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Flashback Review: June 17th, 2014 Movie – Cannonball Run II

cannonball run 2

Yes, I know I am late with this one. Unfortunately, I had a long day at work yesterday and had started to watch the movie when I was asked to help on a service call that night in exchange for not having to go in today, which I accepted. Anyways, today’s movie is one of the numerous sequels that had come out in the 80’s. I remember seeing Cannonball Run II as a kid, and thinking it was really funny. After rewatching it, I realized that I was mixing parts of The Cannonball Run with this movie in my memory, which was kind of disappointing. Now let’s go through and sort out my memories.

The plot: One year after losing the Cannonball Run, Sheik Abdul ben Falafel is chastised by his father for bringing shame to their family, as they are known for having the fastest of everything. The king orders him to go back to America and win the Cannonball Run this year but when the Sheik says there isn’t a Cannonball Run this year, the king tells him to just buy one. In America, Jill Rivers and Marcie Thatcher are still racing along the highways in a Lamborghini, this time it starts off as white but after dodging a couple of cops, they have a construction crew spray off the white paint to reveal the car is actually red and continue heading on the highway towards the start of the Cannonball. Meanwhile, J.J. McClure and Victor Prinzim are working as stuntmen and Victor is set to act as a human bomb, with J.J. convincing him that everything will be fine but if he is scared, he can always have “Him” do the stunt. J.J. walks off but as he hears the newscaster talking about how famous Victor will be for pulling off the stunt, he decides to take Victor’s place, only to find Victor has changed into Captain Chaos. After convincing Captain Chaos to let him do the stunt, J.J. goes through with it but the bomb drops early and skips across the parking lot, through a Winnebago and a jet, before finally crashing through the target, the net, and into the hay behind them. Victor rushes over with the paramedics and as J.J. exits the bomb, Victor says they can do that 10 times a day and be billionaires quickly, then starts ripping up the Sheik’s invitation to the Cannonball but J.J. chastises him for the idea. As some of the other former Cannonballers head out to California to start the race, Morris Fenderbaum owes $30,000 to Don Don, the son of Mafia Kingpin Don Canneloni. Don Don’s men head to the hotel and confront Fenderbaum and JAmie King about the money and Fenderbaum tells them that they are in the Cannonball Run and the prize is $1 million. As the mobsters question who would sponsor such a race, the Sheik walks in and sees Fenderbaum and Jamie and greets them. Fenderbaum tries to point out the men with guns but the Sheik sees the men’s shoes and gives them a pile of cash, telling them to buy a shoe store to get some better shoes. Meanwhile, Don Don is visited by Hymie Kaplan, another gangster who is friends with Don Canneloni. Hymie is there to collect the money that Don Don owes him, which totals over $9 million, but Don Don doesn’t have that much money on him so Hymie tells him he has until tomorrow to get the money. As the race is getting ready to start, Mel and his cousin Tony head to their Uncle Cal’s auto dealership to get a car. He tells them that he will let them use his promotional limousine so long as they take his orangutan with them, which acts as the limo’s driver. Meanwhile, J.J. and Victor are at a diner talking about what they would do with the prize money when they are approached by Betty and Veronica, two women who are dressed as nuns as part of “The Sound Of Music” show that they are part of but have grown tired of working the small time and decided to try and latch onto them, thinking they are rich. Victor believes the ladies are really nuns and agrees to let them sit with them and they talk briefly before Betty and Veronica leave. At the race’s starting line, J.J. and Victor show up dressed as an Army General and Private respectively, driving a souped up car from a military motor pool. They are approached by Betty and Veronica, who ask them for a lift to New York and Victor convinces J.J. to let them come. As they head to the car, they run into Fenderbaum and Jamie, who are dressed as cops, and after taunting J.J. and Victor, they tell the nuns that their disguise won’t work, as they tried it last year as priests, but J.J. tells them that they are real nuns. The Sheik gives a speech and then starts the race and Victor, changing into Captain Chaos, tells J.J. he will get him the win, then tells Betty to sit up front with him and let Veronica sit with J.J. in the