Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Plot summary
In 17,000 BC, ancient Transformers called the Dynasty of Primes scoured the universe with the intention of draining the energy from stars to create Energon and power the AllSpark, the life source of the Transformers, using a machine called a Sun Harvester. The Primes agreed that life-bearing worlds would be spared, but one of their own betrayed the others and constructed a Sun Harvester on Earth. Unable to beat their brother, the Dynasty sacrificed their bodies in order to hide the Matrix of Leadership, the key used to power the Sun Harvester. The treacherous Prime was dubbed the Fallen, and vowed to seek revenge upon Earth.
In the present day, set two years after the events of the first film, Optimus Prime leads NEST, a military organization consisting of American and British troops allied with his own team of Autobots. The Autobots consist of old and newcomers, Prime having sent an invitation message to all Autobots to come to Earth after the destruction of the AllSpark, which doomed their home planet, Cybertron. The new Autobots include Arcee, Sideswipe, Jolt, and the Twins Skids and Mudflap. During one mission, one of the Decepticons, Demolishor, declares, "The Fallen shall rise again."
Sam Witwicky heads off to college to continue a normal life, leaving behind his Autobot guardian Bumblebee and his girlfriend Mikaela Banes. He finds a piece of the Allspark, which he gives to Mikaela for safekeeping. Wheelie attempts to steal the shard but is captured by Mikaela. Sam meets his college roommate, Leo Spitz, who runs an alien conspiracy website. He also meets Alice, who makes aggressive advances towards him.
Soundwave, a Decepticon intelligence officer, hacks into a satellite to eavesdrop the NEST forces, learning the location of the dead Decepticon leader Megatron and another piece of the AllSpark. He deploys Ravage to retrieve the shard, which is then used to resurrect Megatron. Megatron flies through space to a Decepticon spacecraft, where he is reunited with Starscream and his master, the Fallen. The Fallen instructs Megatron to capture Sam, as his mind now contains the Allspark's knowledge, including the location of the Sun Harvester. Sam has a mental breakdown in his astronomy class, writing Cybertronian symbols on the chalkboard. Mikaela comes to his aid just as Alice attacks, revealed to be a Decepticon Pretender, a Transformer in a human guise. Sam, Mikaela and Leo drive off, running over Alice in the process, but are then captured by Grindor. Scalpel, a Decepticon doctor, prepares to remove Sam's brain, but Optimus and Bumblebee appear and rescue him. In the following battle, Optimus takes on the Decepticons on his own, killing Grindor, however, he is ultimately killed himself, stabbed from behind by Megatron.
Megatron orders a full-scale assault on the planet. The Fallen speaks to the world and advises them to surrender Sam to the Decepticons or they'll continue their attack. Sam's parents are captured by Rampage. Sam, Mikaela, Leo, Bumblebee, the Twins and Wheelie regroup, Leo believing his online rival "RoboWarrior" may be of assistance. The man is revealed to be former Sector Seven agent Simmons. Simmons reveals his hidden alien archive and explains that the Transformers have visited Earth before, as their language is written on ruins all over the world. Wheelie identifies the language as that of the Primes but only a Seeker can translate it; Seekers being used by the Primes to locate suitable stars for harvesting. They find such a Seeker, an aging Decepticon named Jetfire, who defected to the Autobots.
Upon learning the situation, Jetfire teleports the group to Egypt via a space bridge and explains that the tomb of the Primes is located in the surrounding desert, and only a Prime can kill the Fallen. By following the clues, the group find the Matrix in a tomb in Petra, but it crumbles to dust in Sam's hands. Believing the Matrix can still revive Optimus, Sam collects the dust and instructs Simmons to telephone Major William Lennox to bring the other Autobots and Optimus' body.
The military arrives in short order, but are tracked by the Decepticons, resulting in an intense battle. During the battle, Bumblebee rescues Sam's parents from Rampage, killing both him and Ravage in the process. Devastator is then formed and unearths the Sun Harvester in one of Egypt's pyramids before being blown to pieces by a railgun fired from a nearby destroyer. The airforce carpet bombs the Decepticons, but Sam is caught at the edge of the blast and killed. In a vision, Sam meets with the other Primes, who tell him that the Matrix of Leadership must be earned, which Sam has done. Sam is brought back to life and the Matrix reforms from the dust. Sam uses it to revive Optimus, but the Fallen, with aid from Megatron, steals it shortly thereafter to activate the Sun Harvester. Jetfire, having been mortally wounded by Scorponok, gives up his life and parts to give Optimus the strength he needs to defeat the Fallen. Optimus destroys the Sun Harvester and then fights both Megatron and the Fallen, destroying the Fallen and leaving Megatron heavily wounded. Starscream convinces Megatron to retreat.
