You’ll be glad to hear that the latest installment of Transformers is not a flaming piece of shit, unlike its predecessor. There were no anal probes, human transformers, robots humping people’s legs, wrecking ball testicles, pyramid pooping machines, racist Autobots, or Megan Fox. As a matter of fact, Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg did everything they could to erase the putrid memories of the aptly numbered Transformers: The Number Two and made amends by delivering a new sequel that almost measured up to the first (I’ll get to that ‘almost’ in a minute). The only remnants from T2: Rise of my Bowels was the Matrix of Leadership, which was needed to revive a comatose Transformer found on the moon.
The ‘almost’ I mentioned is directly related to the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie where the filmmakers try to give us the “real reason” for the space race of the 1960’s. The scenes are a mash-up of historical footage; horribly bad CGI of Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and Obama; and some insanely stupid mistakes regarding reality. I’m sure you’ve seen the previews - the Apollo moon landing where the astronauts land and explore a crashed spaceship after revolving around to the dark side. One little problem – the same side of the moon always faces the Earth (it’s tidally locked), so the astronauts couldn’t have been on the dark side unless they walked or drove there. Less stupid, but equally as annoying, is that the ship was tracked with the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in 1961. Problem – the VLA wasn’t even commissioned until 1973 and completed in 1980. Couple these things with the badly edited historical footage (real and fake) and the movie doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence at the outset.
After a little more setup that’s not worth talking about, the film gets over itself and takes us to Sam Witwicky’s place, where we are greeted by a Victoria’s Secret model’s ass, specifically that of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Carly). This is the point at which we officially forgave Bay and Spielberg for T2: We Weren’t Even Trying. Carly is prancing around their apartment in nothing but a men’s dress shirt and panties and we can’t even remember what Megan Fox looks like. The film drags a little for the next few minutes as Sam is trying to get a job and whining about not getting to help the Autobots. Meanwhile, the Autobots find a Cybertronian relic at Chernobyl (don’t ask) and the humans divulge their knowledge of the crashed ship on the moon. The Autobots go up to the ship and bring back Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) along with some new weapon technology that Sentinel had been developing. From here, the plot becomes standard procedure – the Decepticons want the technology so they can take over the Earth and revive their home world of Cybertron. This is also where the movie finally turns into the loud, special effects-laden, summer blockbuster that we all wanted.
For you ladies, it’s important to remember that this movie was not made for you. If you’re the kind of girl who likes special effects and sweet cars, then you are awesome and my brother is single. If not, I tip my cap to you for being a great girlfriend/wife and sitting through this movie. The only bones you get thrown are a handful of shots of Josh Duhamel (Colonel Lennox) and the inclusion of Patrick Dempsey (Dylan Gould). That’s it, unless you have some strange attraction to Shia LaBeouf. For the guys, it’s two-plus hours of eye candy and ear-splitting sound. The special effects are just as good as you remember and they’ve included a couple of spectacular new transformers. The first is Laserbeak, a smallish Decepticon that resembles an evil Pterodactyl, and the other is Shockwave, a one-eyed Decepticon that controls a giant tentacle thing that you see in the previews. To quote Tyrese Gibson (Epps) – “Why do the Decepticons get all the cool shit?!” Well, if he wants to feel better, he can just take a look at two of the new Autobots, Mirage and Sideswipe, that transform into a 421 Ferrari Italia and Corvette Stingray, respectively. Not to be outdone, the Decepticons also feature a newly rendered Soundwave in the form of a Mercedes SLS. It was almost as if Bay and Spielberg raided Jay Leno’s garage in a second act of atonement to the audience. And in case you forgot, a Victoria’s Secret model is given lots of screen time wearing extremely flattering clothes (or maybe she’s flattering the clothes).
The beginning of the film notwithstanding, this film is, in every way, a great summer popcorn flick. Lots of stuff blows up, there’s a token romance to give Sam some extra motivation, the special effects are spectacular, there’s a little bit of comic relief, and you don’t walk out feeling like you’ve just been robbed. Hell, Huntington-Whiteley even manages to turn in a decent performance, proving that she is in every way superior to Fox. It also appears to have concluded the story, though I’m sure they could find some way to keep it going. Bay and Spielberg aren’t that sorry.
Rating: Worth what you paid, though I think you can still ask for any money back from Transformers 2: Bend Over.