One thing is for sure…as much as I may worry about it from time to time, the 80’s will never die. This was confirmed for me in last night’s viewing of “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen”. Warning, if you have not yet seen the movie and are actually planning on it, skip this blog! This will contain plot spoilers. Of course, some would argue that whole plot was a spoiler. OK bad joke. The movie, though not as good as the first one, was decent. If nothing else, it provided me with some always appreciated 80’s nostalgia. As for the movie itself…well…let’s see what I think.
The whole experience started off with lots of fun, cool, previews for all the new live-action, 80’s toy movies that are coming out. I was filled with excitement as I was teased with a trailer for an all-star, non-stop action, digitally enhanced “G.I. Joe” movie coming this August. Wahoo! So many nights I have prayed for this and now it’s finally happening. Why have we waited so long to tell the never-before heard story of the American Hero? This was followed by previews for a live-action “My Little Pony” movie, starring the late Barbaro. And my personal favorite, the thrilling, live-action “Operation”, starring former Grey’s Anatomy cast member, T.R. Knight. (I’m kind of anxious to see it. It can’t be worse than his storyline on the show this past season.)
As the movie begins, we learn that the U.S. Army has joined forces with Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots to set up a special unit designed for the sole purpose of finding Decepticons. What exactly the Autobots need military assistance for, I’m not quite sure. I’ll admit, I didn’t watch a whole lot of “Transformers” as a child. But I’m almost positive Optimus Prime never got into a tangle with Megatron and said, “Crap! If only I had a man in camouflage with a buzz cut to help save me from this 50 feet of stainless steel.” But maybe I just missed that episode. Anyway, this new division, referred to as NEST (which I’m pretty sure stands for Never Even Saw Transformers), shows off some decent special effects in a fight scene between Optimus and a random, overgrown Decepticon in Shanghai. Why Shanghai? Cybertron was known for having great Chinese take-out. Everyone knows that. Oh yeah….believe it or not, Optimus wins.
The sub plot of this movie is that Sam is trying to have a normal life, which just like for most of us, means going to college without our alien car and maintaining a cyber-relationship with someone 10 times out of our league. Unfortunately, Sam takes his sweatshirt out of the closet, which he has apparently not washed in 2 years, and a piece of the all-spark cube falls out. The piece, by some alien magic, manages to implant Sam’s brain with crazy gang symbols that spell out information about the original Autobot/Human interaction (some thousands of years ago). Now Sam must decide whether he wants to be a Blood or a Crypt. We also learned the incredibly important plot point that Mikaela is slightly peeved that Sam hasn’t said “I love you” yet. I’m sorry, but I found the fact that a girl that hot (yes, I can admit she’s hot) would be waiting around for a nerd who after 2 years still can’t say that to her even more unbelievable than the idea of transforming alien robots itself. She’d have been long gone ages ago. And there’s no way Sam, who has used up every prayer he’s entitled to to get a girl that hot, wouldn’t have said it after she first agreed to be seen in public with him. I will say the writers did address this by having Sam explain that guys who say “I love you” too soon wind up losing girls “with options”. But I still didn’t buy it.
Then, in a scene I must’ve somehow missed, the military comes into possession of their own piece of all-spark and stores it in a “totally secure” underground location that a Decepticon army of pinballs manages to find and steal in about 3 minutes. Soundwave uses it to retrieve Megatron from the crushing depth of the ocean and return him home without the 20 huge military vessels, guarding the area, noticing. The new leader of the Decepticons meets with the Alpha-Decepticon called….wait for it…..the Fallen. The Fallen explains to anyone in the audience who hasn’t already pieced it together that they need the gang signs in Sam’s brain. He also says that Optimus Prime must die because he is the last Prime and only a Prime can defeat the Fallen. Just like in my own family history. We’ve been trying to destroy the Butlers for years because only they have the ability to kill us. Very Shakespearean.
Some government tool decides the Autobots are more of a risk than an asset. He dissolves NEST. Optimus meets up with Sam in a cemetery and asks him to be a human advocate for the Autobots. Sam says he wants to live a normal life and that no one would listen to him anyway. I have to say, I agree with him. I tuned him out after the “I love you” conversation.
Sam goes to college and reluctantly develops a friendship with his internet-geek roommate. Another uber-hot chic makes a pass at Sam but as she forces her tongue down his throat, we see her true Decepticon tail come out of her white panties. Mikaela comes in and the chic transforms into Psycho Hose Beast and starts chasing Sam, Mikaela, and Geeky Roommate. She chases them right to Megatron, who tries to pick Sam’s nose and steal his brain. Luckily, Optimus and Bumblebee save the day. Starscream and Grindor show up and a metallic, rumble in the ring occurs. A guy would give you all sorts of details about the fight choreography and CGI tricks, but I didn’t notice them. (OK, maybe I was just envious that Sam has a transforming camero that comes to his rescue when another giant alien robot tries to kill him and I can’t even fix the volume button on my Honda’s stereo.) Optimus kills Grindor but Megatron stabs Optimus from behind and kills him. I remain calm during this emotional moment. Because even I remember how upset everyone was when Optimus died in the 80’s animated movie and the film-makers admitted that it was a huge mistake. I was pretty sure Spielberg and Bay wouldn’t make the same mistake. Naturally, Sam feels like poo because he was too selfish to help Optimus when he asked him to. And what can I say…..he should!
