Review of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen L

Michael Bay’s Transformers I and II are to cinema what Faust 1 and 2 are to drama, and Don Quixote 1 & 2 are to novels.  Transformers is his Magnum Opus!  Michael Bay is the greatest living film director of our time.  Period.  No - exclamation point in bold letters!  I realized, halfway through the movie, that I was experiencing the most important film in our generation.  This is what it must have been like to view François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows or Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons for the first time.

Each scene leaves us puzzling over certain enigmas: “What can we discover from this image? What can we learn from this explosion? What is the significance of this lamppost?” The film is often understated and allows for moments of reflection.  It often reminded me of moments in the classic Italian film The Bicycle Thief.  The Decepticons’ obsession with blowing up the sun was not unlike Antonio’s obsession with finding his stolen bicycle.

One cannot help but notice the Christian symbolism while viewing the Transformers films.  When Shia LaBeouf’s Witwicky character is surrounded by the wicked Decepticons, it brings to mind the story of Daniel in the den of lions.  He is doomed to death until he is rescued by the angels of God (the Autobots).  Megan Fox evokes Helen of Troy, whose full function, beyond sex appeal, is to subtly show the chaos she struggles with as her world is being destroyed, both her inner world and outer.  Optimus Prime is the obvious Christ figure.  It’s amazing that it took a giant CG machine from another galaxy to realize my own humanity.  While the machines were able to change their appearance from vehicles to robot ninja defenders, in the end it was me that was transformed.

Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen demands multiple viewings.  The rich visuals will be analyzed frame by frame for decades to come.  Film students will be scrutinizing its concepts and themes as long as film is considered relevant.  What do I grade Transformers II?  The rules say the highest I can give a film is an A+.  Oh, what the heck, A++!


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