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Friday, October 19, 2007

I WAS ORIGINALLY gonna post an entry talking about the Cleveland Indians reaching the World Series after a 10-year hiatus (when they lost against the Florida Marlins in ‘97), but that will have to wait after the Red Sox won, 7-1, in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series last night. Damn you, Boston. Anyways, I’ll instead mention that I was able to see in person today a life-size replica of Bumblebee at a Hollywood shopping plaza (the West Hollywood Gateway Center, on the corner of La Brea and Santa Monica Blvd). 18-feet tall and weighing about 8,200 pounds, this is the actual film prop of the Autobot spy that was used in Transformers (during the scenes where he is captured in the river channel by Sector 7, and when he is transported into the Hoover Dam onboard a railroad car). Pretty cool. Now if only I had the chance to see the actual vehicles that were in the movie...like the Peterbilt truck that filled in for Optimus Prime, the Pontiac Solstice that the late Jazz transformed into, the 2009 Concept Camaro used for Bumblebee in car mode, and the Saleen Mustang that the Decepticon known as Barricade transformed into. So what did happen to Barricade at the end of the film? That’s a story for another day. The Bumblebee statue will be at the Gateway Center till this Sunday (October 21), for those of you who live in or near Los Angeles.

Posing with BUMBLEBEE outside a Hollywood shopping plaza (on the corner of La Brea and Santa Monica Blvd).
Photos I took of BUMBLEBEE standing tall outside a Hollywood shopping plaza.
A photo I took of BUMBLEBEE standing tall outside a Hollywood shopping plaza.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Box cover art for the TRANSFORMERS DVD.

TODAY, Transformers comes out on High-Def and regular-format DVDs. Unlike the film score, which is mostly available online right now (I bought the very last copy at a Borders book store a week ago after the local Best Buy ran out, or didn't even have the CD in stock. Dorks), the DVD should obviously be available at retail stores everywhere. Major outlets such as Target, Wal-Mart and, um, Best Buy will give away exclusive stuff if you buy the DVD at any of them (go here for a complete listing). Anyways, here's a review (with some updates) I posted back in July. No need to write a new one, haha...

Bumblebee in the city.

BRING ON THE SEQUEL! Really— I haven’t been to a film this fun (Note: I said fun...not good. But Transformers was good!) since Independence Day in 1996! You heard right... Despite liking Revenge of the Sith, and Spider-Man 2, and Batman Begins, and The Mummy, and Pirates of the Caribbean (the first film), I didn’t enjoy a movie this much since the alien invasion film 11 years ago. Well done, Michael Bay! Again, you heard right! This flick should really make up for the flack he got for Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. Especially considering the fact a lot of the shots in Transformers actually lasted for more than 2 seconds on screen! Good God!

Anyways, Transformers rocked! Jon Voight did well. And so did Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson (though I don’t think we need to see their characters again if there is a sequel, which there should be...though it's gonna be hard to top this one)...and Anthony Anderson and Bernie Mac were crack-ups. Rachael Taylor is hot. Last, but not least... It might just be me...but I really dug the romance between Sam (Shia LaBeouf) and Mikaela (Megan Fox... WOW). LaBeouf and Fox, in my opinion, had really nice chemistry together. People in the audience actually cheered and whistled during that last shot (not to spoil the ending for y’all) where Mikaela is mackin’ with Sam on top of the Camaro— err, Bumblebee. You da man, Sam! I think we should definitely see their characters again in Transformers 2...which is currently set for a June 26, 2009 release...though that date is obviously not set in stone. Especially considering a writers strike will be taking place in Hollywood sometime next year.

And finally, another reason why I dug Transformers, other than the KICK-ASS special effects (award Optimus Prime and Megatron for a Best Visual FX Oscar next year!), was the music. Steve Jablonsky (Desperate Housewives, the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Tears of the Sun... He composed additional music on that last one. Hans Zimmer was the main composer) created a very epic score that reminded me of the work Hans Zimmer did for Gladiator or David Arnold with Independence Day. Very adventurous-sounding. And the U.S. military should really be giving kudos to Bay right now. Add real F-22 Raptors and MV-22 Ospreys with giant robots and Megan Fox, and you have a summer blockbuster that’s also a great recruiting film for kids wanting to join the armed forces (Hmm... I probably shouldn't have said that one out loud). Just wait till the Iraq war is over till you do so, 'kay folks? ‘Nuff said. No wait— One more thing... Starscream escapes at the end??? NOOOOO!

Bring on Galvatron, the Constructicons, Soundwave, Dinobots and Headmasters in Transformers 2 (currently, the Constructicons, Dinobots and Soundwave are actually rumored to be in the sequel)!! Oh, and don't forget Fortress Maximus and the Aerialbots. I'm such a geek.

5 out of 5 stars. *****

Sam and Mikaela (or should I say Mikaela and Sam).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The DECEPTICON logo.

