Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The faces of two robots stand atop a pyramid. A helicopter flies over an industrial facility on the right side of the image, and a young couple is seen in front of the pyramid. The film title and credits are on the bottom of the poster.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Bay
Produced by
Written by
Based on Transformers 
by Hasbro
Starring
Music by Steve Jablonsky
Linkin Park Featuring
Cinematography Ben Seresin
Editing by
Studio
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • June 19, 2009 (2009-06-19) (United Kingdom)
  • June 24, 2009 (2009-06-24) (United States/Canada)
Running time 149 minutes1
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million
Box office $836,303,693 2

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a 2009 American science fiction action film directed by Michael Bay and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. It is a sequel to 2007's Transformers and the second installment in the live-action Transformers series. The plot revolves around Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), who is caught in the war between two factions of alien robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons. Sam is having hallucinatory episodes of Cybertronian symbols, and is being hunted by the Decepticons under the orders of an ancient Decepticon named The Fallen (Tony Todd), who seeks to get revenge on Earth by finding and activating a machine that would provide the Decepticons with an energon source, destroying the Sun and all life on Earth 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 November 2008, with locations in Egypt, Jordan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California, as well as air bases in New Mexico and Arizona.

Revenge of the Fallen was released on June 24, 2009, and was a huge box office success, setting records upon release. The film grossed a total of $402 million in North America and $836 million worldwide. It was the second most successful film of 2009 (behind Avatar), 18th domestically, the 38th highest-grossing film of all time and fourth highest of the year worldwide (behind Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs).

The film received mostly negative reviews by critics and by audiences, mostly because of the frequent stereotypes on the movie directing; it won three awards and became the highest-grossing film to win Worst Picture at the 30th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony. A third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, was released on June 29, 2011. This was the last film in the series to star Megan Fox, and was also the last film in the series to be distributed by DreamWorks Pictures, as Paramount Pictures became the distributor of its future films.

Plot

Thousands of years ago, the 7 Primes traveled the galaxy to create Energon with sun-absorbing machines called Sun Harvesters. The Primes followed a law that no sun can be destroyed if it has life on one of its planets; however, one of them deceives the others by building an army and by breaking the law by setting up a Harvester on Earth in 17,000 B.C. after defeating ancient humans. The Primes come to Earth and defeat and imprison him before he can harvest the Earth's sun. The rest of the Primes Dynasty name him The Fallen, and sacrifice themselves to hide the "Matrix of Leadership", the key to start the Harvester.

Two years after Megatron's destruction, the Autobots have joined the U.S. military to create the Nonbiological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (NEST), an elite, classified military task force working with the Autobots hunting down Decepticon resistance, with Major William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and his squad as the human part of NEST. During a mission in Shanghai, Optimus Prime learns of The Fallen's return, but is unfamiliar with the name. They chase the two remaining Decepticons, Sideways and Demolisher through the Shanghai streets, puncturing a bridge. National Security Advisor Theodore Galloway (John Benjamin Hickey) chastises the task force for their destructive tactics and reminds them of the location of Megatron's corpse in the Laurentian Abyss and the surviving Allspark shard retrieved by Optimus. Soundwave, the Decepticons' communications officer, eavesdrops on the conversation and sends Ravage to retrieve the shard from NEST's base. Soundwave later hacks into a military satilite.

Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) prepares to attend college, leaving his girlfriend Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) and guardian Bumblebee behind. Packing his things, he discovers another Allspark shard in his old T-shirt he wore on the day when he destroyed Megatron. The shard channels its knowledge into his mind, causing him to see Cybertronian symbols and bringing the kitchen appliances to life before Bumblebee kills them. He gives the shard to Mikaela, and when the Decepticon Wheelie tries to steal it, Mikaela locks him in a toolbox. At college, Sam meets his roommate, Leo Spitz (Ramón Rodríguez), who runs a conspiracy website regarding the Transformers. Sam's hallucinations get worse, attracting the attention of fellow student Alice (Isabel Lucas), who is really a shapeshifting Pretender Decepticon. Ravage, Scalpel, and the Constructicons resurrect Megatron using the retrieved shard and they kill one of their own to provide parts for him, who then proceeds to chastise Starscream for abandoning him on Earth previously. He then reunites with The Fallen, the founder and master of all Decepticons. The Fallen orders Megatron to capture Sam and kill Optimus, who is the last surviving descendant of the Primes and the only Transformer who can kill him.

