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Excavating the FutureArchaeology and Geopolitics in Contemporary North American Science Fiction Film and Television$
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Shawn Malley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941190

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941190.001.0001

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Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

(p.59) Chapter 3 Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
Excavating the Future

Shawn Malley

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the representation of archaeology in the action/adventure cinematics of Michael Bay's Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (2007), a film predicated on hidden relics transforming explosively into action. The film's diegetic environment—which features a hunt for a lost relic that happens to be the key to an ancient doomsday device secreted away inside the Great Pyramid at Giza—is analogous to the its specific geographical and historical setting. The film is "Babylonian" in that it invokes Orientalist imagery as an almost inevitable generic necessity within SF action/adventure cinema. The chapter argues specifically that the military, archaeological and geopolitical motifs of the film are most clearly and coherently aligned in the framing and shot-making techniques of the action sequences themselves. By figuratively compressing time into literally compressed spaces (here principal photography at Petra, Giza and Luxor is collapsed into a single location), the set/setting is a chronotopic threshold that transforms antiquity into a battle ground for military technocratic modernity.

Keywords:   science fiction film and television, archaeology, geopolitics, chronotope, Egypt, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Action/adventure cinema

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