‘Transformers 3′ Recycles Footage From Michael Bay’s ‘The Island’

Published 4 years ago by

Transformers Dark of the Moon The Island Footage Michael Bay Transformers 3 Recycles Footage From Michael Bays The Island

Transformers: Dark of the Moon owned the July 4th holiday box office, proving yet again that even though critics aren’t fans of Michael Bay’s robot slugfests, there are plenty of moviegoers out there who still get a thrill from seeing that one-of-a-kind Bay-brand action.

Our own Transformers: Dark of the Moon review overlooked some the glaring weaknesses in the film’s plot, editing, and acting, in favor of the sheer enjoyment and awe that was inspired by the amazing 3D action sequences Bay managed to capture on camera.

But would we – or anyone else – still feel that way if we were to learn that some of the action in Dark of the Moon wasn’t as revolutionary and original as we were led to believe?

Personally, I don’t care (the action in Transformers 3 was well worth my 3D ticket money), but one movie sleuth on the Web (name: Jermaín Oldremán) did care – enough so to have spliced together a reel of comparative footage that offers pretty glaring evidence that Michael Bay recycled shots from the highway chase sequence in his 2005 film (flop) The Island for the epic highway chase scene between Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), Bumblebee, and a few other Autobots and Decepticons in Dark of the Moon.

Check out the comparative footage here:

A couple of points:

  1. Some people are already accusing Bay of “pirating” this island footage he used in Dark of the Moon, but as pointed out by our own Rob Keyes – “When The Island was made, Paramount & Dreamworks were partners, both owned by Viacom. Paramount is still the worldwide distributor for Dreamworks.” So no, there’s not really a conflict of studio interests in terms of Bay using this footage.
  2. There IS, however, a conflict of interest with Mr. Oldremán using bootlegged footage from Dark of the Moon to make his point. It’s also deliciously ironic: exposing a director for “borrowing” from his past film while you’re “borrowing” from his new film. Totally meta…especially if there’s a lawsuit.
  3. Movies recycle things all of the time. Sound effects, establishing shots, stock footage, plotlines (Zing!). It’s not exactly a crime (Example: The Wilhem Scream)
  4. Does anybody even remember The Island? (As always, I’m sure the film has at least a few fans.) And even amongst those who remember it, does anyone really have THAT much love for the movie that they don’t want to see one frame of it “exploited” for the purposes of another movie?

In the end, there’s little “controversy” here. More like another fun Transformers Easter egg for fans of the movie to discuss.

Speaking of Easter eggs, be on the lookout this week for the following Transformers-related posts on our site:

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is now in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX theaters everywhere.

Source: YouTube via The Playlist

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  1. hmm haven’t seen the island so it doesn’t really bother me /=

  2. oh wow this article sucks.

    First off clearly the writer is a brainless man who likes transformers. This comment should end there, but here I go.
    First off, its cheap to recycle a shot like this vs an establishing shot or a sound effect. Eitherway recycling is extremely unprofessional and no good movie has used it.

    2nd there are fans for the movie the island that love it greatly and dearly. and do get offended when a good movie is taken and used in a POS movie like transformers.

    lastly, learn law, usage of footage for critique is perfectly legal under us copyright law.

    go crawl in a hole and never come back.

    • Thanks Random Man, I’ll take your advice under advisement.

      • @Random Man

        I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure usage of illegally obtained footage like bootleg footage is not legal for any reason, critique or not.

        I’m also already writing this from a hole. Should I just stay here, or, like, dig myself further in to meet your request?

    • Ok Enough! I am sick and tired of this stereotype that has been created with these Transformers movies! Were any who is a fan of them is a low life idiot with a extremely low IQ! You know what? I love 1 and 3 and i enjoyed Transformers 2 to a certain extent even though i understand every single thing that was wrong with the movie. Dose that make me imbecile? NO! I love all kinds of movies and mostly scifi movies. Heck my all time favorite movie is District 9. The problem with most people is that they think every single movie needs to have a perfect plot, perfect editing, perfect acting, and perfect Directing. They think every single movie needs to be a master piece and that is far from the truth!

