action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 10th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: The Last Knight

transformers-the last knight

Another Transformer movie and I still had no desire to see it in theaters. In fact, I honestly wasn’t even going to buy it on Blu-Ray but that stupid completionist aspect of my personality made me go ahead and buy it so I could review it with the rest of them. Anyways, when the trailers for this movie came out, the only thing that piqued my interest was the fact that they said Unicron was going to be a part of the story line. However, I have been disappointed in movie portrayals of giant, cosmic beings (like Galactus in Rise Of The Silver Surfer) so I didn’t have much hopes for this. Then I started hearing the early reviews from critics, and from some sites whose opinions I actually listen too, and decided that this wasn’t worth going to see. So this is ny first time watching today’s movie, Transformers: The Last Knight, so let’s see what I am in for.

The plot: In the Dark Ages of England, a massive battle is being fought between the Saxons and King Arthur’s forces. As Arthur’s knights chastise Arthur for his faith in Merlin coming to save them, Merlin heads to a remote hillside and speaks with the Knights of Iacon, a group of Transformers that are hiding on the planet. Merlin begs them for their help and the Knights hand him a staff, saying to guard it as a great evil will one day come for it, then transform into a 3-headed dragon (Dragonstrom) and take off, joining the battle and turning the tide in Arthur’s favor.In the present day, 5 years after the events in China, all Transformers have been declared illegal and a new military force, called the TRF, has orders to hunt them down but more and more Transformers continue coming to Earth and some wonder why they are drawn there. In Chicago, a group of kids sneak into the quarantined area of the city and discover a Transformer still alive in a downed flying craft but are spotted by a pair of TRF drones. The kids are saved by Izabella, an orphan who has been living in the area, and Sqweeks, a Transformer who is unable to transform. Izabella leads the kids to her hideout, which is a dome covering provided by another Transformer, Canopy. As the drones leave, Canopy stands up and starts moving to a new location but the TRF spot him and fire a missile into him, killing him. As the security drones move to capture the kids, they are saved by Cade Yeager and Bumblebee. After getting Izabella and the kids out of the area, Cade heads back to the ship and tries to save the Transformer inside but he is too badly wounded. The Transformer tries to give Cade a talisman, saying it will protect him but Cade refuses it. As Cade leaves, he is confronted by the TRF and captured, with their field leader, Santos, asking him where he is hiding the other Transformers. Bumblebee drives up to rescue Cade and is seemingly blown up but all of the pieces put themselves back together, taking out several TRF soldiers in the process. A standoff occurs but is broken up by Colonel Lennox, former NEST commander and Autobot ally, who tells both sides to stand down. Unnoticed by Cade or the TRF, the dying Transformer sends the talisman to Cade but Barricade, a Decepticon who survived the Mission City battle years ago, sees this and drives off, as he does not want to face the TRF. With Hound showing up to cover them, Cade and Bumblebee leave but the TRF manage to get a tracking device onto Bumblebee’s fender. Later, Lennox meets with General Morshower and it is revealed that he is undercover in the TRF to try and keep them from killing off all of the Autobots. They learn that Barricade was seen in the Chicago area and is with Megatron, who was seeking the talisman as it would show the location of the Staff of Merlin, and Morshower says that they need to find the Staff and have it locked up so it can’t be used. Meanwhile, Megatron chastises Barricade for letting the Talisman get away but Barricade says that they can use the TRF to locate Cade. Out in space, Optimus Prime finally reaches Cybertron and cries out at seeing the state his home planet is in. Optimus is approached by Quintessa, who says she is his creator, and he attempts to attack her but she strikes him down and after placing him in chains, says that he will help her restore Cybertron. In England, a Transformer named Cogman approaches his employer, Sir Edmund Burton, and tells him that the talisman has been bestowed upon the new knight. Burton heads off to Oxford University, where he observes a young professor named Vivian Wembley give a walking lecture to some students about King Arthur, then he gets back in his car and speaks to it, revealing it to be a Transformer. Back on Cybertron, Quintessa tells Optimus that there is a way to rebuild Cybertron but he must locate her staff, which the 12 Knights of Iacon stole from her and gave to the humans and Optimus says he will go and retrieve it for her. In South Dakota, Cade, Bumblebee, and Hound return to Cade’s junkyard, which serves as a sanctuary for the Autobots (including Drift, Crosshairs, and Wheelie), and the Dinobots Grimlock and Slug (as well as mini versions of Grimlock, Slug, and Strafe). Cade chastises his assistant Jimmy for letting Grimlock get out of the junk yard and eat the tribal chief’s police car, as they are trying to keep a low profile so they don’t get arrested. An Autobot scavenger called Daytrader shows up and tries passing off some of the parts he found, such as Starscream’s head, when he notices the talisman and asks if it is real, saying that it is a sign of an upcoming apocalypse. Izabella and Sqweeks reveal that they had stowed away on Hound and Izabella tries to convince Cade to let her stay but he wants her to leave, as it isn’t safe for her there. Meanwhile, 6 horns have begun growing out of the Earth, with former Agent Simmons doing his own research in Cuba while Burton investigates another site and says that the horns mean that Cybertron is coming to Earth, a theory that a NASA scientist is trying to explain to his superiors. Meanwhile, Morshower tells Lennox that Megatron approached the TRF to negotiate a truce and ask that several of his associates be released from custody so they can find the talisman, which both sides are after. Lennox is made point on the exchange, knowing that both the TRF and Decepticons will turn on the other at the first opportunity, and arranges for 4 of Megatron’s Decepticons to be released. The next day, Izabella replaces Sqweeks missing arm with a Decepticon arm from the junkyard and then helps Cade replace Bumblebee’s voice box with one that Daytrader brought them, only to find that it is faulty. As the Decepticons and TRF approach the junkyard, Cade is given a warning by Chief Sherman and he has the Autobots move out to an arranged battle site while Hound stays behind to slow the Decepticons down. As the Autobots make their way to an abandoned city, the TRF gives chase but they are waylaid by Grimlock and Slug, who destroy most of their vehicles. Upset by the loss of his men, Santos ignores Lennox’s orders and sends a drone fleet out to kill Cade. In the town, Cade has Jimmy and Izabella hide while he rigs some explosives to use on the Decepticons. When the Decpticons arrive, they spot Sqweeks and Megatron grabs him, causing Izabella to rush out to save her friend. As Cade goes to rescue her, the talisman suddenly attaches itself to his arm as Cade grabs Izabella and activates the explosives. The Autobots and Dinobots attack the Decepticons, killing several of them and forcing Megatron to call for a retreat but the drones appear and start attacking Cade, Jimmy, and Izabella. As they try to escape from the drones in a hotel, they encounter Cogman, who tells Cade that his employer wishes to see him. Before they can talk any further, Cade is knocked out of the elevator by a drone and he manages to survive long enough to bring down the lead drone. Cogman approaches him and explains that Cade has been chosen to by the Knights of Iacon and he must come to England, telling him his friends will be safe as everyone is after him and the talisman. Cade approaches Izabella and tells her that she will be ok, as she is family now, and leaves her with the Jimmy and the other Autobots, then he and Bumblebee head to Cogman’s plane and head to England. In their headquarters, Morshower tells Lennox that Megatron is also on his way to England so he has Lennox and his team head there. Meanwhile, Simmons gets in touch with Burton and tells him he located a book and that he needs to meet him, as it explains what is going to happen. At the same time, NASA is continuing to track Cybertron, which is on a collision course with Earth. On Cybertron, Quintessa continues her brainwashing of Optimus, explaining that Earth is Unicron, the ancient enemy of Cybertron, and he must be destroyed so that Cybertron may live. With her brainwashing complete, Quintessa dubs Optimus Nemesis Prime and tasks him with fulfilling his mission. In England, Vivian is at her late father’s house deciding on if she wants anything but she is overcome with memories and leaves. As she gets into her car, an invitation pops out of the glove compartment and the car suddenly drives off, revealing itself to be a Transformer, Hot Rod. Vivian tries to escape but Hot Rod changes forms into a Lamborghini and speeding off to his destination. Cade, Bumblebee, and Cogman arrive at Burton’s castle and are soon joined by Vivian and Burton starts to explain why he brought them there. Burton is part of an order called the Witwiccans, who is tasked with keeping secret the fact that Transformers have been on Earth for centuries, helping mankind fight some of it’s worst battles. He then leads them to the Round Table, explaining that it was symbolic as the twelve human knights were joined by the twelve Knights of Iacon to forge the pact between the species. Burton explains that Cade was the final knight, chosen for by the talisman due to having the traits the legendary knights had, and that Vivian is the last descendant of Merlin and the only one who could use it’s power. The TRF and MI6 arrive at the fortress and Cade and the others are forced to flee, with Cade and Vivian going back to her father’s study to figure out where the staff might be hidden while Burton heads to the library, contacting Simmons and swearing him in as a member of the Order of Witwiccans. Simmons guides Burton to where the book is, and as Burton reads it, he learns about Earth being Unicron and that Stonehenge is the convergence where Cybertron and Earth would connect. Back at Vivian’s house, Cade finds a picture of her and her father, which leads Vivian to discovering a childhood book that has the location of where Merlin’s tomb is located. Avoiding the TRF and Barricade, they head to the naval museum, meeting up with Burton and Cogman there, and sends them out on an old WWII sub, which happens to be a Transformer. Burton then heads to see the Prime Minister and convinces him to prepare for war as Cybertron arrive in the moon’s orbit, destroying the Ark and it gets closer to Earth. On board the sub, Cade and Vivian reach Merlin’s tomb, which is inside the ship that brought the Knights Of Iacon to Earth but they are followed by Lennox and his team. Cade and Vivian discover Merlin’s tomb and open it only to find MErlin’s body clutching a wooden staff. Thinking the staff must be somewhere in the room, Cade starts searching for it only to awaken one of the Knights of Iacon, who attacks Cade to defend the staff. Lennox and the TRF show up and begin shooting at the Knight, knocking it down a hole into a lower chamber of the ship as Vivian grabs the wooden staff and it transforms into the Staff of Merlin. When Lennox orders her to drop it, she threatens to drop it down the chamber unless he lets them go. Two more knights come alive to protect the staff but they are taken out by Optimus Prime, who demands that Vivian hand him the staff. Cade tries to talk to Optimus but when Optimus shows no sign of recognizing him, Cade tells Vivian to give Optimus the staff. As Optimus leaves, the ship suddenly starts rising to the surface and Cade tells Bumblebee they have to stop Optimus. As the ship surfaces, Optimus and Bumblebee start fighting, with Cade trying to get through to Optimus but to no avail. When Optimus is about to kill Bumblebee, Bumblebee calls out to Optimus in his own voice, which manages to reach Optimus and free him from Quintessa’s control. Suddenly, Megatron and Onslaught attack Optimus and rip the staff from his chest and fly off to Stonehenge. The Knights of Iacon then appear and attack Optimus, preparing to kill him for betraying his species but Cade is able to stop them when the talisman on his arm transforms into Excalibur. At Stonehenge, Megatron is preparing to activate the device when Burton leads an attack on them but Megatron mortally wounds Burton and flies off to Cybertron.  Megatron gives the staff to Quintessa, who activates the ignition chamber and tells Megatron to guard the chamber and make sure Vivian doesn’t enter it. Hound and the other Autobots arrive, along with Izabella and Jimmy and they come up with a plane to remove the staff and stop Quintessa. Using the Autobot’s ship to carry the TRF Ospreys into the upper atmosphere, the make their way to Cybertron’s surface, with the Autobots and Dragonstorm providing cover fire. When they get pinned down and can’t advance, NASA scientists come up with a plan to shoot down one of the anchors and have it knock the ignition chamber loose, hoping it will stop the reaction. Receiving the orders, Lennox and his team head off to light up the target for the air strike, just as Sqweeks, who had stowed away with Izabella, manages to take out the cannon, while Optimus and Dragonstrom kill Quintessa’s guards. The Autobots keep going for the ignition chamber and Vivian and Cade choose to go with them, leaving Izabella to evacuate with Lennox and his team. They reach the chamber and Megatron attempts to stop them but Optimus kicks him out of the chamber and into space. Optimus and Bumblebee then kill Quintessa and Vivian manages to remove the staff, stopping the reaction from destroying Earth. With the reaction stopped, Cybertron is now anchored permanently to Earth and Optimus contacts the Autobots and says they should head back to Cybertron to begin rebuilding it while Cade and Vivian, drawn together by the past events, decide to forge a relationship. Meanwhile, Quintessa is shown to have survived the attack and, disguised as a human, approaches a team studying one of Unicron’s horns and tells them she knows how to destroy it.