Sam, Mikaela, and Leo are targeted by the Decepticons. They kill Alice, but are captured by Megatron, Starscream, and Grindor, who attempt to take out his brain. Optimus and Bumblebee arrive to rescue them. Optimus engages Megatron in a nearby forest, nearly overwhelming him before the other Decepticons intervene. After Optimus kills Grindor by ripping his head to pieces, Megatron takes advantage of the confusion to stab and kills Optimus. Sam and his friends retreat while the Autobots fight off the Decepticons. Megatron and Starscream head to the top of a building to have a quick meeting, in which Megatron tortures his second-in-command for their failures, but decides that his master should arrive now. Hearing this, Soundwave orders all the Decepticons to mobilize. Now pleased at the fact that no one can stop him, The Fallen uses Earth's telecommunications to ask for Sam in return for mankind's survival, making Sam an international fugitive. Sam, Mikaela, Leo, Bumblebee, and twins Skids and Mudflap enlist the help of ex-Sector 7 Agent Seymore Simmons (John Turturro). Simmons reveals that the Transformers visited Earth eons ago and the most ancient, known as Seekers, live in secret. With help from Wheelie, they track down the elderly Decepticon Jetfire, who defected to the Autobots years ago, tired of fighting, and he and Wheelie change sides and join the Autobots. Jetfire teleports the group to Egypt and explains The Fallen's history before sending them off to find the Tomb of the Primes to revive Optimus. Simmons contacts NEST, telling them to bring Optimus and the other Autobots to Egypt.

Sam's group finds the tomb hidden in Petra, but the Matrix crumbles to dust in Sam's hands. Undeterred, Sam places the Matrix's remains in his sock. NEST and the Autobots land, but are cut off from the Pentagon thanks to Starscream. The Decepticons attack, including Constructicon Devastator (who is made up of smaller Decepticons) who demolishes one of the Pyramids of Giza, unearthing the Sun Harvester, which was hidden inside the pyramid. He is then killed by a railgun attack summoned by Simmons. Sam's parents, who were kidnapped by the Decepticons, are used as bargaining chips with Sam to try to obtain the Matrix, but the trap fails when Bumblebee rescues them, killing the Decepticons Rampage and Ravage in the process. Jetfire arrives to join the fight and is severely wounded by Scorponok, but is still able to kill him. Chief Master Sergeant Robert Epps (Tyrese Gibson) summons an airstrike which kills most of the Decepticons; however Megatron manages to shoot and seriously injures Sam. Whilst fighting for life, Sam has a vision, in which he meets the Primes, who tell him the Matrix is not found but earned, and that he has earned the right to bear it. They then revive Sam and restore the Matrix, which Sam then uses to resurrect Optimus. The Fallen appears and steals the Matrix so that he can start the Sun Harvester. A dying Jetfire sacrifices himself and relinquishes his parts to Optimus, allowing the latter to gain new powers, including flight. Optimus uses his new powers to knock The Fallen and Megatron off the pyramid and destroy the Sun Harvester. Optimus then engages The Fallen in a duel, in which he seems to gain the upper hand until Megatron intervenes. Optimus forces Megatron's hand-cannon to fire into his own face, cuts off his arm, and sends him flying through a wall with a reverse blast from the jet thrusters taken from Jetfire. The Fallen re-engages Optimus, ripping off parts of his armor and attempting to attack him with his spear, but Optimus rips the spear from the Fallen's grasp and impales him through the shoulder before tearing off the outer shell on his face. He finally defeats the Fallen by punching through his chest and crushing his Spark core. Megatron escapes with Starscream, and the Autobots and their allies return to the United States.

