets them in. There is also a scene with all these posh-car-transformers driving alongside camels. And the slutty heroine suddenly sports a veil while she is running away from a bot (how she magically got the veil is never revealed).
Combine all of that with THE MOST ANNOYING SUPPORTING CAST (both robots and humans) ever seen in a film and you have a major recipe for disaster.
As a final note, for all movie directors, please when you make a battle scene, keep the time of the day consistent. I would understand if a battle begins by noon and ends in the afternoon. But you can’t have one scene at zenith and the other at sunset (for dramatic effect), and go back and forth between them.
I can go on with other issues of course but I guess you don’t need any more convincing that this is a sucky movie.