Transformers: The Last Knight met with poor results from the critics, holding a 16% rating in Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.” Steve Buscemi, who voiced Daytrader, was Michael Bay’s choice to play Agent Simmons in Transformers, but Buscemi was unavailable so the role went to John Turturro. The movie had the worst performance in the series, earning $605.4 million off of a $217 million budget, and while no new films in the series have been announced, a spin-off movie starring Bumblebee is in the works to be released in late 2018.

Let down, after let down, and once again I am let down. This movie was disappointing on so many levels. The acting was ok, with the returning characters doing good jobs reprising their roles, though I will admit that I would have loved to have more of John Goodman’s Hound on screen. The story was 1/4 interesting, 1/4 recycled, and 1/2 crap. The interesting part was the TRF and their attacking any Transformer indiscriminately, much like Cemetery Wind did in the last movie. The recycled part was the whole Transformers being in the dark ages, as that was actually a short comic book story line from the 80’s. The crap part was everything else. The whole Unicron being Earth was honestly stolen from the Transformers: Prime cartoon but even then they did a piss poor job of portraying what is essentially the ultimate bad-ass villian for Transformers. Meanwhile, Quintessa was supposed to be the Quintessons from the cartoon but she was just a pale mockery. However, my biggest complaint story-wise is that we have Megatron, essentially back in his original form, but no explanation as to what happened or how he changed from Galvatron back into Megatron. That alone is driving me nuts about this movie. As for the final battle, I know that most of these movies you have to go into with a sever suspension of disbelief but even still, I had a hard time not thinking that everyone would already be dead due to the Earth ripping apart when Cybetron got that close to it. As usual, the special effects were really good and I did like the mini-dinos and Dragonstorm, but special effects can’t help a movie that much when the story is crap. I know that Michael Bay said this would be the last movie he does for the series for the time being and I honestly hope it stops with this one because I don’t know if I can handle another one.

Rating: 2 out of 5


action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 9th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: Age Of Extinction

transformers-age of extinction

When the news first broke about a live action Transformers movie, I think there was one question that most fans had on their minds; would the Dinobots be in it. When the sequels came out, that question kept popping up, especially after Devastator was seen in Revenge Of The Fallen. Finally, seven years after the series started, the trailer came out for the 4th movie and the fans were finally getting the Dinobots on the big screen; and I honestly had no desire to go see this in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong, I did want to see it, but I have been somewhat underwhelmed by the movies and just figured I would wait to see it when it came out on DVD. That is honestly a sad state of affairs when robotic dinosaurs aren’t enough to get me to see a movie in theaters. Oh well, Michael Bay got my money since I bought it on Blu-Ray so let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