Cast

Humans

Transformers

Production

Development

Major hurdles for film's initial production stages included the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike as well as the threat of strikes by other guilds. Prior to a potential Directors Guild of America strike, Bay began creating animatics of action sequences featuring characters rejected for the 2007 film. This would allow animators to complete sequences if the Directors Guild of America went on strike in July 2008, which ultimately did not happen.34 Bay considered making a small project in between Transformers and its sequel, but decided against the idea, saying "you have your baby and you don't want someone else to take it".5

Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who had written the first film, originally passed on the opportunity to write a sequel due to schedule conflicts. The studio began courting other writers in May 2007, but were unimpressed with other pitches and eventually convinced Orci and Kurtzman to return.3 The studio also hired Ehren Kruger, who had impressed Bay and Hasbro president Brian Goldner with his knowledge of the Transformers mythology.6 The writing trio were paid $8 million.3 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.7 Bay then expanded the outline into a 60-page scriptment,8 which included more action, humor, and characters.79 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 other's work twice a day.10

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.11 He wanted the focus between the robots and humans "much more evenly balanced",12 "the stakes [to] be higher", and more focused on the science fiction elements.13 Orci added he wanted to "modulate" the humor more,14 and felt he managed the more "outrageous" jokes by balancing them with a more serious plot approach to the Transformers' mythology.15 Bay concurred that he wanted to please fans by making the tone darker,16 and that "moms will think it[']s safe enough to bring the kids back out to the movies."17 Two elements were added late into the film: the Autobot Jolt—as General Motors wanted to advertise the Chevrolet Volt—and the railgun that kills Devastator, a new acquisition by the U.S. Military.18

In September 2007, Paramount announced a late June 2009 release date for the sequel to Transformers.19 The film was given a $200 million budget, which was $50 million more than the first film,20 and some of the action scenes rejected for the original were written into the sequel.21 Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura later stated the studio proposed filming two sequels simultaneously, but he and Bay agreed that the idea was not the right direction for the series.22

Prior to the first film's release, producer Tom DeSanto had "a very cool idea" to introduce the Dinobots,23 while Bay was interested in including an aircraft carrier, which was dropped from the 2007 film.24 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,11 and were unable to fit in the aircraft carrier.25 Orci also admitted he was dismissive of the Dinobots because he does not like dinosaurs, saying "I recognize I am weird in that department."26 However, he became fonder of them during filming because of their popularity with fans.27 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."28 When asked on the subject, Michael Bay said he hated the Dinobots and they had never been in consideration for being featured in the movies.29

During production, Bay attempted to create a misinformation campaign to increase debate over what Transformers 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 was generally unsuccessful.25 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.30 Bay told Empire that Megatron would not be resurrected, claiming his new tank form was a toy-only character,20 only for Orci to confirm Megatron would return in the film in February 2009.31 Bay also claimed he faked the leaking of daily call sheets from the first week of filming, that revealed Ramón Rodríguez's casting,32 and the appearance of Jetfire and the twins.33

Filming

Inspired by its use in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, three action sequences in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen were shot using IMAX cameras.16 Although screenwriter Roberto Orci suggested that the IMAX footage would be 3D,34 Bay later said he found 3D too "gimmicky". Bay added that shooting in IMAX was easier than using stereoscopic cameras.35