back. As the race commences, Don Don tells his men to kidnap the Shiek so they can use him to get the money he owes Hymie and they attempt to kidnap him during the race, first using a car with pincers to grab onto the Sheik’s bumper and then using a helicopter with a magnet underneath it, but both attempts fail. Meanwhile, J.J. and Victor both find themselves attracted to Veronica and Betty respectively, while both “nuns” have been somewhat flirting with the men, but as Victor asks about their order again, Betty says it has been a long day and they should get some sleep now, pulling up a curtain between the front and back seats. The next day, they are pulled over and the sheriff doesn’t seem to buy the story J.J. and Victor are telling him. When the sheriff’s nephew, Pvt. Homer Lyle, shows up on his 3-day leave, J.J. tell him he is being drafted to drive their car to Connecticut and Lyle agrees. The sheriff wants to call it in but as he heads to his car, Betty and Veronica lean out the window and tell the sheriff that their mission is very important and he believes them. The sheriff offers them an escort to the county line and as they are getting in their cars, J.J. tells him to look out for two men dressed as cops driving a Corvette, telling him that they are Commies, and the sheriff puts the word out, but Fenderbaum and Jamie have a police scanner in their car and realize J.J. is trying to set them up again. They manage to cause the police chasing them to crash, then catch up to J.J.’s car and make them spin out. While Jill and Marcie continue burning out their cars and swindling people out of their sports cars, Mel and Tony take turns driving the car but when the orangutan ends up in the back with Tony and starts acting up, Tony goes up front with Mel, saying it is safer, leaving the orangutan to actually drive the car. Team Mitsubishi, the giant Arnold and his mechanic Jackie, stop at an open fruit/vegetable market, where Jackie proceeds to beat up the bikers that are harassing the owners. When the owners’ daughter invites Jackie to dinner, Jackie starts to accept but Arnold grabs him and says they have a race to finish. Elsewhere, J.J.’s group stop for gas and food and Betty and Veronica take the time to change out of their nun costumes, much to the surprise of J.J., Victor, and Homer. Realizing that they were played, J.J. smirks and tells Veronica to get in the car, where they proceed to start kissing, and a short while later they leave Homer on the side of the road, thanking him for his service. Jill and Marcie’s second car breaks down and when the tow truck operator keeps staring at them instead of the car, they end up taking his tow truck when he tells them the engine in it, and the driver as well. As more hijinks with the Cannonballers occur, Don Don’s men manage to capture the Sheik and take him to the Pinto Ranch. When the Cannonballers find out, Fenderbaum is forced to admit that they owe the Canneloni family money but suggests they go see the King for help. They head back to Las Vegas, where they meet with Frank Sinantra, and after explaining the situation to him, he helps them come up with a way to get into the ranch. J.J., Victor, and Fenderbaum disguise themselves as belly dancers, with Jamie as their agent, and they pass themselves off as a dance act. After the act, as Don Don is giving them contracts, Hymie enters and demands his money. Don Don hands him the $1 million prize money that the Sheik had, then tells Don Don he wants the rest in the morning. J.J., Victor, and Fenderbaum manage to get the money from Hymie and after meeting back with Jamie, they go to find the Sheik, only to find him being pampered by some of the women at the ranch. Hymie’s men capture them but the other Cannonballers crash through the doors and a fight breaks out. When the dust settles, all of Don Don’s and Hymie’s men are beaten but the Sheik tells everyone that he is now partners with Don Don, as he has decided to purchase the Pinto Ranch. When Hymie reminds Don Don about the money he owes him, Don Don speaks with the Sheik, who gives him $18 million. The Sheik then tells everyone that he is doubling the prize money and everyone gets back in their cars to finish the race, with Frank Sinatra deciding to join in. When the race finishes, the Sheik loses again and as his father berates him, he says that it is Doctor Van Helsing’s fault for injecting something in him for his ulcer. When his father says he has one last chance, with another Cannonball set to take place the next day, the Sheik tells his father he can’t lose, as he hired the winner of the race to be his co-driver. He then introduces his father to the winner, which turns out to be the orangutan, who proceeds to kiss the King.

