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Movie Chronicles Transformers 2 Review June 21st, 2009

Trans­form­ers 2 is a sequel that builds on its pre­de­ces­sor in every way; more robots, more humor, more action, more sex­i­ness, bet­ter effects, more explo­sions and more char­ac­ters. As a pop­corn fueled block­buster it suc­ceeds in being fun and ridicu­lous, a two and a half hour escape from real­ity to a world of 30ft robots and insecticons.

As a fan I spent time spot­ting the indi­vid­ual robots and all the new­com­ers, espe­cially the ones I’ve seen as toys — yet ulti­mately I left want­ing more, lots more. The excite­ment at see­ing the new char­ac­ters quickly dwin­dles as they dis­ap­pear ten sec­onds later, with the off chance of another appear­ance slightly later. Side­swipe, Arcee, Dev­as­ta­tor, Jolt, Side­ways, all con­struc­ti­cons, The Fallen, Grindor and Sound­wave are momen­tary plot ele­ments, each are a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing in their own way — you could blink and miss them for the most part. How­ever, the new char­ac­ters that have plot invested in them — Jet­fire, Rav­age, Wheelie, Skids and Mud­flap are all superb and valu­able addi­tions. Alice is an odd plot point, inter­est­ing but an idea still not fully explored.

The hype about Side­ways, Arcee and Demol­ishor, spurred on by the super­bowl teaser, make up the open­ing action sequence, includ­ing the NEST bonus footage. It’s all over in a flash — Arcee is seen chas­ing Side­ways as briefly as in the TV spots, the twins — cur­rently as an ice cream truck, attempt to help but curb badly and fall apart. The rumored scene show­ing the truck split­ting in two and then reform­ing, past some bewil­dered kids (as read in the Beth­le­hem Steel call sheet) isn’t there. The motor­cy­cles drop away and Sergeant Epps calls in Side­swipe — a kick, a slide and a flip and a huge sword slices the Audi R8 clean in two. Mean­while Demol­isher is run­ning amok in Shang­hai, tak­ing out heli­copters and gen­er­ally destroy­ing every­thing he comes across on those enor­mous great wheels. Opti­mus Prime drops in via para­chute, speeds along the bridge and leaps onto his head, cre­at­ing that spec­tac­u­lar explo­sion as seen in the teaser and filmed at Long Beach. A swift blow to the head and Prime takes him out — easy as you like, but not before he can mut­ter some­thing about The Fallen returning.

Cut to Sam’s par­ents house and Sam Witwicky is leav­ing home for col­lege, his mom, one of the piv­otal com­edy ele­ments, is mak­ing a scene. Pack­ing for col­lege, Sam uncov­ers a shard of the AllSpark, it burns through the floor and sets the kitchen abuzz with lit­tle ter­ror­iz­ing robots — out to attack Sam. Bum­ble­bee is called in to save the day, but his weapons destroy the house and dejected he’s sent back to the garage. Cue the “I’m so excited” ShoW­est footage and Sam leav­ing home and Mikaela.

The ever so sin­is­ter Sound­wave is the over­seer, keep­ing watch on all human activ­i­ties. He sends in Wheelie to steal the shard from Mikaela and lis­tens in on a debate at the auto­bot hangar. Here a gov­ern­ment big­wig is moan­ing about the oper­a­tion, and over a live video feed reveals Mega­tron and the AllSpark’s loca­tion to the decep­ti­cons. If you’re watch­ing this scene in the glo­ri­ous full screen IMAX expe­ri­ence, Opti­mus Prime will be actual size as he stands tall — it’s spec­tac­u­lar to imagine.

Rav­age falls to earth, his mis­sion — to retake the AllSpark parts. Every­thing about Rav­age is bril­liant, the way he sneaks and prowls is per­fectly ani­mated, it’s mes­mer­iz­ing. The ball bear­ing bots are released into a secu­rity bunker, where inside they form a tall slither of a robot which steals the cube, Rav­age pro­vid­ing cover fire with his hind mounted turrets.