The plot: Millions of years ago, an alien race arrives on Earth and begins using their machines to terraform portions of the planet, killing off the dinosaurs as the planet is covered in molten metal. In the present day, geologist Darcy Tirrel arrives at a dig site in the Arctic Circle, where her workers have discovered the remains of a dinosaur that had been encased in metal frozen in the ice, prompting her to shut the site down so they can examine it further. Meanwhile, after the events of Chicago, Congress has formally abolished the partnership with the Autobots and a C.I.A. team known as Cemetery Wind has begun hunting both Autobots and Decepticons down, wanting to keep their technology in U.S. hands but their director, Harold Attinger, says that Japan and some other countries have some as well. In Texas, Cade Yaeger and his assistant Lucas Flannery arrive at a rundown theater and look around to see if there is anything worth salvaging when they come across an old semi cab in the main hall that piques his curiosity and he buys it from the theater landlord. At Cade’s house, his daughter is having a video chat with her boyfriend Shane when she sees her father pull up with the semi in tow. As Cade has the semi brought into his garage/workshop, she argues with him over his spending money on junk to try and fix up when they have bills that aren’t getting paid. When a realtor shows up with a couple to look at the property, claiming that he is 6 months behind on his rent, Cade chases them off but Tessa asks what will happen when she leaves for college. Elsewhere, a Cemetery Wind team tracks down and begins attacking Ratchet and bring him down, then he is approached by Lockdown, a Cybertronian bounty hunter that is working with Cemetery Wind to hunt down the Autobots. Lockdown asks Ratchet where Optimus is and when Ratchet refuses to answer, Lockdown stabs Ratchet through the chest and removes his spark. Back in Texas, Cade is examining the semi and tells Lucas and Tessa that he thinks it’s a transformer. Lucas and Tessa want to call the government, as there is a reward for information on any transformers, and Cade says he will but wants to examine it first so it can help him with his own inventions. When Cade removes a missile from the semi’s engine, it transforms into a badly damaged Optimus Prime, who draws his gun on the three humans. Cade convinces Optimus that they won’t hurt him and Optimus says that he was caught in an ambush by humans and something else and has to warn the rest of the Autobots. Cade offers to help repair him, sending Lucas into town to get some parts needed but Lucas secretly calls the government hotline when he is out. After meeting with Lockdown, Attinger returns to Langley and receives the intel about Optimus’ location and sends out a Cemetery Wind team, led by James Savoy, to capture/kill him. When Cemetery Wind arrives at Cade’s home, the search the premises but find no sign of Optimus and begin questioning Cade, threatening to shoot Tessa if he doesn’t answer. Not wanting innocent people to be hurt because of him, Optimus reveals himself from where he was hiding and begins attacking Cemetery Wind, yelling for Cade to run for it. Lockdown attacks Optimus, blowing up Cade’s home in the process and gives chase while cade and the others run and are picked up by Shane. Shane drives off, with Cemetery Wind in pursuit, and manages to avoid them but damages his car in the process. Optimus manages to get away from Lockdown and pulls up to help Cade and the others but Lockdown throws a grenade that transforms the ground into molten metal and Lucas is caught in the blast and turned into a statue. Cade, Tessa, and Shane get into Optimus and drive off and Optimus leaves them at a gas station while he makes sure they aren’t followed. After questioning Tessa and Shane about their relationship, Cade begins to hack the Cemetery Wind surveillance drone he grabbed when he was captured and sees video of Cemetery Wind killing some of the other Autobots. Realizing they are on their own, Optimus changes forms and meets up with Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs; the only surviving Autobots left. As Optimus tries to figure out why they are being hunted, Cade shows the Autobots the footage from the drone and says that after the Autobots are killed, trucks from a robotics company called K.S.I. Industries arrive to pick up the remains. Since K.S.I. is located in Chicago, the Autobots head to the outskirts of the city while Cade, Tessa, and Shane get some supplies and try to find a way inside the building. Inside K.S.I., Darcy is talking with K.S.I. CEO Joshua Joyce about the find in the Arctic and Joyce explains that the metal she found is Transformium, the same metal that the Cybertronians are made from. He shows her how the metal can be made into anything then takes her to their military design room, where they are creating their own Transformers. Joyce shows her that they have Brains held captive so he can help translate the information from the head of Megatron but is upset when he finds that every time they try to create their own Transformer, Galvatron, in the shape of Optimus, it keeps turning out like Megatron. Cade manages to clone an employee badge and he, Shane, and Bumblebee sneak inside the company, where they find that K.S.I. has built another transformer, called Stinger, which is patterned after Bumblebee. As Cade goes looking for infomation, Joyce has a secret meeting with Attinger, revealing that they have a deal with Lockdown where when Lockdown gets Optimus, they will get something called “a Seed”. Cade activates a camera in his glasses to relay what he sees to the other Autobots and Optimus is upset to find that Ratchet’s head is being melted down for the Transformium and heads towards the building. Meanwhile, Cade starts talking with Darcy when Attinger sees him and orders security to detain him. Attinger starts to question Cade about Optimus’ location when the Autobots attack the building, rescuing Cade and Brains but Joyce confronts Optimus, saying that they can build their own Transformers now so they don’t need him anymore. The Autobots leave but Attinger has Joyce send out Galvatron and Stinger to capture them but Galvatron begins resisting his programming, attacking innocent cars and firing at random. During the course of the battle, Tessa ends up trapped by a car near where Optimus and Galvatron are fighting and is forced to take shelter inside to avoid being crushed. Suddenly, Lockdown appears and begins firing on Optimus and Attinger orders Galvatron and Stinger recalled. Lockdown captures Optimus, and inadvertently grabs the car with Tessa as well and Cade tries to help her get free but is unable to hold onto the net. As Optimus is taken to his cell, Lockdown brags about his ship belonging to the Knights, of which Optimus was a part of, but he commandeered it. Tessa is taken to the trash room and manages to escape the car before it is torn apart and goes looking for Optimus. Lockdown’s ship heads to Chicago, where he hands over a seed to Savoy but while his ship is stationary, Cade, Shane, and the Autobots manage to sneak onboard and start looking for Optimus and Tessa. As the engines prepare for takeoff, Crosshairs activates the anchors to give them some more time but Lockdown sends his hounds and minions to look for them. Cade and Shane find the Knight’s armory and grab some weapons and use them to fend off some of Lockdown’s minions, then finally find Tessa. Meanwhile, the Autobots locate Optimus, who tells them that the section they are in can separate from the main ship so Hound heads to the flight deck while Drift works on freeing Optimus. Cade, Tessa, and Shane attempt to climb down the anchors back to the city but come under attack from Lockdown’s hounds and are rescued by Bumblebee. Crosshairs grabs a flier to get them and bring them back to the ship but they come under fire and are forced to fight their way free, damaging the flier in the process. Meanwhile, Lockdown prepares to warp into space but Hound manages to separate their section before he leaves and flies off. In Chicago, Joyce orders all of the Transformium, as well as Galvatron and Stinger and any remaining Transformer bodies, to be transferred to K.S.I.’s China facility, telling Attinger to bring the Seed there. Bumblebee takes Cade and Shane to meet up with the rest of the Autobots and Optimus tells Cade that he sensed Megatron’s presence when he fought Galvatron. Brains then explains that While K.S.I. had him deciphering Megatron’s brain for their programming, Megatron was still active and hijacking their programming to make him a new body and once they got the Seed, he would use it to build a new army to conquer the world and Cade says they have to get the Seed before Galvatron does. Learning that Joyce had gone to China, Cade contacts him and warns him about Galvatron no longer being under his control and though he is skeptical of Cade’s credibility, Joyce orders Galvatron’s container not to be opened or activated. Back in the states, the authorities start to converge on the ship and Cade, Tessa, Shane, and the Autobots board it to get the Seed, but Optimus says that afterwards, they will be leaving the planet for good. In China, Joyce meets with Attinger and Savoy, who deliver the Seed and Attinger asks when his products will be available but Joyce tells him he wants to hold off on making more robots until he figures out why Galvatron malfunctioned. In the hangar, Galvatron suddenly activates and hacks into the other robots, taking control of Stinger and every other robot that K.S.I. has built and sends them to locate the Seed. When Joyce gets word of what happened, he as Darcy meet him and Li Bingbing (the owner of the Hong Kong facility) outside and they take off, leaving Attinger and Savoy, and the rest of the workers, to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, as the Autobots head towards Hong Kong, Cade talks with Optimus, trying to convince him to give humans another chance. Knowing that Attinger will be following them, Joyce and Li get out of the car and grab a motorcycle to try and escape out of the city with the Seed, while Darcy acts as a diversion, but the C.I.A. still manage to track them. Li sends Joyce up to the roof of a building to await extraction as Attinger, Savoy, Galvatron, and his army all converge on his location. The Autobots arrive and Cade calls out for Cade to get aboard the ship so they can get the Seed to safety but Stinger fires at the ship, knocking Cade, Tessa, Shane, Bumblebee, and Hound off the loading ramp and onto the roof, while the ship ends up crashing into the forest outside the city. Bumblebee and Hound begin fighting the Decepticons while Cade, Tessa, Shane, and Joyce get the Seed to safety. When Savoy starts shooting at them, Cade leads him away so the others can get to safety and after a chase along the rooftops and a fight in an apartment, Cade manages to throw Savoy out the window, where he falls to his death. Attinger sees Savoy die just as Lockdown contacts him, having made his way back to Earth after realizing that Optimus escaped, and Attinger tells him where they are so he can kill Optimus. Meanwhile, Optimus, Drift, and Crosshairs survived their crash and when they hear Hound calling for help, Optimus heads back inside the ship. Heading to the armory, he grabs one of the Knights of Iacon’s swords, then uses it to free the Dinobots, who were prisoners of Lockdown. After Prime leads them out of the ship, he says that they can either join them and fight together or resist and fight him. Grimlock, the leader of the Dinobots, begins attacking Optimus but Optimus manages to defeat him and forces them to help stop Galvatron, then climbs aboard Grimlock, as the other Dinobots (Slug, Strafe, and Scorn) transform and Corsshairs and Drift climb onto Slug and Scorn and the head to the city. Optimus and the others arrive just in time to prevent Hound, Bumblebee, Cade, and the others from being overrun and tell Cade and Joyce to get the Seed out of the city. Commandeering a car, they head out, with Optimus, the Autobots, and Dinobots providing an escort but as they are driving, the Seed suddenly begins beeping and Joyce realizes it is serving as a locator. Lockdown arrives in the city and uses a giant magnet in his ship to pick up dozens of boats and train cars, then drops them in the their path. As the magnet continues to attack them, Optimus manages to disable the magnet, then rushes off to face Lockdown, telling the others to get the Seed out of the city. Cade chooses to stay behind to help Optimus but as he approaches the fight, he is attacked by Attinger, who moves to kill him. Seeing Cade in trouble, Optimus kills Attinger but Lockdown uses his distraction to stab Optimus in the chest with his sword. As he moves to finish him off, Cade starts shooting at him while Bumblebee returns and, after dropping off Tessa and Shane, joins the fight. As Cade and Bumblebee battle Lockdown, Shane and Tessa use a tow truck to pull the sword out of Optimus’ chest, which he grabs and uses to kill Lockdown, then uses one of Lockdown’s grenades to finish off the rest of the drone army. As Optimus rejoins the other Autobots, Galvatron is seen in the hills outside the city, vowing to see Optimus again. Optimus tells the Dinobots that they are free now and the giant robots transform back to their Dinosaur forms and head off into the hills. Optimus then tells everyone that the Seed is still a danger and since he has a price on his head, he says he will take the Seed into space where it won’t be a danger, telling the other Autobots to watch over Cade and his family as they did the same for them. As Optimus blasts off into space, Cade hugs Tessa and Shane, approving their relationship, and Joyce approaches him and says he can help them with the rebuilding of their home, while out in space, Optimus sends a message out into space, warning his creators to leave the Earth alone, as he is coming to them.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction met with poor reviews from the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With the fourth installment in Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.” While not being known for having great plots, the previous movies all were nominated for Academy Awards, mainly in the technical categories, but this movie did not earn any nominations. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $1.104 billion off of a $210 million, making it the highest grossing movie of 2014.

Good lord this was a long ass movie but at least it was entertaining. The acting was ok, with Mark Wahlberg (Cade) doing a good job as the lead, with a lot more character development shown than Shia LaBeouf ever did. I also liked Stanley Tucci (Joyce), Kelsey Grammer (Attinger), and Titus Welliver (Savoy) but thought that T.J. Miller (Lucas) was just annoying. The story was pretty good, taking some aspects from an old comic book storyline and tweaking it to add a little bit of uniqueness to it. I also liked how they worked in Megatron/Galvatron, really paying homage to the original animated movie in how Galvatron was essentially Megatron reborn. One thing that I found kind of funny, which I am sure that several other Transformers fans might have noticed, is how similar the 5 surviving Autobots were to the characters in Transformers: Beast Wars, especially in their mannerisms. The special effects were really good and I liked the designs of the new Autobots and especially the Dinobots, with the spiked exteriors making them seem more like real dinosaurs as opposed to the smoother designs from the original cartoon. It’s really too long and could have been condensed a little without losing any necessary story points but this is still a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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March 8th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

transformers-dark of the moon

I love watching movies and I don’t mind the epic blockbusters but it does make it a pain to try and get them done in the morning before I go to work. That’s why these past couple of reviews have been late posting, because when the movie is 2 1/2 hours long, or longer, I am not able to get it done before I have to leave for work. So the Bay-former movies are just the latest in these epic pain in the butt for me. Now when it comes to today’s movie, I honestly felt a little burnt out on the series, just 2 movies in. I had been buying the novelizations (which usually came out about a month before the movies did), so I knew what the movie was about and I honestly wasn’t that impressed with it. So I never went and saw it in theaters, choosing to buy it on Blu-Ray when it came out. So let’s dive into today’s movie, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon.

