June 30, 2009
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" made over $200 million last week. What it didn't make, however, was one lick of sense.
Now, suspension of disbelief is usually not a problem for me. Tell me that a billionaire could put on a bat suit and swoop around fighting crime and I'll buy it. Or that a different billionaire could build flying armor in his basement. Or that in the future people will beam onto spaceships with their pointy-eared best friend. I'll accept all of it. I'll even take your word for it that a mechanized alien race can come to our planet, scan some cars, and turn themselves into vehicles.
That being said, there were moments in this new "Transformers" movie that were so confusing, so contradictory, or so corny that they completely took me out of the movie. Even days after watching it, some new inconsistency or plot hole would pop into my mind.
I can hear it already: "It's a popcorn movie. It's based on a bunch of toys. It's just supposed to be fun." And yes, all of those things are true. But that doesn't mean I can't ask questions about what in the world was going on. Here are the ten that I most want answered. (WARNING: contains spoilers).
- In "Transformers," there was this giant battle in the middle of downtown Los Angeles -- excuse me, Mission City -- that was witnessed by thousands of people at the very least. But somehow the government was able to cover up the whole thing, and now the existence of alien robots is just an internet rumor? How did they do it? Pay off everyone who was there and quickly fix millions of dollars in damage? Also, didn't Keller (Jon Voight) go on TV and tell everyone we were being attacked by "a technological civilization far superior to our own"? How did they spin that?
- There are two pieces of the Allspark cube left: the military has one under lock and key, and Sam discovers another. The Decepticons steal one and bring Megatron back to life. But when Sam (Shia LaBeouf) wants to bring back Optimus, he has to find the Matrix of Leadership on the other side of the globe. Why not use the other piece? Mikaela (Megan Fox) has it in her backpack the whole time. It brought his kitchen appliances to life, why can't it do the same for Optimus?
- Speaking of Megatron's rebirth, when the Decepticons venture deep into the ocean to revive him, the Navy crew tracking them reads five contacts. When they get down there, they tear apart one of the robots for parts to rebuild Megatron. Then as they rise to the surface, the same Navy guys say they spot six contacts. The little "Doctor" robot popped out down there, but he's about a third of the size of a person. Would he have shown up on sonar?
- That reminds me: even if I were to forgive the Doctor's German accent -- and director Michael Bay is asking me to forgive a lot of ridiculous accents -- why would a robot need glasses? He has little lenses that flip in front of his mechanical eyes. Couldn't he just get his eyes adjusted? You'd think with all the laser guns, someone could perform a Lasik procedure.
- Apparently, Transformers can look like people now. How? And how is it that even though the robo-girl (Isabel Lucas) is made of metal, she can still straddle Sam without crushing him. And if Bumblebee knows something's wrong with her, why does he spit antifreeze at her instead of telling Sam? Yes, his voicebox is broken, but wasn't it fixed at the end of the last movie?
- The Fallen is the last of the Primes, since they all sacrificed themselves to stop him from destroying the sun. But then he says that Optimus is a descendant of the Primes. First, Transformers have kids? And second, how could he descend from them if they were all dead? And if the Fallen could only be destroyed by a Prime, why didn't the originals just gang up on him back in the day? And what makes Optimus so special, anyway? Megatron beat him earlier, but all it takes is a few spare parts from creaky old Jetfire for him to take out the Fallen?
- Sam, Mikaela, and Simmons (John Turturro) go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. to find Jetfire. Then they walk out the back onto a wide open field with old planes and mountains in the distance. When did the National Mall start to look so much like to Tucson, AZ (where they really filmed that scene)?
- The geography is just as bad when they go to Egypt. The stone city of Petra in Jordan is over 250 miles away, over mountainous terrain, with few paved roads and the Israeli border between them, so how can they drive from one to the other in a couple of hours? And the Pyramids are said to be shooting distance from the Mediterranean, but they are actually well over 80 miles inland. Even if the Navy ship had a secret rail gun, and even if the captain would take an order to fire from a former agent of a government branch that no longer exists (over a walkie-talkie that inexplicably starts working again), how could it hit a moving target from that distance?
- Sam briefly dies and goes to Robot Heaven. Robot Heaven?!?!
- Where does Sam's bandage come from? What about his extra sock? Why does Sam's roommate not contribute anything at all? What was the Fallen doing for those thousands of years Megatron was frozen in ice? How does one satellite receive transmissions from everywhere on the planet? Why does Wheelie hump Mikaela's leg? Why do we have to see John Turturro's thong? Why are robots who join together to become Devastator also seen fighting the Army at the same time? Why does the government want only our military fighting Decepticons when our weapons seem unable to make so much as a dent on any of them? Why did the ancient Egyptians build a pyramid around the sun-destroying machines instead of just breaking it? Why is the Matrix of Leadership bigger in the Fallen's hand than in Sam's? And how do Mikaela's pants stay so clean?
OK, so I went overboard at the end, but the questions remain. And I'm sure more will pop up next time I think about the movie. But the movie did make a ton of money, and it's earned a solid B+ rating from our users. Maybe I should go see it again. My questions probably won't get answered in a second viewing, but if I can just clear them from my mind I can be in Robot Heaven, too.
Source: Yahoo! Movies: Summer Movie Guide