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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Information about Transformers: Revenge of the FallenTransformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen is an American science fiction action movie released on Jun. 19, 2009 (8 years ago) in the United Kingdom and Jun. 24, 2009 (8 years ago) in North America. It is the sequel to 2007's Transformers (5 walls) and the second movie in the live action Transformers (5 walls) series. Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg return respectively as director and executive producer, while Shia LaBeouf reprises the role of Sam Witwicky, the human caught in the war between Autobots and Decepticons. The movie introduces many more robots and the scope has been expanded to numerous countries, most notably France, Jordan and Egypt. The plot revolves around Sam, who has been having visions of Cybertronian symbols, getting hunted by the evil Decepticons under the orders of their long-trapped leader, The Fallen. The Fallen seeks to get revenge on Earth by finding and activating a machine that would provide the Decepticons with an energon source, destroying all life on the planet in the process.
With deadlines jeopardized by possible strikes by the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, Bay managed to finish the production on time with the help of previsualization and a scriptment by his writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and series newcomer Ehren Kruger. Shooting took place from May to Nov. 2008 (9 years ago).
Despite poor critical reception, Revenge of the Fallen achieved the highest Wednesday opening gross in history, bringing in $62 million in North America alone and close to $100 million worldwide; this is also the second-highest opening day gross of all time, behind only The Dark Knight's $67.8 million. Transformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen is currently the second highest-grossing movie of 2009 (8 years ago) worldwide, behind only Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (7 walls), and the highest-grossing movie of 2009 (8 years ago) in the United States. In less than a month, the movie surpassed the all-time earnings of its predecessor.
PlotIt is revealed that thousands of years ago there was a race of ancient Transformers (5 walls) who scoured the universe looking for energon sources. Known as the Dynasty of Primes, they used machines called Sun Harvesters to drain stars of their energy in order to convert it to energon and power Cybertron's AllSpark. The Primes agreed that life-bearing worlds would be spared, but in 17,000 BC, one brother, thereafter dubbed "The Fallen", constructed a Sun Harvester on Earth. The remaining brothers thus sacrificed their bodies in order to hide the Matrix of Leadership—the key that activates the Sun Harvester—from The Fallen, who swore to seek revenge upon Earth.
In the present day, two years after the events of the previous film, Optimus is seen leading NEST, a military organization consisting of human troops and his own team of Autobots (including newcomers Arcee, Chromia, Elita One, Sideswipe, Jolt, and the twins Skids and Mudflap) aimed at killing the remaining Decepticons on Earth. While on a mission in Shanghai, Optimus and his team destroy Decepticons Sideways and Demolishor, being given a warning by the latter that "The Fallen will rise again". Back in the United States, Sam Witwicky finds a splinter of the destroyed AllSpark, and upon contact the splinter fills his mind with Cybertronian symbols. Deeming it dangerous, Sam gives the AllSpark splinter to his girlfriend Mikaela Banes for safe keeping, and leaves her and Bumblebee behind to go off to college. Upon arrival, Sam meets his college roommate Leo Spitz, who runs an alien conspiracy website, and Alice, a co-ed who makes sexual advances on him. Back home, Decepticon Wheelie tries to steal the shard, only to get captured by Mikaela. After having a mental breakdown, uncontrollably writing in Cybertronian language, Sam calls Mikaela, who immediately leaves to get to him.
Decepticon Soundwave hacks into a US satellite and learns the locations of the dead Decepticon leader Megatron and another piece of the AllSpark. The Decepticons retrieve the shard and use it to resurrect Megatron, who flies into space and is reunited with Starscream and his master, The Fallen. The Fallen instructs Megatron and Starscream to capture Sam in order to discover the location of the Matrix of Leadership. With Sam's outbreaks worsening, Mikaela arrives at campus just as Alice—revealed to be a Decepticon Pretender—attacks Sam. Mikaela, Sam, and his roommate Leo drive off, destroying Alice, but are seized by Decepticon Grindor. The Decepticon known as "The Doctor" prepares to remove Sam's brain, but Optimus and Bumblebee turn up and rescue him. In an ensuing fight, Optimus engages Megatron, Grindor and Starscream. Optimus manages to kill Grindor and rip off Starscream's arm, but he is eventually impaled through the chest by Megatron and dies.
After Prime's death, The Fallen is freed from his captivity and Megatron orders a full-scale assault on the planet. The Fallen speaks to the world and demands they surrender Sam to the Decepticons or they will continue their attack. Sam, Mikaela, Leo, Bumblebee, the twins and Wheelie regroup, and Leo suggests his online rival "RoboWarrior" may be of assistance. "RoboWarrior" is revealed to be former Sector 7 agent Simmons, who informs the group that the symbols should be readable for a Decepticon. Mikaela then releases Wheelie, who can't read the language, but identifying it as that of the Primes, directs the group to a Decepticon seeker named Jetfire. They then find Jetfire at the F. Udvar-Hazy Center and reactivate him. After teleporting the group to Egypt, Jetfire explains that and only a Prime can kill The Fallen, and translates the symbols, which contain a riddle that sets the location of the Matrix of Leadership somewhere in the surrounding desert. By following the clues, the group arrive at the tomb where they ultimately find the Matrix, but it crumbles to dust in Sam's hands. Believing the Matrix can still revive Optimus, Sam collects the dust and instructs Simmons to call Major William Lennox to bring the other Autobots and Optimus' body.