Cannonball Run II met with poor results from the critics, currently holding a 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics felt that the movie was uninspired and the laughter felt forced. With the appearance of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Shirley MacLaine, many people feel that it is the last feature film of the Rat Pack, as this was Sinatra’s and Martin’s last film. Cannonball Run II barely made a profit, earning $28 million off of an estimated $20 million budget and when a third movie was announced, Jamie Farr was the only person to reprise his role in it.

Yeh, this was rather disappointing of a sequel. The acting was ok but a lot of the interactions felt a little forced, even with the pairings of Burt Reynolds (J.J.) and Dom DeLuise (Victor) and Dean Martin (Jamie) and Sammy Davis Jr. (Fenderbaum). The story was incredibly weak, both with the premise for the new race and the side plot with Don Don and Hymie. The comedy felt like it was just a rehash of everything from the first movie but all of the timing for the jokes felt off and watered down in some cases. This really is a bad attempt to copy off the success of the first film.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 10th, 2014 Movie – Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker

batman beyond return of the joker

At the beginning of 1999, as everyone was talking about the new century/millennium that was fast approaching, a new Batman appeared to give us a glimpse of what the future might bring. When Batman Beyond first debuted, I was curious about it as the initial concept sounded pretty interesting. So I watched the pilot movie and thought it was incredibly well done and couldn’t wait to watch the cartoon when it started up on a weekly basis. Now some time after the show started, there were some rumors that started up saying that the 5th Batman movie might possibly be based on this new cartoon. If there is one thing that I will never forgive Batman & Robin for, it is the fact that they deprived us of the chance for a live action version. However, they made up for it by making an animated film involving the Joker and bringing Mark Hamill in to reprise the character. As soon as I first saw the ad for this movie I knew I had to watch it so I bought the DVD as soon as it came out, then upgraded it to Blu-Ray a few years ago. So let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker.

