Plot: As he prepares to head off to college, Sam (Shia Lebeouf) discovers a shard of the all-spark and soon, chaos begins to unfold. The shard bonds with Sam’s mind and fills his brain with all kinds of strange symbols, while also bringing various appliances to life around the house. After Bumblebee helps fend off the aggressive robots and return some peace, the house is in near ruins, but Sam ventures to school. Meanwhile, a decepticon known as Soundwave lurks in the earth’s orbit and picks up encoded data about the all-spark shards and the fate of his former leader Megatron. This leads to a plan to eliminate Optimus Prime, resurrect Megatron, and acquire the Matrix of Leadership, all of which would lead to the arrival of The Fallen. The Fallen has held dominion over earth before, but can the autobots and Sam manage to fend off this attempt to enslave mankind and return The Fallen to power?

Entertainment Value: This movie is a bloated, drawn out behemoth that runs 150 minutes and has barely enough plot to cover an hour, which leads to a glacial pace and an immense amount of filler content. The narrative is paper thin and has no real depth, but is stretched to even more transparent levels here, when it should have just gone simple and lean. The movie tries to add entertainment value by dialing up the comic relief and the main new addition is a pair of wisecracking robots, Mudflaps and Skids. These were instantly two of the most annoying, hated characters in movie history, the point you wish Jar Jar Binks would show up to make things a little more tolerable. The attempts at humor don’t end there and honestly, if the movie wasn’t so bloated, it wouldn’t need all the comic relief. A 90 minute version of Revenge of the Fallen could focus on action and light narrative, lean on what works and drop all the dead weight, but instead we have this indulgent version that is a chore to watch and offers minimal entertainment.

I don’t mind the ambition of a big, serious narrative here, but the movie simply can’t support the weight of all the fluff and filler. When things take a more action oriented approach, the movie picks up a little, but it suffers there as well, between generic robot designs and the mostly ineffective decepticons. The threat never feels tangible and as such, the action scenes lack impact and tension, while the narrative has no real stakes and loses steam as a result. The visual effects are solid in most scenes, with some low end CGI here and there, but the real issue is how generic and similar the robot designs are for some reason. This makes the battle scenes a mess of robot action and most of the time, it all just blurs together. Michael Bay’s fast cuts and always moving camera don’t help matters, so the action is just a mess here. The cast is passable, but no one is given much to do or good material to work with. Shia Lebeouf, Julie White, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, and several other familiar faces pop up here, but no one is really put to good use. In the end, Revenge of the Fallen is a bloated, inconsistent mess that can’t even get the action scenes right. Even if you’re a blind devotee of the series, this one will test your patience.

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