The Unwatchables: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

My intention was to have a fresh Bad Movie Night post to share this week. To commemorate the end of the semester at my workplace–or, more significantly, the beginning of a summer stretch that is far less stressful–we decided to indulge in one of our favorite pastimes, one that combines fine beer with movie-viewing masochism. This was also inspired by the realization that one of the movie channels that gets beamed down to our satellite dish was going to provide one half of a perfect pairing on Saturday night. How often do you get the chance to watch two completely different movies that are obligated to cite Hasbro in the opening credits?

So we went in with the intention to watch both films, reveling in full-on mockery of the Hollywood hits before us. We hit a snag, however, when the second half of the double feature proved too off-putting, too atrocious, too punishing. As we’ve done occasionally in the past, we gave up. We make it to around the 40-minute mark, but the damn thing is two-and-a-half hours long. We couldn’t do it. We quit. I don’t feel like we sat through enough if it to include it in a proper Bad Movie Night post, nor can I reasonably include it in one of my Catch-Up Reviews posts (the other film we did watch to completion, and I will cover it with the next one). I do still want to find some way to note my miserable time spent with the film, however, which leads to the creation of the new heading above, one I will hopefully not employ often. And this seems like an especially opportune time given the big movie news of the day.

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What can really be typed about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Michael Bay, 2009)? Those that like Michael Bay movies love Michael Bay movies, and make sure that the box office numbers reflect their adoration. The increasingly incomprehensibility of his visual style and the smug hatefulness that’s rampant in his films is, it seems, part of the actual appeal, not something they just overlook because they think it’s awesome when the robots switch over from looking like cars to looking like robots. I didn’t even stick around to get to the worst of the robot duo programmed with offensive racial stereotypes. Just watching Shia LaBeouf scream at everyone–his parents, his hot girlfriend, his new college pals, his chipper hero transforming sports car–endlessly is punishment enough. Apparently the theory behind developing his character is to make him into a one-note hostile dickhead. My guess is that Michael Bay wanted a lead character he could relate to.

It’s not that I’m proud that I didn’t finish the movie. I feel like one of my obligations in writing about movies, even in this modest format, is to be complete in my viewing. I want to be properly informed about the material I praise, and that moral obligation is somewhat stronger if I’m instead going to complain about it. And yet I genuinely couldn’t do it, I couldn’t persevere, even when play was pressed with the strong suspicion–an expectation so strong that it’s almost an intention–that I wouldn’t care for it. That I couldn’t finish it, that’s as clear of a review as I can possibly give it.

8 thoughts on “The Unwatchables: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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