Thursday, September 27, 2012

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Alexis Dromgoole


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

             The sequel to the original blockbuster hit, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen once again impresses on the big screen.  The audience is treated to the latest technologies in movie making, and is able to see how director Michael Bay takes these new innovations in film creation, and turns them into movie magic.  From Louis Giannetti’s Understanding Movies: Special Effects we learn that, “…the ability of computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create fantastic, brave new worlds where the magical is commonplace” is where movie technology is leading the film industry (33).  With so many stimulating sound and visual elements, the audience barely has time to focus on just one.  Each scene captivates the minds of the audience with the advanced special effects techniques that Transformers has to offer.  We once again follow the story of Sam Whitwicky (Shia Labeouf) as he heads off to college (for one day), and then finds himself right back in the midst of epic battles between the villainous Decepticons and valiant Autobots.  It is a story that may not be in the history books, but will no doubt go down in movie history for the special effects prowess it demonstrates in this film.

One thing that brought a sense of realism to the film was the use, and creation of sounds in the movie.  As noted in an article regarding the films’ sound qualities by Steve Shurtz, “Filmmakers know that it is the sound, with all the organic and mechanical sound effects that breathes life into the created CGI characters that are as much the stars in this franchise as their human counterparts”(par.1).  These sounds give significance to these robots who for at least a decade have been transforming for kids and adults alike.  Had the sounds not been similar to how the audience thought the robots should have sounded transforming, the film would have lost viewers due to the sheer impracticality of employing any other sound than the mechanically developed noises they used.  This idea is clearly depicted in Anna Lunsford’s Everything’s an Argument when it is stated that, “Most arguments are composed with specific audiences in mind, and their success depends, in part, on how well their strategies…meet the expectations of the readers or viewers” (107).  These robotic sounds in the film were created to enhance the on-screen believability (logos) of the digitally created characters so that the audience can enter into the world of the Transformers.

Keeping with the theme of the movie, in this film Bay decided to heighten and “transform” the level of cinematic advancement by adding High Definition (HD) elements into various scenes throughout the movie.  It is learned from an Avid online article over the film that the HD techniques used, “helped them [Bay and his team] give great attention to the smallest detail, such as the expression in a character’s eyes…” (Avid par. 9-10).  Emotions in the characters, whether they are computer generated robots or not, are a powerful force that is sometimes overlooked in a film where action plays such instrumental role.  Whether you believe in robots or not, “…emotions can add real muscle to arguments…”and make you forget for an hour what is real and what is not (Lunsford 103).  One look into Optimus Prime’s face with his strong jaw structure complemented by his mechanically expressive eyes, and it no longer matters if robots exist or not.  As an audience member and a human being with emotions, (pathos) you want the robotic characters to be real.  The Transformer’s characters have just as much “emotional muscle” as they seemingly have in “physical muscle”, creating the ultimate character with human like emotions and above average strength for the audience to believe in.

It is one thing to create a movie whose advertisements boast robots, and battle scenes involving alien robot worlds that seem to fill the screen with their immensity and reality; it is another thing to portray those qualities on a movie screen.  This second installation of the Transformers trilogy further perfects the special effects technology that was introduced in the first film, and improves upon what we see and hear when we enter the theater.  In the end, the “transformation” is complete. 


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