The majority of interior scenes for the film were shot in the former Hughes Aircraft soundstages at Playa Vista.36 From June 2–4, the production filmed an action sequence at the Bethlehem Steel site in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was used to represent a portion of Shanghai.837 Afterwards, they shot at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.38 The crew moved to Philadelphia on June 9, where they shot at a defunct PECO Richmond power station, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the Eastern State Penitentiary, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia City Hall, Rittenhouse Square, historic Chancellor Street (which represents a street near Place de la Concorde in Paris), and Wanamaker's.39404142 The production moved to Princeton University on June 22.43 Filming there angered some students at the University of Pennsylvania, believing Bay had chosen to reshoot scenes at Princeton and script Princeton's name in the film. However, neither the University of Pennsylvania nor Princeton gave Bay permission to be named in the film because of a scene that both institutions felt "did not represent the school" in which Sam's mother ingests marijuana-laced brownies.44

A complex of ruins, including two pyramids and the statue of the Sphinx.
Three days of filming were spent in Egypt.

Bay scheduled a break for filming beginning on June 30, turning his attention to animation and second unit scenes because of the potential guild strike.45 Shooting for the Shanghai battle later continued in Long Beach, California.46 In September, the crew shot at Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The two locations were used for Qatar in Transformers and stood in for Egypt in this film.47 A scale model in Los Angeles was also used for some close-ups of the pyramids.20 Shooting at Tucson International Airport and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group's aircraft boneyard took place in October under the fake working title Prime Directive (a reference to Star Trek).48 Filming also took place at Camp Pendleton and Davis–Monthan Air Force Base.36

The first unit then shot for three days in Egypt at the Giza pyramid complex and Luxor. The shoot was highly secretive, but according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, a crew of 150 Americans and "several dozen local Egyptians" ensured a "remarkably smooth" shoot.49 Bay earned the Egyptian government's approval to film at the pyramids by contacting Zahi Hawass, whom Bay said "put his arm around me and said, 'Don't hurt my pyramids.'"36 A 50-foot-tall (15 m) camera crane was used at the location.20 Bay stated he found the climax of the first film to be weak, partly because it was shot across five different city blocks, making the action confusing and hard to follow. On this film, the final battle in Egypt was devised to make it easier to follow the action.50

Four days were then spent in Jordan; the Royal Jordanian Air Force aided in filming at Petra, Wadi Rum and Salt because King Abdullah II is a big fan of science fiction movies.5152 Filming continued at the Place de la Concorde in Paris with second unit shots of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.53 The cast and crew finished principal photography on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on November 2, 2008.54

Effects

A large human-like robot stands in front of a man in a warehouse.
Starscream confronts Sam. In his audio commentary for the 2007 film, Michael Bay said he wanted more close-ups of robots for the sequel.

Hasbro became more involved in the designs of the robots than the company was for Transformers.14 The company, along with Takara Tomy, suggested to the filmmakers that combining robots be the main draw for the sequel.55 They insisted on keeping the alternate modes of some of the returning characters similar so that consumers would not have to buy toys of the same characters.56 Bay used real F-16 Fighting Falcon and tank fire when filming the battles.22 Many of the new Autobot cars supplied by General Motors were brightly colored to look distinctive on screen.57 Revenge of the Fallen features 46 robots, while the original movie had 14.58

Scott Farrar returned as visual effects supervisor and anticipated moodier use of lighting as well as deeper roles for the Decepticons.clarification needed He stated that with the bigger deadline, post-production would become a "circus".59 The producers expected that with a bigger budget and the special effects worked out, the Transformers would have a larger role. Peter Cullen recalled, "Don Murphy mentioned to me, 'Only because of the tremendous expense to animate Optimus Prime, he'll be in just a certain amount of Transformers.' But he said, 'Next time, if the movie is a success, you're gonna be in it a ton.'"60 Michael Bay hoped to include more close-ups of the robots' faces.61 The heads had to be designed with more pieces in order to express emotions in a more convincing way.58 Farrar said the animators implemented more "splashes and the hits and the fighting on dirt or moving, banging into trees, [...] things splinter and break, [the robots] spit, they outgas, they sweat, they snort." Shooting in the higher resolution of IMAX required up to 72 hours to render a single frame of animation.6263 While ILM used 15 terabytes for Transformers, they used 140 for the sequel.52 Particularly problematic effects were the lighting, with scenes such as Jetfire inside the Smithsonian requiring 41 light sources, and the destruction of the pyramid, which appears in about five shots and required seven months to simulate the behavior of the blocks.58 Orci hinted the majority of the Decepticons were entirely computer-generated in both robot and alternate modes, making it easier to write additional scenes for them in post-production.64 Rendering the Devastator took over 85% of ILM's render farm capacity, and the complexity of the scene and having to render it at IMAX resolution caused one computer to "explode".65

