There are a myriad of other artistic elements that make a film what it is and a lot of them are cranked up to 11 in Revenge of the Fallen. One thing that's especially clear is the love, dedication, and massive talent at ILM. The amount of character they put into the bots' physicality is staggering. Coupled with an outstanding voice talent cast, the robots in Revenge of the Fallen rival anything, yes, anything Pixar can churn out.
Bumblebee is even better realized in this outing, showing truly Oscar-worthy emotional mannerisms. Having his “vocal processors” destroyed in battle (Megatron’s doing, if you read the comics) adds serious weight to his character as he attempts to express feelings through various movie sound bytes.
Wheelie, a tough-talk no-walk Decepticon, mentions they must find the Seekers. The Seekers’ mission was to find the source of Energon here on earth and that one of them would know the location of the Matrix of Leadership (yet another piece to the plot).
Later they find Jetfire, who was one of those Seekers, who acts as a treasure trove of back-story. This geriatric robot just oozes character from the quirky faults of his old age to his grumbled British accent. Pieces of him don’t completely transform anymore. Other parts fall off of him. He is truly a wonder to behold. How does someone miss the extraordinary talent behind characters like this? One of my favorite quotes from Jetfire: “My father was a wheel. The first wheel! You know what he transformed into? Nothing – and he did so with honor!” So good!
Transformers losing out to the painfully mediocre Golden Compass for the Special Effects Oscar is the most unacceptable misfire in the Academy Awards in recent memory. The writers even make a really funny quip about that in the commentary. Come on now. How did Golden Compass even get nominated? I saw that one the day it was released and was shocked at the appalling lack of believability in the rubbery special effects. Now imagine my shock when it was not only nominated, but beat out Transformers.
If Francis Ford Coppola is a master of character arcs, if Ridley Scott is a master of the epic, if the Wachowskis are masters of the metaphysical story, then Michael Bay is a master of the action flick. Critics often attack Bay’s disregard for story in favor of "splosions" that punctuate action segment after action segment. That’s like criticizing Jimi Hendrix for slacking on his rocket science. This film doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is and makes no apologies for it.