Monday, October 26, 2009

Did I really just buy that?

I finally bought a Blu-Ray DVD player recently, after waiting out the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray war. So this past weekend, I decided to buy a good BR disc, one that would show off my new 7.1 Dolby Digital set-up as well as display a razor sharp image.

And as fate would have it, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was just released on DVD. So I bought it, knowing ahead of time that it would be a big dumb movie with lots of special effects. I also enjoyed the first movie a little more than I should have, and also have it on DVD, so what the hell.

I turned down my IQ-o-meter before throwing the disc into my DVD player and sat back ready to be entertained for 147 minutes.

Wait, 147 minutes? Are you kidding me?

Sadly no. And that is Revenge of the Fallen's major flaw -- it's just too damn loaded with nothingness. Sitting through this movie was like going to McDonald's and forgoing a combo meal for five milkshakes. You'll feel bloated when it's all over and done with, but you won't have any pleasant memories of the experience, and you'll be hungry for some sustenance in no time.

But that's what Michael Bay is, right? A flashy director who does and says nothing with his movies? I enjoyed his Bad Boys films, The Rock, and I'll even admit that Pearl Harbor isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

But even Bay reached a new low with Revenge of the Fallen.

Whereas the original Transformers movie was in itself a very bloated movie, it at least told a simple story that was pretty easy to follow. At its heart, it was a movie about a teenager and his first car. Everyone can understand that, right?

Well, in this movie, Bay and the film's writers, Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman (look up those guys on IMDb and be amazed at the movies they've written that haven't sucked) decided to throw the "less is more" mantra out of the window at the outset of production.

Not only does Shia LeBeouf's Sam Witwicky go to college in this film, he deals with his long-distance relationship with Mikaela (Megan Fox), he meets a new girl who may not be human, meets his comedic "relief" roommate, deals with his parents' separation anxiety, gets implanted with random robot knowledge, gets transported to Egypt, dies, and comes back to life.

That also doesn't factor into lots of screen time for the various military characters who are all brought back, and about a dozen expository speeches about Transformer-lore complete with flashbacks. None of it, however, makes any sense.

Oh, and then there are a couple of action sequences where you can't figure out what the hell is happening.

But maybe that was my problem...that I went into this movie expecting to watch an actual movie. Maybe I should have just skipped from scene to scene, jacked up the volume, and been blown away by the movie's awesome technical specs, which is the only thing it has going for it.

The movie is filmed in 5.1 True HD Dolby Digital, and it sounds...well, there hasn't been a word invented yet to describe the sound. Even if the movie did suck ass, it was at least a good movie to introduce me to the world of Blue-Ray. The visuals are just as impressive, with certain scenes filmed in an IMAX-mode, which ditches the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen and the picture gets, believe it or not, sharper.

So all in all, I guess it gets balanced out. I will never watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen from start to finish ever again. But I will put it in my DVD player from time to time and get blown away by the crazy-good A/V specs.

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