The plot: In the waning days of the war on Cybertron, an Autobot ship, the Ark, attempts to escape the planet with an invention that could end the war but the Decepticons damage the ship as it attempts to escape and it becomes lost in space. The Ark crashes onto the moon in 1961, which is detected by NASA and spurs the U.S. to make plans to send people to the moon to investigate. As Apollo 11 lands on the moon and begins to make it’s broadcast, the broadcast is cut to the public, citing their being on the far side of the moon as the reason, and Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong head out to investigate the crashed Ark, reporting what they found to their superiors. In the present day, Sam is living with his new girlfriend Carly in D.C. and feeling depressed over not being able to get a job. Carly tries to cheer him up but gets upset when she finds Brains, a former Decepticon drone who had switched sides, watching them and she leaves. Sam lets in Wheelie, who is also living with them, and Wheelie comments about their situation since Mikaela left Sam and wonders if Carly will do the same. As Sam leaves for his interview, he sees his parents outside, showing up a week earlier than they had said, and after his father comments on his lack of a job, they give Sam a ride to his interview when his own car won’t start. Meanwhile, Colonel Lennox meets with a Ukrainian diplomat, who says that they found something alien in Chernobyl. Lennox leads a NEST team to Chernobyl, accompanied by Optimus Prime, and the diplomat leads them inside and starts to show them where the item is but he sees the Decepticon Laserbeak watching and quickly points them in the direction and leaves. Lennox and his team find the object but are attacked by Shockwave and his driller bot. Optimus manages to keep the item from Shockwave, who escapes, but when he sees what it is, he is shocked to find it is part of the Ark’s engine. Back in D.C., Sam goes on interview after interview and keeps feeling dejected but finally gets a job in a mail room, though he still feels depressed over it. He then goes to see Carly and meets her boss, Dylan Gould, and feels jealous over the closeness Gould seems to have with Carly. Meanwhile, at a Department of Health & Human Services warehouse that serves as the NEST headquarters, Charlotte Mearing, the Director of National Intelligence, arrives to speak with the Autobots but Optimus accuses her of lying to them about what they have known of the Transformers. Mearing introduces Optimus to Buzz Aldrin and two surviving members of the secret Lunar landing mission and the reveal that they were there to investigate the wrecked ship and bring samples back to Earth. When Optimus asks about the crash vault, the humans admit they didn’t find it so Optimus and Ratchet use their own ship to head up to the moon and check the vault, where they find the body of Sentinel Prime, Optimus’ mentor. Back on Earth, Megatron is in exile in Africa, still recovering from his wounds received when he last fought Optimus. He is approached by Starscream, Soundwave, and Laserbeak, who tell him that the Autobots took the bait and recovered Sentinel Prime from the Ark and Megatron orders Laserbeak to tie up loose ends by killing Soundwave’s human collaborators. Back in D.C., Sam starts out on his job but is constantly being watched by Jerry Wang. When they are alone in the elevator, Wang tells Sam that he knows who he is and as he continues trying to talk to Sam, eventually forces him into the restroom, where he tells him the Autobots are in danger, handing him some papers and newspaper articles. Sam looks at them and attempts to talk to Wang later only for Wang to act like he doesn’t know him. When Sam leaves, it is revealed that Laserbeak had disguised himself as Wang’s monitor and he then kills Wang, then attacks the office attempting to kill Sam. That night, Sam goes to NEST Headquarters and tries to get in to see Optimus and Lennox and after Bumblebee stops security from arresting him, Lennox has him brought inside. Sam hands Lennox the papers Wang gave him and starts to explain what happened but he is interrupted by Wearing, who is upset that Sam and Carly have been allowed in the base. Sam is allowed to watch as Optimus uses the Matrix to revive Sentinel, who asks about the pillars. Wearing tells him that they can’t let him have them until the determine that they don’t pose a danger to the planet. Wearing then talks with Sam and Carly and tells him that he isn’t a fighter and he can’t be a part of NEST but she does allow Bumblebee to act as his protector again. Sam contacts Simmons, who is now a famous author though people claim his books are pure fiction, and tells him about the secret about the moon landing and convinces him to help. With Simmons’ personal assistant Dutch’s help, they manage to track down a Russian Cosmonaut who was supposed to go on a manned mission to the moon that was suddenly scrapped. When they meet with him, he shows them pictures of the moon and reveals that there were hundreds of pillars scattered on the moon’s surface from the crash but they had been moved. Sam realizes that the Decepticons must have taken them and needed Sentinel to use them. Sam contacts Wearing and tells her that the Decepticons are after Sentinel and Bumblebee, Sideswipe, and Mirage rendezvous with Sentinel and escort him to NEST headquarters but come under attack by Decepticons. Ironhide shows up to deal with the Decepticons but Sentinel reveals that he had struck a deal with Megatron before he left Cybertron and uses his acid gun to kill Ironhide. Sentinel then breaks the pillars out of the NEST vault and heads to the Lincoln memorial, rendezvousing with Megatron and Starscream, and proceeds to activate the pillars and form a space bridge to the moon. Megatron then summons the Decepticons that were hidden on the moon’s surface and they make their way through the bridge, forcing Optimus and the other Autobots to fall back. Sam goes to Gould’s home to get Carly, who was at a party there, but when they go to leave, the company car Carly was given is revealed to be Soundwave, who takes Carly hostage. Gould then reveals that he has been working with the Decepticons and tells Sam that he will find out what Optimus’ plans are or else Carly will die, forcing a Decepticon probe disguised as a watch onto Sam’s wrist to ensure he doesn’t alert the Autobots to what is going on. Meanwhile, Sentinel issues an ultimatum to the world’s leaders, ordering them to remove the Autobots from Earth or else the Decepticons will kill everyone. The U.S. rescinds their agreement with the Autobots and they go to board their secret shuttle. Sam asks Optimus what he is going to do to fight back and Optimus tells him nothing, then the Autobots all board the shuttle and leave. The drone moves off of Sam’s arm and he contacts Gould to tell him to release Carly but Gould says they needed to know that the Autobots were going to leave without a fight, and Sam watches as Starscream attacks the shuttle and destroys it. Sam has Simmons and Dutch trace Gould’s call and learn that he has gone to Chicago so Sam plans on going there to get Carly back and Epps, who was working on the Autobot shuttle since retiring from NEST, goes with him, contacting some former NEST friends to assist them. When they reach Chicago, they find it has been fortified by the Decepticons and they want to turn back but Sam insists on going to rescue Carly. They suddenly come under attack by a Decepticon flyer but are rescued by Optimus and the Autobots, who revealed that they had hidden in one of the booster rockets, knowing that the Decepticons wouldn’t let them leave Earth alive. With Bumblebee’s help, Sam manages to rescue Carly, killing Laserbeak in the process, but Gould warns Megatron of the Autobots still being alive, and he orders the Decepticons to find them. Seeing a downed surveillance drone nearby, Epps, Sam, and Carly use it to contact Lennox, telling them of Sentinel’s plan to use the Space Bridge to bring Cybertron to Earth’s orbit. The head to a nearby building so they can try to take out the activation pillar but the Decepticons attack the building, causing part of it to fall. They manage to survive the fall and make their way out of the building but Sam and Carly get separated from Epp’s group and come under attack from Starscream. Sam uses some inventions that Wheeljack gave him and manages to kill Starscream, then is rescued by Lennox’s team and Bumblebee. Lennox’s team joins up with Epps’ team and they continue towards the tower, meeting up with a SEAL team in the process. When they find Bumblebee, Wheeljack, and several other Autobots being held captive by Soundwave, they manage to rescue them but not before Wheeljack is killed. Sentinel activates the Space Bridge and Cybertron starts to appear in orbit but Wheelie and Brains manage to sneak aboard the Decepticon flag ship and sabotage it, causing it to crash into the building and deactivate the crystal. As the Autobots renew the fight with the Decepticons, reinforced by some more soldiers, Sentinel begins fighting with Optimus. Sam goes to grab the pillar, but Gould reaches it first and activates it. Sam then knocks Gould into the pillar, electrocuting him, while Bumblebee and the Autobots destroy the Pillar, causing the portion of Cybertron that had arrived in orbit to implode. Sentinel manages to get the upper hand on Optimus, severing his right arm, and moves to finish him off but Megatron, having been convinced by Carly to fight Sentinel over control of the Decepticons, begins fighting Sentinel himself. As Megatron turns his attention to Optimus, Optimus musters up the strength to kill Megatron, then finishes off Sentinel. Sam and Carly embrace while Lennox, Epps, and the other Autobots join Optimus, who knows that the Earth is now there home and vows to defend it.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon met with poor results from the critics, holding a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Its special effects — and 3D shots — are undeniably impressive, but they aren’t enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script.” Michael Bay swore that the Autobot Twins, Skids and Mudflap, would not be in the film, and promised 25,000 dollars to whomever could spot them. However, they do appear in one scene: when Director Mearing arrives at NEST.The movie was a big hit at the box office, earning $1.124 billion off of a $195 million budget, making it the highest grossing entry in the series, the second highest grossing film of 2011 (coming in behind Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2), and the 10th movie to gross over $1 billion.

Ok, I will admit that this was a little better than the last movie, but I still don’t feel bad for not seeing it in theaters. The acting was good, with the returning characters doing their parts well. I liked Patrick Dempsey’s character (Gould) and the little bit of character development they gave him but I honestly thought that Rosie Huntington-Whitely (Carly) was just the same character as Megan Fox, just blonde. As for as the new Transformers, I loved Leonard Nimoy making a return to the series (he played Galvatron in the animated movie), as he really gave Sentinel the seriousness and gravity that the character needed. I also liked Brains and Wheeljack, especially how they made Wheeljack similar to the cartoon character, but giving him kind of a Christopher Lloyd appearance so he looked more like the mad genius inventor that he was known for. I also was happy that they had Shockwave in this movie, as he was one of my favorite of the original Transfomers, but I was disappointed that they made Soundwave change from a communications satellite to a Mercedes. That was just lame. The story was ok but I honestly liked the main plot a lot better WHEN IT WAS IN THE ORIGINAL CARTOON. Seriously, you can’t come up with anything more original than to copy a storyline that is 30 years old. Another thing that I felt was stupid, and I am not the only one to think this, is that fact that Optimus offered Sentinel the Matrix of Leadership and he refused it. Why would he do that. I mean, here he is being offered a powerful artifact that can be used as a power source if needed and he refused it. Sure, some people have said that Sentinel knew he wasn’t worthy of it as he betrayed the Autobots, though they did not know it at the time, but he still could have taken it if for no other reason, to keep it from Optimus’ hands. The special effects were incredible and, while I didn’t get to see it in 3D, I can tell where they would have been and I bet they would have been impressive as hell. So it’s a good movie and probably would have been worth seeing in 3D in the theaters, but it is still worth giving a watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 7th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

transformers-revenge of the fallen

So with the first movie being such a success, there was no doubt that a second movie would be making it’s way into production to take advantage of the new generation of fans. I have to admit, when I first saw the trailer for this movie during the Super Bowl, it did get me excited to go see it. However, after calming down from the initial excitement, I started to get worried about it being all flash and no story. Still, I did have the desire to see it and decided to leave work early one day and went to an afternoon showing with the girl I was dating at the time. So let’s get ready for Michael Bay’s second entry into the Transformer’s franchise; Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.

