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With: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro and Ramon Rodriguez, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen (voice), Hugo Weaving, Kevin Dunn, Isabel Lucas, Tom Kenny (voice), Anthony Anderson (voice)
Written by: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Directed by: Michael Bay
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material
Running Time: 150
Date: 06/19/2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

1 Star (out of 4)

Robot Season

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Bay has once again transformed garbage into something resembling a film, at least in the loosest sense: it can be run through a projector and used to sell millions of tickets. Yet he has made some improvements over the painfully bad predecessor Transformers (2007). This time around he doesn't shake the camera so much and he pulls back to a distance that allows the viewer to actually see the Transformers transform (as opposed to the claustrophobic close-ups in the last film). However, he still doesn't understand the geography of action, and it's very often difficult to figure out what's going on, or who is stomping who. Worse, he has kept up his unfortunate penchant for comedy, and the new film stops dead several times for the most horrible jokes imaginable, from a ditsy mother cluelessly eating a pot brownie (which takes effect very quickly and causes her to go running across the college lawn, tackling male students), to annoying racial stereotypes just as bad as Jar Jar Binks. The story -- about a renegade robot wanting to destroy the sun, or something to that effect -- is nil, the characters are flat and the dialogue is ridiculous, though to his credit Bay very often blots out lines readings with the rattling, explosive soundtrack. It's science fiction at its worst, using only the tiniest hints of science or fiction in the service of a flashy war movie. The movie's most irredeemable crime, however, is that it's way, way, way too long. Parents who have to drag their kids to this are really going to suffer. Let's hope that the movie's fans -- the ones who are going to shell out at least $300 million in tickets -- will eventually grow out of this phase.

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