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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

(PG-13; 150 min.) Off to college goes young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) trying to forget the trauma of watching the robots destroy L.A. The government covered it up--everybody is indeed just that stupid in a Michael Bay movie. Sadly, a chip of the spark cube stuck to Sam's shirt, and that starts the whole mess over again: indistinguishable robot-clobber with warlike threats ("You want a piece of me?" is one uttered by these immemorial interstellar bots from beyond the stars). Manly Air Force officers in camouflage strut in slo-mo amid more cargo planes than one would see in an "Army of One" commercial. We cut to some frog-baiting: the Witwicky parents go to Paris, where they are pestered by mimes and eat snails. ("This looks like Canadian goose poop!" cries Dad.) If Transformers keeps ugly Americans away from France, this movie won't have been made in vain for nothing. The Titanic-like sinking of an aircraft carrier is the standout animation, and it was an unusually good idea to stage a fight scene at the antique Delaware Power Station in Philadelphia. There seemed a little more breathing room in the finale, too, despite the incredible repetition of action sequences. Megan Fox, as the gurl, conceals her new tattoos with way too many clothes, so we can't confirm rumors that one of the tats says "Angelina Jolie, I'm taking your job" in Latin. LaBeouf is probed by crab-bots trying to find the source of his unkillable smirk. The deservedly famous Bro Rape video on YouTube is the only possible cure for the dorm scenes at ivy-covered PSIU. The alien hieroglyphics, when translated, read, "He thinks he is seeing bad films instead of understanding that what he sees is no longer film at all."

--Rudolf Arnheim, 1935. (RvB)

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