The military arrives with the Autobots, but so do the Decepticons, and a battle arises. During the fight, Decepticon Devastator is formed and unearths the Sun Harvester from inside one of the pyramids before being destroyed by the US military with the help of agent Simmons. Jetfire arrives and destroys Mixmaster, but is mortally wounded by Scorponok. The Air Force carpet bomb the Decepticons, but Megatron breaks through the offensive and kills Sam. In a vision, Sam meets with the other Primes, who tell him that the Matrix of Leadership is not found but earned, which Sam has done, and send him back, effectively reviving him. The Matrix is reassembled from the dust, and Sam uses it to revive Optimus. The Fallen then steals the Matrix and activates the Sun Harvester. In his final moments, Jetfire volunteers his parts and spark to Optimus. With enhanced capabilities, Optimus destroys the Sun Harvester and takes on Megatron and The Fallen, killing the latter. Sam then finally reciprocates Mikaela's love as Megatron and Starscream retreat and vow that their fight is not finished.
The movie ends with Optimus sending a message into space saying that the humans and Transformers (5 walls) both share a common past.
DevelopmentIn sep. 2007 (10 years ago), Paramount announced a late Jun. 2009 (8 years ago) release date for the sequel to Transformers. A major hurdle that was overcome during the film's production was the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, as well as possible strikes by the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. Bay began creating animatics of action sequences featuring characters rejected for the 2007 (10 years ago) film. This would allow animators to complete sequences if the Directors Guild of America went on strike in Jul. 2008 (9 years ago), which ultimately did not happen. The director considered making a small project in between Transformers (5 walls) and its sequel, but knew "you have your baby and you don't want someone else to take it". The movie was given a $200 million budget, which was $50 million more than the 2007 (10 years ago) film, and some of the action scenes rejected for the original were written into the sequel, such as the way Optimus is reintroduced in this film. Lorenzo di Bonaventura said the studio proposed filming two sequels simultaneously, but he and Bay concurred that was not the right direction for the series.
Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman originally passed on the sequel because of a busy schedule. The studio began courting other writers in May 2007 (10 years ago), but as they were unimpressed with their pitches, they convinced Orci and Kurtzman to return. The studio also signed on Ehren Kruger, as he impressed Bay and Hasbro president Brian Goldner with his knowledge of the Transformers (5 walls) mythology, and because he was friends with Orci and Kurtzman. The writing trio were paid $8 million. Screenwriting was interrupted by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, but to avoid production delays the writers spent two weeks writing a treatment, which they handed in the night before the strike began, and Bay expanded the outline into a sixty-page scriptment, fleshing out the action, adding more jokes, as well as selecting the majority of new characters. The three writers spent four months finishing the screenplay while "locked" in two hotel rooms by Bay: Kruger wrote in his own room and the trio would check on each others' work twice a day.
Orci described the film's theme as "being away from home", with the Autobots contemplating living on Earth as they cannot restore Cybertron, while Sam goes to college. He wanted the focus between the robots and humans "much more evenly balanced", "the stakes [to] be higher", and more focused on the science fiction elements. Lorenzo di Bonaventura said that in total, there are around forty robots in the film, while ILM's Scott Farrar has said there are actually sixty. Orci added he wanted to "modulate" the humor more, and felt he managed the more "outrageous" jokes by balancing it with a more serious plot approach to the Transformers' mythology. Bay concurred that he wanted to please fans by making the tone darker, and that "moms will think its safe enough to bring the kids back out to the movies" despite his trademark sense of humor. Kurtzman created the film's title. The filmmakers considered incorporating the comics' character of G. B. Blackrock, but Bay considered the name too cartoonish.
During production, Bay attempted to create a misinformation campaign to increase debate over what Transformers (5 walls) would be appearing in the film, as well as to try to throw fans off from the story of the film. However, Orci confessed it had generally not been working. The studio went as far as to censor MTV and Comic Book Resources interviews with Mowry and Furman, who confirmed Arcee and The Fallen would be in the picture. Bay told Empire that Megatron would not be resurrected, claiming his new tank form was a toy-only character, only for Orci to confirm Megatron would return in the movie in Feb. 2009 (8 years ago). Bay also claimed he faked leaked daily call sheets from the first week of filming, that revealed Ramón Rodríguez's casting, and the appearance of Jetfire and the twins.
ReleaseTransformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen was premiered on Jun. 8, 2009 (8 years ago), in Tokyo, Japan. After its UK release on Jun. 19, 2009 (8 years ago), it was released in regular and IMAX theaters in North America on Jun. 24 (though some theaters held limited-access advance screenings on Jun. 22). Three of the action sequences were shot with IMAX cameras, and the IMAX release received additional scenes not seen in the regular theater version featuring robot fighting sequences. Although in an Aug. 2008 (9 years ago) posting Orci suggested that the IMAX footage would be 3D, Bay later said that considering himself an "old school" filmmaker, he found 3D gimmicky. He also added that shooting in IMAX was easier than using stereoscopic cameras.
