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James Rocchi

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"Transformers": The Binge is Appallin'By David Hudson on 06/24/2009"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" "might be compared to torture," suggests Nathan Lee at NPR, "not in the colloquial sense of being 'painful' to watch, but rather insofar as it reduces both subject and spectator to the status of objects.

The film is profoundly inhuman -- mechanized not only in terms of the alien robots who rampage through its narrative but in regard to its ostensibly human characters.""And make no mistake: [Michael] Bay is an auteur," argues Manohla Dargis in the New York Times.

"His signature adorns every image in his movies, as conspicuously as that of Lars von Trier, and every single one is inscribed with a specific worldview and moral sensibility.

Mr Bay's subject - overwhelming violent conquest - is as blatant and consistent as his cluttered mise-en-scène.

His images, particularly during the frequent action sequences, can be difficult to visually track, but they are also consistently disjointed....

The French filmmaker Jacques Rivette once described an auteur as someone who speaks in the first person.

Mr Bay prefers to shout."The whole experience is like having your nose pressed into Bay's manly armpit for 2½ hours," writes Mary Pols for Time.Not even the AICN guys can get behind this one.

Massawyrm calls it "one of the most unrepentantly juvenile, gleefully offensive, mind bogglingly inane films I have ever seen with a real budget behind it." More in the same vein from Quint and Harry Knowles himself."In some ways, I think 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' is the movie that fanboys have been slowly but surely placing down payments on for the last 20 years of pop cinema," writes Drew McWeeney at Hitfix.

"When I hear people complain that it's overstuffed and indulgent and excessive, I am sort of amazed that they feel the need to point that out.

OF COURSE IT IS.

That's what Hollywood believes you want.

Thanks to the way we've rewarded the lowest common denominator wrapped in the shiniest package, summer after summer after summer, and the way we seem to constantly demand that sequels turn everything up louder, make everything longer, and fill the frame with moremoreMORE, Michael Bay stands astride Hollywood like the perfectly evolved Modern Action Director.""'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments," writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, where he notes that in the "first American review, Todd Gilchrist of Cinematical, reported that Bay's 'ambition runs a mile long and an inch deep,' but, in a spirited defense, says 'this must be the most movie I have ever experienced.' He is bullish on the box office: it 'feels destined to be the biggest movie of all time.' It's certainly the biggest something of all time.""Where the first film was desperate, this one is desperate and sad," writes James Rocchi at MSN.

"Where the first film sent mixed messages about ethnic and racial groups and women, this one is overtly racist and sexist.

Where the first 'Transformers' was clumsy, 'Revenge of the Fallen' is paralyzed with its own stupidity.""For far too long, the movie consists of chase scenes, scrotum jokes, shrieked conversations, broad slapstick, and depressingly regressive ethnic caricatures," writes Tasha Robinson at the AV Club.

"A good deal of time is also wasted on [Shia] LaBeouf and dream-girl Megan Fox dickering over when he'll finally say 'I love you.' Which is an odd choice for a film otherwise once again pitched at 13-year-old boys, to whom fart jokes are always funny, all women below the age of 40 are apparently plasticine porn stars, and nothing's cool unless it blows up - or better yet, in an unfortunate running gag, humps something else and then blows up.""John Yoo would not be able to draft a memo excusing the torment this movie inflicts on its audience, yet tens of millions of us will line up to shovel money at it this weekend," writes Dana Stevens in Slate.

"God bless America.""[T]here are good giant-robots-walloping-the-tar-out-of-each-other movies and there are bad ones, and this second 'Transformers' movie falls squarely into the latter category," writes Alonso Duralde at MSNBC."Oversexed, underwritten, gun-happy, baffling, and boring as a test pattern," writes Chris Barsanti at Filmcritic.com.Writing for Vanity Fair, Brett Berk finds this sequel "grandiose, strainingly adherent to its evanescent internal precepts, and full of enough metaphorical signifiers to choke Derrida, but holds together about as well as a birdseed snowball....

I have three main takeaways as to what this movie is 'about'...""This is blockbuster porn absent even the suggestion of care or concern for anything that might resemble 'a point,' save the obvious one to move more Hasbro action figures and animated-series DVD boxed sets," writes Robert Wilonsky in the Voice.

"In a word: distasteful.

And if the above resonates with anger...

no, not at all--only the extreme annoyance born of absolute disappointment.""You probably can't sink much lower after making a piece of pseudo-historical hokum like 'Pearl Harbor,'" writes Salon's Stephanie Zacharek.

"Still, big, dumb and clumsy is no way to go through life.""Transformers," argues David Cox in the Guardian, "experience hopes, fears and ambitions as we do, but are also wilful and indomitable, thus evoking both our empathy and respect.

Not only do their sensibilities resemble ours, but their capacity for metamorphosis plays to one of our unacknowledged longings.

We humans have always hankered to breach the physical limits imposed on us by our puny bodies.

Through our friends, the Transformers, we can vicariously indulge this desire.""Transformers" and "GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra" are "the payoff of a strategy that the toy company has been cultivating for nearly a decade: infusing movie-friendly story lines into its popular playthings and teaching Hollywood that these stories can be translated to cinema screens.

It's an approach that many other toymakers are also taking, unwilling to cede theater marquees to the creations of comic book publishers like Marvel and DC." Dave Itzkoff tells the stories behind the stories behind the movies.Also in the NYT, Michael Cieply profiles producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, "who has been circling the globe with an unusual load: Paramount's entire summer movie schedule.""With Industrial Light & Magic's Hasbro commercial set to dominate movie screens over the next few weeks, I thought I'd recommend some humble robotic counterprogramming," offers R Emmet Sweeney at Movie Morlocks.Nathaniel R's latest "Tuesday Top Ten: Robots in Disguise."Kylie Northover profiles Isabel Lucas for the Age.Online viewing.

The Observer's Jason Solomons talks with Bay.Online viewing tip.

Mark Kermode on Bay.Earlier: "Michael Bay.

One sequel, two dead remakes and lots and lots of money."[Photo: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," DreamWorks SKG and Paramount Pictures, 2009]Tags: Megan Fox, Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

http://www.ifc.com/blogs/thedaily/2009/06/transformers-the-binge-is-appa.php
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