TRANSFORMERS 2 Update... Well, this isn’t really an update. I’m just talking about what will most likely be one of MANY supposed treatments for the sequel that you’ll see online between now and 2009 (when Transformers 2 is scheduled for release). Sources for this treatment are too numerous to mention (actually, I’m just too lazy to create links to them here. Well okay, here's the main source), but the story goes that two unrepresented writers with Hollywood ties were responsible for coming up with this treatment. Unfortunately, it never reached Michael Bay or any other folks involved in the production...and in fact, a new writer was ACTUALLY hired for the sequel around the time this treatment was submitted [the real screenplay is being written by Ehren Kruger (The Ring, Scream 3) and the team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the first Transformers, Alias, Star Trek 11)]. Anyways, read on...

Starscream.

"Now that MEGATRON is out of the picture, STARSCREAM returns to CYBERTRON to take over the DECEPTICONS and become their leader, which most are cool with; MEGATRON was getting a little too tyrannical for their tastes.

With the ALLSPARK destroyed, CYBERTRON is headed toward certain doom. An energy source has been located on Earth that can save their world...and STARSCREAM and his DECEPTICONS are determined to rob Earth of it.

MEGATRON still has a loyal faction with SOUNDWAVE as the leader who are determined to resurrect MEGATRON, head off STARSCREAM and get the energy source for themselves.

There is a spy amongst them. HOT ROD gathers intel and returns to Earth to report to OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTOBOTS about the plans of the two DECEPTICON factions.

SOUNDWAVE and his army gain control of the NEMESIS and escape the battle with STARSCREAM. They head to Earth.

Back on Earth, SAM WITWICKY has gone off to college in New York with BUMBLEBEE in tow. MIKAELA is still in California with Prime and the other AUTOBOTS.

SOUNDWAVE and the NEMESIS arrive on Earth and plunge into the ocean. An aircraft carrier is capsized from the force and the NEMESIS scans and transforms into a carrier with the DECEPTICONS on board transforming into various military vehicles.

SOUNDWAVE is a high priest in MEGATRON’s court and is a healer of sorts and will be the one to bring his lord MEGATRON back to life. They find him in the ocean’s depth and the resurrection begins.

HOT ROD has returned to Earth, he gives PRIME and the others the lowdown on the plans and tells them the coordinates of the secret energy source located on Earth. It’s none other than Las Vegas.

After a quick street race, with BUMBLEBEE and SAM being the winners (of course), SAM is notified of the imminent invasion and heads to Las Vegas. SAM’s Asian dorm roommate named SHIGE, who is with him, is unknowingly in for the ride of his life!

We are given some background on the First Seven here…who were introduced in the first film. Apparently, they managed to harness the energy of the ALLSPARK into a secondary source that will provide energy for generations. This energy orb is located underground spanning from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam. This is what the DECEPTICONS are after.

In Las Vegas, MIKAELA finds Agent SIMMONS at the Luxor, the access point for the energy orb located beneath it. An evacuation plan is put into action for Vegas and the military is called in. They meet up with ELLISON, a descendent of one of the original seven who knows more than he should.

Next, we are given some details on how the giant robots are brought to life. The ALLSPARK gave them their life but something called The MATRIX gave the robots their soul. That’s why the cell phone little robot (the "Nokiabot") in the first one was evil to begin with, it hadn’t been given a soul after coming to life. It has been passed down through the years with the ORDER OF THE PRIMES and OPTIMUS is the one currently in possession of it in his chest.

Though SOUNDWAVE has brought MEGATRON to life, he needs the energy of The MATRIX to make his resurrection complete. For now, MEGATRON is dependent on SOUNDWAVE for his energy.

SAM, BUMBLEBEE and SHIGE are the only ones headed West-bound to Vegas as people are pouring out due to the evacuation. Up ahead are six construction vehicles that begin to transform. They fit together to form one, DEVASTATOR. This monstrous robot begins to chase after SAM and his crew.

Help arrives in the form of ULTRA MAGNUS and his team, who help SAM get away and get to Vegas where the other AUTOBOTS and the US military have gathered to stop the invasion.

STARSCREAM and his army are seen dropping to Earth. They are headed off by some AUTOBOTS in the sky. They fall to the ground fighting.

The DECEPTICONS continue to attack and they have a new force field around them that the military's high-heat sabot rounds have no effect on.

ULTRA MAGNUS, SAM and the team arrive in Vegas. Magnus and his crew join the fight. SAM heads down into the bunker where MIKAELA, SIMMONS, ELLISON and others are hiding.

SKORPONOK returns and burrows his way into the underground tunnels/bunker where they are hiding. This is also where the energy orb is located.

The military is awaiting reinforcements, and they arrive in the form of jets and what not. The pilots are about to start dropping bombs when their aircraft begin to transform. They have been compromised and MEGATRON and his loyal army are on the move.