An additional $150 million was spent to globally market the film. Hasbro's Revenge of the Fallen toy line included new molds of new and returning characters, as well as 2007 (10 years ago) figures with new mold elements or new paint schemes. The first wave was released on May 30, although Bumblebee and Soundwave debuted beforehand. The second wave is due in Aug. 2009 (8 years ago), which introduces toys such as 2 1/4-inch human action figures that fit inside the transforming robots, and non-transforming replicas of the cars which can be used on a race track. Product placement partners on the movie include Burger King, 7-Eleven, LG phones, Kmart, Wal-Mart, YouTube, Nike, Inc. and M&M's, as well as Jollibee in the Philippines. General Motors' financial troubles limited its involvement in promotion of the sequel, although Paramount acknowledged with or without GM, their marketing campaign was still very large and had the foundation of the 2007 (10 years ago) film's success. Kyle Busch drove a Revenge of the Fallen/M&M's decoed car at Infineon Raceway on Jun. 21, 2009 (8 years ago), while Josh Duhamel drove a 2010 (7 years ago) Camaro at the Indianapolis 500. At the movie's launch in China, a version of Bumblebee was constructed using a Volkswagen Jetta.
ReceptionThe movie received "generally unfavorable" reviews from movie critics. Based on 223 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Revenge of the Fallen received an average of 19% overall approval rating. By comparison, Metacritic calculated an average score of 35 out of 100 from the 32 reviews it collected. In contrast to the negative critical reception, audience reaction was mostly positive; CinemaScore polls reported that on a scale of A+ to F, the average grade cinemagoers gave the movie was "B+".
According to The Washington Post, Transformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen is Bay's worst-reviewed film, faring even lower than Pearl Harbor. Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter commented in his review that "for the uninitiated, it's loud, tedious, and at 147 minutes, way too long." Roger Ebert, who had given the 2007 (10 years ago) movie three stars, gave Revenge of the Fallen only one star, calling it "...a horrible experience of unbearable length." He later wrote in his blog about the film, saying "The day will come when Transformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen will be studied in movie classes and shown at cult movie festivals. It will be seen, in retrospect, as marking the end of an era. Of course there will be many more CGI-based action epics, but never again one this bloated, excessive, incomprehensible, long (149 minutes) or expensive ($190 million)." Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers did not give the movie any stars considering that "Transformers (5 walls) 2 has a shot at the title Worst Movie of the Decade." The A.V. Club gave the movie a C-.
There has also been considerable negative reaction to the characters Mudflap and Skids, who are alleged to embody racist stereotypes. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said that "the characters...indicate that minstrelsy remains as much in fashion in Hollywood as when, well, Jar Jar Binks was set loose by George Lucas." Critic Scott Mendelson said, "To say that these two are the most astonishingly racist caricatures that I've ever seen in a mainstream motion picture (wallpaper) would be an understatement." Harry Knowles, founder of Ain't It Cool News, went further, asking his readers "not to support this film" because "you'll be taking [your children] to see a movie with the lowest forms of humor, stereotypes and racism around." Director Bay has attempted to defend the movie as "good clean fun" and insisted that "We're just putting more personality in." Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman responded to the controversy with "It’s really hard for us to sit here and try to justify it. I think that would be very foolish, and if someone wants to be offended by it, it’s their right. We were very surprised when we saw it, too, and it’s a choice that was made. If anything, it just shows you that we don’t control every aspect of the movie."
SequelAs a preemptive measure, Paramount and Dreamworks announced a Jul. 1, 2011 (6 years ago) release date for a third Transformers (5 walls) movie before completion of Revenge of the Fallen. Bay responded, "I said I was taking off a year from Transformers. Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers (5 walls) 3—they asked me on the phone—I said yes to Jul. 4—but for 2012—whoops! Not 2011! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots." Like Revenge of the Fallen, Orci refused to guarantee whether he and Kurtzman would return to a sequel, because "we risk getting stale". Orci has mentioned he would like to introduce Unicron "for scale's sake". The co-writer also said focusing on more Triple Changers would be interesting.
Before Transformers (5 walls) was released, producer Tom DeSanto had "a very cool idea" to introduce the Dinobots, while Bay was interested in an Aircraft Carrier (9 walls), which was dropped from the 2007 (10 years ago) film. Orci claimed they did not incorporate these characters into Revenge of the Fallen because they could not think of a way to justify the Dinobots' choice of form, and were unable to fit in the aircraft carrier. Orci also admitted he was also dismissive of the Dinobots because he does not like dinosaurs. "I recognize I am weird in that department", he said, but he became fonder of them during filming because of their popularity with fans. He added "I couldn't see why a Transformer would feel the need to disguise himself in front of a bunch of lizards. Movie-wise, I mean. Once the general audience is fully on board with the whole thing, maybe Dinobots in the future." However, upon being asked on the subject, Michael Bay said he hated the Dinobots and they had never been in consideration for being featured in the movies.
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