The film concludes with Optimus stating that the Transformers and humans are now connected by their histories.

Peter Cullen voices Optimus Prime, the Autobot leader. He retains his alternate mode of a blue Peterbilt truck with red flame decals. Cullen recorded a voiceover for the opening scene in August 2008, but began the majority of voice work in November.[28][29] Originally, a cameo was written for Cullen, but it was not included in the final cut of the film.[30]
Bumblebee, the Autobot who befriended Sam and disguises himself as his fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro. Mark Ryan reportedly reprised his role as Bumblebee from the 2007 movie, but ultimately, no spoken lines by the character were included in the finished film. Ryan also continued his role as stand-in for the robots on set.[31] Bumblebee's voice is still malfunctioning, and he still uses radio soundbites to express some of his emotions. The filmmakers updated his previous appearance as the 2006 Camaro Concept based on the Super Sport version of the 2010 production model.[32] Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, said the redesigned car emphasized Bumblebee as becoming stronger after having his severed legs reattached in the first film: the new intakes and spoilers show he is a sturdier character.[33]
Jess Harnell voices Ironhide, the Autobot weapons specialist who transforms into a GMC Topkick.[34]
Robert Foxworth voices Ratchet, the Autobot medic who transforms into a search and rescue Hummer H2.[34]
Mark Ryan voices Jetfire, a Seeker and former Decepticon who transforms into a SR-71 Blackbird. His wounds and age have made him choose to become an Autobot.[35] The writers wanted a geriatric robot, and during scripting they gave Jetfire that personality.[36] He creaks, does not transform well, and is said to be running out of energon.[12] Also, he walks with a cane, which doubles as a battle axe.[37] Jetfire initially appeared in the tie-in card game to the 2007 film.
Grey DeLisle voices Arcee, a single consciousness driving three female Transformers that transform into three motorcycles: a pink Ducati superbike,[38] a blue Suzuki B-King 2008,[39] and a purple MV Agusta F4.[40] All three motorcycles feature customizations performed by custom sportsbike builder retroSBK.[41] Although this ability was dropped from the movie, the robots that make up Arcee were once meant to be able to combine into a single robot. This ability can still be seen in the movie's novelization and toy line.[42]While the name "Arcee" is used for the three characters collectively in the film, the accompanying toyline has characterized each bike separately. Thus, the pink bike is called Arcee, and the blue motorcycle is named Chromia. The purple third robot has yet to be characterized in any ancillary media. Arcee was initially meant to appear in the 2007 film as a robot that transformed from a single bike, but was ultimately dropped from it due to concerns of her being too small compared to the other bots,[43] and the fact that the writers felt there was not enough time to explain her "gender", despite her and several other female Transformers appearing in the first film's toy line and tie-in comics.[44] Whether to explain robotic gender or not was something the writers were unsure about, and it remained undecided until post-production, with the issue eventually remaining unaddressed in the finished movie.[45] Arcee rider holograms were played by Erin Naas.[46]
Reno Wilson and Tom Kenny voice Mudflap and Skids, also known as the twins. These Autobot infiltrators transform respectively into a red Chevrolet Trax and green Chevrolet Beat.[32] Mudflap is very hyperactive, while Skids believes himself to be the smarter of the two and tries to come across as mature, but nevertheless appears unable to keep quiet.[47] Bay compared the message of the bumbling but heroic characters to the story The Little Engine That Could.[44] He chose the Beat and Trax for the Autobot twins because he thought those two small cars looked good together.[48] Ed Welburn added when they had designed the cars before Bay selected them, the "character" they wanted to bring to the concepts was a sense that small cars could be as cool as large ones.[33] The twins have the ability to combine. They start the film by combining into a pink and white ice cream van,[49] and although it was probably dropped at some point during production, it was initially said that they would have the ability combine to form a bigger robot.[50]
André Sogliuzzo voices Sideswipe, a silver Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept.[32] Having wheels for feet, he moves around skating, similarly to the way Bonecrusher did in the 2007 movie. He is an expert fighter with his swords and tries to get in close with his opponents. At BotCon 2009, the movie writers said Sideswipe was originally scripted to be a Lamborghini as he was in G1, but Bay had his choice of cars and went with the Stingray. Also, the fact that Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen Group (long resistant to allowing their brands as Transformers), may have played a part in the decision.[51]
Jolt, a blue Chevrolet Volt armed with a pair of electric whips, befitting his electric car alternate mode.[52] He was a last-minute addition to the cast as General Motors, the film's car supplier, wanted to promote the Volt.[53] The writers had already wanted to include the car in the script before the Writers Guild strike, so they had to work out a character that would fit well within the Autobot team afterwards and convince Bay to approve the addition.[54] Welburn was pleased the Volt's character was christened Jolt by the filmmakers, as it reflected that car's design "character".[33]
Tom Kenny also voices Wheelie, a blue radio-controlled toy monster truck. Wheelie initially serves the Decepticons just because he is scared by them, but during the movie he is convinced by Jetfire that they are allowed to choose sides. Wheelie soon sides with the Autobots after hearing this[55] He is called "Wheels" in the film novel.