Music

The score to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was composed by Steve Jablonsky, who reunited with director Michael Bay to record his score with a 71-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Sony Scoring Stage.66 Jablonsky and his score producer Hans Zimmer composed various interpretations of a song by Linkin Park called "New Divide" for the score.67

Marketing

An additional $150 million was spent to market the film globally.68 Hasbro's Revenge of the Fallen toy line included new molds of new and returning characters, as well as 2007 figures with new mold elements or new paint schemes.69 The first wave was released on May 30, although Bumblebee and Soundwave debuted beforehand.70 The second wave came in August 2009, which introduced toys such as 2¼-inch human action figures that fit inside the transforming robots, and non-transforming replicas of the cars that can be used on a race track. Product placement partners on the film include Burger King, 7-Eleven, LG phones, Kmart, Wal-Mart, YouTube, Nike, Inc. and M&M's, as well as Jollibee in the Philippines.71 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 film's success.727374 Kyle Busch drove a Revenge of the Fallen decorated car at Infineon Raceway on June 21, 2009,75 while Josh Duhamel drove a 2010 Camaro at the Indianapolis 500.76 At the movie's launch in China, a version of Bumblebee was constructed using a Volkswagen Jetta.77

Printed media

Chris Mowry and artist Alex Milne, who had collaborated on The Reign of Starscream comic book, reunited for IDW Publishing's prequel to the film. Originally set to be a five-part series entitled Destiny,78 it was split into two simultaneously published series, titled Alliance and Defiance. Alliance is drawn by Milne and began in December 2008; it focuses on the human and Autobot perspectives.79 Defiance, which started the following month, is drawn by Dan Khanna and is set before either film, showing the beginnings of the war.80

After the 2007 film, and serving as a bridge between the two films, Alan Dean Foster wrote Transformers: The Veiled Threat,81 originally titled Infiltration. During the writing, Foster collaborated with IDW to make sure their stories did not contradict each other.82

The first printed media directly related to the second film was a 32-page coloring and activity book by publisher HarperCollins, which became available on May 5, 2009 and was the first official source to openly give out key plot points to the film.83 On June 1, 2009 DK Publishing published a 96-page book entitled Transformers: The Movie Universe, which intended to provide factual data on the characters of the film.84

On June 10, 2009 the comic book adaptation of the film, written by Simon Furman was released.85 Additionally, Alan Dean Foster also wrote the novelization for the film.86 Meanwhile, Dan Jolley wrote Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: The Junior Novel, a 144-page book oriented at a younger audience than the one by Foster.87 Lastly, a book titled Transformers: The Art of the Movies was released, documenting behind-the scenes aspects of the making of the film.

Other minor tie-in publications include Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: The Last Prime, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: The Reusable Sticker Book, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Made You Look!, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Rise of the Decepticons, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Spot the 'Bots', Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Mix and Match, Operation Autobot, When Robots Attack and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 2010 Wall Calendar.

