Transformers is an American film franchise directed by Michael Bay and based on the toys created by Hasbro and Takara Tomy. The series is distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, and United International Pictures. The first film, Transformers, was released in 2007 and the second and latest film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, in 2009, with a third film announced for July 1, 2011.
Transformers is the first film in the franchise. In Transformers, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) discovers that his new car is actually an alien robot (Mark Ryan) from the planet Cybertron. He and his crush Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) find out upon meeting the Transforming warriors of Cybertron—the Autobots led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), that the evil Decepticon leader Megatron (Hugo Weaving) is after the legendary AllSpark which is on Earth along with him. A battle takes place in Mission City between the Autobots and Decepticons. Megatron is defeated by Sam as he releases the AllSpark power into his chest. In the end credits, the Decepticon Starscream (Charles Adler) is seen flying off into space, suggesting that the battle has just begun. The film was released on July 3, 2007.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, sometimes shortened to ROTF, TROTF, or Transformers 2 (although there is no 2 in the title) is the second film in the franchise. Its previous working title was Transformers: Rise of the Fallen. The plot follows the events after Transformers. Megatron is set to be resurrected by the Constructicons and attempt to discover symbols seen by Sam Witwicky. The Fallen is set to appear as well as many others. The film was released on June 24, 2009.
Transformers III (2011)
As a preemptive measure, Paramount and Dreamworks announced a July 1, 2011 release date for a third Transformers film before completion of Revenge of the Fallen. Bay responded, "I said I was taking off a year from Transformers. Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers 3—they asked me on the phone—I said yes to July 4—but for 2012—whoops! Not 2011! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots." Like Revenge of the Fallen, Orci refused to guarantee whether he and Kurtzman would return to a sequel, because "we risk getting stale". Orci has mentioned he would like to introduce Unicron "for scale's sake". The co-writer also said focusing on more Triple Changers would be interesting. On the Michael Bay forums it's offical release date is July 1, 2011.
Before Transformers was released, producer Tom DeSanto had "a very cool idea" to introduce the Dinobots, while Bay was interested in an aircraft carrier, which was dropped from the first film. 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, and were unable to fit in the aircraft carrier. Orci also admitted he was also dismissive of the Dinobots because he does not like dinosaurs ("I recognize I am weird in that department," he said), but he became fonder of them during filming because of their popularity with fans. 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". However, upon being asked on the subject, Michael Bay said he hated the Dinobots and they had never been in consideration for being featured in the movies.
Reviews of the first film were "generally favorable." Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 57% of critics gave the film positive write-ups, based on 206 reviews, with a 68% rating from selected "notable" critics. At the website Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 61, based on 35 reviews. IGN's Todd Gilchrist called it Michael Bay's best film, and "one of the few instances where it's OK to enjoy something for being smart and dumb at the same time, mostly because it's undeniably also a whole lot of fun." The Advertiser's Sean Fewster found the visual effects so seamless that "you may come to believe the studio somehow engineered artificial intelligence." The Denver Posts Lisa Kennedy praised the depiction of the robots as having "a believably rendered scale and intimacy," and ABC presenter Margaret Pomeranz was surprised "that a complete newcomer to the Transformers phenomenon like myself became involved in the fate of these mega-machines." Ain't It Cool News's Drew McWeeny felt most of the cast grounded the story, and that "it has a real sense of wonder, one of the things that’s missing from so much of the big CGI lightshows released these days." Author Peter David found it ludicrous fun, and said that "[Bay] manages to hold on to his audience's suspension of disbelief long enough for us to segue into some truly spectacular battle scenes."
The sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen received negative to mixed reviews, based on 223 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an average 19% overall approval rating. The film had a similar reaction among the 34 critics in Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critic", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, where it received a 18% approval rating. In contrast to the views of critics, audiences appear to have responded better, with exit surveys estimating that 91% of moviegoers consider it to be as good, or better, than the 2007 film. CinemaScore polls reported that on a scale of A+ to F, the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was "B+". According to the Washington Post, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is Bay's worst-reviewed film, faring even lower than Pearl Harbor. Ray Bennett of the Hollywood Reporter commented in his review that "for the uninitiated, it's loud, tedious, and at 147 minutes, way too long."
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