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Their War (2007)

Video  -  Documentary  -  16 October 2007 (USA)
6.1
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Title: Their War (Video 2007)

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Charles Alleneck ...
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Kenny Bates ...
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Scott Benza ...
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Wayne Billheimer
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Scott Farrar ...
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This documentary is featured on the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD for Transformers (2007). See more »

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Michael Bay vs the Internet
26 March 2008 | by (Rijswijk (ZH), The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

'Their War' is the second destination on the bonus disc accompanying the DVD-mode of the 2007 Transformers movie. Just like the first section, ('Our World') it is divided into four parts that can be viewed either separately or as a whole.

First is 'Rise of the Robots'. This part gives insight into the so called Transformers 'mythos' which started with a Japanese toy-line, got personality because of the good people at Hasbro and became a household name all over the world thanks to the cartoon series starting in 1984. Executive producer and Bumblebee lover Steven Spielberg admits to being a Transformers fan from the beginning thanks to his kids, as does upcoming movie star Shia LaBeouf (though he won't admit to having a Transformer tattoo). It seems the only person not into giant transforming robots was director Michael Bay, who initially passed on the project, but decided to devote two and half years to Transformer research when he realized he would get to play around with some of the U.S. governments latest toys (and destroy a lot of the older models as well). Naturally the hard-core web based fans immediately objected to his hiring, as well as to each and every piece of (stolen) information that leaked out about the movie. Bay proudly recounts how he got death-threats and the time his personal computer was stolen, but also admits to being glad he listened to the fans in some cases while sticking to his own ideas in others. For instance, he claims to have invented a new 'exoskeleton' mode for the Autobots to arrive in before they scan an Earth vehicle to take on it's shape (incidently a good way for Hasbro to develop more toys) He also made sure the vehicles were the same size as the robot-forms of each character - no mass shifting, no cheating in the movie continuity.

8 out of 10

In 'Autobots Roll Out' we are introduced to the newest versions of some familiar Autobots. None of them are exactly the same type of car as before and most of them aren't even the same color. In fact, with so many gray and black vehicles/bots in the movie, this reviewer found it almost impossible to tell the second stringers apart. Luckily, each one of them gets a spotlight in this featurette. Bay explains that despite what the fans were shouting at him, he was never going to have Bumblebee turn into a Volkswagen (because it wouldn't be cool enough). Instead, the Autobot with the most screen time (in most every version of Transformers) became a 1977 Camaro that later turns itself into a Camaro from the future that hadn't even been released yet at the time the film was shot. After all the remaining Autobots are introduced (still having trouble telling the movie Ironhide from movie Jazz), this segment also goes into some of the other cars that were on set just to satisfy Michael Bay's destructive craving. Contrary to what one might think, apart from the robot forms of the Autobots (and Decepticons) all the other vehicles were right there on set, being catapulted into buildings (on the Universal Backlot, thank the Allspark) and being pulled apart (like that bus on the highway).

7 out of 10

Now that we've met the Autobots, it is only natural to introduce their opponents in 'Decepticons Strike'. It's a good thing Michael the Directocon has the number of the Pentagon hot-line on his Laptocon (a fact he keeps repeating on the audio commentary on disc 1) because the writing team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman decided the evil Decepticon would all disguise themselves as military and law enforcement vehicles. This also means they are all gray and black of course. How and why the military could possibly loan out two of their three fastest and newest fighters, the F-22 Raptor, to pose as Starscream when there is still a war going on in the Middle East is never made clear. Some of the other new army equipment that was used in the film (for the first time ever Bay keeps reminding us) is also highlighted in this segment, as well as the Decepticon known as Frenzy (another invention of Bay, according to him) but who seems more like an overactive love-child of General Grievous to me. Note that Scorponoc goes unmentioned in this piece, but only because it has a featurette all to itself on another part of the second disc.

7 out of 10

The fourth and final piece of the puzzle, 'Inside the Allspark' sheds some light on the CGI character animation which was done for three quarters by Industrial Light and Magic and the remaining fourth by the Bay-owned Digital Domain. Here it turns out that Charles Alleneck, one of the biggest Transformer geeks that was featured back in 'Rise of the Robots' wasn't interviewed at home, nor at a Bot-con, but at his ILM cubicle. Why on Cyberton this guy would take all of his most prized possessions with him to work and display them there is a mystery to me, unless it is because Skywalker Ranch is virtually impregnable and therefor the safest place for him to keep his Transformer collection. The computer generated Autobots and Decepticons in this movie are each made up off more than a thousand moving parts (compared to 51 on an impressive toy Optimus Prime). To me, all those moving and turning bits and pieces make the characters less expressive instead of more. It certainly fails to give them distinct personalities compared to the cartoon version or for instance, The Iron Giant. But, since they managed to find people crazy enough to figure out where each and every part of a vehicle goes during each transformation, how about green lighting a movie version of M.A.S.K. in the near future?

6 out of 10

Average: 7 out of 10

Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong.


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