The camera moves through an intricate red maze of moving images from the movie, with the maze eventually revealing itself to be the interior of the Decepticon logo. The menu options, however, do not change throughout all this.
Rated "PG-13" by the Motion Picture Association of America
(intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material)
"With the All Spark gone, we cannot return life to our planet. And Fate has yielded its reward: a new world to call home. We live among its people- hiding in plain sight, but watching over them in secret. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to all Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here, we are waiting."
--epilogue from “Transformers” (2007)
With those words, a beacon was sent, alerting the cosmos to our presence in a way we never imagined. Some Autobots responded, but more Decepticons- learning of the death of Megatron- came to seek revenge, to take the throne of their faction for themselves, or simply to see that their leader was truly gone and wonder what would happen next. Two years after the All Spark Cube was destroyed, the Autobots have sought asylum in the United States, and they work closely with its government to form N.E.S.T. (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) to cooperate in tracking down arrant Decepticons hiding on Earth and keep the human race unawares amidst growing conspiracies. But with increasing alien activity across the world, it is suspected that the Autobots themselves may be encouraging Decepticons to come to Earth by their very presence here, and the relationship is beginning to become strained. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky has gone to college, but on his first day he begins uncontrollably spouting gibberish like his great-grandfather over a hundred years earlier. It is discovered that he now retains, deep in his mind, the full knowledge of the destroyed All Spark Cube! Learning of this, the Decepticons steal the last shard of the All Spark, and rebuild Megatron. Teleporting himself to another dimension, Megatron consults with his master- an ancient and evil traitor known as The Fallen, who is the leader of all Decepticons. The Fallen plans to harvest Earth’s Sun for Energon at the cost of destroying the planet as he would have thousands of years ago were he not driven off by the Dynasty of Primes- the original leaders of Cybertron. But to do this, The Fallen must recover the long-lost Matrix of Leadership from the secret Tomb of the Primes- which Sam now holds the only key to finding- to activate the Solar Harvester. And the last surviving descendant of the Dynasty- Optimus Prime- is the only one who can stop The Fallen now…
As a special bonus, the film is displayed in “Big Screen” format. During filming, giant 70mm Image Maximum (aka IMAX) cameras were used during certain action sequences to bring a higher level of immersion for audiences in the four-story-tall theaters. (I.e., the width of the image never changes, only the height.) This has been preserved here- at times, your screen will automatically switch from the standard Anamorphic Widescreen format (16:9) to IMAX (1.44:1), providing you with the same massive views at home!
IMAX format (1.44:1)
(I can tell you from personal experience- since I saw the movie in Digital IMAX- that it is absolutely jaw-dropping!)
Decepticon Starscream appears on the left side of the Menu, but he does not move.
The film’s audio is presented primarily in 5.1 Digital Surround Sound, with options for French and Spanish audio tracks.
Subtitles are also available in English, French, and Spanish.
Additionally, a single running filmmaker’s commentary is included, featuring director/executive producer Michael Bay, and writers Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci, who all provide their insight and stories into the making of “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”, and how the project came to be. (The commentary was recorded at different times- Orci and Kurtzman while the film was in final post-production, and Bay at a later time after the film had been out in theaters for a few weeks. However, all three voices are on a single audio track, not separate ones.)
The movie is broken down into twenty chapters.
The camera moves through an intricate blue maze of moving images from the movie, with the maze eventually revealing itself to be the interior of the Autobot logo.
Autobot Ironhide appears on the left side of the Menu, but he does not move.
Subtitles for English, French, and Spanish are included, but no alternate audio tracks.
The Human Factor- Exacting Revenge of the Fallen is a two-hour documentary detailing the concept, design, filming, editing, and release of the film. This takes up the majority of content on the second disc. It is broken down into several sections that highlight specific aspects that can be accessed independently, or there is a Play All option which will automatically jump from one section to the next:
- Seeds of Vengeance - Development and Design
- Domestic Destruction - Production: United States
- Joint Operations - Production: Military
- Wonders of the World - Production: Middle East
- Start Making Sense - Editing
- Under the Gun - Visual Effects
- Running the Gauntlet- Post-Production and Release
A notable difference between the “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” 2-disc set and the 2-disc set from the first film, “Transformers”, is that there are no detailed interviews with the cast- while we get to hear from them, they are not highlighted as much. Nor are there any interviews with the voices of the Autobots and Decepticons as last time.
Autobot Optimus Prime’s head appears on the right side of the Menu, but he does not move.
A Day With Bay: Tokyo is a short documentary following director Michael Bay as he prepares for the world premier of the film in Tokyo, Japan on June 8th, 2009. We follow him through Japanese press conferences & interviews, walking the red carpet, and after-premier interviews. This even includes doing last-minute consultations & tweaking with his editors and special-effects houses Digital Domain & Industrial Light and Magic as close as two hours before opening… while talking to them online from almost halfway across the world!