Back at col­lege, Sam is mov­ing in and his par­ents are help­ing — his mom describes the dorms as Hog­warts before get­ting stoned on hash brown­ies — hilar­ity shortly ensues. We also meet Ramon Rodriguez’s Leo Spitz — a spunky but cow­ardice con­spir­acy the­o­rist. Leo points out the sul­try Alice, played by Isabel Lucas, and she’s already mak­ing eyes at Sam. At the stu­dent party Alice comes onto Sam, and when Bum­ble­bee turns up she forces her way into the car for the ride. To the car radio and lyric “your cheat­ing heart”, Bum­ble­bee makes a nui­sance of him­self, and as seen at Prince­ton, Alice ends up cov­ered in green goo, storm­ing off into the night. All the while, Mikaela sits at home, miss­ing out on their first web­cam date.

The dev­as­tat­ing Decep­ti­con news is bro­ken to Sam at the cemetary by Prime, “It’s not my war”, and all that lark about lead­ing a nor­mal col­lege life. Now the sym­bols start appear­ing and Witwicky Jr. can’t stop draw­ing them every­where — includ­ing an episode in Astron­omy 101.

With Megatron’s co-ordinates, the enor­mous Long Haul, Rav­age and con­struc­ti­cons descend into the watery depths to res­ur­rect their leader, sac­ri­fic­ing one of them­selves so that the (Ger­man) doc­tor can piece him back together — in an instant it seems. With new life it’s up and away, as a jet and into space, to con­front Starscream and receive orders from his mas­ter, The Fallen.

Next up, the sec­ond of the three BD Live sequences, Wheelie attempts to steal the AllSpark shard from Mikaela, and we know how that turns out. Wheelie’s char­ac­ter is filled with crude lad­dish humor and his on screen moments are always enter­tain­ing — maybe with the excep­tion of the leg hump­ing one which is just plain odd. With Sam hav­ing a men­tal break­down (brought about by sym­bols), Mikaela flies out to meet him, walk­ing in on him and Alice seem­ingly mak­ing out.

“That kiss tasted like diesel”, Alice trans­forms into a spindly Decep­ti­con and attempts to choke Sam with her huge mechan­i­cal tongue as Mikaela fends her off. Hot wiring the Sat­urn Astra, the three, Leo in tow, set off with Alice on the bon­net, akin to a famous Ter­mi­na­tor 2 scene. Her life ends pre­ma­turely as she is crushed against a lamp­post — a shame as the char­ac­ter had poten­tial (you could make a whole movie about a sin­gle robot dis­guised as a human, hunt­ing a boy, maybe the boy would be named John). Shortly there­after we get the third BD live sequence; Grindor swoops in and car­ries the trio off to Starscream and Mega­tron — the fall should surely kill them but they mirac­u­lously escape unharmed. “I am zee doc­tor!” screeches the spindly mechanoid examining/torturing Sam, beneath Megatron’s huge claw.

The next action scene shows how much the spe­cial effects have devel­oped in just two years — Prime and the auto­bots flood in to save the humans, lead­ing to an escape sequence and a for­rest fight we’ve seen snip­pets of in the TV spots. This fight is awe­some, the effects are per­fect and sud­denly Opti­mus Prime is kick­ing all sorts of ass (swords and all) as he takes on Mega­tron, Starscream and Grindor all at once, all expertly chore­o­graphed with the token Michael Bay slow-mo death scenes. This is the adren­a­line kick we’d hoped for. Ulti­mately it’s all too much for prime and Mega­tron destroys him, lit­er­ally stab­bing him in the back and explod­ing his chest cav­ity. With their leader gone, it’s time for the Decep­ti­cons to mobilize.

