Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by:Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Isabel Lucas, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro
Released: June 24, 2009
Grade: C+

I have disliked almost every major blockbuster in the past two months.  The list includes The Proposal, Year One, Land Of The Lost, Terminator: Salvation, Angels & Demons, Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  The only shining lights have been Star Trek, I Love You Man and The Hangover.

I wanted to like this film.  I needed something positive to talk about.  I wanted confirmation that I’m not a Grinch and there are some good films still out there.  Alas, I find myself in a conundrum.  Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is a flat, tiring experience.  I saw it with a friend and that fact that he agreed has given me some comfort that I’m not insane.

I’ve seen some really good action films in my time as a critic.  It can be exciting to watch a cool character escape from a perilous situation and defeat a nasty adversary.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think any of these characters were even remotely interesting.  They made me chuckle a couple of times but that’s about it.  When Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox wrap their arms around each other, with a beautiful sunset as the backdrop, I couldn’t care less.

When it comes to making action flicks, there aren’t many directors bigger than Michael Bay.  He blasted onto the scene in the mid-1990s with Bad Boys and The Rock (both great films).  Unfortunately, he’s become a victim of his own success.  I now find his action films too “over the top”.  It’s as if he doesn’t care about the story.  It’s all about big explosions, helicopter flyovers and slow-motion running sequences.  Check out Armageddon, Pearl Harbour and The Island as examples.

This flick is more of the same.  I give him credit for creating a spectacle.  I actually don’t think I’ve seen a film where so much stuff blown up.  It must have cost a fortune.  There’s also a tonne of special effects – to the point where I wondered if any of it was real.  The problem is that it feels like “all action and no talk”.  There’s no chance to develop any plot because we spend so much time watching fast-paced battle sequences.  The big finale drags on forever.  Two and a half hours is way too long for a film of this calibre.

So what’s it all about?  Some evil robots are trying to find the location of a machine which will allow them to destroy our sun and harness the energy.  They also need to find a special key.  The man with the answers is high school graduate Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf).  With the help of the U.S. army, a posse of friendly robots and bunch of new friends, Sam travels to the Great Pyramids in Egypt to save the world.

My favourite film critic is Roger Ebert who writes for the Chicago Sun Times.  If you haven’t been turned off by my own thoughts, let me offer a quote from Ebert’s scathing review of the film - “If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.”  An apt quote indeed.