Video game

Revenge of the Fallen video games are available on the following platforms:

Release

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen premiered on June 8, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan.94 After its UK release on June 19, 2009, it was released in regular and IMAX theaters in North America on June 2495 (though some theaters held limited-access advance screenings on June 22). The IMAX release featured additional scenes of extended robot fighting sequences, which were not seen in the regular theatre version.96

Reception

The film received mostly negative reviews from film critics, particularly for its plot, script, direction and alleged racist humor. Based on 240 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Revenge of the Fallen received an average 20% overall approval rating (the original earned a 57%). Critical consensus was that the film was "a noisy, underplotted, and overlong special effects extravaganza that lack[ed] a human touch."97 Metacritic gave it an average score of 35 out of 100 from the 32 reviews it collected.98 In CinemaScore polls, however, users gave the film a "B+", compared to the "A" that the original film had scored.99 Actor Shia LaBeouf was unimpressed with the film, stating, "We got lost. We tried to get bigger. It's what happens to sequels. It's like, how do you top the first one? You've got to go bigger. Michael Bay went so big that it became too big, and I think you lost the anchor of the movie...You lost a bit of the relationships. Unless you have those relationships, then the movie doesn't matter. Then it's just a bunch of robots fighting each other."100 Michael Bay has admitted his disappointment with the movie and has apologized, saying the film was "crap" and blaming the 2007–2008 Writers' Strike, saying "It was very hard to put (the sequel) together that quickly after the writers' strike (of 2007–08)".101 According to The Washington Post, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is Bay's worst-reviewed film, faring even worse than Pearl Harbor.102 Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "in-your-face, ear-splitting and unrelenting. It's easy to walk away feeling like you've spent 2½ hours in the mad, wild hydraulic embrace of a car compactor".103

Roger Ebert, who had given the 2007 film three stars, gave the sequel only one, calling it "...a horrible experience of unbearable length", a phrase which later became the title of his third bad-movie-reviews collection. Later in his review, Ebert discouraged movie-goers from seeing the film by saying "If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination."104 He later wrote on his blog about the film, "The day will come when Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will be studied in film classes and shown at cult film 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 ($200 million)."105 Ebert would continue to lambast the film (and, sometimes, the Transformers franchise in general) in other movie reviews and responses to letters and emails sent to him. Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers did not give the film any stars, considering that "Transformers 2 has a shot at the title Worst Movie of the Decade."106 He later did name it the worst film of the decade. Other reviewers, while still critical, were less damning of the film, The A.V. Club gave the film a "C-", complaining about the writing and length, but mentioning the effects and action scenes were impressive.107 Among positive reviews, Amy Biancolli of The Houston Chronicle called it "A well-oiled, loudly revving summer action vehicle that does all that's required, and then some",108 Jordan Mintzer from Variety said it "takes the franchise to a vastly superior level of artificial intelligence",109 and Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote that "Revenge of the Fallen may be a massive overdose of popcorn greased with motor oil. But it knows how to feed your inner 10-year-old's appetite for destruction."110

On a year-end poll administered by Moviefone, the film was voted the worst film of 2009, and Fox's performance the worst by an actress that year.111 Comcast ranked the film as the 4th worst sequel of all time.112 Empire named the film the 25th worst movie ever made.113 In June 2009, an Associated Press article by David Germain called the film the worst-reviewed $400 million hit ever.114115

"On every level this movie is as bankrupt as GM. [...] Transformers: The Revenge of The Fallen is beyond bad, it carves out its own category of godawfulness."
Peter Travers, American film critic106

There was considerable negative reaction to the characters Mudflap and Skids, who some perceived as embodying 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".116 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 would be an understatement."117 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 film with the lowest forms of humor, stereotypes and racism around."118 Director Bay has attempted to defend the film as "good clean fun" and insisted that "We're just putting more personality in."119 Writers 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."120

Another major complaint about the film was Bay's usage of the IMAX format. Instead of using IMAX for complete unbroken sequences similar to director Christopher Nolan's approach for The Dark Knight, Bay chose to use the format primarily on a shot-by-shot basis, combining conventional 35mm footage and IMAX shots in the same sequence. That approach, combined with rapid cutting, created a jarring, highly unpleasant experience for most moviegoers.121