From hereon the slower sec­ond half some­what fails to match up to the first — many proto­forms are seen falling to earth, destroy­ing Paris, air­craft car­ri­ers, etc., and amidst the car­rier destruc­tion the rein­vig­o­rated Fallen arrives on earth — through a hacked satel­lite net­work he issues a global broad­cast look­ing for Sam Witwicky, he wants what’s in his head. This appar­ent global Decep­ti­con attack never mate­ri­al­izes on film — you’d expect some mon­tage of world­wide robot destruc­tion. NEST gets shut­down in the process.

Instead we cut to the unfold­ing mys­tery of Sam’s sym­bol obses­sion — which for no dis­cernible rea­son has implanted itself in Sam’s head; ‘it’s his fate’ is the best expla­na­tion we’ll get. There’s a short and improb­a­ble chain towards explain­ing the sym­bols — Leo hap­pens to know the guy that runs Big­Eff­in­gRo­bots, who hap­pens to have seen the sym­bols and hap­pens to be Agent Sim­mons — (now work­ing in a Deli after the shut­down of sec­tor 7), here he has details of ancient prophe­cies and Trans­form­ers on earth. Wheelie reads said details (whilst on a leash) and points the four to the Smith­son­ian museum, where­upon they stum­ble on Jet­fire, a bum­bling old British fool with a cane — the Black­bird SR-71 and for­mer Decepticon.

Jetfire’s ram­bles are a charm­ing non­cha­lant back­drop to the Trans­form­ers mythol­ogy; he quite ran­domly ends up tele­port­ing all par­ties (Skids, Mud­flap and Bum­ble­bee included) to Egypt, via the Space Bridge — Sam hap­pens to dam­age his arm in the process. Now begins the unnec­es­sar­ily long ‘mys­tery’, with an aim to res­ur­rect Opti­mus Prime — fol­low­ing lame clues to find the Tomb of the Primes and the Matrix of Lead­er­ship, which breaks into dust on touch. Mean­while, Sim­mons has con­tacted the NEST crew and, with Primes’ body, Auto­bots and rein­force­ments, they set off for Egypt. All very slow and drawn out.

The action kicks in again near the pyra­mids, or more pre­cisely, in White Sands, New Mex­ico. NEST’s arrival coin­cides with Starscream’s swoop­ing attack on Bum­ble­bee and the twins, split­ting the group in two and send­ing Sam and Mikaela run­ning towards NEST; leav­ing the twins, Sim­mons and Spitz to con­front what­ever the build­ing site throws at them.

The next big robot bat­tle com­mences, although with­out the chore­og­ra­phy, urgency or adren­a­line of the for­rest fight. As NEST and the auto­bots fend off Mega­tron, con­struc­ti­cons (Scrap­per, Long Haul, Scav­enger), Rav­age and numer­ous char­ac­ter­less repaints, the twins find them­selves fac­ing the vac­uum suck­ing behe­moth Dev­as­ta­tor (some­how made of the same con­struc­ti­con mod­els already bat­tling else­where — slightly con­fus­ing for fans).

We don’t see much of Devastator’s con­stituent parts (noth­ing more than the footage seen in the TV Spots) and there’s no expla­na­tion for their pres­ence. Mud­flap gets sucked into Devastator’s vor­tex before attack­ing him from the inside and being spat back out, and as the humans stand beneath the slow mov­ing giant for safety, it begins its climb up the pyra­mid. Dev­as­ta­tor is entirely dis­ap­point­ing with it’s giant demol­ish­ing balls clang­ing above Sim­mons as he sends in the order for the top secret rail gun — an attack that takes the giant out in one fell swoop. No bat­tles, no clever auto­bot team up to take him down, no aggres­sion or per­son­al­ity; might as well have been one giant snail with a Dyson.