Michael York, Kevin Michael Richardson and Robin Atkin Downes voice The Dynasty of Primes, a group of robots that confront Sam while he's on the verge of dying in a vision.

Hugo Weaving voices Megatron, the Decepticon leader.[56] Despite Michael Bay's initial claims of him not returning after he was killed and thrown into the Laurentian Abyss in the first film[57], Megatron is resurrected by the Decepticons with an AllSpark shard as a Cybertronian tank, retaining his flight ability from the 2007 movie (accompaying media says he retains a jet mode). He has become stronger as a result of absorbing the AllSpark that originally killed him.[58] When reviving the character, the writers chose not to rename him Galvatron so as to not confuse the general audience.[59]
Tony Todd voices The Fallen, one of the Original Thirteen Transformers and Megatron's master. He is the one who corrupted Megatron into forming the Decepticons. He had been trapped in another dimension and was able to communicate with the Decepticons via an interdimensional window. The image of his face, seen through this window, served as inspiration for the Decepticon insignia.[60] He is capable of opening Space Bridges at will.[61] Lorenzo di Bonaventura compared The Fallen to Judas Iscariot.[62] Although this form is not in the film, his toy versions transform into a Cybertronian aircraft.[63] The writers selected The Fallen after looking through various cartoons and comics for new characters, because he was the most "elemental" villain.[45] At some point, Leonard Nimoy[64][65] and Frank Welker[59] were considered for voicing the Fallen.
Charlie Adler voices Starscream,[34] the air commander who transforms into an F-22 Raptor. He flew into space at the end of the previous film, and now returns bearing Cybertronian symbols on his body and commanding a new Decepticon army.[66] Chris Mowry, writer of the comic book prequels, stated Starscream differs from his 1980s incarnation because "His motivations are more for the species. He's definitely at odds with what Prime and Megatron have been doing. He thinks that they've both been consumed with greed, for their own selfish reasons, but as he finds out, his plans start to fall through as he’s kind of becoming overwhelmed with the same greed that they had."[67] However, Orci explained that Starscream would have more dialogue than in the first movie,[68] and that dialogue additions during post-production edged Starscream closer towards his 1980s counterpart.[69]
Frank Welker voices Soundwave, Megatron's intelligence officer.[70] He transforms into a Cybertronian craft with jet and satellite capabilities, coordinating the Decepticons' movements around the world.[66] The concept artists also designed an Earth form of a Chevrolet Silverado for him to upgrade into, which Orci stated was dropped.[71] The filmmakers had tried to work Soundwave into the first film twice, and these roles eventually evolved into Blackout and Frenzy. The latter character was particularly thought to be too different from the original.[72][73]
Ravage, a minion of Soundwave that resembles a large one-eyed jaguar that transforms into a cybertronian missile.[44]
John Di Crosta voices The Doctor (known as Scalpel in the toy line), a small, spider-like robot who turns into a microscope. He is a medic and scientist equipped with tools he is seen using to torture Sam. The packaging of his Scout-Class figure details he is skilled in dissecting and rebuilding almost any living organism.[44][74]
Sideways, a silver Audi R8 hiding with Demolishor in Shanghai, China until he is discovered by the Autobots.[75]
Frank Welker[citation needed] provided vocal effects for Grindor, a robot greatly similar to Blackout from the 2007 movie. Grindor shares both Blackout's MH-53 Pave Low helicopter alternative mode, and his robot model, being only differentiated by a lighter paint job and different head model.