      Now to stay on topic. There is absolute nothing wrong with recycling 2 4 second scenes in a movie. It would be a different thing if there was reused clips all over the place and i posted this in the comment section of that youtube video before but another reason that could of done this could of been because of the nasty accident that happened while filming this scene.

      • I think you just reinforced that stereotype insane12.

      • Agreed on both subjects. Stock Footage is used by directors ALL THE TIME. It’s only when Michael Bay uses it that people start the bashing.

  3. interesting

  4. Is this sort of a cover version, movie style or is it seriously LAZY film making? Don’t get me both clips are impressive but I could photo shop say king kong over lord of the rings for instance p.s that was some really sharp observation kudos to you sir.

  5. Let me preface this by saying, I am not trying to attack or dismiss. I am a big fan of Screenrant and Gamerant.

    “Our own Transformers: Dark of the Moon review overlooked some the glaring weaknesses in the film’s plot, editing, and acting, in favor of the sheer enjoyment and awe that was inspired by the amazing 3D action sequences Bay managed to capture on camera.”

    In any industry, when you are selling something: people buying are looking for consistency.

    What you have effectively done between your transformer review and your green lantern review, is prove that screenrant judges movies based on whatever mood they happen to be in at the time of the screening. A more professional (read: better) way to write reviews would be to have a thesis for rating criteria for the site, and then try to adhere to that as much as possible. Otherwise, the star rating system is useless and some reviews end up looking like fanboy forum posts.

    Does Screenrant care about plot holes, editing and acting? Does a good review mean that a movie has artistic integrity? Does a bad review mean that it can still be enjoyable?

    I have been visiting this site daily for over a year now, without a concise set of cinema values: the reviews seem like waste of time.

    • Ouch.

    • We have a review staff. Different people tackle different films. We have diverse opinions and different frames of reference for how we view what we view.

      We usually put our heads (all 3 or more) together and make sure we back whatever review goes up. Team effort. There are sometimes slight disagreements (half a star this way, half a star that way…) but we ultimately trust in the reviewer.

      @Mr.Blades – are you at ALL experienced in reading movie news sites/magazines. A lot of them have review staffs as well, and different reviewers like different things at different times, for different reasons. This is creative writing, not math, not science. It depends on mood, expectation, viewing history, etc… that’s part of it. It’s part of any form of criticism – whether the “professionals” want to admit it or not. Personality effects a subjective interpretation of a work of art. Just how it is. GET OVER IT.

      You don’t like our reviews: Stop reading them. It’s that simple. We don’t want to upset you – nor do we want to get upset ourselves having to read your complaining. If this relationship isn’t working, maybe we both need to see other people. We’ll always have [INSERT REVIEW OF OURS YOU LIKED] to cherish together.

      • It was not my intent to upset you, as I said I am a fan of the site. Pardon my languange, having reread my post I was a much more hostile than I intended.

        I only meant to ask a question. I hope you aren’t to incensed with my words to continue. I just felt as though the review of Transformers 3 was approaching the movie from the place of awe and appreciation. This is how I feel about most summer blockbusters, and I completely agree with you. That is why I like your reviews and this site. I do not feel as though the GL review was made from the same place. But that horse has been beat to death and I shouldn’t have brought it up.

        I get what you mean about it being creative writing, and at subjectivity is part of the game. You were apt to guess that I am new to engaging in debate about movies. I will continue to read the site, but this is the last time I’ll get too serious about it.

    • MrBlades,

      “Does Screenrant care about plot holes, editing and acting? Does a good review mean that a movie has artistic integrity? Does a bad review mean that it can still be enjoyable?”

      We try to balance all of that in our reviews. I’ve personally given a lot of “grace” to some movies that one might not consider “quality” film-making, but that accomplish what they set out to do in terms of entertainment value. However some movies (for us) don’t meet the mark on either level. While I personally might not have been as excoriating in my review of Green Lantern, I wouldn’t have given it more than an additional half star. I love superhero movies and I found GL to be flat and not very entertaining at all. On our Transformers 3 review, I personally would have probably gone a half star lower than the review here on the site and I would not have been quite as “glowing” in my assessment. Basically, I would have moved a bit more to the middle on both of those.

