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Introduction and Thesis Statement
“Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” is the sequel to, and improves greatly on, the first in the live-action “Transformers” series. As suggested by Axelrod and Cooper (394 – 421), this review will be structured along the lines of a thesis statement, a battery of supporting statements, and a conclusion.
The more elaborate plot is only the first of several factors that give “Fallen” a leg up on the first “Transformers.” Naturally, the story picks up in the aftermath of the first movie and reestablishes how the arrival of the Autobots has changed the lives of the people they now coexist with.
The plot of the movie is definitely one reason why “Fallen” did well at the box office and is even considered an “instant classic.” Unexpected turns of events, seemingly around every corner, make it all the more interesting. Some would say that you have to watch the original animation series to be able to appreciate the movie; this is debatable in the sense that the movie had no flaws when it came to the flow of the story. With the added history lesson from Jetfire, one gets a crash course on the history of the Transformers.
“Fallen” starts off with a Decepticon attack on Saigon and how the Autobots repel them from the planet. Meanwhile, the main protagonist of the movie, Sam Witwicky, is off to college and trying for a normal life by putting the experiences of “D-day”, as he called it, behind him. He tries to juggle college life and a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend, Mikaela. For the second crisis of the movie, one sees that the relationship naturally collapses, along with his college life, when weird things start to happen to him. Later, he discovers that this is all the doing of the “All Spark,” which has found a new home in him.
The story progresses with the Decepticons retrieving one of two shards remaining from the “All spark”, the item of main interest in the first movie, and reviving their leader Megatron, the Antagonist in the screenplay. Chaos soon ensues as a full-scale invasion from the Decepticons occurs, and the fight for the matrix of leadership begins. With the death of their leader Optimus Prime, the Main Antagonist of the movie, “The Fallen”, appears. The rest of the story revolves around the fight for the matrix and the United States military showing off their arsenal of tanks, fighters, and technology. With the resurrection of Optimus Prime and his slaying of the “Fallen” that closes this installment of the Transformers story, the “last men standing” are Megatron and his second-in-command Starscream. This is practically a guarantee that yet another sequel is in the works.
“Fallen” is one more riveting example of the science fiction genre. The mixture of elements in the story is another thing to applaud. The way the movie delivered a thriller that keeps viewers at the edge of their seats is fascinating. But all is not a ho-hum conflict of grim, clanking robots. “Fallen” is engaging for a script that also makes way for riotously funny scenes without lapsing into a slapstick comedy. According to Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times (1), the movie was punctuated by three or four comedic routines, one of them being the dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times (1) also regarded it as unintentionally funny that the heroine Mikaela was able to stumble around the desert getting shot at by Decepticons with dust flying everywhere and still keep herself perfectly clean except for a tiny smudge on her cheek. Whether written intentionally into the plot or betraying a Continuity man who fell asleep on the job, it still served to amuse the observant viewer.
Yet, a third compelling element in “Fallen” is how trust (or the lack of it) strengthens or breaks relationships. The first scenario that shows this s the long-distance relationship of Mikaela and Sam and how lack of trust almost gets the hero killed. Another is the scene where the presidential aide questions Optimus Prime on the matter of the Decepticon invasion. If he had only trusted Optimus, lives could have been saved. One of the ultimate scenes of trust and self-sacrifice was the scene of Optimus’ death. He trusted so much in the hero that he gave up his life to protect him. The climax of the story also circulated on the theme of trust. The way the hero went all over Egypt and risked his life against all odds just to do something he was not even sure would work. The only thing he held on to was he “believed it would work”.
The movie spews none-too-deep lessons (perfectly understandable, given a youthful target audience) that maintain an empathetic balance between high mechanistic technology and human interest. Typical of these lessons is, “some things are not found, they are earned” or that sometimes we just have to believe that things will work out.
Summary and Conclusion
All in all, the movie was definitely worth the price of a ticket if only for the riveting plot, the conflicts created and resolved, and the life lessons delivered with mock seriousness. The only downside to the movie was it was too flashy and overly loud to the point of looking to delight only the ten-year-olds in the theater. Some details were also lacking in the continuity department (e.g., the perpetually spotless Mikaela).
- Axelrod, Rise B., and Charles R. Cooper. The St. Martin’s guide to writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2001.
- Ebert, Roger. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” 2009. Chicago Sun-Times.
- Sharkey, Betsy. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” 2009. Los Angeles Times. Web.