The plot: In 17,000 B.C., a primitive human hunting party comes across a strange structure and several, large mechanical beings, The Primes, and one of the Primes proceeds to attack the party. 2 years after the battle in Mission City, the Autobots have partnered with a secret military group called NEST, led by General Morshower, to secretly protect Earth from any further Decepticon incursions. A Nest team led by Major Lennox and USAF Master Chief Epps head to a steel factory in China, which has been evacuated with the cover story of a toxic spill. Accompanied by the Autobots, including some newly arrived from space, they head inside to look for the Decepticons and are attacked by the massive Decepticon Demolisher. As they start to attack, a second Decepticon, Sideways, is seen fleeing the scene and Lennox sends Arcee, Chromia, and Elita-1 (a trio of motorcycles) and the twins, Skids and Mudflap, after him but when they are unable to stop him, Sideswipe is called in and he cuts the Decepticon in half. Meanwhile, Demolisher has made it out onto the highway and Epps calls in for Optimus to be brought onto the scene, who finally manages to stop the Decepticon. As Optimus prepares to finish him off, Demolisher says that the Fallen will return, just before Optimus shoots him in the head. Back in the states, Sam Witwicky is packing to go to college and talking to Mikaela, trying to convince her to come with him, when he discovers a shard from the All-Spark caught in his clothes from the Mission City battle. As he picks it up, a jolt from the shard sends a series of Cypertronian symbols into Sam’s brain. Sam drops the shard, which burns through the floor of his room and lands on the kitchen counter, turning all the appliances inside into killer robots. When the robots start attacking Sam, Sam yells out for Bumblebee to help and Bumblebee bursts out of the garage and destroys the robots, damaging the house in the process. As the police and fire fighters arrive to deal with the fires, Sam goes into the kitchen and grabs the shard, then hands it to Mikaela, who just arrived, and asks her to keep it hidden. Sam then goes to talk with Bumblebee, as his mother told him that Bumblebee had to leave when he does, and tells Bumblebee that he isn’t allowed to have cars on campus since he is a freshman and that he should rejoin Optimus and the others. Sam and Mikaela say goodbye and as Mikaela leaves, she is observed by the Decepticon Wheelie, disguised as an R.C. truck, and he detects the shard in her possession. Wheelie contacts Soundwave, who is disguised a satellite, and Soundwave tells him to retrieve the shard, then hacks into a U.S. military satellite just as NEST Command is talking with Lennox and Optimus at the naval base they are stationed at. Optimus warns Morshower that the Decepticons are planning something but he doesn’t know what but NSA Theo Galloway, who was just assigned as liaison to the base, argues that the recent attacks of the Decepticons are because they are hunting the Autobots and asks Optimus if the U.S. deems it necessary to revoke their asylum, would they leave. Learning that NEST has a shard from the All-Spark in their base, Soundwave launches Ravage to Earth, who infiltrates the base and sends in Reedman, a razor-thin Decepticon composed of hundreds of tiny, beetle like Decepticons, to steal the shard and they make their escape. Meanwhile. Sam heads to college and meets his roommate Leo, who runs a conspiracy website that tries to post videos of the Transformers’ attacks but he is always scooped by another site run by a man called “Robowarrior”. That night, Leo and his partners take Sam to a frat party, causing Sam to miss his online web date with Mikaela. As Sam is looking around, the Cybertronian symbols suddenly start flashing in his head and he starts having a seizure and begins drawing them in cake icing. Alice, a girl in his dorm, sees this and starts flirting with him but before anything happens, someone yells about a yellow Camaro outside. Sam runs outside and sees Bumblebee outside and when he asks what he is doing there, Bumblebee says Optimus needs to see him. Sam gets inside but Alice gets in as well and as they drive off, Bumblebee uses the radio to admonish Sam before doing what he can to get rid of her. Afterwards, Bumblebee takes Sam to see Optimus, who tells Sam that he needs his help in convincing the government that they are needed there to ensure the planet is safe from the Decepticons. Meanwhile, Ravage heads to a freight out near the Laurentian Abyss and meets with some of the Constructicons that are hidden on board. The five of them dive down into the Abyss and when they reach Megatron’s body, Scalpel, a small Decepticon riding in Ravage, has the Constructicon’s rip apart one of their own to use as spare parts to repair Megatron, then jabs the shard into his chest to revive him. The revived Megatron heads to the surface, destroying a NEST sub guarding the site, then heads out into space and towards a moon orbiting Saturn, where he rejoins the Fallen. The Fallen says that the knowledge of the All-Spark has been absorbed by Sam and that they need to retrieve him in order to make their plans succeed. Back in college, Sam has another seizure during a class, and begins drawing symbols and equations on the chalkboard before his professor kicks him out. Sam calls Mikaela and explains what is going on and realizes that this started when he touched the shard. He asks her if it is safe and she tells him yes but then catches Wheelie trying to steal it so she tortures him briefly before locking him in a chest, then tells Sam she is coming to him. Back on campus, Sam is drawing symbols all over his dorm room when Alice and Leo walk in. Alice pushes Leo out of the room and then starts flirting with Sam again but as she throws him on the bed, Sam doesn’t notice a robotic tendril emerging from her back. When Mikaela starts to enter the room, the tendril retracts and Alice kisses Sam, causing Mikaela to turn around and leave. Sam starts to go after her but Alice attacks him, revealing herself to be a Decepticon Pretender just as Mikaela and Leo return to the room. The three kids make a run for it, with Alice chasing after them but Mikaela hotwires a car and kills Alice by smashing her into a lightpole, then running over her. As they continue driving, Leo asks what is going on when they are suddenly captured by Grindor and carried away. They are taken to an abandoned warehouse, where Megatron and Starscream are waiting for them and Megatron grabs Sam and holds him still as Scalpel sends a probe into Sam’s head to ensure he has the data. When they reveal the symbols, Scalpel prepares to remove Sam’s brain but Optimus and Bumblebee crash through the warehouse and begin fighting with Megatron and Starscream. Optimus grabs Sam while Mikaela and Leo get into Bumblebee and they all leave but Megatron chases after Optimus and begins attacking him. Optimus tells Sam to hide as he takes on Megatron, Starscream, and Grindor, and Optimus manages to kill Grindor but Megatron stabs him in the back, then shoots him, killing Optimus. The other Autobots arrive and Ironhide tells Bumblebee and the twins to get Sam out of there while they provide cover. Back on Saturn’s moon, The Fallen senses Optimus’ death and says it is time for the Decepticons to reveal themselves. More Decepticons fall to Earth and destroy a U.S. aircraft carrier while another Decepticon captures Sam’s parents in Paris. Megatron and Soundwave help hijack the telecommunication systems and the Fallen broadcasts to the world and demands that they turn over Sam. Back at the NEST base, Optimus’ body is brought back when Galloway shows up and says that NEST is shut down and that they are pursuing every option to end the conflict, including turning Sam over to the Decepticons. Meanwhile, Sam asks Bumblebee and the twins about the symbols in his head and they tell him it is ancient Cybertronian but they can’t read it. Leo says he saw similar symbols on Robowarrior’s site and they head to New York City only to discover that Robowarrior is actually former Sector 7 Agent Simmons. Simmons is upset to see Sam and Mikaela in his shop but when Sam mentions the symbols, he takes them to his secret lair, where he kept hundreds of files that he stole form Sector 7 before it was shut down. He shows them pictures of the symbols that are on archaeological digs and says that Transformers had been to Earth before. Mikaela brings the trunk into the room and lets Wheelie out and he says it is the language of the Primes, then tells Simmons that the pictures he has is of Seekers, some of the oldest known Transformers. Wheelie shows the location of the Seekers and the closest one is in Washington DC so they head there. Tracking the Seeker to the Air & Space Museum, they discover that the SR-71 Blackbird is the Seeker known as Jetfire and use the shard to reactivate them. After showing the symbols to Jetfire, Jetfire teleports them to Egypt and explains that a device was hidden there that could create Energon by destroying the sun but the Primes refused to use it if there were worlds with life on them that would be harmed. The Fallen despised the early human race and wanted to use it anyways but his fellow Primes refused and war broke out over the issue. The Fallen was to strong for the Primes to kill so they stole the key to the device, the Matrix of Leadership, and hid it away, using their own bodies to make a tomb for it. Jetfire says that only a Prime can kill the Fallen and when Sam asks if the Matrix could revive Optimus, Jetfire says he isn’t sure but it is a possibility. Sam and the others make their way towards Jordan, where Jetfire says the key is buried, and Simmons contacts Lennox and tells him to bring Optimus’ body to the border of Jordan and Egypt. Lennox secretly contacts Morshower and tells him to send reinforcements and tricks Galloway into jumping out of the plane as they head to the rendezvous. Meanwhile, Sam figures out where the key is and they discover the Tomb of the Primes but as Sam goes to grab the Matrix, it disintegrates into Dust. Mikaela and Simmons says it is over but Sam refuses to believe them and collects the dust into one of his socks. They make their way towards the rendezvous but the Decepticons have learned their location and Starscream attacks them. Sam and Mikaela leave the others and make their way through an abandoned village towards the rendezvous but the Decepticons reveal they have Sam’s parents and use them as a trap. Bumblebee rescues Sam’s parents and Sam tells him to get them to safety while he and Mikaela continue towards Optimus. Meanwhile, the Decepticons are attacking the Autobots and the NEST soldiers while Simmons and Leo witness the Constructicons merging into Devastator and it begins dismantling one of the pyramids, revealing the energon device. Simmons contacts the Navy and has them use a prototype railgun to destroy Devastator as reinforcements arrive to help the Autobots, including Jetfire, but as Sam makes a run for Optimus, he is caught in an explosion. As medics work to revive him, Sam sees a vision of the Primes telling him that they were watching him and found him worthy of the Matrix. Sam revives and finds that the dust has re-solidified into the Matrix and he rushes forward and plunges it into Optimus’ chest, reviving him. Suddenly, the Fallen shows up and grabs the Matrix, then heads for the machine and uses the Matrix to activate it. Jetfire tells Optimus to use his parts to power himself, then rips out his own spark and Ratchet and Jolt work on merging both Jetfire’s spark and his body to Optimus. The newly powered Optimus flies off to the pyramid and destroys the device, then begins fighting Megatron and the Fallen, severely injuring Megatron before finally killing the Fallen. Megatron cries out in disbelief at the death of the Fallen and Starscream says it is better they leave in order to fight again. Later, as everyone prepares to return home, Optimus approaches Sam and thanks him for saving his life.

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen was panned by the critics, holding a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a noisy, underplotted, and overlong special effects extravaganza that lacks a human touch.” The college scenes were shot at both Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania, but neither school is named in the film as they both felt the Judy Witwicky scenes were damaging their image. The movie was a box office hit, earning $836.3 million off of a $200 million budget, but it wound up winning 3 Razzie awards, including the Worst Picture Award, making it the highest grossing movie to win the award.

Before I get to the actual review, let me take a second to go on a rant. You would think that a movie about giant robots wouldn’t need to stoop to something as classless as a racial stereotype but unfortunately, that is not the case. The funny thing is, this isn’t the first time racism has come up in Transformers, as Casey Kasem ended up leaving the show after the episode “Thief In The Night” in the original cartoon. However, I honestly think Revenge Of The Fallen was worse with the characters of Mudflap and Skids. These were two of the most blatantly racist stereotypes you could possibly come up with, and the fact that the gave one of them a gold tooth and made the comment about they didn’t know how to read was just terrible. The fact that the writers decided to put that in there, and Michael Bay allowed it to be filmed, is shameful and made a bad movie even worse.