      As Kofi has pointed out, while I used to be the sole reviewer on the site, we now have multiple reviewers, and each has his own voice and way of looking at films.


      • I think it’s true of all reviewers to insert their opinions, joys, dislikes, and overall understanding of film as an art when they are writing a review. It’s difficult, when you write a review after seeing the movie not to be either emotionally happy or unhappy inregards to the film. I think that shows through a lot reviewers.

        I remember during film class being told to simply review the film for what is not what we want to be or wish it to be but try to review the movie as unbiased as you can. It’s hard to do that though for an amatuer(sp?) to do that; I’m sure it’s difficult as such for a professional. In fact, several different reviewers gave Transformers 3 1 Star to 3 Stars (Screenrant was the only one to give it 4, that I read).

        I enjoyed GL and would have given it 2 1/2 stars because of the issues with it. But I think the point of MrBlades comment is that there doesn’t seem to be a system, maybe an editing system that allows the reviewer time collect their thoughts and write in a way that objective. I think it’s hard to write objectively about certain movies, pretty much any comic book movie would fall into that category. I remember Vic holding off the GL review until he saw the movie because of Kofi’s harsh review. But I feel that the point being made about ignoring the plot holes etc, is a valid point in the conversation regarding rating a film.

        Each reviewer certainly has a different tone for the articles. And each one sees a movie in a different way. DSB gave GL 9 out of 10 and I have no idea why he did that but he did. Ebert trashes a lot movies he simply doesn’t understand or find to high class while Roeper enjoys movies for the sake of movies and judges based on that. So, I guess in all my rambling, to each their own.

      • Vic, it’s my impression that the other reviewers on the Screen Rant’s staff just aren’t as good and thoughtful in writing reviews as you are.

        Just my opinion, no offense meant to anybody here. I know Vic can’t write every single movie review on here, and he’s probably been at it longer.


    • I tend to agree with everything said here.

  6. A review is just an opinion everyone has there own

    • I think that this is not true, otherwise anyone could do it. And if you had heard my grandmother review Spiderman, you would know this.

      • Well you can on this site I think that’s the whole idea. If you disagree with a review you can give your 2 cent/pence (I’m from the uk)

      • Mr blades, It’s a free country and anybody can if they want to and they can put it wherever they damn well please. It’s just opinions. The way you comment makes it seem like that if a reviewer doesn’t like a film then it’s socially unacceptable or something.

    • You know what they say…opinions are like a**holes; everybody’s got one and isn’t afraid to share their outburst…

      As to the similarities in shots, has anyone considered that Bay is following the Hollywood trend of “being green” and recycling footage?

      As my personal hero of Muppetological descent has noted, “It ain’t easy bein’ green.”

      • You know what they say…opinions are like a**holes; and I use mine everyday:)

  7. Never saw The Island,and never wanted to,but reusing footage is pure laziness.

    And to the writer of the article above,don’t try making a point,like point number 3,without providing any examples.It makes your argument less credible when throwing out blanketed statements without backing them up with examples.

    • Not sure why this thread is so hostile, but…

      @ Longshanks

      I wasn’t making a generalized statement – just one I thought was common knowledge. I updated the article with a link just for you bud. Consider it an example.

      • My comment wasn’t meant to be hostile, I just don’t understand what your professional stance on movies is. What makes 5 stars different from 1 in your eyes

    • “but reusing footage is pure laziness.”

      OORRR …. a money-saving device which allowed more money to be put into the FX of the Transformers. Pick your battles.

      An the Island is a pretty good movie.

      • True but not an action scene maybe a stock fly over of a city or an old set (from a different angle) but I know what you mean every pound made is a pound saved. O and I also liked the island thought it was pretty underrated

        • Pound saved is a pound made doh!

      • Its called Lazy dude pure and simple, if bay has to pull scenes from other movies just to fill time then he needs to have another assitant director film the scene needed.

