Bumblebee and Sam (Shia LaBeouf) © Paramount Pictures

It’s been two years since Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeauf) and the Autobots saved Humanity from the invading Decepticons. But just as he enters college, leaving his Autobot guardian robot, Bumblebee, behind, Sam and Mikaela (Megan Fox) must uncover the secret history of the Transformers’ presence on Earth, and rescue the planet from an ancient Decepticon threat, The Fallen…

Shia, would you tell us about the development of the characters in this and how the movie is better than the last one?

Bumblebee and Sam (Shia LaBeouf) © Paramount Pictures

The characters start to have layers, like Bumblebee. Bumblebee looked cute and all, but what was he? Who was he? Why is he the way he is? Why is he so rambunctious and why is Optimus not as rambunctious? Questions that need answers just for any Human watching the film; this movie has those answers. This movie also has bigger laughs than the first one. People have been really excited about it.

Physically is this a more demanding movie than the original?

John Turturro and Shia LaBeouf © Paramount Pictures

This movie is very, very, very, very physical and it’s more emotional this time. There’s more characters things going on, which is crazy to say for a Transformer movie, this is a premise-driven movie. It’s almost like what Cinescope movies used to be. People used to go to Cinescope movies regardless of what the theme or the premise was at all; it was just a Cinescope movie. So I think the first time we had our movie come out it was sort of Transformers and CG and where our technology was, it was almost a Cinescope film. People almost came in just for the technology.

How is it better?

How do we make it bigger, better, stronger, faster, smarter, funnier? How do we do all those things? You start adding characters and the characters that we added are just gangbusters. Like Ramon’s stuff is just hysterical. And Isabel’s very interesting and has a very, very interesting arc in her character.

What is the interaction with the robots like in this film?

The interaction between the robots and the Humans is more of a relationship. As opposed to Human and alien, now it’s almost like friends. Bumblebee has his own arc in this, Sam’s going through boy-to-man, but Bumblebee’s going through the same type of thing. So, to watch that happen with Bumblebee and watch his confidence grow in a character that doesn’t even exist is fun for a multitude of reasons. And the human-robot interaction is more tangible.  The technology is getting better and better, and that coupled with Michael Bay’s eye in terms of action, it’s a really fun, explosive, outrageous, fantastical joyride of a film.

As well as using CGI, Michael Bay also uses practical effects, can you talk about those?

Bang! © Paramount Pictures

This is the biggest practical effects ever dealt with, or have ever been done I film. There’s a man named John Fraser who handles all of our practical effects, and he’s been doing this since forever. And he said that he’s never done explosions or rigged things this big ever in the history of his career. He’s been doing this for close to 70 years now, which is outrageous. So, seven decades of film-making led up to whatever’s coming in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And it’s literally Guinness World Records for size of explosions with actors in it. It took them seven months to rig a 1,000-gallon gasoline explosion that they then put us in the middle of and told us to run. Seven months! That’s longer than we were shooting. They were rigging one explosion longer than our entire filming schedule. It’s an outrageous blast, and I’ll never feel anything like it again, and nobody that was on that set will ever experience anything close to what we just saw.

When you’re filming it, do you even have a concept of that the final movie will look like?

You have no concept of what you’re gonna see at the end of the thing. Mike can tell you  up and down, swear to you what it’s gonna look like, and there’s no way that you can wrap your head around what’s he’s talking about until you see it.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.