MOVIE REVIEW ★★ ½ Yeah, Smashy-Smashy, Whatever, So Over It

2217 transformers
Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Transformers 2

Director: Michael Bay

Starring: Shia LaBoeuf, Megan Fox

Rated PG-13

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Watching Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is a bit like seeing a plane full of bacon and supermodels smash into a fireworks factory: Even though the explosions are awesome and there are awesome things everywhere, it is still pretty much a tragedy. As Shia LaBoeuf himself has found time and time again, looking good does not really compensate for being excessively dumb.

Transformers 2 continues the story of Sam Witwicky (Shia Laboeuf) and his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox). They are dealing with the typical pressures of college, such as long- distance relationships and homicidal robots for friends. After the teen movie preliminaries have ended, the film quickly degenerates into standard Michael Bay fare.

Bay gleefully drop-kicks “plot coherence” and “realistic dialogue” out the window in favor of fireballs and Megan Fox bending over more often. A number of bad-guy robots descend on earth, prompting Sam and company to embark on a worldwide search for hidden alien artifacts before concluding with the now-traditional destruction of a Middle Eastern city. The plot is completely incoherent throughout, and the dialogue waffles continuously between lines from Twilight and ramblings of a deranged crackhead.

If Transformers was the insult to the world’s collective intelligence, then Transformers 2 is the corresponding bitch-slap. Bay appears to be engaged in a desperate race against himself to produce the most stupid movie possible, and there is no question that he is winning. Michael Bay’s plot writing in the Transformers series is a bit like soiling yourself in a public place: we can all accept that there might have been legitimate reasons the first time, but doing it over and over again is just not acceptable.

Plot aside, however, Transformers 2 does deliver on all of its promises. In the world of eye candy, Transformers 2 is a 600-pound gummy bear. The movie is essentially a U.S. Army recruitment commercial, and features scene after glorious scene of tanks, airplanes, and robots blowing each other away. One particularly epic action sequence, in which more than six gigantic robots fight hand-to-hand in a forest, should be used as a substitute for Viagra (and should come with the same medical warnings). While its PG-13 rating prevents us from seeing any of the really good stuff (robots eating school buses, robots leveling cities, Megan Fox earning her paycheck), it’s hard not to feel a twinge of glee when a Transformer blasts a hole through an aircraft carrier or eats one of the Great Pyramids.

Despite being a huge fan of the franchise and the first movie, I cannot unconditionally endorse Transformers 2 in good conscience. Much like entrapping children by offering them candy, awesome robotic violence is much less effective the second time around. Moreover, its exhausting 150-minute running time is simply too much, far too long. You don’t really watch Transformers 2 in the normal sense of the word; the experience is more like being beaten into submission while somebody slowly runs your brain through a blender. While that does sound pretty badass, in reality, it is completely exhausting. The novelty of huge robots shooting missiles at each other has worn off a bit, highlighting the fact that the rest of the franchise is held together by the sheerest of scotch tape.

Overall, the stunning visuals that Transformers 2 provides can not overcome the fact that it is dumber than a rabbit with fetal alcohol syndrome. Although I dreamed that its graphics would be so astounding that I could cope with the meaningless dialogue and absurd plot there just was not enough samurai robot beheadings. If you are going to watch Transformers 2 see it because you simply can’t watch robots eviscerate each other in slow motion anywhere else. Otherwise, Transformers 2 is an R rating short of a good movie, and you probably shouldn’t waste your money.