        • A quick little money saver. Or a last resort due to the fact that when they filmed this scene a nasty accident happened were a cable that was carrying a car and was so pose to flip it snaps flys into the lane with extras, threw the wind shield of a car, slicing open the skull of an extra. Just because you presume one thing dose not mean its the truth there can be so many reason why he did this.

  8. Do your homework Screen rant. The shot from ‘The Island’ was inserted after an accident that occurred during filming of that particular chase scene in ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’. A tow-cable snapped, hitting film extra Gabriella Cedillo and resulting in a serious head injury, leaving her paralyzed.

  9. Apparently the footage was used from the Island because there was an accident with the footage they shot for Transformers where someone was injured so they didn’t want to use it out of respect.

    Ironically rumor was Scarlett Johansson almost got hurt doing some stunt while filming the Island.

  10. I know it’s off topic but what would the census be for the new batman maybe reusing scenes of the joker be it deleted or over the shoulder. Allowing for some edited dialogue? I remember a football/soccer ad witch used players from old mixing with new that worked quiet well. It’s just got me thinking with modern cgi (ie tron legacy) how long actors could go on. Ok rant over

  11. I love screenrant but this is one of the stupids things I’ve seen on here. The time people take to sh** all over Bay is amazing. We get it, his movies are not masterpieces. Can we leave it at that? Just enjoy the damn movie. Pathetic.

    • I’m really confused by the negative reactions to this article. Did you not READ the thing? It basically says “what’s the big deal?” over the re-used footage. It says the movie was enjoyable.

      What the hell, people.


      • Two reasons Vic.

        1. Its the internet.

        2. People love to find a reason to hate on Bay.

        • Perhaps it is the fact that Bay is an A$$ to a lot of other people and has made a habit of touting how great he is. In my opinion he is a hack director and I for one will not sir back and let someone who has minimal talent overshadow others who could have made a better product. I as a paying customer of movies have the right to state that as many times and as loudly as I want.

      • but its funny but Bay did this before Vic. he used a scene from Pearl Harbor in Transformers 1. i agree maybe the movie is enjoyable but didnt the guy boost about film the movie all in 3D but it just prove thats not true at all.

      • I should clarify, I’m commenting more on the face that this site would give such TMZ Sensationalism “news” the time of day. Not only does it not accomplish ANYTHING, just like the article says, but then you get all of these pseudo-intellectuals coming to the board to spit on Bay and his films (see comments on this board). It’s really really sad.

        • It’s news. People are talking about it, so we’re covering it. Your comment suggested we were bashing Bay, which this article does not do.


          • Vic, I never directly stated that Screenrant was doing the bashing. Read my post again.

            As far as “this is news” thing, I don’t buy it. Justin Bieber buying a Pepsi is also news on Entertainment Tonight. I was complementing screen rant on usually not going for these stories due to integrity. That’s why I’m surprised.

            Oh and if your film website friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump also? :)

            • LOL, no, but we cover what is currently bubbling up in the blogosphere, news, Twitter, etc. IF it is related to movies we usually cover here (which this most certainly is).

              So, no, Bieber wouldn’t qualify, nor does that Caylee Anthony trial even though it’s super-hot right now.


            • @da139
              I read your post again and yah, you did actually say that.

        • And FYI, other sites covering this:

          Entertainment Weekly (yes, THAT Entertainment Weekly)
          Bleeding Cool


      • can’t agree with you more
        sudenly you have poeple who are talking about how transformers is such a bad movie
        how this is an pointless article
        others saying that screenrant should do there hommwork whne really it doesing matter how or why the scene got change the fact is that is was changed and some poeple are crying about it
        the scence’s so short and looks so diffrent that it really doesint matter
        sommtimes i laugh at what poeple complain about these days lol

    • If this site just said “whatever, we will just enjoy it” about every movie what would they write about? I enjoy these peices that look further into films and analyze them, if you don’t then I suggest you do not read them, or you could just enjoy the article and say whatever as you say we should do for Bay. Where are you coming from on this anyways? I think you are overreacting greatly.

  12. @Kofi Outlaw

    u realise Michael Bay did this before with Transformers 1. he used the same ship from Pearl Harbor in Transformers 1.

