Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Media Reviews of ROTF

Previously I posted reviews from mainstream media websites, now here are a few reviews from "new media" sources on the internet. First a quick check-in on Rotten Tomatoes shows that critic hatred of this film continues with the T-Meter for critics at 21% (down from 29%), top critics is at 21% (down from 23%), and RT community holds steady at 68%. Of those three numbers, really the only one that matters (unscientifically) is the last as it is audience word of mouth that will drive ticket sales.

IGN (3/5)
...the battle scenes are comprehensible, but the story isn't. If plot isn't important in films of this type -- as its most ardent defenders will inevitably claim -- then why did director Michael Bay and screenwriters Ehren Kruger & Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman spend two and a half hours telling it? Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is more epic, bombastic and overwhelming than the 2007 original, but it's also charmless, dumber and cruder by comparison. Since the characters, human and otherwise, are seldom engaging, the film only works when things go boom.

Mudflap and Skids, the Amos 'n' Andy of the Autobots and two of the most offensive characters in recent cinematic history. What were the filmmakers thinking? The "it's just a movie" defense doesn't fly on this one, folks; whereas George Lucas had wiggle room to defend himself with Jar Jar Binks, there is none here for Bay and company to fall back on. It's just too blatant to be deemed anything but obvious and in poor taste. Mudflap and Skids will pull anyone with a half a brain right out of the movie, and they taint the overall viewing experience and prove to be an embarrassment for all involved.
Dark Horizons
Often bypassing any logic or reason let alone character or depth, this utter mess of an action opus is only sporadically entertaining thanks to all the visual flair that $200 million worth of computer-generated fighting robots can buy, but holds no real value beyond that. The fanbase and target demographic of pre-teens and grown men with nostalgic mindsets will likely enjoy the initial ride, but most will be let down by an overly long and unruly sequel that effectively demonstrates that bigger and louder doesn't always mean better. 'Fallen' indulges Bay's excesses well past the point of reason to deliver the male teenage cinematic equivalent of snorting cocaine off a hooker's ass. This "all money shots, all the time" approach robs the action of any weight or coherency - leaving behind sensory white noise that hopes to browbeat its audience into either submission or boredom.

The CG also proves oddly mixed. On the one hand the Transformers facial expressions have much more range and appearance now, on the other the integration with the real world is noticeably less smooth and more cartoonish than the first one. The first film also really lent a sense of physics and gravity to these creations, here giant robots get tossed about with no real weight or inertia. Jablonsky's score leaves little impression, mostly drowned out by forgettable metal thrash music.
Transformers: ROTF has mostly gotten pretty hideous reviews, but that's because people don't understand that this isn't a movie, in the conventional sense. It's an assault on the senses, a barrage of crazy imagery. ROTF is like twenty summer movies, with unrelated storylines, smushed together into one crazy whole. You try in vain to understand how the pieces fit, you stare into the cracks between the narrative strands, until the cracks become chasms and the chasms become an abyss into which you stare until it looks deep into your own soul, and then you go insane.
Revenge of the Fallen contains enough reprehensible material to send any rational adult into fits of rage, but if you didn't know that going in, you probably fail to meet the definition of "rational adult" anyway. Too much of the film concerns itself with the human cast--still as boring as ever and still far less developed than the machines on the poster. At times, the dialogue literally becomes incoherent, as when Sam is infected with an ancient Transformer language that points the way to some magical hidden Maguffin or another. while Revenge of the Fallen holds the requisite amount of whiz-bang mayhem, it also contains a number of really cool action-based notions… which it doesn't know what to do with. ...hampered by a ADD-laden editing style that doesn't even give us a reliable look at the robots as they morph into their hidden shapes. (The choppiness also makes it difficult to tell good robot from bad unless you're seriously steeped in the mythology.)


  1. Why don't you include the IMDB numbers? They are far more important than rotten tomatoes.

    Last I checked they were very good at 7.2/10.

  2. MrMississippi6/25/2009 7:04 AM

    To the IGN review..Now all of a sudden people are trying to defend us black people by saying certain characters are offensive becuz they hate michael bay that much...but when other movies do it they turn the other cheek...I am black and I can tell the only reason their sayin this stuff is to bash on the movie, they dont care if we are offended or not becuz if this was any other movie not directed by michael bay they wouldnt say a word..

  3. PDG11081985 - These critics are so rude. Attacking fans and a group of people that put there heart and soul into making a film that really brings characters from cartoons and comic books to life. and us fans are adults we just understand that this is a movie. our brains just have the ability to process whats going on screen, maybe you critics should have wore your glasses. I feel as if this film is the first movie to show what the future holds for this industry and you critics are short coming yourself when you can't regonzine the inovation and creative coming. You guys will be left behind. The "Now Generation" will bring our childhood stories and stroies of our parents about love, action dreams, and current issues to the world. Thanks, micheal bay now i really think it's a possiblity that i can one day produce all of these films that my mind creates and i write down.

  4. Always the same complaints. I think because of all the bad critic reviews, the rest of the critics are afraid to say something good lest they be ousted by their peers. It's nothing but a stupid bandwagon. The sales numbers don't lie, nor do the majority of the public's response. I and all my friends loved it....3 of them already seen it twice, and I'll probably see it again this weekend. I wish the critics would just shut up.


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