The Constructicons, a Decepticon sub-faction of robots that transform into construction vehicles.
Calvin Wimmer voices Demolishor,[66] who transforms into a white Terex O&K RH 400 hydraulic mining excavator.[76] In robot mode, his treads turn into huge wheels, enabling him to roll either on the two of them, or only on the front one, with the rear one lifted behind his head. During production, the film writers simply called him "Wheelbot",[45] and he is erroneously listed by that name in the film's credits. Also, he is referred to as "Demolisher" in the film novel.
Mixmaster,[77] who transforms into a black and silver Mack concrete mixer truck. He is briefly seen to have a third "battle mode" which appears to be a gun emplacement.[78] According to his toy bio, he is an expert in chemistry and explosives who makes explosives and poisons for the other Decepticons' weapons.[79]
Long Haul,[77] whose alternative mode is a green Caterpillar 773B dump truck.[80] Long Haul's robot mode was designed by freelance artist Josh Nizzi as fan art of the original character. The fan art impressed Bay enough to hire him on to the film.[81]
Kevin Michael Richardson voices Rampage,[77] who transforms into a red Caterpillar D9 bulldozer. His robot mode resembles a centaur with four spider-like legs, and his treads coming out of his hands, which he uses as whips. He also sports a third "jackhammer" mode in which he has a snake-like body and moves by jumping around.[82] Although the character is referred to with his finalized name in on-screen subtitles, during production he was known as "Skipjack"[83], and is erroneously listed by that early name in the film's credits.
Scrapper,[66] a robot that turns into a yellow Caterpillar 992G scoop loader.
An unnamed Constructicon transforming into a white Volvo backhoe is briefly seen when the Constructicons' protoforms first arrive at the cargo ship, but he is never shown again.
Frank Welker also provided vocal effects for Devastator, a 46 feet (14 m) tall (hunched over) massive robot formed by several combining construction vehicles, who walks in a four-legged fashion resembling a gorilla.[62] He is physically unable to stand upright, but would be 100 feet (30 m) to 120 feet (37 m) tall if he did.[61] His jaws can open up to form some sort of suction vortex, and he seems to have grappling hooks he is seen using to climb a pyramid.[12] In the first film, the name "Devastator" was mistakenly given to Brawl, a tank.Although in the toy line these vehicles are characterized into robots, in the movie Devastator's components are never seen to adopt any individual robot modes.The vehicles that make up Devastator are[80][84]:
A black and silver Mack concrete mixer truck forms the head. Called Mixmaster in the toy line.
A red Terex O&K RH 400 hydraulic mining excavator forms the upper torso. Called Scavenger in the toy line.
A yellow Caterpillar 992G scoop loader forms the right arm. Called Scrapper in the toy line.
A yellow Kobelco CK2500 crawler crane forms the left arm. Called Hightower in the toy line.
A red articulated dump truck forms the lower torso. Called Overload in the toy line.
A green Caterpillar 773B dump truck forms the right leg. Called Long Haul in the toy line.
A yellow Caterpillar D9 bulldozer forms the left leg. Called Rampage in the toy line.
Isabel Lucas plays Alice, a Pretender who stalks Sam by pretending to be a co-ed of his. Though not covered in the film, the novelization and comic adaptation explain her adopted earth mode as her duplicating the appearance of a theme park animatronic figure of Alice in Wonderland.
Scorponok, a giant robotic scorpion. After the events of the 2007 film Scorponok hid in the desert and repaired his tail.
The movie features other minor robots, including Insecticons,[75] Reedman (vocal effects by Frank Welker), a razor-thin robot formed by a swarm of marble-sized 'bots dropped by Ravage, and some kitchen appliances from Sam's kitchen brought to life by the AllSpark shard.[85] Among these kitchen bots, is a pyromaniac toaster bot, named Ejector in the toy line,[86] who had also appeared unnamed in Mountain Dew commercials tying in to the 2007 Transformers film.[87] There is also a brief cameo of Frenzy. His decapitated head is seen in a jar in Simmons' posession, with Simmons commenting that it is "still radioactive". Also Bonecrusher's vehicle mode from the 2007 film also makes a cameo appearance among the forces in Egypt while his name used for Mikela's Mastiff. An unnamed robot whose head looks like Barricade from the 2007 film kidnaps the Witwicky parents in France