The plot: In the year 2040, a gang of Jokerz (Bonk, Chucko, Ghoul, the Dee Dee twins (Deidre and Delia Dennis), and Woof (who has been spliced with hyena genes)) are stealing some high tech equipment when Batman (Terry McGinnis) shows up to stop them. Batman works on taking them out but gets briefly distracted by the Dee Dees when he sees them cowering in fear only to have one of them hit him with a taser when he turns his back and they both attack him. He manages to get away from them but Woof bites him and as Ghoul goes to help Woof, Bonk, Chucko, and the Dee Dees manage to get away with the equipment. Batman knocks out Woof and Ghoul and gives chase and when he attacks Bonk, he disengages from the device and flies off after him, leaving the other two unable to continue carrying the device. The Dee Dee that is with Bonk tries to attack Batman but ends up falling off the lifter. Batman manages to snag her with a grapple but Bonk attacks him. The other Dee Dee uses her lifter to save her sister as the device crashes to the ground and Chucko grabs the memory board from it before Dee Dee picks him up and they fly away before it explodes. Bonk continues attacking Batman but is struck by a flag pole and hangs onto it. Batman manages to jump from the lifter before it crashes but when he recovers, he sees that the Jokerz have gotten away. Returning to the Batcave, Terry tells Bruce about the Jokerz when he notices the news broadcast talking about Bruce returning to take control of Wayne Enterprises. Terry comments about some disparaging remarks from Jordan Price, who had been in line to run the company before Bruce’s return, and Bruce says he will keep him around so long as he is able to work by his rules. Despite Bruce telling him he should get some sleep, Terry heads out to meet his girlfriend Dana at a club but he ends up falling asleep on his feet there. Meanwhile, the Jokerz return to their hideout at an abandoned Jolly Jack candy factory, where Chucko hands the memory card to their new boss, who says it is worthless. As their boss calls them losers, Bonk loses his temper and yells at him, saying he wants out. The boss, revealing himself to be the Joker, pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot Bonk, who quickly apologizes. When Joker pulls the trigger, a flag with the word “Bang” printed on it pops out and Bonk breathes a sigh of relief, until the Joker pulls the trigger again and the flag is propelled into Bonk’s chest, killing him. Joker then addresses the other Jokerz and after getting a renewed pledge of devotion to him, has Ghoul find another facility that has the equipment they need. When he picks one, Ghoul worries about the security there but Joker says that it will make things more fun. The next night, Bruce and Terry attend a function welcoming Bruce back to the company when the Joker’s laughter is suddenly heard through the speakers just before Woof appears and rushes the stage, avoiding Terry’s attack. Security is called in but they are taken out by Chucko and Ghoul, who then proceed to steal the scanner they were after. Bruce manages to knock Woof aside with his cane, then tells Terry to get to work while he tries to leave but the Dee Dees grab him and knock him back onto the stage, just as Joker appears. Bruce reacts in shock at seeing Joker, who tells Bruce that he is the real deal and he should know, inferring that Joker knows Bruce was Batman. Batman shows up but Joker has Woof deal with him and once he hears from Chucko and Ghoul that they are almost done, he calls for a retreat, detonating some explosives and sending some of the guest falling to the ground, forcing Batman to save them and allowing him to get away. As they are leaving, Terry tries to get some information from Bruce on the Joker, who refuses to tell him anything. The next day, Terry goes to see Barbara Gordon, the police commissioner, who refuses to go into details but tells him that the Joker was like nothing he had ever faced before and to let it drop, then dismisses him as she has an appointment coming in to speak with her. Back at the Batcave, Bruce is analyzing the Joker’s voice from last night with a previous recording from an old crime and the computer says that they match. Terry returns to the Batcave and asks Bruce why he never talked about the Joker, even though he mentioned all of his other criminals. When Bruce says it can’t be the real Joker because he saw him die, Terry asks if he killed him. Bruce doesn’t respond and instead, asks Terry to return the Batsuit, saying he had honored his father’s killers and gone above and beyond to protect the city but he no longer needs to do that. Terry argues that before becoming Batman he was the type of punk that Bruce wouldn’t have wasted a second punch on and this was his way of making amends for his past. When Bruce chastises him, Terry tosses his backpack with the suit inside at his feet and leaves. Later that night, Bruce is working on making some Joker antivenom when Ace hears something and, growling, heads upstairs only to quickly yelp in pain. As Bruce calls out to him, some gas