Saturday, June 27, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen review

After 2 years of waiting and anticipating, the sequel to 2007's blockbuster hit "Transformers" have finally arrived. The title "Revenge of the Fallen" must be one of the least inspired ever, and one wonders how the hell did they manage to conceive it. I'd settle for just "Transformers 2", but then again it doesn't really matter.

The build up to the movie was done in spectacular fashion, with advertising giants such as M&Ms, Burger King, and GM having product placement ads and commercials prior the movie's release. Much hype was built up, with the multiple trailers and tv spots, and I would say the marketing strategy is outstanding and gets the crowded geared up even before its official international premiere in Tokyo, Japan. Toys were out months before the characters were even revealed in the official movie websites. In short, I was pretty pumped up for the movie and was excited, to say the least.

After watching the movie, I would say that while I was impressed with the CG in the movie, it didn't blow me away, and definitely not like the first one which had me in awe for days after. There were parts where the action was truly in the spirit of director Michael Bay and everything was exploding in all directions, albeit a little messy. However, there were also times in the movie where I wasn't impressed in the least bit. In fact, I figure most fans might nit pick on these issues whereas the casual viewer might just take it without any complains. I'll begin with the parts I thought were good first.

1) CG. Like I mentioned, the computer generated imagery in the movie is amazing. The robots, explosives, and special effects were all done so realistically that one would be hard pressed to differentiate what's real and what's computer animated. It sometimes undermines the actual hard work that the production team have put into actual sets and explosion scenes when most of the audience attribute the majority of the action to being computer generated. The fight scenes were very well choreographed for the most part, and I enjoyed the robot gore. :)

2) The Transformers cast. On top of the returning characters from the first movie, I thought the new characters in this sequel were pretty solid. Sure many of them didn't share a lot of the screen time due to the sheer amount of characters, but these cameos ought to delight and satisfy the fans. Fan favourites such as Soundwave, Rampage, the Constructicons and Devastor were bound to receive warm welcomes into the movie franchaise. Frank Welker, the original voice of Megatron and Soundwave in the original G1 cartoon series returns to give life to the movie version, and my skin literally crawled and tingled upon hearing his familiar face. Peter Cullen returning as Optimus Prime was a given, and Hugo Weaving did a good job as Megatron, along with Charlie Adler who voiced Starscream. Having a Pretender from the Decepticons was a great idea too.

3) Fan service. Only the fans would appreciate some of the scenes, but since most of the older generation have seen Transformers as a kid I thought it was awesome that many references were worked into the movie. Soundwave, having evolved from a cassette player to a orbiting satelite tapping on the Earth transmitted signals was awesome. Rampage's 2 blasters mounted on his hind legs and firing towards the US Marines reacting to the break in reminded me of his cartoon self a lot. Starscream's attempt to appease the revived Megatron was priceless, just as he did in the original series. I was expected him to get killed but I guess they needed to show off a F22-Raptor for the finale scenes. And lastly, Jetfire combining with Prime. He looked a lot like how God Ginrai merged with God Bomber in the Japanese Transformers: Masterforce series, and I thought it looked cool as hell.

4) Music & score. I enjoyed the single by Linkin Park called "New Divide", along with the official theme from the first movie. No problems with the sound effect apartment too.
Next, I'll move on to the negative side of the movie. Sure enough, it's easier to critise than to compliment, hence I'll take this chance to lash out at my dislikes of the movie. Nothing too significant, but enough to prevent it from getting a high score in my books.

1) The Transformers cast. Yes, the cast. There were enough good characters, but I have to frown at some of the characters which I can't figure out why they were there. Top of the list would have to be the Autobot twins, Mudflap and Skids. Appearance wise, their vehicle modes of the Chevrolet Trax and Beat were ok. Nothing as fancy as the sports cars but we have enough of those anyway. My main gripe is their robot form, and their personalities. Why the hell do they look like Gremlins? Together with those sterotyped accents and foul language, they sound as bad as they look. Buck teeth apes for Transformers? That's a first. For the record, I was rooting for Devastator in that fight.