Now that I got that out of the way, let me go ahead and say that there were some good parts to this movie but on the whole, it was kind of disappointing. The acting was ok, and Shia Labeouf’s (Sam) spastic character portrayal actually helped the times he was supposed to be seizing and acting erratically. Megan Fox (Mikaela), John Turturro (Simmons), Josh Duhamel (Lennox), and Tyrese Gibson (Epps) were all good in reprising their roles and I did like the introduction of Isabel Lucas (Alice) and Ramon Rodriguez (Leo). The story honestly sounded like any other fantasy/sci-fi movie, with nothing really original that would help make this movie more unique and not just another CGI spectacle. Aside from the twins, I also didn’t particularly like what the did with Devastator, especially when they set him up to be the butt of a cheap “balls” joke. I will admit that I loved how they portrayed Jetfire, playing homage to the original cartoon (and Marvel comic series) in that he was a Decepticon first but then decided to join the Autobots, and a more recent version from Transformers: Armada, particularly where Jetfire combined with Optimus to make a more powerful version of Optimus. I also liked that they made Alice into a Pretender, as that was a branch of Transformers that really didn’t get much notice or recognition in the U.S. when it first came out, though a whole series was dedicated to them in Japan. The special effects were definitely improved upon from the first movie, and the IMAX scenes really were incredible. Some good parts, some really bad parts, and a whole lot of predictability make this good for some mindless entertainment, but leaves you wanting more.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 6th, 2018 Movie – Transformers


When it was first announced that a live-action Transformers movie was going to be made, I was honestly pretty scared. I mean, I know there was going to be a lot of CGI involved by the thought that someone was going to be brave enough to make a movie on giant robots was a brave feat. Now yes, there have been movies before that featured giant robots but Transformers is different due to the fact that they transform, so there is more work to be done with them. Still, the fan in me was eager to watch it and so I had no problem shelling out the money to go see today’s movie, Transformers.

The plot: Millions of years ago, the All-Spark, a cube shaped mystical artifact, brought life to the planet Cybertron but eventually, a war broke out over the All-Spark’s power and it was sent into space, where it ended up lost until a signal directs the inhabitants of Cybertron to the planet Earth. In the present day, an unidentified helicopter approaches a U.S. military base in Qatar and after landing, quickly transforms into the Decepticon Blackout and begins attacking the base. When it reaches the command center and grabs one of the computer mainframes, base commander Colonel Sharp realizes it is downloading secret government files through the internet and physically cuts the hardline. Blackout continues to attack the base, killing everyone there but when Sergeant Epps manages to get video of the attack, Blackout ejects Scorponok from his back to pursue Epps and the rest of Captain Lennox’s Ranger team as they escape into the desert. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is doing a report on his great-great-grandfather Captain Archibald Witwicky, who had explored the Arctic Circle but gone blind and insane, babbling about a giant ice man and drawing strange symbols afterwards. When his teacher gives him a B- for his report, Sam convinces him to change it to an A-, as his father, Ron, told him he would get him a car provided he earned 3 A’s and $2000. With the grade changed, Sam shows Ron and they head off to a used car lot, which Sam is not happy about, but his attention is drawn to a faded old Camero and, after a some strange incidents, the dealer agrees to sell the car to Sam and Ron. In Washington DC, Secretary of Defense John Keller attends a meeting of the top minds in sound analysis and explains what happened in Qatar and tells them that they are there to try and determine the origin of the sound, which is what had hacked into the military network. Meanwhile, Sam heads out with his friend to a lake party in the hopes of impressing his crush, Mikaela Barnes, but her boyfriend proceeds to mock and humiliate them. When Mikaela ends up getting in a fight with her boyfriend Trent, Sam offers to give her a ride home and she accepts, and the two end up talking as he takes her home. That night, Frenzy, another Decepticon who has managed to sneak onto Air Force One by disguising himself as a radio, begins hacking into the mainframe aboard the plane. In DC, Maggie Madsen and her team detect the hack and alert the senior analysts to what is going on. The analyst agrees with Maggie’s recommendation to shut down the defense network, interrupting the hack. Frenzy kills some secret service agents that investigate the hack then transforms back into a radio to hide. When the plane lands, Frenzy sneaks off the plane and heads towards a police car, which is actually a Decepticon named Barricade, and tells him he found a clue to the All-Spark’s location and they have to find Sam. Meanwhile, Sam’s Camaro suddenly leaves his house and Sam chases after it only to witness it transforming into a giant robot. Sam tries to tell the police but they suspect he is on drugs and book him for trespassing. Back in Qatar, Lennox and his team are heading towards a friendly village where a kid that was on the base lives when they are attacked by Scorponok. Reaching the village, Lennox and Epps make contact with the Pentagon and call for reinforcements as the try to fend off the Decepticon, which is eventually damaged by sabot rounds and disappears into the sand. Back in DC, Maggie copies the data stream and heads to the home of Glen Whitmann, a hacker friend of hers. She has him try to analyze the file and they discover references to Sector Seven, Project Iceman, and Captain Witwicky but are arrested by the FBI before they can learn anything else. Back at his home, Sam sees the Camaro return to his house and tries running away on a bicycle but the Camaro chases after him. When Sam crashes, Mikaela sees him and asks if he is ok and Sam says no before picking the bike back up and making a run for it. He eventually avoids the Camaro and, seeing a police car approaching, heads towards it but the police car rams into him, then transforms and begins questioning him about the glasses he is selling on eBay. Sam attempts to run and slams into Mikaela, who had chased after him, and she yells at him at first until she sees Barricade approaching. Suddenly, the Camaro appears and slams into Barricade, then pulls up next to them and opens it’s door and Sam tells Mikaela to get into the car. Once they are both in, the Camaro drives off with Barricade pursuing them and after a brief chase, the Camaro pulls into a train yard and lets them out, then transforms into Bumblebee and begins fighting Barricade. As he is fighting, Barricade sends out Frenzy to attack Sam and Mikaela but Mikaela uses a reciprocating saw to cut his head off and Sam kicks it away. Bumblebee is shown to have won his battle and, communicating through radio, indicates he wants them to get in and go with him. They get in the car but as they drive off, Mikaela wonders why Bumblebee changes into a rusted out car and Bumblebee, his feelings hurt, kicks them out, then scans a newer model Camaro to change into and picks them back up. He takes them to a memorial, where they see 4 meteorites falling to Earth. The meteorites are actually pods containing Autobot protoforms, which quickly scan vehicles and meet up with Bumblebee, Sam, and Mikaela. Transforming into robot forms, their leader Optimus Prime introduces himself and his companions Jazz, Ironhide, and Ratchet and explains about how Archibald found Megatron in the Arctic but also learned the location of the All-Spark, which was etched onto his glasses. The Autobots take Sam and Mikaela back to Sam’s house so he can find the glasses but are hindered by the Sam’s parents. Suddenly, Sector Seven, led by Agent Simmons, shows up at the house and after determining that they have had contact with aliens, has Sam and Mikaela arrested. As they are driving away, Simmons questions Sam and Mikaela, taunting Mikaela with the news about her father’s parole. Optimus Prime appears and rescues Sam and Mikaela but more Sector Seven forces arrive and Bumblebee, Sam, and Mikaela are captured. After they leave, Jazz asks if they should go after them but Optimus says that there is no way to rescue Bumblebee without hurting the humans and picks up the glasses that had fallen out of Sam’s bag. Back in DC, the head of Sector Seven, Tom Banacheck, meets with Keller as all of their military communications go down and shows him a video of a mars rover that had taken recorded a Transformer on the planet’s surface. Keller has Maggie and Glen released into his care as his advisers and they head to Sector Seven’s headquarters at Hoover Dam, along with Sam, Mikaela, and Lennox and his team. When they get there, they are shown the frozen body of Megatron and Simmons reveals that the modern technology all came from studying and reverse engineering him. Sam reveals what he knows about Megatron and the All-Spark and realizes that they have the All-Spark there. As Simmons and Banacheck show the group the All-Spark, Frenzy, whose head had disguised itself as Mikaela’s phone, is reconstructed by the All-Spark and contacts the other Decepticons and Starscream orders them to head to the dam. As Starscream attacks the outside of the dam, Frenzy lowers the temperature in the room holding Megatron. Realizing the danger they are in, Sam tells Simmons to take him to Bumblebee and when Simmons refuses, Lennox grabs him and forces him to take them to Bumblebee. When they get there, Sam convinces Bumblebee that the humans aren’t going to hurt him and that the All-Spark is there. Bumblebee heads to the chamber and shrinks the All-Spark down to a smaller size and then Sam, Mikaela, Lennox and his team head to Mission City so they can get the cube somewhere safe, meeting Optimus and the other Autobots along the way. Back at the dam, Megatron thaws out and begins attacking Sector Seven before breaking out and meeting with Starscream, ordering him to get the cube.Meanwhile, Keller, Simmons, Maggie, and Glen work on contacting the Air Force and as they do so, they are attacked by Frenzy but he is killed when one of his shuriken ends up taking his head apart. As Sam and the others head to Mission City, Barricade and Bonecrusher chase after them and Optimus transforms to take on Bonecrusher, eventually killing him. In the city, Starscream attacks the group and Bumblebee is injured, while Devastator, attacks the soldiers. Mikaela hotwires a tow truck to help get Bumblebee out of there and Lennox tells Sam to get the cube to the roof of a nearby building so he can be evacuated out of there. Ironhide and Ratchet work to cover Sam as Megatron shows up, ripping Jazz in half. Optimus begins fighting with Megatron as the other Decepticons continue fighting with the Autobots and Lennox’s team. Megatron chases after Sam and as Sam attempts to escape in a Blackhawk, Starscream shoots it down. Mikaela and Bumblebee choose to help out Lennox’s team, helping them to destroy Devastator, then destroy Blackout. Starscream attacks the Air Force jets but is soon chased away. Prime rescues Sam and tells him if he can’t defeat Megatron, Sam should shove the All-Spark into his chest, which would destroy both Optimus and the All-Spark. Megatron is able to defeat Optimus but is then injured by the remaining Air Force jets and as he approaches Sam, Sam shoves the All-Spark into his chest, killing Megatron and destroying the cube. Optimus thanks Sam for saving his life, then mourns the death of Jazz. In DC, Keller announces that Sector Seven has been shut down while the Decepticons’ remains are sent to the Laurentian Abyss, where the hopes are that the crushing pressure and freezing temperatures will prevent anyone from attempting to retrieve them. Sam and Mikaela end up starting a relationship, with Bumblebee choosing to stay as Sam’s protector, while the other Autobots stay on Earth to help defend it. Optimus sends a signal out to space to any other Autobots that wish to come there to live while in Space, Starscream is shown to have flown off to retrieve reinforcements of his own.