Mean­while, the tanks and guns that strug­gled to take out Decep­ti­cons in the first movie, take out attack­ing robots with rel­a­tive ease. And as Sam and Mikaela des­per­ately run from more giant robots, the Decep­ti­cons can’t catch up or shoot straight, crazy. The high­light of this seg­ment comes in Bumblebee’s han­dling of Sam’s parent’s hostage sit­u­a­tion; launch­ing on Scrap­per from above and exe­cut­ing him with expert style, before rum­bling with Rav­age and rip­ping his spine out in slow motion. We see Arcee for another split sec­ond before she gets destroyed by a mis­sile, I think she utters a cou­ple of words; no mis­in­for­ma­tion from Bay this time around. Side­swipe makes an appear­ance, com­mand­ing some men, whilst Ratchet and Iron­hide are rel­e­gated to minor battles.

As bat­tle draws to a close, one last gasp mis­sile from Mega­tron catches Sam, knock­ing him down, where for a few moments we are led to believe he might be dead. “Am I dead? Where am I?” Sam asks, as the scene cuts to auto­bot heaven and the ghosts of the primes with their mes­sages of fate and lead­er­ship. The Matrix of Lead­er­ship re-materializes and Sam uses it to bring Opti­mus Prime back to life, but not before announc­ing his love for Mikaela.

With­out warn­ing, The Fallen, in his brief third appear­ance, tele­ports in, steals the Matrix and tele­ports back out to the top of the pyra­mid, to begin acti­va­tion of the sun har­vester. In response, Jet­fire sac­ri­fices him­self to heal Prime’s bro­ken parts (as the only decent thing he’s ever done) and aug­ment his pow­ers — here comes Jolt’s ten sec­onds of star­dom — his robot mode and elec­tri­cal pow­ers are called upon to facil­i­tate. Prime now flies off to bat­tle The Fallen and Mega­tron simul­ta­ne­ously atop the pyra­mids, and again he kicks all sorts of metal rear; heav­ily dam­ag­ing Mega­tron (who cow­ardly flees to fight another day), and behead­ing The Fallen in a bru­tal attack, sadly it’s all over quite quickly. Where all the other Decep­ti­cons have gone isn’t clear, Starscream could aid but doesn’t. Opti­mus Prime is vic­to­ri­ous and the movie ends shortly after with Sam and Prime stand­ing aboard the John Sten­nis air­craft car­rier, once again await­ing what­ever the future may bring. New Divide plays us out and there’s no extra scene at the end of the credits.

Roll on Trans­form­ers 3.

Exclusive — Blow by blow Transformers 2 twitter event starting shortly June 19th, 2009

We’ll be host­ing a blow by blow live Twit­ter event from a British IMAX (the proper type) screen­ing of Revenge of the Fallen at 5:30pm BST (9:30am PDT, 12:30am EDT). It is sure to include a whole host of spoil­ers. If it didn’t con­sti­tute as piracy there would be pic­tures too. Fol­low us on Twit­ter as we report on the Trans­form­ers 2 movie as it unfolds in front of us.

I’ve embed­ded our tweets below for a preview!

Exclusive — blow by blow Transformers 2 Twitter event tomorrow June 18th, 2009

We’ll be host­ing a blow by blow live Twit­ter event from a British IMAX (the proper type) screen­ing of Revenge of the Fallen at 5:30pm BST (9:30am PDT, 12:30am EDT). It is sure to include a whole host of spoil­ers. If it didn’t con­sti­tute as piracy there would be pic­tures too. Fol­low us on Twit­ter as we report on the Trans­form­ers 2 movie as it unfolds in front of us.

Transformers 2 premieres in Tokyo — Reports, Pics and video June 8th, 2009

The world pre­mière of Trans­form­ers 2 aired last night in Tokyo! We’ve got the pic­tures, video and most impor­tantly — movie reports to best describe the event for all those that couldn’t attend.


The first report comes via the Don Mur­phy forums — obvi­ously LOTS of spoil­ers herein!

Ok guys just got back! Don’t have much time to post, don’t wanna miss the train but here’s some quick stuff.

Movie was incred­i­ble, I liked it much more than the first! More action, more robots, less humans! Though there are some lame sex­ual innu­en­dos like Wheelie hump­ing Megan’s leg.

