June 26, 2009
The Smithsonian is having a blockbuster summer, thanks to two sequels.
In May, “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian,” premiered. The first feature film to use the interior of the museums has grossed more than $100 million domestically, and continues to draw audiences.
Today, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” hits box offices, and visitors to The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, will be pleased to see heartthrob Shia Labeouf and a scantily-clad Megan Fox admiring the Enola Gray Gay and other historical fight pieces as they search for a transformer hidden in the museum.
Not to give too much away, but at this point in the film, the stars’ characters are looking for someone who might be able to read an ancient robot language. They find their robot hiding as an out-of-commission Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. (Learn more about the plane in this month’s Object at Hand.) Known as Jetfire, he turns out to be a bearded, cranky old-timer, who creaks when he transforms. “It’s sort of like arthritis,” director Michael Bay told Empire Magazine. Despite Jetfire’s bad attitude, and his previous identity as a decepticon (the villains of the Transformers universe), he is partially responsible for the movie’s climactic ending.
The SR-71 featured in the movie–filming was done on location at the museum–was a reconnaissance aircraft used by the military and NASA. In 1990, it took its final flight from Palmdale, California, to Chantilly, Virginia. Upon arrival, the Blackbird became a permanent addition of the National Air and Space Museum’s collection, going on display in 1993.
So, if you’re a fan of the Smithsonian, don’t miss this cinematic opportunity to watch a 50-foot tall robot blast a hole through the Udvar-Hazy Center’s side door.
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