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Home News-Telegram News ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ – high-octane action cuts both ways

‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ – high-octane action cuts both ways

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[Editor's Note: Staff photographer Luis Noble braved the late hour — and a crowded crush of more than 300 other moviegoers — to attend Tuesday's midnight premiere of "Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen." Here's his take on what is expected to be the blockbuster of the summer cinema.]

"Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen" is every bit the summer blockbuster spectacle it has been hyped to be. That is both its greatest strength and major flaw. In an attempt to deliver a film that is bigger and better, audiences get a film that is awesome but overly long

It seems that director Michael Bay has two goals for the film: the first, creating a non-stop adrenaline rush with fast cuts, devastatingly well-crafted visuals and action galore; and second, taking a stab at creating an emotional connection between the audience and the scores of the film's characters. The blend of these two goals is executed fairly well, but can make viewing daunting.

“Revenge of The Fallen” plays very well as a sequel, but the copious amounts of information necessary for following the plot can make Transformer newbies take off their thinking caps and watch the bouts of fantastic special effects without much idea of a coherent story. If you have not seen the first film in the series, I recommend you rent it — you will enjoy part two a great deal more. If you haven't, however, there is a great amount of concise exposition to get you up to speed. As a result, the film suffers a bit. Complicating the matters further is the newly concocted history between humans and transformers.

The story follows young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the boy who discovered the transformers, in his attempt for a normal life. It is, of course, disrupted by  the war between the Autobots (good transformers) and the Decepticons (bad transformers). Sam gets a map imprinted in his brain to a source of energy that has the power to destroy Earth - and the Decepticons want it. What follows is a grand adventure where Sam, his girlfriend, Mikaela (beauty Megan Fox) and his college roommate, Leo (the hilarious Ramon Rodriguez) traverse the planet to keep Sam alive.

What keeps the film alive and grounded is the comic relief provided by Sam's parents and roommate throughout. Where some action movies provide some chuckles by secondary characters, “Revenge of The Fallen” delivers laughs like a comedy. The laughs are mostly delivered by Julie White as Sam's hysterical mother who cries at the sight at his baby booties as he leaves home for college. Rodriguez' faces of pure terror at the sight of the Decepticons are also a treat. The sequel also pumps up the relationship between Sam and Mikaela, but fails to deliver the grand, sweeping romance it thinks it provides.

But what would a summer blockbuster be without a stilted romance and giant alien robot battles? The artists at Industrial Light and Magic have truly outdone themselves with incredibly detailed visual effects and overcoming the feat of making a CGI character like Autobots leader Optimus Prime come to life.

My biggest problem with the film was its length. In an attempt to cater both to the detail-obsessed and attention deficit audiences, the film at 150 minutes runs too long, even though the final product seemed well trimmed. I think the only way out of such a long running time would be to cut down action sequences; which, after the millions of dollars poured into the visual effects, would be quite impossible. It's a spectacle just watching Bay's balancing act in making an action film that tries to have fleshed out characters.

“Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen” may have its flaws, but they are necessary to make an action film anyone can enjoy. Be sure to catch this one in theaters —  it makes going out to the movies worthwhile.




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