Any­way, Bay and the actors came right into the the­ater and intro­duced the film. I was tempted to scream “Don Mur­phy Stooges #1″ but I didn’t want to get led out by security!

The VA thing in the cred­its was way too fast, sorry guys. The Fallen was Todd some­thing. Welker does voice Sound­wave, and Dev­as­ta­tor too. Dev­as­ta­tor has one line, scream­ing his name. Sound­wave only has a few lines but he speaks Eng­lish. But he never comes down to earth and never turns into a robot. Bleah. Very lit­tle screen time, but at least he doesn’t get exploded which leaves things open for the third movie.

Mostly Eng­lish, not much cybertronian.

The Twins were lame. As in the “bust a cap in you ass” stereo­type. I could’ve done with­out them.

Jet­fire was comic relief. He has a British accent and reminded me of a Monty Python char­ac­ter. He doesn’t “com­bine” with Prime in the nor­mal sense, he gets fatally wounded and rips out his spark, killing him­self so Prime can use his parts.

Wheelie is noth­ing like G1 Wheelie. He kinda reminds me of Rattrap.

Lots of kitchen bots. One was a Samu­rai too. Bludgeon?

Only named Con­struc­ti­con is Ram­page, and he is red.

Mega­tron is revived by some Con­struc­ti­cons and “The Doctor.”

Side­ways never trans­forms, he is cut in half by Side­swipe in the first bat­tle scene in car mode. Side­swipe is cool. Rav­age is cool too.

There was a bot that looked like Black­out but he was not named. Black­out him­self was never revived so I can’t say it was him. He did not speak and was not named in the cred­its. In fact in the last bat­tle scene there were tons of, well, “repaints,” basi­cally reused ani­ma­tion. So even after Dev­as­ta­tor forms, there are still con­struc­ti­cons run­ning around. And some Proto­forms. I even saw a truck that looked like Bonecrusher…though I never saw him in robot mode. Scor­ponok is in the final bat­tle too and is killed by Jet­fire in about 2 seconds.

There are three motor­cy­cles, but they appear to be named col­lec­tively Arcee. Not much screen time/lines for them anyway.

The term “Matrix of Lead­er­ship” is used, it’s a key that oper­ates a device to draw energy from the sun.

Ok that’s enough for now, not gonna check this board again till tomor­row! I sup­pose this thread will be about 100 pages long by then so I’m sorry if I can’t answer everything.

Thanks again Night­bird for the tix!

Whilst Sora at the Michael Bay forums says,

I loved Trans­form­ers 1 so much, but I’m sure you’ll feel like the pre­vi­ous movie was just a dash of bit­ters in a glass of appe­tizer Mar­tini. Be pre­pared to be impressed!

Video of stars arriving

The stars arriv­ing and sign­ing for fans, as well as the pho­to­shoot and Bumblebee

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Michael Bay presents new footage at BotCon ’09 June 1st, 2009

Dur­ing the Bot­Con awards Michael Bay pre­sented some new footage of the Trans­form­ers sequel. Seib­ertron described the new footage:

With our antic­i­pa­tion at its high­est level, the atten­dees of Bot­con roared into cheer as the first clip of the movie started. The footage started with John Tur­turro and Sam’s roo­mate in the mid­dle of a con­struc­tion zone look­ing on to a group of con­struc­tion vehi­cles sur­round them. The con­struc­ti­cons were revealed when Mix­mas­ters Decep­ti­con sym­bol is shown and Scav­enger begins to trans­form. At the same time the other con­struc­ti­cons move closer to form Devastator!!!

Scav­enger lit­er­ally forces all the other con­struc­ti­cons into the gestalt ala Scor­pion in Mor­tal Kom­bat [I think he means that “Come Here!” with chain grab move — ed]. Tuturro then runs with Sam’s roo­mate when the scene cuts to Sam and Mikaela run­ning from Rampage.