pellets drop down the stairs and Joker appears and confronts Bruce. Meanwhile, Terry heads to a dance club, where Dana is out with some of her friends, and tells her that he no longer has a job so he can focus on her more, which she is happy to hear. Suddenly, the Dee Dees, without their make-up, approach Terry and Dana and separate Terry from Dana, allowing Ghoul to grab her. As Terry tries to find her, the Dee Dees attack him, with Chucko and Woof showing up as well. Dana tries to get away from Ghoul, who ends up shoving her off the raised platform they are on and Terry saves her from getting seriously hurt but she still falls unconscious. As the Jokerz continue trying to attack him, Terry leaves Dana with thier friend Chelsea and tells her to hide, then leads them away before knocking over a giant lava lamp, catching the Jokerz in the rush of falling liquid, then knocks out Chucko when he tries to shoot him. Heading back outside to check on Dana, who is being loaded into an ambulance, Terry tells Chelsea to stay with her, then he gets on his motorcycle and heads to Wayne Manor. As he is driving, Terry calls Bruce and starts to leave a message when he realizes Bruce should have picked up and quickens his pace. When he gets there, he sees the wounded Ace and the entrance to the Batcave broken open and heads down to find the Joker has covered the cave in graffiti. Seeing Bruce lying on the floor, he discovers that he has been infected with the Joker’s toxin but Bruce is able to tell Terry about the antivenom and he quickly grabs it and administers it to Bruce. Terry calls Barbara to help tend to Bruce, then forces her to tell him what happened to the Joker. Barbara tells him that their last encounter with the Joker happened after Dick Grayson had left to become Nightwing; leaving Bruce, herself, and Tim Drake, the new Robin, to patrol Gotham. One day, Robin was captured by Joker and Harley Quinn and for three weeks, Batman and Batgirl searched for him with no sign of him. When they received a package from Joker, they head to the old Arkham Asylum grounds and find Joker and Harley there. Batman approaches them, having Batgirl sneak up to a higher vantage point. Batman asks them about Robin but the feign ignorance, then comment about their “Little J”, and when Batman heads in the direction the indicated, Harley uses her bazooka to trap him. Joker then explains that they have been doing this game for years and he decided it was time to start a family but Harley didn’t want to deal with pregnancy so they simply borrowed one of his kids, then molded him in their own image. Joker then reveals that Tim has been turned into a mirror image of Joker and an enraged Batman breaks free from his bonds and goes after Joker. Batgirl swoops down and knocks Harley back, then tries to talk with Tim to see if he remembers her but Harley attacks her, then tells Tim to get her bazooka. Batgirl renews her attack on Harley, chasing her outside where the building is falling apart. As they argue over what they did to Tim, Tim shows up with the Bazooka and tosses it to Harley, who begins firing at Batgirl but she is able to knock it aside and a stray round causes both of them to fall. Batgirl manages to stop her fall and tries to pull Harley to safety but Harley’s costume rips and she ends up falling to the water below. Meanwhile, Batman continues chasing after Joker, who leads him to the theater room and shows him the video of how he tortured and changed Robin, revealing that in the process Robin told him all of his secrets. Batman smashes through the projection room and assaults Joker, and prepares to kill him but stops when he sees Tim watching them. Joker takes advantage of the distraction to slash Batman with his knife before stabbing him in the leg, then knocking him to the ground. Joker then tosses a gun to Tim and tells him to finish off Batman and, laughing maniacally, Tim pulls the trigger, making the flag come out, but as Joker yells at him to finish it, Tim points the gun at Joker before pulling the trigger again, sending the flag into Joker’s chest. Tim continues laughing before the laughter turns into sobs of pain and Batgirl rushes in and consoles him. Barbara then says that they buried Joker in Arkham, while there was no sign of Harley, and her father helped them hide the truth from everyone but after Tim was restored to sanity, Bruce forbade him from wearing the Robin costume again and Tim eventually left. He became a communications specialist and is now married and has children, which Barbara feels he deserves after what he went through. Terry decides to question Tim, who tells him that he had nothing to do with the Joker and he was just as surprised as anyone when he returned. Leaving Tim, Batman heads off to investigate Jordan Price, as he would also have reason for wanting Bruce out of the way. On his private yacht, Jordan is surprised to find the Jokerz waiting for him and he asks what they want, as he already gave them the codes they needed to rob Wayne Enterprises, and the Jokerz say that their boss wants them to tie up loose ends. Jordan