Writing in The Milwaukee Journal prior to the theatrical release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, film critic Duane Dudek wrote, “Neither the Milwaukee Art Museum nor any lakefront real estate was harmed during the filming of Transformers: Dark of the Moon there last year. Chicago was not so lucky.”
Milwaukee sees a bit of filmmaking action, but only rare action films the magnitude of Transformers. During one of Milwaukee’s morning commutes during the filming, cars were lined up at the end of the freeway ramps at the lakefront, their drivers standing beside them watching helicopters circle over the Santiago Calatrava-designed museum, which serves as the corporate headquarters of the bad guy (Patrick Dempsey) in the film. It was a beautiful morning to watch some of the rare peaceful action on the explosive film.
But much of explosions took place some 80 miles to the south, where a section of Chicago’s Wacker Drive was seemingly turned into a pile of rubble in one of the film’s epic battles while fans of the series stood on rooftops with camcorders recording the action.
Missing, of course, were the special effects added in later, including the Decepticon, Shockwave, who Scott Farrar — the film’s special effects supervisor — describes as “the dominant force.” The Decepticon rips apart the Windy City with the enthusiasm fans have come to expect from the massive pieces of sentient moving metal. Shockwave, designed and animated by Industrial Light & Magic, rises about 40 virtual feet and has more than 2,000 moving digital pieces. “He doesn’t stand around and talk,” Farrar says. “He just fights.”
Now that we think of it, with Milwaukee’s art museum being one of those rare buildings that moves, could the Calatrava actually be a transf … oh, let’s not even go there.
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is now showing on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2011 Paramount Pictures Corporation