    • Wow I am going to have to rewatch every single movie I have ever seen and look for double scenes :) only joking

    • Damn… I’m losing respect for Mr. Michael Bay the more I see of this.

      In comics, he’d be crucifixed over this stuff. Just google what people say about tracers like Greg Land or Rob Liefield.

      Though to be honest, at least Michael Bay has a better sense as to where to fit these his stolen scenes in his movies, but this kinda sucks.

      • wait u had respect for him lol :P

        • Yeah, I do. These Transformers movies did take SOMEBODY’s vision to make, and I quite enjoyed the first and third movies.

          Second movie I’m going to give Bay the benefit of the doubt since it was made during a writer’s strike.

        • Also, I happened to like Armageddon.

      • With Rob Liefeld at least he was tracing over OTHER artists’ work. Michael Bay was reusing his own footage from prior films. It’s not considered stealing if you steal from yourself…and Bay’s habit for reusing his own footage aside, in this particular case it was because of the extra getting paralyzed. Some people have already left comments about this.

  13. I know I thought both clips where really good and would have never notice it otherwise

  14. I actually really enjoyed The Island, and I dislike all the Transformers movies.

    • Same here. While I think Bay is an overblown, overhyped director, I did at least enjoy one of his movies. That being The Island.

      People in animation use the same props or sets all the time, and have libraries of stuff for use elsewhere, so I don’t think it’s that big a deal here, especially considering the circumstances.

  15. That is very interesting. Using the same scene and adding different effects. Whoever caught this was really paying attention…or had too much time on their hands…like me who keeps commenting

    I guess it’s like using the same shot of a Sandperson raising his hands over and over to make the shot what you want…or it could be completely different.

  16. Not defending anything, but most movies reuse footage.

  17. Ok,after finding out why he used the stock footage,I’m ok with it now,but the argument can be made that a precedent was set in Transformers 1,so…

    Either way,the movie itself was *meh*,and the IMAX really didn’t help it out to me.

  18. I don’t understand the negativity over this article either. They’re just reporting a story, people. That’s what they do around here.

    I’m guessing that people are still paranoid that Screen Rant is trying to bash everything after the Green Lantern debacle, but these people need to calm down and take a deep breath and realize that SR isn’t a conspiracy in the making or anything. Knee-jerk reactions do no one any good, especially on the internet.

    I did find the video more than a little disorienting because I never expected that footage for the Transformers 3 movie – which I enjoyed – would have been “borrowed” from a previous film.

    As it happens, though, in this case, that re-used footage resulted in a very memorable action-packed scene at the theater.

    Sure, the article says “what’s the big deal?” I think, for some people, it’s that has the footage somehow now been tainted by the knowledge it’s been recycled?

    I’m not sure it matters a great deal to me in this particular case, but I can see why it would for some purists.

    But yes, undoubtedly the person in more trouble here is the one with the bootlegged footage. Not a very smart thing to do! Still, it’s a legitimate complaint, I guess.

  19. With the amount of CGI work it’s almost like reusing a prop or a set.

    They reused an old gay porn set to film The King’s Speech. I don’t think anyone was too angry about that, seems just like a funny fact.

    • Also, Disney re-used a LOT of animation way back in the early days.


  20. Thinking avatar 2/3 will most likely follow suit with background shots etc so it is not all bad I guess

  21. I don’t see how it matters or why any person would get upset over this. I mean really. Firstly, they’re JUST MOVIES. Secondly, why would they redo a scene like that if they already had footage to use?

    Also, that shot looked incredibly real in TF3!

  22. it wasnt just a cost savings scene its an omage to his previous work. he does it in ALL of his movies actually…im big bay fan and yeah i think the only movie he hasnt reused footage or suggested the same idea with slightly different footage (see transformers 3 and the scenes that are omages to armageddon) see transformers 2 and see the way when the decepticons are shooting to earth taking out buildings like the asteroids in Armageddon…hell the buildings he destroys with the asteroids/transformers even look the same in both films…its his style not because hes a hackjob.

    and by the way the first time i saw transformers three i noticed this scene was exactly the same footage as the island and was OH NICE in the theatre. so people may think this was a hidden easter egg or what ever but it was blatantly obvious to fans of bays work.