Ram­page begins chas­ing Sam’s father when Sam jumps in front of him to draw his atten­tion. Sam then says “Wait, it’s not them you want. It’s this, the MATRIX!” He then holds up an item and con­tin­ues to coax Ram­page when Bum­ble­bee arrives. The bat­tle begins.

Ram­page and Bum­ble­bee fight fero­ciously with Bum­ble­bee get­ting the bet­ter of Ram­page when Rav­age enters the fray. Using his hip can­nons he blasts Bee and jumps on his back. Bum­ble­bee then forces Ram­page to the ground when Ram­page lunges for Sam and takes Rav­age and tears him apart piece by piece.

Bum­ble­bee then rips Rampage’s arm off and decap­i­tates him.

Novelization spoilers — entire Transformers 2 plot revealed May 17th, 2009

Want to know the entire Trans­form­ers 2 plot? Obvi­ously — MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW. Main details hid­den behind the ‘read more’ link.

Mon­tage of ‘Rise of the Decep­ti­con’ book

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New Transformers 2 Trailer leaks early! April 29th, 2009

UPDATE: Final Trans­form­ers 2 Trailer released in HD
See also our in depth analy­sis of the trailer with high qual­ity screen­shots of all the key scenes, robots and Megan Fox.

A grainy in-theater ver­sion has leaked early, given the qual­ity of these things, this one is pretty watch­able. Lots of new footage and a lot more of the sto­ry­line in this trailer. Includ­ing a shot of Dev­as­ta­tor climb­ing up a pyra­mid.

Down­load the trailer

UPDATE: Chang­ing video source to one that works, though sound is out of sync:

or alter­na­tively:

Trailer descrip­tion

- Opens with Sam telling Bum­ble­bee he’s not com­ing to col­lege
– “Look at this place, I feel smarter already”, Sam’s par­ents at col­lege
– Sexy pan­ning shot of Megan Fox strad­dling a bike
– Sam has a ‘men­tal melt­down’ in the mid­dle of his class (as reported from the Prince­ton film­ing), see­ing sym­bols, mark­ing them into the ground
– Sam meets Opti­mus in a ceme­tery (cemetary film­ing set report)
– More of Bum­ble­bee and the Twins in the dessert, some of that GM promo footage too
– Find­ing the sym­bols on some­thing ancient, pre­sum­ably behind that paint­ing
– Mega­tron returns! We see him ris­ing from the depths of the ocean and ris­ing up behind Mega nFox
– “Mega­tron wants what’s in my mind“
– “Fate rarely calls on us at a moment of our choos­ing“
– We see Sam and Mikaela jump­ing rooftops
– Bum­ble­bee ducks a swing­ing arm from Demol­isher
– Explo­sions in a library
– Sil­ver Sat­urn Astra (as seen at Prince­ton) fly­ing through the air with pre­sum­ably Shia falling out and Megan Fox call­ing after him
– Opti­mus Prime attack­ing the char­ac­ter with rotor blades on his back, pos­si­bly Black­out
– Prime fly­ing through the air after Mega­tron attacks him
– Bricks float­ing in cir­cles around one of the pyra­mids, F-16s fly past, Dev­as­ta­tor climbs up the side of the pyra­mid (same angle on the pyra­mid as seen in the offi­cial shots)
– Jet­fire stoops down
– Dev­as­ta­tor crushes a vehi­cle before he starts suck­ing up sand with his giant vor­tex mouth
– We see a robot, pos­si­bly Mud­flaps being sucked towards the vortex

Power-up Optimus Prime (combined with Jetfire) keychain April 21st, 2009

The sil­hou­et­ted key­chain we men­tioned today and saw a cou­ple weeks back at Toy fair ’09 has been unveiled through a French mar­ket­ing sheet, sup­ple­ment­ing the Leg­ends toy com­bi­na­tion we saw earlier.

Prime con­tin­ues to look badass with gun in right hand and illus­trat­ing a more inter-mingled com­bi­na­tion of Opti­mus Prime and Jet­fire, the two char­ac­ters now appear seamless.

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