When the first Transformers landed in cinemas it took an astonishing $US719 million around the globe. That's an astounding amount for a movie which, let's face it, is based on a toy which hasn't really been at the top of anyone’s shopping list for a very long time. With Michael Bay directing it was a visual effects juggernaut which could only be topped, three years later, by the inevitable sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
In this movie Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky prisoner after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers. Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle!
So this movie offers more action, more Transformers, more explosions and more Megan Fox! Indeed this is a spectacle to behold with the return of all the main actors from the first movie including Shain LeBoeuf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and John Turturro. Indeed the action sequences are the highlight of Revenge of the Fallen. Seeing Transformers racing through the forests smashing trees to smithereens while attacking each other is exhilarating, the massive Transformer Devastator is a sight to behold, and everything else is done on such a large scale it's hard to imagine how Michael Bay can top these sequences in Transformers 3
Other issues. The number of Transformers has increased dramatically to almost fifty this time around, and while the Autobots are easy to tell apart with very unique looks and colours the Decepticons all look very grey and during the heat of battle are hard to tell apart. For newcomers to the franchise this would be to the point of total confusion in places.
We can't comment on this movie without discussing the twin Autobots, Mudflaps and Wheelie. These two characters were, and still are, a very controversial inclusion in Revenge of the Fallen. Many people have commented that their 'stupidity' reflects African Americans, especially given that one of the twins has a gold tooth. To us, no, it's not racist, and the twins, despite being aimed at a younger movie goers, were still very entertaining.
Are there any issues? Well in some scenes we felt that the colours were a little 'red' with skin tones ever so slightly off. Also some of you may have also heard of the "IMAX" version with that version available in America exclusively in Wal-Mart. We don't get that here. The "good" news though is that the movie really only contains a couple of scenes in IMAX - the one of the battle in the forest, and the other wit Devastator towards the end. In all that movie is less then a minute longer, and contains under 9 minutes of footage in the larger IMAX format so we're not missing much there.
When it comes to big budget Hollywood movies making a nose nothing comes close to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen which is a spectacular example of the capabilities of the Blu-Ray format. Encoded with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (48Khz/24-bit) This is an absolutely astounding, room-shaking, crystal clear release. Indeed we don't think we have ever heard a more impressive and aggressive soundtrack in terms of LFE and surround sound channel use. Dialogue is crystal clear, although when the battles heat up it does become a little mixed in the noise, although if you had a 30 tonne Transformer stomping around next to you what would you expect?
Other audio tracks on this disc include French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 640kbps. Obviously these tracks don't sound anywhere near as impressive as the English track, but are on-par with the DVD release. Subtitles on are provided in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. We sampled the English tracks, and there were no issues to note.
As with the original Transformers on Blu-Ray this set also comes loaded with extras including an audio commentary and documentary which runs as long as the movie! The only slight disappointment is the lack of a PIP styled commentary.
Audio Commentary by Michael Bay, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman: With Michael Bay recorded separately from the two writers this track comes across a little disjoined, but overall this is an interesting track which details much of the movies production. The only negative is the none of the three participants seem to either admit, or care, about the shortcomings and criticisms of the film. Still, its well worth a listen.
The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen (2:14:31/HD): If you ever needed an example of how to create a documentary covering the making of a movie then this is it. Running for almost as long as the (already long) feature movie this is a brilliant look at everything from the legacy of the first film, to pre-production, filming including the use of the extensive use of the US military, post-production including the visual effects and release of this sequel. If there is one criticism it's that there is a little too much discussion and praise of Michael Bay although he also has a dig, and we say partially justified, at the critics too.
A Day With Bay: Tokyo (13:23/HD): This featurette follows Michael Bay on the Premiere Day in Tokyo where has a series of press interviews and then the Premiere launch.
25 Years of Transformers (10:44/HD): A brief look at the history of the franchise and how this legacy has been transferred into the two Michael Bay films.
The AllSpark Experiment (HD): This is a Java based game/tool which allows you to select vehicles and then customise it before turning it into a Transformer. There are hundreds of combinations and youngsters in particular could spend a lot of time playing around in this area.
Deconstructing Visual Bayhem (23:11/HD): After a brief introduction from Michael Bay (25 seconds) you can select from 15 scenes (or play all) and change angles to switch between Pre-Vis, or Pre-Vis and Final image split screen. It's great to see what the filmmakers actually use before getting on-set. Presented in HD these are quite fantastic.
Deleted/Alternate Scenes (6:01/HD): Three scenes are presented here "Sam and Alice At The Dorms", "The Witwickys in Paris" and "Leo Refuses to go to Egypt".
Giant Effing Movie (24:03/HD): Another fairly lengthy featurette which this time includes plenty of on-set footage with a focus on some of the more amusing moments. Some have been seen in the other featurettes, but it's pretty entertaining nonetheless.
The Matrix Of Marketing (7:02/HD): This section includes two Theatrical Trailers ("Reveal" and "Revenge"), six TV Spots and Galleries.
Review By: Dave Warner