Boom-happy Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen goes for the eardrums

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Rated 14A. Opens Wednesday, June 24.

      As the jingle goes, the Transformers—cars and planes that change into fighting robots—are more than meets the eye. Under the direction of Michael Bay, they are also that which batter our eardrums.

      Watch the trailer for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen .

      In this sequel to his 2007 hit, Bay finds room for every possible variation of full-throttle noise. If the idea was to keep the viewer alert, Bay nearly succeeds.

      Like the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen suffers from bloat, being two-and-a-half hours of manifestly expensive but overly familiar crash-bang.

      To commence this edition, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is now in college instead of high school, and Megatron (leader of the Decepticons, who compete with Optimus Prime’s Autobots, both stranded on a largely oblivious Earth) is at the bottom of the ocean.

      Yet 80 percent of both movies consist of: Sam and his girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox), running for their lives in slow motion; walls and streets crumbling around them in fiery mayhem; giant robots battling each other in slow motion; generals in dramatically lit secret bases tersely barking jargon; gorgeous flyby views of jet fighters taking off from aircraft carriers; and Sam screaming, “Optimus, nooooooo!” in “slo-mo.

      If you like these things, then ROTF could be your cup of slow-motion tea. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the sequel develop different ideas.

      What Bay does bring to the table is his gift for composition. It almost doesn’t matter if the material is repetitive; the shots look great. No matter how greasy Mikaela gets while fixing an engine, how dirty and tear-stained she might be while fleeing the remnants of intergalactic civil war, Bay ensures that her hair floats, her lips gleam like soft, ripe berries, and her skin remains impossibly golden and slightly moist. It makes no sense, as such, yet is the movie’s one great special effect.