film review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)


Just to be clear about things. I loved Transformers. I know there are people who didn’t like the first one, to those people I say… don’t bother watching this one. If, like me, you thought that the first film was the most fun you’ve had in the cinema in years, then read on.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is set about two years after the first Michael Bay Transformers film and, as you can gather from the trailers, our friend Sam Witwicky is off to college. I’m not going tell you any more about the plot, personally I wouldn’t even watch the new trailer because I thought it looked like they might reveal too much. This made it difficult to go to other movies, luckily that trailer has hardly any talking so staring at the floor worked quite well. But I digress. I seem to do that a lot.

Ok, when I walked out of the theatre after seeing this I was hyped up, I thought it was great. And it is great. If you love giant robot fighting – and I love giant robot fighting – then this is the film for you. But today I’m wondering, how great was it… really.

Well the effect are fantastic. Really amazing. I mean I’ve never seen anything like it. I thought the robot fighting moved slightly too quickly in the first film and I wasn’t the only one. That has been slowed down a little bit in this one. The action still moves at a frenetic pace but you can actually see if it’s an arm or a leg or whatever that the robots are bashing. So that’s great.

Plotwise, I’ve seen a lot of moaning on the internet over the last day or two. I don’t really know what they’re complaining about. I didn’t think it was particularly complicated, but in any case it doesn’t really matter anyway. In fact I still don’t know how they managed to have so much of a plot at all. There didn’t seem to be time between the giant robots fighting. So that’s grand really.

Where the film falls over slightly is on the characterisation. In the first film we had quite a few characters roaming around and they were all given a direction and a reason to be there. In this one it’s as though Michael Bay decided that we already know the various characters that are back so he didn’t need to deal with them. And it introduces very few new characters so there isn’t really any attempt to build scenes around any connection between any of the characters at all. So that was a bit annoying. It didn’t annoy me at the time, but it annoys me now.

It’s not a perfect film and it was never going to have the same effect on me as the first one. There were no expectations going into that one, we didn’t have any idea of how the movie should be. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was always going to suffer from how people thought it should go, based on Transformers, and it’s not exactly fair to judge it through the same eyes.

I had a great time watching it; the action scenes are absolutely fantastic. Could it have been better? Yes. On the other hand it could have been a lot worse and, while I have focused on merits of the action, there were some genuinely good “normal” scenes as well. In fact it’s a lot funnier than the first one and I welcomed that.

I have to throw it in really as I’m sure there are people who want to know… How does it compare to J.J. Abrams Star Trek. Well… I did love Star Trek and if I recall correctly I said almost exactly the same thing about the criticisms of its plot. It’s kind of hard for me to compare them. Star Trek was probably the better film, in the sense that there was better balance to it, it had all the elements you want, in satisfying quantity and quality… but I can’t say I’m overly interested in seeing it in the cinema again. I might watch it on DVD with a friend (I have quite a large HD TV with blu-ray player so it’s not that I’m really damning it to TV) but I don’t feel a need to pay โ‚ฌ10 to see it. I absolutely want to see Transformers: ROTF in the cinema again. On the other hand I’ve given it a lower rating. At the end of the day, as excellent as it was, Star Trek just wasn’t as fun a film. That’s how they compare for me anyway.

Course if I was comparing Chris Pine to Shia LeBeouf we would have an outright winner


…took a while to find that photo…

…what was I talking about again?

Anyway, as always, let me know your own comments!

edit: I’ve decided that I probably am a bit generous giving it an 8.5/10. I’ve revised that score…



  1. comment-avatar
    DarrenJuly 27, 2009 - 12:38 pm

    8.5??? You should be taken out and shot. I wouldn't give this film 0.85. Terrible, awful, woeful, etc.

    (And I LOVED the first movie)


  2. comment-avatar
    SinรฉadJuly 27, 2009 - 12:49 pm

    I quite enjoyed it myself, probably wouldn't have rated it that high, maybe a 5.0

    Great review by the way.

  3. comment-avatar
    @johnmfinnJuly 27, 2009 - 12:59 pm

    I enjoyed it. It's a Micahel Bay film about transforming robots, what were people expecting from it.

  4. comment-avatar
    DarrenJuly 27, 2009 - 1:02 pm

    Dramatic update: I don't actually think you should be shot.

  5. comment-avatar
    nicola-tJuly 27, 2009 - 3:23 pm

    Ah thanks Darren, I'd have been afraid to open the door otherwise ๐Ÿ˜‰

    What can I say? I liked it. There were a couple of things I didn't like about it… they were orange and green. But I just told myself, it's a meant to appeal to kids too. It's like Jar Jar Binks you know… fine it you just cut them out of your version.

    Anyway thanks for the comments folks! I will warn you, I do tend to rate slightly high… a film has to be pretty awful to get a 5. Even bad films can get a few marks if they have decent camera work…

  6. comment-avatar
    MattMarch 4, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    To mention Star Trek in the same breath as this disaster sequel is a crime against humanity. Star Trek was one of the films of that year!

  7. comment-avatar
    Nicola-tMarch 5, 2011 - 1:55 pm

    Ah Matt, what can I say? I enjoyed it at the time! ๐Ÿ™‚ And besides, I did say that Star Trek was the better film, I have Star Trek posted in the “Best of the Blog” category – one of only 7 films in there so far.

    It is legitimate to compare them though, they were both action / sci-fi blockbusters and they released mere weeks apart. I would have been remiss if I didn’t mention Star Trek.

    I have to say, and this is really just my opinion but, I do think people are way too harsh on Revenge of the Fallen, it’s like people slagging Titanic – it’s practically revisionism. Revenge of the Fallen took twice what Star Trek took at the worldwide box office, it’s reasonable to assume that there are people out there who genuinely enjoyed it!

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