  23. i think the only movie he hasnt reused footage from/paid an omage to is The Rock*

    I could be wrong though.

  24. I’m curious as to how many people actually noticed it before whoever made that clip. I highly doubt that in the moment they did. Does it really matter? That like saying using the A chord that you used in a previous song is recycling old chords.

    • Exactly. The people that are up in arms over this non-news more than likely didn’t notice it in the first place. So what difference does it make? Do you feel betrayed or something? So petty…

      • I think the worst part of this is that someone paid enough attention to the island that they noticed the recycled footage from an action scene. Kinda sad to be fair. If your life is that boring that you have to pick apart a directors work to criticise them then it’s a bit sad. If you want to criticise Michael Bay then look no further than Transformers 2

    • Heh. Ironic, that, about recycling chords. Check out ‘Axis of Awesome’ and their rip on “4-chord songs”: http://youtu.be/5pidokakU4I (warning, “salty” language)

      • Damn, damn good sone

        • ahh good old typing skills letting me down there

      • That was pretty funny. The only one that I didn’t think fit was the red hot chili peppers though. Under the bridge has totally different chords.

  25. All of your comments miss the point, though. I don’t care if the footage was rehashed from another film from a legal standpoint, nor do I care that The Island isn’t getting its credit. I also don’t mind when they do the Welhielm scream as thats a fun little nod. I care because this was done in a sneaky way. It wasn’t a fun little nod, we weren’t supposed to find out. They quickly tried to throw something in on the cheap, and even though its small, I feel cheated. Thats why I care. So no matter how much people talk of legal troubles, or easter eggs, or what have you. This was done on the cheap and it cheated the audience.

    Whats also interesting is, if I may, what this means for its ‘exciting’ 3D claims (which for the record I was just as disgusted with the 3D in this film as the others, yes, even Avatar). I heard it was shot in 3D, yet, clearly, this was not shot in 3D. Interesting considering the 3D isn’t different from these frames to the other. Makes me wonder how top of the line the rest of it was…

    This isn’t even an attack on Transformers. I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the series, but I actually enjoyed this one. No, my attack is on the 3D and the used footage. It just feels wrong. It feels dirty. And I’m not gonna take it anymore.

    • It was shot in 3D, you can look up pics of bay using 3D camera rigs.

    • There was a percentage of the 3d of the film done post-shot, for scenes that were too close up to effectively use the cameras, and obviously for recycled footage.

  26. I have seen The Island (I actually liked it a lot to be honest, best chase scene on an interstate hiway ever) and I don’t care that he recycled footage.

    It’s nice to know that that fantastic footage will get to be seen by many people now, because it was just that good in The Island. LOL I even sat there and said ‘wow, that looks like stuff from The Island!’ while I was watching it.

  27. So TF3 is re-using footage Bay shot for The Island BEFORE 3D cameras. So it’s not true 3D. Again Michael Bay lied to us fans. Clearly he just wants our money and does NOT respect us on any level. Screw Michael Bay. I’m not paying to see TF3 again. I’m done with him for good.

    • But you paid to see it the first time. Bay wins :)

    • So you are calling him a liar because he used maybe 3 seconds of footage from a 2D movie?

      This is trolling at it’s finest!

  28. 1. This doesnt matter.
    2. Bay has a signature. That is what you see here. Bay is very predictable and this proves it. He used a similar set or maybe even the same stretch of highway but this isnt footage from The Island.

    Why do people waste their time with this stuff just to TRY and make Bay look bad? This article said it best when they pointed out people flock to Bay’s movies in droves no matter how harsh the critics are to him. That should be a note to some of you guys. The vast majority of movie goers don’t read movie reviews. All this ranting we do is seen by a fan boy base only. As long as Bay makes fun, over-the-top movies people will go see them by the millions.

  29. For the record: Bay never said the “whole” film.was shot in 3D. Some scenes the cameras were just not practicle cause of their bulk and cumbersone nature.