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Movie Review:
Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen -- Photo COurtesy of Paramount

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material.
Recommended for ages 13 and up.
Run Time: 150 minutes
Quick Take: This movie is not for the kids that play with the toys on which it's based but teens -- and some parents -- will love the action-packed bombast of it.

Transformers Robots Are Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em -- and a Lot of Fun

Here's what you need to know about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:

It's loud, it's noisy, it's inane, and exceptionally busy.

It's also crass, too long, is packed with innuendo, and has a practically unintelligible plot.

It's also a ton of fun.

Yeah, I know -- two-and-a-half hours of blowing stuff up. I'm surprised, too. It may not appeal to everybody. But seriously -- way fun. I don't know if it was the mood of the theater, or the fact that I was surrounded by entertaining fanboys who energetically fist-pumped and burst into cheering applause every time an Autobot (those are the good guys, for anyone keeping score) came along and kicked some serious Decepticon (bad guys) butt. Director Michael Bay may not know much about stringing together -- um, what do they call them? -- words. But the man knows his dogfights. Crash, bang, boom -- this is an action movie: mindless, madcap, and made for consuming mass quantities of popcorn.

What plot there is involves Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), unlikely hero and wannabe college student, who leaves his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) for the ivied halls of higher education, only to find himself the lynchpin of an interplanetary battle between humans and a race of gargantuan robots. The whole man-bot war thing is plenty outlandish, but apparently not nearly as unbelievable to the human male species as the part about Sam leaving Mikaela. "Dude. Seriously?" said a voice behind me.

Ms. Fox, probably the least apologetic sex symbol in movies today, is about as subtle as a living blow-up doll, striking a centerfold-ready pose across a motorcycle that will likely have boys ready to trade their sci-fi lunch boxes for one-on-one time with their new queen. LaBeouf gets to be geek hero just for dating her, but works his own game as wiry and accessible action figure, dodging explosions while joining male cohorts in dispensing obligatory adolescent humor. Sample line: "Thumper Dumper. I gotta go," which translates to exactly what you think it means. Which isn't to say it wasn't amusing, in a "you may hate yourself for laughing" kind of way.

Of course, at its heart, Transformers is about a toy -- one that routinely appears under Christmas trees tagged for boys whose rides still have handlebars and three wheels. Which begs the question, who is the movie for? I had a grand-old time, but I'm positive Mr. Bay wasn't thinking middle-aged mom when he engineered the script. And, little boys? I'm thinking not, lest the next playtime dialogue involves robots taunting each other with colorful words that shall not be named here. That leaves 13- to 25-year-old boys (who will be in their glory by the way), their dates, teen girls (my daughters loved it), and anyone with pent-up aggression that needs to be alleviated since there's something undeniably satisfying about seeing a posse of brutish bad guys whooped -- at least as whooped as they can be while leaving the door open for the inevitable Transformers 3.

Does any of that make it a great movie? Nope. (Note to Michael Bay: Two hours of blowing stuff up would have been plenty.)

Does it matter? Not a bit.

Just grab the popcorn, cover your ears, sit back and enjoy.

Kids Will Like:
Carnage is lightened by a broad sense of humor that touches on, but is not limited to, bodily functions, boys screaming like girls, and robots with 'tude. In other words, teens will love it. Whiz-bang special effects are sometimes so whiz-bang you can't tell what's going on, but all the better to enjoy your popcorn with, my dear. One of Bay's best tricks is to infuse his Autobots with visible expressions (shouldn't they then becalled Emoticons?), making them infinitely more entertaining. Human wingmen include Sam's screaming-like-a-girl roommate Leo, and beleaguered (former) Agent Simmons who owns the title of most shameless shot in the film. Most significantly, there's Optimus Prime, the biggest big brother since the Iron Giant. Oh, and in case you didn't know—Megan Fox is hot.

Parents Will Like:
This is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. If your sensibilities bristle over large-scale annihilation and crass language, this one isn't for you. If you're looking for a coherent plot, see Star Trek. On the other hand, if you can embrace its over-the-top silliness, Transformers is a fun ride. Oh, and moms, don't think you've been forgotten. Producers provided eye candy for you in the form of Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson.

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