Next, Jetfire. The Jetfire I know is definitely not some old fart lying around in a museum. The conversion to Autobot seems pretty convenient. Even more convenient is the instant teleportation to Egypt. What the hell? Can't he have "upgraded" into the more advanced planes and flew them there instead? Yes, he's old but heck they could have made him new and shiny if they wanted to. As for the Decepticons, they were generally okay, but of the 13 which attacked the US Army in the finale scene, I could barely tell them apart due to the monotonous colour schemes. Devastator was ok, but severely under utilised. Again, I would have preferred him to be in human proportions rather than a slumbering beast struggling to climb a pyramid.

Wheelie was another Decepticon turned Autobot which could have looked better. I thought Frenzy from the first movie looked like a set of transforming cutlery, but Wheelie was even worse. Is it really so hard to design something which doesn't look like ET? And his voice.... we have enough of those squeeky rodent voices so please just keep to the humanoid voices.

2) The human cast. Halfway through the movie I had a nagging suspicion that the characters in the movie was trying to out do each other to become the most irritating character in the movie. I'll rank them here for your reading convenience.

a: Leo. Loud, always complaining or whining, and a sissy. What's to like about this character? Nothing much but I thought they could have developed him much better instead of finally standing up to adversity towards the last few scenes. I would have tasered him myself if he was sitting beside me.

b. Agent Simmons. Unlike Agent Galloway who played the bad human guy fantastically, I've disliked Simmons since his days in Sector 7 back in the first movie. I'm not sure if he's supposed to be there to provide for comedic laughs, but we have enough of him in his underwear already. And don't get me started on his lines. I want to puke everytime I hear him say "Don't tell my mother." in the trailer. Can we just forget him already?

c. And the most irritating human award goes to...... Judy Witwicky. Her scenes are largely redundant, and not the least funny to me. Do we really need her spewing nonsense in the campus after taking crack? Her lines are dull, lame, and cheesy. Enough with those one liners already. Decepticons really shouldn't need hostages to get a human kid.

3) Offensive and lame humour. Multiple scenes of dogs humping each other wasn't enough so we needed Megan Fox to be humped by a transforming remote controlled jeep. For some reason she also landed on the testicles of Leo when she got teleported to Egypt. How lucky..... for Leo. In the end, these scenes didn't advance the plot at all and on the contrary extended the overall movie duration needlessly.

4) Plot. The plot was ultimately a simple one, but raised questions regarding the appearance of certain characters, specifically The Fallen, and the Dynasty of Primes. They should have at least gave more emphasis on the Matrix of Leadership. Now it feels more like a plot device, only worse than that of the role the Allspark played in the first movie. The Cybertron scenes were great, and I really wanted to see more of that. Perhaps it will be novelised, or explained in the official comics. I know it's tough to add in more character development for the robots given the sheer amount of characters, but heck some of them barely had a single line of dialogue. I only realised that Arcee was a single entity controlling 3 bikes after doing a bit of research online. I didn't even get to see her properly in her robot form. :(
As a conclusion, I did enjoy the movie, but not as much as I had expected to, given the hype and anticipation that was build up by all the waiting. The complaints I have written will most probably be forgiven by most, but for me they were enough to prevent the movie from being ranked at the top of my list of favourite movies. Sure it's not Spider-man 3 bad, but it should have been much better. I give it 3/5, but will still get the Bluray version when it gets released. :)
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mothers' Day Magazine cover Contest - Vote for Mabel!

Our pictures taken during the Mother's Day celebrations were selected as part of a contest held by a local studio called The Studio Loft ( The contest is open for voting by the public, and I have been tasked by my dear wife to request for the kind support from my friends :)The prizes aren't nothing to shout about, but well, we wanted to see whether we can get a good result compared to the rest of the entries, some of which are pretty well taken as well.If you do want to vote for us so that I'll be possibly dragged back to the studio for more shoots with Mabel and Rena, feel free to visit

and leave your vote via the blogspot comment list and leave your email addy. Troublesome I know, and I really don't understand why they couldn't just make use of the blogspot poll feature. But I figured they were photographers, not web designers. :pAnyway, I thank you on behalf of Rena and Mabel for your support and help if you decide to vote for us. Hopefully I'll get to post the results if they are announced! :)Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Rena - 6 months

Finally completed that video I promised a while back. Done using Rena's pictures taken from her 5th and 6th months. It's been a while since the last video, so hopefully this one makes up for it! :)

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