Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Movie Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I've got to say about an hour into the film, I thought it had jumped the shark a bit, the plot was either non-existant or all over the place, the editing and cutscenes were a bit pants and it seemed like they were taking the piss.

I started noticing characterisation I'd never paid much attention to before. The way Optimus Prime is so American, a big vengeful 21st century Old Testament American. He really likes mercilessly killing Decepticons. The start of the film has the Autobots and American military working together hunting down and slaughtering Decepticons, and whilst usually I don't shed many tears for them, I did think the way he executed Demolisher was a bit harsh, and when Sideways was sliced in half by Sideswipe, before he'd even had a chance to transform, I found my self hypothetically tugging at my pappy's jumper "Daddy, why's the little robot killing the big robot?"

"Just because they're Decepticons," seems a bit fascist.

Demolisher was just running scared, being hunted down like some ethnic minority and a 20th century socialist country. He's a big guy and being pushed to the edge. Sure he's a decepticon, but Jetfire, he was a decepticon too, but he switched sides and was redeemed. Why wasn't this option presented to Demolisher?

Cos he was guily? Cos he was a murderer?

Prove it, I saw no trial. Just self-righteous old Optimus Prime being judge judy and executioner.

And who made Optimus Prime leader of the autobots? No election, no democracy on cybertron. In fact, with all that business of the seven Primes, it seems like he's leader by some kind of theocratic hereditry. And America lets this guy rampage across the world ruthlessly slaughtering his opponents?

Lets be clear here, is being a Decepticon a political or racial thing?

Anyhoo, Transformers has been going as a franchise for the best part of twenty five years, so that's about an eightieth of the duration of Christianisty or half as long as Scientology. The concept of Transformers, robots in disguise, more than meets the eye will go on and on into the future. One slightly overlong, philosophically uncomfortable movie isn't going to affect things much, besides, towards the end of Revenge of the Fallen, the robots do look pretty cool and you've accepted the quirks.

Now in real life, a lot of the Transformers thing won't work. In the first film they said that all mod cons, like computers and microwaves and so on were just reverse engineered from Transformers artifacts and the AllSpark cube thing. Reverse engineering is really difficult, and claiming such a thing is a bit of a disservice to the thousands of engineers and imagineers who've slaved away for centuries to invent, by themselves, computers microwaves and the iPhone.

What real life has to offer by way of Transformers-style things include:-

Automous Nano Class Sumo-bots

Transformering radio controlled cars

Swarming robots

Automous collaborative modular robots

Giant Robots

We've got a long way to go before there's a live action Transformers movie, but give it time. Transformers have set the imaginations of a generation bubbling for a generation.

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