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DreamWorks Pictures

A smashing hit

Movies | Noisy blockbuster will be fun for those who like robots

Issue: "Crackdown," July 18, 2009

There is a kind of person who enjoys watching large robots hit each other. I am that kind of person. If you are not that kind of person, you will want to avoid the new Transformers film. But if you and I are kindred spirits, you too may get a kick out of this noisy blockbuster-though Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is barely visible under a dog pile of furious critics.

Mind you, it has problems: Director Michael Bay has filled the movie with shamelessly lurid shots of his heroine Mikaela (Megan Fox), and he's included an absurdly offensive comedy team of robots with great big ears, gold teeth, and bug eyes, presumably to illustrate that there are black people on Cybertron, too. Our own planet's black people are likely to be less amused by their antics than Bay appears to have been.

Thankfully, there are other robots with better things to do-things like climbing historical monuments, bellowing, and smashing one another. The movie, rated PG-13 for some racy moments as well as crude, sexual humor (though no nudity or actual sex is depicted) and several dozen robot-on-robot beatings,follows Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) as he aids the heroic Autobots in their battle against the evil Decepticons.

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This production set new standards in Hollywood/Pentagon cooperation, so there's plenty of action involving the military, though it's probably futile to speculate on its verisimilitude, what with a main character who turns into a Mack truck. Conservatives will be amused to note that Bay takes potshots at President Barack Obama in much the same way that his liberal counterparts took every opportunity to skewer George W. Bush.

And to be honest, there are a few really fun moments-the sequence in which all the household appliances come to life and chase Sam around the kitchen is very funny, and Julie White (who plays Sam's mom) is marvelous. The Tony-winning actress clearly took the gig for the money, but she still has fun. Which, in the end, is all anyone could hope to get out of this ridiculous movie.


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