Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (Blu-ray)

Since Michael Bay’s BAD BOYS in 1995, I’ve noticed a very common trend amongst movie fans; they all love to trash the guy, but they all line up to see his movies.  This has led me to the conclusion that even though you’ll read Michael Bay trash talking everywhere, most people have a soft spot for the guy and actually enjoy his movies, despite their problems.

And they do have problems, so don’t get me wrong.  But even though one minute I’m shaking my head in embarrassment over the horrible dialogue delivered by John Turturro one minute, I’m actually getting goose bumps from excitement the next minute as Shia is telling his dad he can’t go with him in the battle.  That about sums up TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN.  It’s going to have plenty of scenes that are cringe-inducing, but more than enough fun moments that will make up for it.

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The film takes place several months after the events of the first one.  The Autobots are working with the government to hunt down and destroy Decepticons while Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is juggling his new relationship with Mikaela (Megan Fox) and starting college.  Everything is going fine until he finds a shard from the cube and somehow it imprints images and memories into his brain that causes him to see symbols.  We later learn that these symbols are actually a map to a global-destruction device that could end life on earth.  So Sam and the Autobots must battle a resurrected Megatron and prevent the end of the world.

Some reviewers will have you believe the story is much more complicated than that.  I’m not going to argue with them because it’s MUCH more complicated than that.  But what I’ve done is made a conscious decision to not mention any plot point that doesn’t have an impact on the end of the movie, which is about 25% of the film.  Yeah, there’s a human girl that’s actually a robot and it makes no sense that Sam wouldn’t be goo-goo over Mikaela, but we all know Bay gets bogged down in worthless points, so that’s what we get when we go into a Bay film.

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What he does well is set up a sense of impending doom and then make everyone involved with protecting us from said doom look really, really cool doing it.  Every time I see a Shia LaBeouf movie, I like him more and more.  Bay couldn’t have picked a better lead actor and Shia has done so much with so little.  The Transformers movies get 2 or 3 notches higher just because he’s the lead star.  How great would he have been as Anakin Skywalker in the new Star Wars trilogy?

At the end of the day, if you like Michael Bay (even if you won’t admit it) and if you liked the first Transformers film, there’s no reason you won’t dig this one.  The action is fierce and intense and it moves fast enough that you’re never bored.  Just suspend logic and reality for 2.5 hours and accept that the point of the film is to wow you with big special effects and loud noises and you’ll get your money’s worth.


Video: I’ve always felt that the first Transformers film is reference-quality when it comes to audio/video presentation and this one manages to equal its predecessor.  The edition I watched was the special, limited edition Wal-Mart exclusive that had the “Imax” scenes that changed aspect ratios during key fight sequences.  The only other film that I know of that did this was THE DARK KNIGHT.  I have to admit that I really like this effect and it made the action seem more “alive” than had they kept with the normal ratio.  So if you plan on buying this, I highly suggest you go to Wal-Mart to get it.

Audio: There were rumblings that the Imax version had some audio problems, but I must have lucked out because the audio was fine with my disc.  The film sounded excellent with lower bass levels being used more often, along with more utilization of surround channels.  Bay has become a master of using sound effects to heighten the action and intensity, which he does very well here.

Commentary with Michael Bay, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman–  This commentary doesn’t shed too much extra light on the film.  These guys do a good job of keeping the chatter up but they don’t say anything too exciting.  There are some anecdotes which is entertaining but this is really nothing special-although we do get the story of the famous Megan Fox on the motorcycle shot-no spoilers.  There was also an admittance that some stuff was left in for the kids only.  If you’re a HUGE fan of the film then watch, otherwise catch some of the shorter featurettes.

The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen (2:14:31)-A very in-depth “making of” featurette that is, thankfully, broken down into chapters.  Of course there are a lot of movie clips and interviews from cast and crew but they cover a lot of ground in here, from initial sketches to end product.  This also encompasses the first movie as well.  It does run a  little long but overall it’s a good watch.

A day with Michael Bay: Tokyo (13:23)-We follow Mr. Bay around as he finishes the film before showing it to Tokyo.  We get to see him in interviews and press junket-type settings.  The interesting thing is that he’s doing all of these interviews and talking to people and the film isn’t even finished.  It’s a good “real life” piece and makes Bay more endearing to the audience.

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25 Years of Transformers (10:44)-A montage of images and clips of Transformers over the years with interviews telling us why Transformers has stood the test of time. This is filler for the disk since we obviously saw the movie so we know that it has stood the test of time.  If you really dig the toys this would be nostalgic–otherwise I would skip it.

Nest: Transformer Data Hub-This is an interactive menu where you can view the bios of the autobots and images of how they have changed through the years.  If you wanted history of a particular bot, then this is for you.

The Allspark Experiment-Another interactive game where you choose a vehicle and add options to the car, then hit it with the allspark from the film and watch it transform–kinda goofy but my autobot was cool!

Deconstructing Visual Bayhem (22:46)– Mr. Bay gives us a little intro into this featurette and then we get some commentary from some of the visual guys.  This is broken down into various scenes from the film where we get to see he conceptual scene and then the conceptual/final scene.  This featurette was too difficult to maneuver through but was interesting enough.  Note to Blu-ray people: just because you can make us do different things to watch the featurette, it doesn’t mean you have to…easy access is nice.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (6:01)– A lot of these scenes were of Sam’s parents and it’s good they were deleted or cut down because they didn’t add anything extra to the story.  Worth the watch though.

Giant Effing Movie (24:03)–  This is their alternative to a gag reel and I dug it.  A montage of explosive scenes from the film along with the actors, director and crew goofing around.  It ran a little longer than necessary but it was entertaining, especially since we got to see Mr. Spielberg for a bit.

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