My main criticisms of the first live-action Transformers movie (aside from the weak plot), was that you couldn't really see much the detail of the Transformers 'transforming' as it all happened so fast and apart from Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in robot form you just couldn't clearly distinguish who was who when it came to the individual Autobots and Decepticons.
I'm sad to say that none of that has changed in the sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, although I have to admit that there is some semblance of a stronger story in there this time around.
After taking pictures of the actual Autobot cars and trucks from the movie outside ArcLight Hollywood cinema on Tuesday I went again today to watch the film and see the vehicles in action.
In addition to Optimus Prime and his Autobot friends to photograph in the courtyard area, inside the cinema foyer they also had a fantastic display of original movie costumes from Transformers 2.
Original Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie costumes
Sadly no Shia LaBeouf (Sam Witwicky) costumes were on show, but not only did they have NEST soldier uniforms that were worn in the movie...
NEST soldier uniforms from Transformers 2
but also the actual outfits worn by Ramon Rodriguez as Leo Spitz (Sam's fellow freshman college roommate) and I think Megan Fox, as Sam's love interest Mikaela Banes.
Actors Ramon Rodriguez and Megan Fox
Transformers 2 movie costumes
It's always so cool to see original costumes and props from big Hollywood movies on display at the ArcLight and it just adds to your overall enjoyment of the cinematic experience.
I have to say I did find Ramon Rodriguez's character to be highly annoying and not the best addition to the franchise.
Anyway, getting back to the film, the movie costumes in the foyer put me into a good mood and for all my criticisms I actually enjoyed the movie. It's just big action Summer blockbuster fluff, but every once in a while you need a bit of senseless escapism.
Autobot 'Ironhide' TopKick pickup truck
Sideswipe is a sleek and sexy new Autobot addition in his Corvette Stingray Concept car mode, but only really appears in action at the beginning of the movie.
Autobot 'Sideswipe' Corvette Stingray Concept car
Since the sunshine wasn't really lighting the car very well last time, I used this opportunity to take more pictures of this fantastically cool silver sports car featured in the movie.
I won't spoil all the fun, but Optimus Prime is a pivotal player again in this movie, even if he doesn't spend all that much time in truck mode.
Autobot leader Optimus Prime - Peterbilt Model-379 truck
In addition to Optimus Prime returning, Sam's mum and dad (played wonderfully by Julie White and Kevin Dunn) feature more prominently in the sequel and provide the comic relief and heart of the movie.
Bumblebee's distinctive yellow Camaro has been revamped and toughened up from the first movie, but he also provides some sweet comedy moments with Sam.
Autobots Bumblebee's Camaro muscle car
and Sideswipe's sleek silver Corvette.
There's no denying that Transformers 2 is all big action, loud explosions, juvenile humour, comedy characters and CGI wizardry, but I was pleasantly surprised by a few elements of the movie.
The deeper backstory, unanticipated reveals like the Decepticon at Sam's University campus, the humour and even Shia LaBeouf's convincing acting (making it all seem believable amidst all the CGI nonsense). I also got a buzz to see the Decepticon Constructicon's merge into the gigantic Devastator.
From my point of view, the things they could jettison for the next movie are Josh Duhamel as Major Lennox (what does he actually do?), a change of location from sandy deserts (the final showdown looked a bit like the same set from the start of the first movie) and some of the annoying comedy characters like the Autobot twins, Skids and Mudflap and ex-Agent Simmons ('RoboWarrior'), although more of Sam's parents would be a joy.
Some of the other problems include how they have essentially neutered Megatron by making him someone else's lap dog and so in the next film they are going to need a much bigger threat (than a machine that destroys suns), more menacing foe.
Overall Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a vast improvement on the first movie, but still leaves you feeling a little dissatisfied. I give the movie three *** stars.
I hope you enjoy the photos and videos from the Transformers 2 cars and costumes at ArcLight Hollywood and come back soon...