Transformers met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “While believable characters are hard to come by in Transformers, the effects are staggering and the action is exhilarating.” Peter Cullen was asked to reprise his role of Optimus Prime and he eagerly accepted. Frank Welker was also approached to reprise his role of Megatron but he had to turn it down due to other projects but would be a part of later films, voicing Galvatron in Age Of Extinction and reprising Megatron in The Last Knight. The movie was a box office success, earning $709.7 million off of a $150 million budget and would spawn 4 sequels over the years and would become the fastest selling DVD of 2007 when it was released.

This is a pretty much exactly what the critics said, a lot of good special effects and CGI but a little lacking in plot. The acting was ok, with Josh Duhamel (Lennox), Tyrese Gibson (Epps), John Turturro (Simmons), and Jon Voight (Keller) all doing good jobs in their roles, but Antony Anderson (Glen) really stole the show with the scenes he was in. When it came to the two stars, Shia Labeouf’s constant stammering and spastic portrayal of Sam became very annoying really quick while Megan Fox (Mikaela) pretty much came across as someone who was there just to look good but they at least tried to give her some depth and character development. The plot was pretty simplistic, changing the origin that most fans grew up with and adding an all powerful item to the reason for their leaving Cybertron. The movie really did seem to be unfocused in how they wanted to handle the characters; switching from joking around and making it seemingly more kid friendly (keeping with the tone of the original cartoon) to being more serious and darker (Such as seeing Jazz ripped in half or several Decepticon being destroyed). The special effects and CGI really did make this movie and I liked how the humans were able to interact with the Transformers and make it seem like they really were talking to real people. I did like the somewhat modern design for some of the Autobots and Decepticons, as well as Megatron’s refusal to adapt to a “lesser” form and staying in his more alien vehicle mode. There are some good parts to this movie but I really hoped they had done a better job with it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review, The Asylum

February 25th, 2018 Movie – Titanic II

titanic 2

As has become a recurring theme over the years, I have some of my friends to thank for today’s movie. I know it may come as a shock to most of you, but I really do enjoy the cheesy low budget B-movies, primarily of the sci-fi variety. To try and get my friends to enjoy them as much as I do, I have movie nights where I show numerous of these movies during the night. One such night several years ago, as we were about to watch one such movie, one of the trailers before the movie featured today’s movie. My three friends who were there at the time, Charles, Emily, and Kathy, asked me if I had it, then begin pressuring me to buy it when they learned that I didn’t own it. Needless to say, I ended up succumbing to the pressure and buying it on Amazon (it was only $9) but said that they had to watch it with me when it came in, which they agreed to. So the movie arrived, they came over to watch it, and fun was had by all. So now let’s see if history can repeat itself as I watch today’s movie, Titanic II.

The plot: Off the coast of the Helheim Glacier in Greenland, a man is surfing along the waves caused by pieces of the glacier falling into the ocean. Suddenly, a massive piece of the glacier breaks off, creating a massive wave to form that quickly knocks him off his board and drowns him. United States Coast Guard Captain James Maine receives a call from N.O.A.A. about the situation at the glacier and he contacts his regular pilot, Elliot Snipes, and has him fly him out there to investigate. Meanwhile, James’ daughter Amy and her friend Kelly Wade are in New York City waiting on James to see them off as they get ready to board the SS Titanic II, a new luxury cruise liner built by wealthy businessman Hayden Walsh. As they watch Hayden arrive, escorted by several models, Kelly questions Amy over her feelings for him, as they used to date, but Amy swears she is over him. As Kelly goes ahead and boards, Amy receives a call from James, telling her he can’t be there and telling her he doesn’t want her on the ship but she tells him everything will be fine. Amy boards the ship and runs into Hayden, where they have a brief and somewhat awkward conversation, before she heads to the infirmary where she and Kelly are working. On deck, Hayden is giving a speech to the assembled crowd and introduces Captain Howard before the ship begins it’s maiden voyage, sailing the same route the original RMS Titanic took, only in reverse. In Greenland, James reaches N.O.A.A.’s research site and is met by Dr. Kim Patterson. Kim explains that she requested his presence because of his reputation and she knew he would give her the benefit of the doubt when she explains what is happening. She tells him that the wave from the iceberg that broke off the glacier the day before had reached all the way to Canada and says that their is a chance an even bigger piece would break off soon, which could send a tsunami across the entire Atlantic Ocean. To illustrate her point, Kim takes James out to show him where the iceberg broke off and explains that global warming is making the ice melt at a faster pace than normal. Back on the ship, Hayden and Amy meet up on the deck and discuss the 6 months since the last spoke and what led to their breakup. Meanwhile, Captain Howard is overseeing the ship’s progress and one of his officers worries about being able to maneuver quick enough should they encounter ice as they near Greenland but Howard assures him that the ship is more capable than it’s predecessor. Back on the glacier, a sudden tremor occurs and cracks begin forming along the glacier. James and Kim manage to get on James’ helicopter but Kim’s team ends up falling in the cracks as the glacier breaks apart and falls into the ocean. James radios his base and speaks with Admiral Hadley and warns him of the approaching tsunami caused by the iceberg falling into the ocean. When Kim warns him about ice being a danger to ships at sea, James contacts Hadley again and has him place a warning out to ships at sea and alert the Navy to send someone to the Titanic II, as he feels it will be in danger. On board the ship, the radio operator receives the tsunami alert and tells Howard about it, who orders all passengers to be escorted to the lower decks as a precaution. After the infirmary is contacted about the situation, Amy heads to a ballroom to help just as Hayden is being informed of the situation. Hayden heads to the bridge, arguing with James over the radio that the ship can handle any ice that comes their way but James tells him that the tsunami is traveling at 800 mph and any ice moving with it will tear the ship apart. James tells Howard to move the ship south as quickly as he can but warns that the wave will reach them in 15 minutes or less. A Navy sub is traveling towards the Titanic II but encounters some icebergs under the water and ends up being destroyed when an iceberg collides with it. Back on the Titanic II, Hayden tells Howard to push the engines to 50 knots and Hayden’s second in command tells him that the engines haven’t been tested and might seize up but Howard says to go ahead and push them. James attempts to contact Amy but when she doesn’t answer, he leaves her a message telling her not to go to the lower decks and to stay in the center of the ship but if it starts taking on water, to get to the lifeboats. Snipes tells James that they are running low on fuel and they head to a Canadian Coast Guard Station to refuel. Back on the ship, one of the engines seize up as the wave approaches, sending a massive iceberg heading towards them. Captain Howard sounds the alarm as the iceberg and wave strike the ship, tearing a hole in the starboard side. As they assess the damage, they learn that all of the life boats on the starboard side were crushed by the wave’s pressure and the ship, having never been designed to withstand an impact from the side, is taking on too much water and will sink in 2-3 hours. Howard orders an evacuation and Hayden’s bodyguard ushers Hayden towards his private helicopter, rushing past Amy, who is on the deck tending to an injured passenger. When he reaches the helipad, Hayden tells his bodyguard to forget protocol and get as many injured people onto the helicopter and get them to safety first, then heads back towards the ship. Meanwhile, Kim tells James that according to the data she is receiving from N.O.A.A., tremors are still rocking the glacier and it has the chance of sending another tsunami that will dwarf the previous one. Hayden contacts Admiral Hadley and relays the information saying they need to get as many planes and helicopters into the air to get the people on the Titanic II off of the ship. However Kim receives an report that the entire front part of the glacier has fallen into the ocean and the wave is heading outward. Back on the Titanic II, evacuation procedures are commencing and after helping the injured passenger to the elevator, Amy goes to find Kelly and Hayden, who shows up to help get a fallen passenger off of her, goes with her. They find her in the infirmary pinned under a medical cabinet and bleeding from a laceration and Amy quickly makes a makeshift bandage to keep the wound sealed and they make their way to the life boats. Choosing to arrange for a mid-air refueling, James contacts the Titanic II and tells Howard not to put the lifeboats in the water as they will be deathtraps when this second wave hits. Before Howard can respond, the turbine room explodes, killing him and trapping Amy, Hayden, and Kelly in the elevator. In the helicopter, the refueling is commencing but Snipes sees the wave approaching and they disconnect and quickly fly over the wave but the refueling plane is struck by the wave and destroyed. James manages to get in touch with Amy, who tells him where they are, and he warns them about the second wave and says not to get in the lifeboat. James asks Hayden if he has any dive gear on the ship and when Hayden says they do, James says to head there and get the diving gear on so they have a better chance of staying alive. Hayden, Amy, and Kelly manage to get out of the elevator and climb up the shaft to the next floor. Making their way to the dive chamber, they find the door jammed and Hayden uses a fire axe to pry the door open and Amy tries to squeeze through but she gets stuck and as Kelly goes to push her free, the door slams closed as she does, crushing Kelly. Hayden makes it through the door and tells Amy they have to keep moving and they make their way to the dive chamber. Before they enter, they hear someone calling for help and attempt to rescue him but are unable to get the door open and the man suffocates to death from the smoke in the room. Amy and Hayden return to the dive chamber to find that there is only one tank and wet suit left so Hayden has Amy put it on. Seeing debris falling around them in the room, Hayden and Amy get into the dive locker just as the wave hits the ship, flipping it upside down while destroying all of the life rafts that had launched. Amy and Hayden find themselves trapped in the locker and with the water rising fast, Hayden makes sure that Amy has the tank on, turning on the emergency signal on the harness as he does, and tells her if they are rescued soon enough, he can be revived and Amy kisses him before they are completely submerged, then cries as Hayden drowns in front of her. James, Kim, and Snipes arrive at the site and, getting the signal from Kim’s vest, James dons some scuba gear and, after handing Kim some rope for him to use as a guide rope back, jumps into the water and makes his way to the ship. After he jumps, Snipes realizes they are almost out of fuel and has Kim throw a life raft into the water and jump for it, then crashes the helicopter away from the raft so it won’t be damaged. James makes his way to the dive chamber and frees Amy, who grabs Hayden’s body and they make their way to the surface. Kim helps them aboard the raft and Amy attempts to revive Hayden but to no avail as rescue helicopters arrive to pick them up, making Amy and the people that left in Hayden’s helicopter the only survivors.

