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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Price of Admission: Latest 'Transformers' Lacks Captivating Form

By Dani White
Berthoud Recorder

“Transformers” released the second round of ammunition in what looks like a budding arsenal of high-action franchise ventures. The recent “Transformers” film franchise is a different kind of toy story. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is the long-anticipated sequel to the high-octane hit “Transformers”(2007). The new franchise films are based on Hasbro toys and a cartoon series, originally released in 1984. The Transformer concept has once again fully restored itself for the next era of endurance.

The continued premise of shape-shifting alien robots taking on various forms to hide themselves within our world builds to all-new proportions. There are two groups of Transformer allegiances: the Autobots and the Decepticons. The elusive Transformers convert into their true forms when battles begin.

The story goes that the Transformers came to Earth sometime in prehistory searching for energy sources for their own planet, but they found life. The Autobots realize the significance of life on other planets, especially the human life they have discovered, and choose to defend it. Meanwhile the fallen Decepticons want to destroy the planet to harvest the sun’s energy, without regard for the human race. The ancient conflict between the rival Transformers ensues. The Autobots sequester help from a boy named Sam Witwiky (Shai LeBeouf) who once again finds himself in the middle of an alien robot war, along with his exceptionally beautiful girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), a stealth U.S. military group and a few new or modified characters, human and machine alike. Together they fight to defeat the Decepticons, and ultimately ensure the survival of the planet. 

The film is mostly a visual spectacle, with attractive leading characters including remarkable computer generated imagery Transformers. In fact, the CGI robots steal the show. The most interesting aspect of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” are the epic metal-on-metal, clashing battles between the Decepticon and Autbot robots. The grand barrage of colliding metal does have some downtime to weave in a disjointed plot and strained humor. The incoherent storyline manipulates itself more times than an Autobot and never seems to decide what form to take.

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is forced and jumbled, especially the relationships between the characters. The computer-generated robots are more lifelike and entertaining than the majority of the cast members. The main comic relief rests on returning character John Turturro and new-to-the-scene Ramon Rodriguez. The profanity and adult content and the way that they are used and portrayed in the film may send the wrong message to the pre-teen demographic. While the action is mostly fantastical, it hits the mark for super sci-fi action adventure.

I actually liked the first film better because repetitive storylines and disconnected characterization can only extend so far no matter how much shiny metal mangling and explosive mayhem is provided for distraction. The amazing visual effects are worth seeing on the big screen but this film is not much more than meets the eye.

“Transformers: The Revenge of The Fallen” — Super Sci-Fi Me
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Shai LeBeouf, Megan Fox, Ramon Rodriguez, John Tuturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen (voice) and Tony Todd (voice)
MPAA rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Reviewer rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Variety – Price of Admission
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