Box office

Despite poor reviews from critics, the film was a box office success. Revenge of the Fallen grossed $16 million from midnight showings, at the time the most ever for a Wednesday midnight debut.122 The film proceeded to beat Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix's record ($44.2 million) for the biggest Wednesday opening in history,123 bringing in $62 million in total receipts on its first day (until The Twilight Saga: Eclipse topped this record with $68.5 million in 2010),124 additionally ranking it as the second biggest opening day ever at the time, behind The Dark Knight.125 The film grossed $108.9 million on its first weekend, the seventh-largest in history at the time, and brought in $200 million in its first five days, putting it in second place behind The Dark Knight's $203.7 million for the all-time biggest five-day opening.126 Its gross from Friday to Sunday was also the biggest June opening weekend for one year, breaking Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban's record ($93.7 million), until Toy Story 3 claimed that record ($110.3 million).127

Revenge of the Fallen remained #1 at the box office for two weeks straight by a close margin. Initial studio estimates showed a tie between it and that weekend's new release Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, but the actual totals showed Revenge of the Fallen taking the #1 spot yet again with $42,320,877.128 Also, it was the first film of 2009 to reach the $300 million mark in North America.129 On July 27, a month after its release, the movie reached $379.2 million in the US, which brought it into the top 10 highest-grossing movies ever in that country as of August 2009.130 Revenge of the Fallen closed its box office run with $402,111,870 in North America and $836,303,693 worldwide, being the seventeenth highest-grossing film of all time domestically, and the 38th highest-grossing film of all time.131 Among 2009 films, it was the second highest grossing in the United States and Canada, behind Avatar,132 and fourth globally behind Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.133 As of 2013, the film marks as the second highest-grossing Hasbro film of all time, behind only its sequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Home media

The film was released on October 20, 2009 in two-disc Blu-ray and DVD editions, and a single-disc DVD version.134 Michael Bay has revealed that the Blu-ray release of the film, produced by Charles de Lauzirika, will feature variable aspect ratio for the scenes shot in IMAX format. A special IMAX edition is available exclusively at Wal-Mart.135 Home versions include over three hours of bonus content and several interactive features, including "The AllSpark Experiment", which reveals Michael Bay's plans for a third movie in the series. At Target, the DVD and Blu-ray versions will include a transformable Bumblebee case. Both two-disc editions are the first to include Paramount's Augmented Reality feature, which allows the user to handle a 3D model of Optimus Prime on a computer by moving the movie's package in front of a webcam.136 First week sales of the DVD reached 7.5 million copies, making it the best-selling DVD of 2009. The Blu-ray version had the best first-week sales of 2009, with 1.2 million units.137

Awards and nominations

Revenge of the Fallen was among the films shortlisted for the Best Visual Effects at the 82nd Academy Awards,138 but was only nominated for Best Sound Mixing (Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson), eventually losing to The Hurt Locker.139 The film won five Scream Awards, for Best Actress (Megan Fox), Breakout Performance-Female (Isabel Lucas), Best Sequel, Best F/X, and Scream Song of the Year ("New Divide");140 and two Teen Choice Awards, for Choice Summer Movie Star: Female (Megan Fox) and Choice Summer Movie Star: Male (Shia LaBeouf).141 Revenge of the Fallen was also nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film but lost to Avatar,142 Satellite Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound,143 a VES Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Feature Motion Picture,144 a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble,145 and an MTV Movie Award for Best WTF Moment (Isabel Lucas turning into a Decepticon).146 Shia LaBeouf, the film and Megan Fox was nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Actor, Favorite Movie and Favorite Movie Actress, but all lost to Taylor Lautner, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Miley Cyrus, respectively.

On the other hand, it was nominated for seven Razzie Awards including Worst Actress for Megan Fox (also for Jennifer's Body), Worst Supporting Actress for Julie White, Worst Screen Couple (for Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox) and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel,147 winning three in the Worst Picture, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay categories at the 30th Golden Raspberry Awards.148

Sequel

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