tries to get away but Woof knocks him down and they handcuff him to a table, then contact the Joker. Joker tells them to get out of there and Batman, who had been recording their conversation, tries to stop them but they slip out and Batman moves to follow but notices the light suddenly shining onto the yacht. Freeing Jordan, he gets off the boat with him and heads to shore, just as a laser beam shoots out of the sky and destroys the yacht. Batman gets caught in the wave that formed from the explosion but is able to rescue Jordan and heads to shore, where he turns Jordan, as well as the audio recording of his working with the Jokerz, over to the police. Returning to the Batcave, Terry chastises himself for not being able to figure out where the Joker is when Bruce comes down to the cave. As they discuss Bruce’s reason for not wanting Terry to face off against the Joker, Terry notices that despite all of the cases being smashed, Robin’s costume is the only one that was destroyed. Telling Bruce that Tim might be somehow involved this, he shows him all of the equipment that the Jokerz stole and how someone with Tim’s knowledge can turn it into a satellite jamming system. Bruce accepts Terry’s logic and tells him to suit up and Terry says he needs to bring something with him, staring at Ace. Batman goes to see Tim at his lab but finds it is a hologram, just as the lab is sealed off. Joker appears on the monitor and says that Tim is working for him and explains what he has planned, then invites Batman to try and stop him. Terry manages to get out of the lab and contacts Bruce but Joker interrupts their conversation and uses the satellite to attack the Batmobile, first by firing single shots and then turning the laser into a solid beam of light. As he is laughing at Batman’s plight, Joker suddenly gets woozy and cuts off the transmission, and as the satellite stops firing, Batman heads towards Joker’s hideout. As he nears the Jolly Jack factory, Chucko shoots the Batmobile down but Batman steers it right at him and takes out the tower he was on, knocking him out. Woof appears ready to fight but Terry sends Ace out to deal with him, leaving him free to deal with Ghoul and the Dee Dees. Batman heads inside to find an unconscious Tim on the floor and when Batman questions him, Tim says he doesn’t know anything about the Joker but then suddenly recalls seeing him. Tim seems out of it at first but then tells Terry that he is ok and when Batman asks how he knew his name, Tim says he knows everything about him, then throws a trap at him that incapacitates his suit. Tim then addresses Bruce, as he is watching through the suits video feed, and begins laughing and suddenly transforms into the Joker, shocking Batman and Bruce. Joker explains that he had placed his consciousness onto a microchip and placed it on Tim’s body when he was his captive, intended as a back-up plan. At first, he had to limit the time he was able to take control of Tim’s body, who would always chalk it up to nightmares about the Joker, but over time he was able to take control at will. He then plans on using the satellite to take out Wayne Manor, as well as Terry’s home and the hospital that Dana is in, then taunts Terry and asks if he has any last words for Bruce. Batman says “Yeh, sic ’em”, and Ace leaps out from behind Joker and knocks him into some cables. Batman calls Ace to him, who is able to bite the clamp off of his suit, then rushes at the Joker but Joker uses his joy buzzer to stun Ace. Before Joker can finish him off, Batman tackles him and the joy buzzer slips off his hand and short circuits the satellite controls, sending the beam straight towards them. Saying his plan is ruined now, Joker plans on leaving and when Batman tries to stop him, Joker easily pummels him, saying that he knew everything about Batman and Robin in their prime and that Terry was out of his league. Batman asks Bruce for advise but realizing the difference in their styles, Terry starts fighting dirty and then begins mocking Joker, causing him to get enraged. Joker eventually starts throwing explosives at Batman and traps him under a table before starting to choke him but as he taunts Batman, Batman reveals that he had grabbed the joy buzzer and uses it to short out and destroy the microchip, ridding Tim of the Joker once and for all. Able to free himself, Batman helps Tim and Ace out of there just before the laser destroys the factory before shutting down. Some time later, the Dee Dees are released from jail into the custody of their grandmother, who is revealed to be Harley Quinn. Meanwhile, Terry stops by to check in on Tim, who thanks him for what he did and says Bruce couldn’t have chosen anyone better to wear the suit. As he is leaving, Terry encounters Bruce, who stops Terry and tells him that he was wrong about what he said earlier; the Batsuit doesn’t make him a better person, but rather he makes the Batman a better person. Bruce then heads inside Tim’s hospital room to reconcile with his former sidekick while Terry heads out and puts on the Batsuit to patrol the streets of Gotham.

