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Having fought off the first wave of Decepticons the world has found a new equilibrium. The world military and the Transformers continue their fight against the invaders whilst Sam Witwicky is preparing to start a new chapter in his own life by going to university. But equilibriums never last and some of Earth's representatives question whether the Decepticons are really on Earth to take control of the planet or just because the Autobots are present. When Sam discovers some ancient knowledge about the transformers origins it sets in motion a chain of events which can only culminate in a cataclysmic battle...
Oh dear, where to begin? The first film had the saving grace about being about a relationship, albeit between a boy and his rather strange car. This film is about special effects and explosions. So, depending what you're looking for, this film is either going to be a popcorn rollercoaster of fun or a jaw dropping disappointment, though I suspect that for any males under the age of fifteen it will be the former.
The plot is thin, Sam gets some information stuck in his head about an ancient weapon which could destroy the planet and of course the Decepticons want a piece of that pie. So they send one robot after another to take him out. Here Bay doesn’t even pretend to be keeping within the back-story already created for his characters, especially when the robot which is sent to his dorm can appear as a rather attractive woman, at which point I thought I’d nodded off and reawakened in a Terminator film. So if the Decepticons can appear as human why do they spend their time trying to disguise themselves as various vehicles? I bet that’s not a line of toys we will be seeing from HASBRO soon; nubile teens which turn into a poor copy of the creature from Species.
Let’s face it kids and fans of vacuous but spectacular films are not going to care a jot about the missing plot or lack of character development. They just want to go along for the ride and in truth the summer blockbusters have been moving in this direction for some years now.
Although the film is unmitigated crap, from a critical and artistic point of view, like its predecessor it made a huge wad of money. The franchise remains very popular with cinema audiences, so what do critics know? We can expect another in the series soon, I’m sure. The film does look great and the special effects are even better than the first film. The battles are bigger and more intricate as are the designs of the robots, a real triumph of special effects over story. The film, although long, never seems to tire as the pace is frantic. Apart from the opening shots this film sprints through its narrative barely pausing for breath.
The two disc version of the film comes with a decent amount of extras and a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track with several subtitle options. On the first disc you get a full length commentary by Michael Bay, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman all trying to add profundity to a film about a lot of toys.
Disc two is where most of the extras are hiding out and they kick off with The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen (2 hr, 09 min, 45 sec) which is made up of seven smaller featurettes which covers everything you might wish to know about the making of the film from original concepts to post-production. It's more in-depth than most making of documentaries although it’s funny how many times people refer to how difficult it is working with Michael Bay only to suddenly back peddle. The documentary contains contributions from almost everybody on the production. A Day with Bay: Tokyo (12 min, 56 sec) looks at the last days of filming and the film's premier. 25 Years of Transformers (10 min, 23 sec) is a piece from HASBRO talking about the brands history. NEST: Transformers Data Hub is a text based feature detailing the robots various qualities. Deconstructing Visual ‘Bayhem’ (22 min, 42 sec) with commentary by pre-vis supervisor Steve Yamamoto and an introduction by Michael Bay looking at the process of pre-vis, actually this pretty much covers all the exciting sequences in the film. The extras are wrapped up with three deleted/alternative scenes (6 min, 01 sec), which add little to the finished film, the Linkin Park Music Video (4 min, 35 sec) and the Theatrical Trailer (2 min, 33 sec).
Whether you like the film or not, few could argue with the value of the extras. If taken at face value - this is a film about toys, designed to entertain and sell more toys - then this is a superior product. It won’t question your place in the world or impart any profound philosophy but it will have you riveted to the screen for over two hours.