With the war turning badly for the AUTOBOTS, ELLISON and SIMMONS know there is only one thing left to do. Atop the Stratosphere is a Sector Seven EMP that is waiting to be activated in times just as these.

ELLISON and the EMP team, escorted by AUTOBOTS, are headed to the EMP to activate it. SOUNDWAVE intercepts the plans and heads out to stop it. The EMP team is struck down and only ELLISON is left. But he is in no condition to get to the top of the tower. SAM and MIKAELA go it alone; getting instruction via walkie-talkie from ELLISON.

A DECEPTICON tries to stop SAM and MIKAELA and creates a gap that SAM cannot get over; MIKAELA must go to the top by herself. MEGATRON then unleashes a missile attack on the Stratosphere and there is a huge explosion. MIKAELA and everything including the EMP are gone.

SOUNDWAVE lets out a pulse that blows everyone to the ground, including OPTIMUS PRIME, and quickly rips Prime’s chest open to unveil the MATRIX. He takes it and heads to MEGATRON. MEGATRON is given the MATRIX and the resurrection is now complete. MEGATRON turns his sights to STARSCREAM who needs a serious ass kicking.

Robot on robot action at it’s best, jet on jet, MEGATRON vs. STARSCREAM. MEGATRON quickly defeats STARSCREAM and makes an example of him by dragging him through the streets by his wires and crucifying him for all to see...all the while he narrates a call to STARSCREAM loyalists to come and avenge him and fight MEGATRON’s army.

AUTOBOTS are on the retreat. STARSCREAM loyalists on CYBERTRON rocket off to fight MEGATRON on Earth and the DECEPTICONS surround the energy orb. Things are looking really bad.

SAM blames PRIME for MIKAELA’s death and is shattered. Prime is being carried on ULTRA MAGNUS’ trailer...alive, barely. HOT ROD, feeling the blame, heads back to the Stratosphere to see if there is anything salvageable. Luckily... When MIKAELA fell, she fell on top of a DECEPTICON and his force field, which saved her. As he dies and the field goes away, she wakes up and sees the destruction. The journey has just begun..."


****

Hmm. This sounds somewhat similar to the treatment I posted here.

Artwork depicting Sam and Mikaela in the heat of battle.

Monday, October 8, 2007

TOMORROW, Steve Jablonsky's music score for the hit film Transformers will finally get released...after three months of waiting and signing online petitions by the fans. Can't wait!

TRANSFORMERS Original Film Score cover.

WHERE’S STEVE JABLONSKY?? Part I
WHERE’S STEVE JABLONSKY?? Part II
WHERE’S STEVE JABLONSKY?? Part III


UPDATE: A review by Chris Knight, who created the petition above, can be found here. Great stuff! Looks like the wait was well worth it.

UPDATE #2 (October 10): Like my review for the movie, I give the film score 5 OUT OF 5 stars! Well done, Steve Jablonsky! Most of the tracks, most notably "Autobots" (Track 1) and "Arrival to Earth" (Track 12), sound a whole lot better than they do in the movie (and the versions in the movie already sound great). A chorus was added to parts of the music where there weren't any in the film, and it gives the tracks a haunting and beautiful feel. You gotta hear 'em. And the most intense track, "Skorponok" (Track 10), sounds just like it does in that memorable action scene in Transformers. Definitely as fast-paced and catchy as "Duel of the Fates" in The Phantom Menace and "Battle of the Heroes" in Revenge of the Sith. That's a good thing. No need to change what already works.

Another noteworthy track is "Optimus" (Track 6)...which employs the flute/panpipe at the beginning of the piece, which gives the music a serene feel. What’s kinda ironic is that Optimus, as well as "Bumblebee" (Track 7) have a romantic tone to their music...and it, for me at least, sounds more appropriate dealing with the relationship between Sam and Mikaela more than it does the two Autobots the tracks are named after. "All Spark" (Track 3), Optimus and Bumblebee sound so significantly different from their cinematic equivalent that these themes could probably be used again in the movie’s sequel (due for release in 2009). If that were the case, only people who didn’t buy this film score wouldn’t recognize that the sequel’s music was from this current album, haha.

A lot of people say that the Transformers score sounds familiar in most parts to the music in Batman Begins. Maybe so...but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (if you want me to go one further, parts of the TF score also reminds me of the music played during the climax in Last of the Mohicans. That’s a good thing). Steve Jablonsky is one of Hans Zimmer’s protégés. I could care less if the music is reminiscent of someone else’s work—just so as long as it sounds good. The Transformers score sounds good, and what Jablonsky presented not only fits nicely with what we see in the movie, but it adds depth to it too. Music has obviously been around a lot longer that movies, folks. If something hasn’t been tried yet, in either music OR cinema, it’s because it was a completely moronic and ridiculous idea that only an insane person or someone experimenting would deal with. That is all.

Megan Fox and Shia Labeouf.