I have to admit that this was a bit darker than I expected but still a fantastic movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle doing great jobs reprising their roles of Bruce and Terry respectively. Mark Hammill was fantastic coming back as the Joker, while Dean Stockwell did a good job as the older Tim Drake. The story was good but surprisingly dark considering it was essentially a kids movie. I liked how they were able to tie in the past events with the future, while the reveal that Harley was the grandmother of the Dee Dees, who were essentially a new generation of Harley, was pretty funny. The initial DVD that I bought had some scenes changed from the uncut version that is on the Blu-Ray, mainly how Joker killed Bonk and Tim killed Joker. The scenes showing Robin being tortured were definitely a little hard to watch and definitely not something that would be suitable for kids. The animation was great and felt like a step up from the animation from the TV show, which was pretty good to begin with. I wouldn’t necessarily let young kids watch it but it is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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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

 

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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

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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

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March 5th, 2018 Movie – The Transformers: The Movie

transformers the movie

So today I find myself watching the movie that scarred a generation of kids. But before we get into that, let me give you a brief history of what led to this event. Back in the 80’s President Reagan’s appointment to head the FCC essentially removed every advertising regulation from children’s programming. This essentially meant that children’s cartoons would become nothing more than 30 minute commercials for various toy lines. Transformers was one of the biggest cartoon franchises to come out of this era and their toys were flying off the market. However, when the original first wave of toys were no longer being produced, Sunbow and Hasbro decided that the best way to get kids to lose interest in them was to kill off those characters and introduce new ones. Needless to say, this came as quite a shock to all of the kids that excitedly went to see this movie only to see one of cartoon’s greatest heroes die within the first 20 minutes. So let’s see the tragedy unfold in today’s movie, The Transformers: The Movie.