Speaking of Optimus’s death, would someone please tell me what Rachet’s purpose actually is? He couldn’t revive Jazz in the first movie. He still hasn’t fixed Bumblebee’s voicebox. And now he’s completely useless in saving Optimus Prime. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I were running Cybertron, I’d have fired him by now.
The Fallen hot wires every TV in the world and says he wants Sam turned over to him or else he’ll start destroying cities. He reiterates his point by zapping the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph in Paris, where Sam’s parents just happen to be vacationing. Sam, Mikaela, and Geeky Roommate, go on the run and find help from the doofus from the first movie. Really? Someone truly felt the need to revive the stupid Sector 7 guy’s role? Personally, if they’re going to bring back surprise supporting cast members from episode 1, I would’ve much rather have seen Jon Voight tell Sam that if he didn’t do as he ordered, he’d f*&% with his transcripts.
In another plot point I must’ve been sleeping through, Sam, Mikaela, Geek, and Doofus team up with 2 annoying Autobot twins, who are basically the Wayans Brothers, except the robots can act. Together, they find Jetfire, who bares a striking resemblance to Davy Jones from “Pirates of the Caribbean 2”. They revive him using Sam’s all-spark piece and he tells them the history of the transformers. They came to Earth sometime before Jesus to harvest Energon, the original Red Bull. Unfortunately, the only way to harvest Energon is to blow up the sun. The BC Autobots decide against it since there were living species here who needed the sun. (Thanks, Autobots!). The Fallen tried to blow up the sun anyway but was overpowered by the rest of the Transformers. They then lock away the key to the sun-blowing-up-machine, the key which is called the Matrix of Leadership.
I couldn’t tell you how, but Jetfire mind warps Sam and the gang to Egypt where they eventually find the Matrix. But before they leave, Doofus calls Fergie’s fiance (whose character name I can’t remember) and tells them to bring Optimus Prime’s body to Egypt. And here’s the crazy part, they do it!!! Sure, they have been disbanded by the government, but they’ll sneak in a 300 foot steel truck to Egypt because this guy from a fake “secret” government co-op says so. OK. I’ll overlook the unbelievability of it for plot’s sake. They arrive with the body and realize the Decepticons have beaten them there. They hide Optimus under a huge blanket and the Deceptions never know he’s there. (And I’m totally serious! They hide him under a freaking blanket!) Sam makes his way over to Optimus’s body and revives him using the Matrix. Finally, something good came out of a Keanu Reaves movie! But before Optimus fully recovers, the Fallen grabs the Matrix, and flies off to the secret sun-blowing-up-machine. Jetfire offers to sacrifice himself, merging his parts with Optimus, turning him into Super Optimus Prime, which as far as I can tell is just regular Optimus Prime with a built-in grocery store. Optimus and Megatron duke it out. Optimus kicks both Megatron and the Fallen’s butts and blows up the machine. Phew! What a day!
And if that wasn’t enough a tion to take your mind off the fact you were out of popcorn, Megatron shoots at Sam and “kills” him. Sam spends the remainder of the fight in Transformer Heaven, where he is praised for his service to the Autobots. (And Jazz doesn’t even get a cameo.) Once the big battle is over and the world is saved, the paramedics, who were also apparently transported to Egypt with Fergie’s fiance and his fighter friends, decide it’s ok to try to bring him back to life. I guess now that the big, creepy robot isn’t around to threaten blowing up major cities, it’s ok to let the kid live! They bring out the paddles and he is unresponsive for the first several attempts. Mikaela says she loves him and by the magic of the movies, that does the trick. Sam comes back to life and utters those 3 little words every girl wants to hear…”Where’s my dog?” Ok ok…I’m making that part up. He tells her he loves her, finds his parents who had earlier been sucked in by an evil Decepticon in Paris and also transported to Egypt, and they all live happily ever after.
(Ooops. Apparently I have gotten the sequencing wrong about the ending here. Does anyone care? No? Good. I won’t bother changing it!)
All in all, not a bad movie. But you know what would’ve made this movie great? Seeing some freakin’ TRANSFORMERS in it! Seriously! I think Bumblebee had about 5 minutes total facetime in the movie. Forget Ironhide and Rachet. They should’ve called the movie “Random People 2”. Some of the jokes were clever. Some were cheesy. And some were just plain dumb. The robot nuts joke was almost as annoying as the people sitting behind me, but not quite. If I cared about special effects, they were probably cool too. But the best part of “Transformers 2” is that it proves that the 80’s are still alive and well in the hearts of many Americans….and I can’t argue with that!Photo courtesy Antonio Domingo via Flickr