Just to clarify, I can respect Titanic for the film it is but personally, I hate it. That being said, this wasn’t that bad of a movie but it also wasn’t something that had me on the edge of my seat in suspense. Sadly, this was kind of an average film at best. The acting was decent, with Bruce Davison (James), Brooke Burns (Kim) and Shane Van Dyke (Hayden) doing decent jobs in their roles but I felt like Marie Westbrook (Amy) couldn’t quite get her character down right. The story was interesting and based on a bit of truth, as an Australian billionaire named Clive Palmer had plans to build a Titanic 2 but financial difficulties and other issues have currently put the project on hold. A second replica Titanic 2 is being built in China but that ship is not intended for travel but rather to serve as a docked museum. The special effects weren’t too bad, though some of the shots with the waves destroying the sub, plane, and life boats were a little on the cheesy side. It’s a good movie to watch and laugh at with friends, but that is about the only redeeming feature.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

adventure, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review

February 22nd, 2018 Movie – Time Bandits

time bandits

With both my mom and step-dad working, I ended up having to go to day care after school and during the summers as a kid. Apparently I was not trusted to stay home by myself until I was in junior high (lame). The good thing about this, especially when I got older, was that I had a little more freedom at the day care than the other kids. Case in point, during the summer while all the other kids had to do nap time, I spent the time playing cards with the day care workers or watching TV. Anyways, One of the times that I was watching TV, I remember watching part of this movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I had ever seen. I would see it many other times over the years and decided to buy it on DVD after catching part of it on TV a few years ago. So let’s have a bit of ridiculous to start the day as I watch today’s movie, Time Bandits.

The plot: 11 year old Kevin is busy reading about Ancient Greece and telling his parents various facts but his parents essentially ignore him and tell him to go to his bed. As he lays in bed, he imagines seeing a knight on horseback come crashing out of his wardrobe and go riding off into the woods where his wall was. Ducking under the covers, Kevin peeks back out to find everything is normal and goes to check the wall just as his father pokes his head in the room and asks what the noise was. The next day, Kevin’s mom complains about several appliances going haywire and Kevin makes plans to try and take a picture of what ever comes through his wardrobe that night. As he is about to fall asleep, 6 dwarves (Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally, and Vermin) step out of the wardrobe. When Kevin signs his flashlight on them, the dwarves get scared but after realizing that he is just a kid, they attack him and demand he show them the way out. When they accidentally push against the bedroom wall, it moves outward and the dwarves, realizing they found the way out, begin pushing on the wall and reveal a long hallway. Kevin watches them continue pushing on the wall when a ghostly face appears and tells the dwarves to return the map they stole. Frightened by what is happening, Kevin ends up helping the dwarves push on the wall until it opens up into a black void, which they all fall into. Kevin and the dwarves land in a farmhouse and as Randall (their leader) pulls out the map to figure out where they are, Kevin uses the opportunity to run away. He soon runs into some soldiers, as well as a group of injured men and women fleeing a city, and learns that he is in Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. Randall and the other dwarves catch up to Kevin, revealing that they had stolen the map from the Supreme Being, who they used to work for, and are now traveling through history to steal various treasures. Entering the nearby town, they make plans to steal Napoleon’s treasures, much to Kevin’s shock. Seeing Napoleon watching a theater production, the dwarves end up on stage and entertaining Napoleon, who ends up dismissing his generals and having Randall and the others replace them, due to their being shorter than himself. While they are eating dinner, Napoleon falls asleep and Randall has Strutter go look for the time hole out of there while he and the others begin looting the room. After Strutter finds the portal, they quickly leave but the guards get suspicious and chase after them only for Kevin and the dwarves to disappear in the portal. They end up crashing into a carriage and as the occupants quickly run away, Kevin realizes that they have landed in the middle ages. Fidgit and the others want to have Kevin join them and Randall asks Kevin if he really wants to before he agrees. Remembering that he has a camera, Kevin takes a picture of the dwarves holding the map when they hear a scream and find a group of bandits robbing the carriage occupants. Kevin and the dwarves follow them but end up being captured and, as Randall talks to the bandits and convinces them to let them go, asks to see their boss. The bandits take them to their camp, where Kevin and the others discover that the bandits’ leader is Robin Hood. Robin Hood invites them to join his gang but as Randall and the others see Robin Hood handing out their recently stolen treasure to the poor, they decide to leave, taking Kevin with them. Unbeknownst to Kevin and the dwarves, they are being observed by Evil. Evil feels the Supreme Being wasted his chance in creating reality and he wants to use the map to recreate it in his own image. Evil possesses Og and convinces Randall and the others to head to a place where the most fantastic item in the world is kept. Before they can head off, the Supreme Being appears in the woods and they are forced to try and find a way out. As they head for the portal, two of them open up but the dwarves find themselves stuck and Kevin ends up going through a portal on his own. Kevin ends up in Ancient Greece, landing on top of King Agamemnon, who was in the midst of fighting a warrior wearing a bull’s head. With the bull-headed warrior distracted by Kevin’s arrival, Agamemnon is able to kill the warrior and then asks Kevin if the Gods sent him. Thanking him for saving him, Agamemnon invites Kevin to head back to his city and Kevin refuses at first, saying he has to wait for his friends, but when Agamemnon goes to leave him in the desert, Kevin changes his mind. Agamemnon takes Kevin to Mycenae, and, with Kevin wanting to stay there, decides to adopt him and make him his heir. As a celebration is held in Kevin’s honor, Randall and the others show up, disguised as part of the entertainment, and claiming to be magicians, grab various treasures and Kevin and, hiding behind a cloth, disappear into a portal, with Agamemnon and his court believing it to be part of the act at first. Kevin and the others land on board the Titanic and Kevin is upset that they didn’t leave him in Ancient Greece, as it is his favorite period of history, but Randall tries to comfort him by saying he really didn’t belong there. When the Titanic sinks, Kevin and the dwarves find themselves floating on some of the debris and Evil takes the opportunity to have them reach the portal to his realm, the Time of Legends. Kevin and the dwarves are captured by an ogre and his wife and brought aboard their ship. As the wife heads down to make preparations to cook them, the ogre works on scaring Kevin and the dwarves while placing them in a pot but his back is bothering him. Kevin offers to help him and he and the dwarves start stretching the ogre’s back before throwing him overboard. When the ogre’s wife goes to check on him, they knock her overboard as well, then sail off in the ship. Suddenly, they find the boat is stuck on the head of a giant, who makes his way onto shore. Pulling up the planks to expose the giant’s head, Kevin uses the ogre’s sleeping potion and pours it into some fireplace bellows, then he and the dwarves jab it into the giant’s head and pour the potion into it, causing the giant to fall asleep. Leaving the boat, Kevin and the dwarves end up wandering through a desert until they come across an invisible barrier and Randall excitedly exclaims that the Fortress of Darkness is on the other side. Wally and the other dwarves think Randall has gone mad and want to leave, grabbing the map from him. As Randall and Wally argue, Randall throws a skull at Wally and ends up smashing the barrier, revealing the Fortress of Darkness. They head inside and a game show host appears, offering them the most fantastic item in the world. Randall and the other dwarves are overcome by greed and, despite Kevin warning them it is a trap, quickly rush off to reach the prize. When they get there, the host asks for the map and when Randall shows it, he grabs it, revealing himself to be Evil, then has Kevin and the dwarves trapped in a cage and suspended over a bottomless pit. As the dwarves despair over being captured, Kevin is looking through his pictures and sees the one with the dwarves holding the map. Showing it to Randall, they realize that there is a hole in the fortress they can use to escape. They manage to escape the cage and using some shavings from the rope holding the cage, manage to get to safety. Randall and the dwarves want to leave but Kevin convinces them that they have to get the map away from Evil. They manage to grab the map but Evil spots them and transforms Og into a pig-man, then sends his minions after them. Kevin and Og stay behind to distract Evil while he sends the others to go get help throughout time. Evil captures Kevin and Og, then destroys his creations as he gets the map back. Evil transforms Og completely into a pig and is about to kill Kevin when Randall and the others show up with the help they acquired. Evil easily kills the cowboys, archers, and knights that attack him, then takes control of the tank and space ship that Randall and Wally are in, making them attack each other. Fidgit is killed during the fight and Evil is about to kill the rest of them when he is suddenly engulfed in fire and reduced to an ashen statue. The Supreme Being shows up and, after restoring Og to human and reviving Fidgit, the Supreme Being orders them to start cleaning the mess up. As they work, Randall apologizes for stealing the map and the Supreme Being says that he allowed them to take it as he wanted to test his creation, Evil. When Kevin asks him why he created Evil, the Supreme Being tells him that it has to do with free will. When the dwarves knock over the statue of Evil, the Supreme Being says to pick up all the pieces, as it is concentrated Evil and could be deadly if not contained, but one piece goes unnoticed as it rolls under the tank. With all of the pieces picked up, the Supreme Being says that it is time to go and they leave but when Fidgit asks about Kevin, the Supreme Being says he can’t come with them as he has to continue the fight. Kevin asks them not to leave, as the last piece of Evil begins smoldering and filling the area with smoke. Suddenly, Kevin finds himself back in his room, as firefighters break down the door to rescue him. As one of the firefighters asks if Kevin is ok, Kevin is surprised to see that he looks just like Agamemnon. As the firefighter heads back to put out the fire, Kevin checks his satchel and finds the pictures that he took, realizing that the adventure that he had with the dwarves really happened. One of the firemen shows Kevin’s parents their new toaster oven, which was the cause of the fire, and when they open it, the piece of Evil is found inside. Kevin sees it and warns them not to touch it but they ignore him and as they touch it, they suddenly explode. As Kevin calls out for his parents in shock, the camera pans up from Kevin to show the neighborhood, planet, and eventually the map, which the Supreme Being then rolls up.

Time Bandits met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.” While filming the scenes in Sherwood Forest where Kevin and the dwarves crash through the carriage and land on Vincent and Pansy, Terry Gilliam had a scaffold built and was trying to instruct them on how to jump and land around Michael Palin without actually hitting them. However, when he decided to show them how to do it, he ended up landing on Shelley Duvall. The movie was a box office success, earning $42.3 million off of a $5 million budget, and would gain a cult following, especially among fans of Monty Python.

I know the critics love it but I honestly feel like this movie is somewhat under appreciated by the average movie goer as this is a really funny movie. The acting was really good, with Craig Warnock doing a great job as Kevin. The dwarves all had some good moments and bad, with my personal favorites being Kenny Baker (Fidgit), Malcolm Dixon (Strutter), and Jack Purvis (Wally), and this has nothing to do with the fact that they were all in the original Star Wars movies. The story was pretty interesting and honestly just showed Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin’s brilliance in comedy. I loved how they essentially made a movie from a child’s point of view and even though Kevin was meant to be the central focus of the movie, there were plenty of times that he was intentionally made out to be the secondary character in order to focus more on the dwarves. The somewhat biblical aspect of the Supreme Being, Evil, and the aspect of free will being the reason to have Evil, was written out very well and I liked how they wrote that plot line into the movie. The special effects were surprisingly good, especially considering the limited budget they had. A really good movie that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5