25 Years of Transformers is a short documentary showcasing American toy company Hasbro and how they have kept the franchise alive, and their constant efforts to please both children and long-time fans. (If you watch carefully, there are split-second shots of unannounced toys that have yet to be released as of the posting of this review!)
NEST: Transformers Data-Hub is an interactive gallery, containing several still images of select Autobots-
- Optimus Prime
- Skids & Mudflap
- The Fallen
(For characters who return from the first film, there is concept artwork from that movie here as well.)
Deconstructing Visual Bayhem is a selection of pre-visualization & concept animatics that were used in designing the fight scenes for “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”. There is an optional prologue by Michael Bay explaining what animatics are, and how they are used in the film industry (mostly for shots involving special visual effects). A running audio commentary for each is provided by pre-visualization supervisor Steve Yamamoto, who explains what is being shown, and what was trying to be conveyed in each.
Deleted/Alternate Scenes gives us three examples of scenes that appeared in the movie, but were condensed for time. These are an additional scene involving Sam and Alice before the dorm party, more of Sam’s parents in Paris before the Decepticons begin their invasion, and a short moment after Jetfire sends the humans on their way through the desert.
Linkin Park – New Divide is the full music video for the pop band’s song, “New Divide”, which was specifically written to be included in “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”.
Theatrical Trailer is the first full trailer of the movie that was show in theaters before it came out in June 2009.
There is one final feature of the 2-DVD set which I am unable to explore and detail here. A new internet technology that is expanding into Hollywood is the interactive webcam. In this case, when you direct the box of this specific DVD set at your webcam, a 3D representation of movie-Optimus Prime will appear on your computer’s screen that you can manipulate!
(Oh… and I wasn’t able to find any Easter Eggs either. Searching online suggests there may not be any in this specific DVD set.)
Conclusions & Comments
I may lose a bit more respect of what I have in CDX when I say I actually like some of Michael Bay’s films (chronologically: “The Rock”, “Armageddon”, and “Transformers”), though I do not consider myself that much of a fan. I learned after buying the 2-disc set of “Transformers” in 2007 that it had been put together without much input from the film’s crew. This time around, however, the lesson was learned, and Bay got a lot more direct control over it. Now, whether this is true or not, I did feel that a majority of the second disc gives almost-single-minded credit and focus on Bay- how he is this genius, he’s one of the fastest-shooting directors, how he likes to get his way, and how you never, ever want to press the “anti-kid fun button” when he is directing a film that you are working on. I think I saw executive producer Steven Spielberg maybe once on the whole disc… praising Bay and how he was perfectly suited to direct the live-action Transformers movie(s). (We heard that from him the first time around too...) Now, everyone gets their due credit (‘cept for maybe the voice actors), but a good share of their time on-camera in the documentaries was talking about Bay and his directing style, etc. Because of the criticisms surrounding the Autobot twins Mudflap and Skids and their purported racial stereotypes in the press and in online forums, I was expecting some kind of comment to be made on the issue; not just in the documentaries, but also in the audio commentary, perhaps even in interviews with their voice actors (Reno Wilson and Tom Kenny respectively). Some of those controversial topics- like the twins- just never come up, and I thought that it was unfair not to address them in some fashion. The Writer’s Guild of America strike in late 2008 is mentioned a good share in the first part of The Human Factor…, but not really in how it may have affected the film. One thing I would liked to have seen this time around, which was missing very much in the first film’s DVD set, was more detailed images of the robots and the creative processes not just in designing them aesthetically but also practically in the computer; some of the challenges faced by the artists in both building and animating them. And since a lot of people complain that the mass of each robot is hard to follow due to their complexity, I would have liked some slowed-down multi-angle video(s) of them transforming, so that we could see where things go, and really admire them out of the context of the film. (The Transfortmers Data-Hub section was insufficient in this role, even though it provides many images which are already available on the net!) A gag reel would also have been nice, something that lacked from the first boxed set as well. As I just said above, I would also have liked interviews with some of the voice actors- notably Peter Cullen (“Optimus Prime”), Frank Welker (“Soundwave”, “Ravage”, “Reedman”, “Grindor”, & “Devastator”), and Charlie Adler (“Starscream”), who were all in the debuting Generation One cartoon from the 1980s and then returned for the first live-action film. And finally, I would have liked an interview with the film’s musical composer, Steve Jablonsky, as music is also an integral part of these films.
Just like the movie itself, there is a lot of information to take in on the second disc, and it will require a second viewing for it to all stick. It’s missing a few small things, but I find it a good offering. And so, All Hail Michael Bay- the awesome guy who single-handedly brought you the most-critically-panned-but-financially-successful movie of 2009, “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”! This DVD set is a pillar dedicated to you and your genius alone…