KA-BAY!!! I awoke with a start last night to what sounded like an artillery shell going off outside my bedroom window. “It's the Keiser!” was my immediate reaction. “He's come back to finish the job!” But after ten minutes of cowering, I emerged from beneath my box-spring to find my room, my house, and the surrounding property quite intact. KA-BAY!!! There it was again. I followed the curious sound to the end of the street, across the highway, past seven city blocks, finally tracing it to my nearest multiplex, where I discovered to source of the offending noises. “It's Michael Bay!” I cried. “He's come back to finish the job!”
By finish the job, I mean conclude (hopefully) his blow-'em-up, crowd pleasing film series Transformers, starring giant-sized versions of Hasbro's lucrative line of toys - although these robots in disguise are definitely not for ages three and up. In this lengthy episode, we learn that the revered Autobot Sentinel Prime has been stranded on the moon for decades, secretly the target of the 1960s space race. On his fallen ship he harbours powerful technologies that can create portals between worlds; a tantalizing weapon should it fall into the wrong hydraulic hands. Like say, those of Megatron, a little worse for wear from the last film but all the more eager to teleport armies of Decepticons into Earth and enslave the human race to build a new Cybertron. The bulk of the film centres on the inevitable invasion of Chicago. Having taken the city, Megatron revels in the vast and inexpensive work force now at his rusty fingertips, naturally, by blowing them up. That's real friggin' clever, Megatron. I hear that charred corpses make excellent slave labourers. What feels like hours of gunfire, explosions, and giant robot smackdowns ensue, continue, continue, continue, and finally conclude.
Glib though I may be about the shamelessly populist tendencies of Bay's films (one of my many vices), I was unsurprised to find myself impressed once again by the efforts of his technical crew. Visual effects are top notch, matched by those distinctively organometalic sound effects. Particularly praiseworthy is the mix team, which includes Greg P. Russell who I fear is en route to lose what should be his 15th Oscar bid next February. Employing a sophisticated 7.1 surround-sound canvas, they somehow manage to lend sonic cognizance to Bay's visual cacophony with astonishing clarity and formidable bombast, KA-BAYs and all.
*1/2 out of ****