The plot: In the year 2005, a monstrous planet named Unicron makes it’s way towards the planet Lithone. As tremors shake the planet, one of the inhabitants, Kranix, sees Unicron drawing near and orders an evacuation but he is the only one to get away as Unicron proceeds to devour the planet, using it to fuel his own life. Meanwhile, the Decepticons have finally managed to win total control of Cybertron but Optimus Prime and the other Autobots have staging bases on Cybertron’s two moons and make plans to defeat the Decepticons and regain control of Cybertron. On Moonbase 1, Prime orders Ironhide to make a shuttle run to Earth to gather more Energon from Autobot City, as they don’t have enough on hand to launch a full scale invasion on Cybertron, but unbeknownst to the Autobots, Laserbeak is observing their plans and quickly flies back to Cybertron. When Laserbeak arrives at the Decepticon base, Megatron orders Soundwave to play back what he observedand after seeing the video of Prime ordering the shuttle to head to Earth, Megatron makes his own plans. As the shuttle travels towards Earth, Megatron and his Decepticon army attack the shuttle, killing Ironhide, Brawn, Prowl, and Ratchet in the process. Starscream question’s why they are attacking the shuttle instead of focusing on the Autobot moon bases and Megatron explains that they can use the shuttle to slip by the early defenses on Earth and destroy Autobot City and the Autobots inside. On Earth, Daniel Witwicky, the son of longtime Autobot associate Spike Witwicky, is fishing with his Autobot friend Hot Rod but is feeling depressed as he misses his dad, who is on Moon Base 2. When he sees the shuttle approaching on his handheld sensor, Daniel wants to go watch it so Hot Rod takes him up to Lookout Mountain, blowing past a barricade that Kup and some other Autobots are setting up. On the mountain, Daniel sees the hole in the shuttle and tells Hot Rod, who takes a look and sees the Decepticons hiding inside. Hot Rod begins attacking the shuttle, confusing Kup and the other Autobots, but when he finally damages the shuttle to where it can no longer fly, Megatron and the other Decepticons fly out and begin attacking the Autobots. Kup saves Hot Rod and Daniel from Blitzwing and Shrapnel but as Hot Rod goes to thank him, they are attacked by Starscream and the two Autobots transform and make their way towards Autobot City. Inside the city, Ultra Magnus, the city commander, orders Arcee and Springer to transform the city to battle station mode, Perceptor to tell Blaster to contact Prime for reinforcements, while he and Blurr evacuate the non essential personnel from the city. As Springer moves to transforms the city, Arcee says Kup and Hot Rod are still outside but Springer grabs her and tells her they are on their own. The two Autobots manage to transform the city and avoid being killed by Starscream, who narrowly avoids being trapped inside the transformed city himself. When Megatron orders the Decepticon’s to breach the city’s defenses, Shrapnel and Kickback begin chewing a hole through one of the doors but Hot Rod and Kup run over the two Insecticons and use the hole to get inside the city, just before a new blast door seals the opening. Meanwhile, Perceptor reaches Blaster and tells him to contact Prime but as Blaster is making his transmission, Megatron sees them and orders Soundwave to jam it. Soundwave releases his cassettes (Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, and Ratbat), who rip off the communication dish and then proceed to attack the two autobots but Blaster releases his own cassettes (Eject, Rewind, Ramhorn, and Steeljaw) to deal with them. As the battle rages through the night, Springer is trying to move a missile launcher into position and asks Arcee, who is mourning over the bodies of Wheeljack and Windcharger, for help. As she helps him, Kup and Hot Rod show up and the 4 Autobots get the launcher into position just as Daniel points out Megatron ordering the Constructicons to merge into Devastator. As Devastator begins to destroy the Autobot’s defenses, Springer begins firing missiles at him but Devastator shrugs them off and throws some debris at them, taking out the launcher. The battle rages throughout the night and in the morning, the Autobot’s defenses are broken and Megatron orders the Decepticons to attack when a second Autobot shuttle arrives with Prime and the reinforcements. Prime orders the Dinobots to take out Devastator and they fly off to confront the massive Decepticon but though they manage to knock him down, Devastator easily beats the Dinobots. Prime heads off to stop Megatron, making his way through the Decepticons until only Megatron is left standing. The two leaders begin fighting, with Megatron injuring Prime but Prime manages to get the upper hand. As Prime moves to finish off Megatron, but Megatron notices a laser pistol hidden underneath some nearby debris and pleads for mercy in an attempt to stall Prime. As Megaton reaches for the pistol, Hot Rod tries to stop him but Megatron grabs him and uses him as a shield while he proceeds to shoot Prime. Tossing Hot Rod aside, Megatron approaches Prime to finish him off but Prime manages to muster up enough strength for one last blow on Megatron, knocking him off the ledge and down several stories to the ground below. As Prime collapses, Hot Rod rushes to him and apologizes while below, Starscream orders a retreat and the Decepticons grab their wounded and fly off in Astrotrain. Inside the damaged city, Perceptor tells everyone that Prime’s wounds are fatal and Prime appoints Ultra Magnus to be the new leader, passing the Matrix of Leadership to him before he dies. Out in space, Unicron has seen what happened on Earth and when he sees the Matrix survived, he roars out in anger. Elsewhere, Astrotrain tells the other Decepticons to jettison some weight or they won’t reach Cybertron so, declaring survival of the fittest, they dump out the injured Decepticons, with Starscream tossing Megatron out himself. Afterwards, Starscream declares himself the new leader but the other Decepticon’s begin arguing that they should lead and a fight breaks out inside Astrotrain. Megatron and the other injured Decpticons float through space and end up being drawn towards Unicron. Unicron speaks with Megatron and offers him a new body and troops in exchange for destroying the Matrix and Megatron initially refuses to be a servant to Unicron but relents when Unicron prepares to devour him. Unicron uses his powers to rebuild Megatron into Galvatron, then turns the other injured Decepticons (Skywarp, Thundercracker, Bombshell, Kickback, and Shrapnel) into Cyclonus, Scourge, and Scourge’s hunters The Sweeps. Flying off in the ship Unicron gave them, Galvatron heads to Cybertron and interrupts Starscream’s coronation ceremony before killing Starscream. Meanwhile, Unicron approaches the two moon bases and begins devouring Moon Base 1. Jazz and Cliffjumper radio a report to Ultra MAgnus before they try to escape but they can’t escape Unicron’s gravity tractor beam and are sucked into his maw. Spike and Bumblebee on Moon Base 2 tell Ultra Magnus what happened and as Unicron heads towards them, they set up explosives and detonate them while the moon is in Unicron’s mouth but the explosion has no effect and they end up sucked in as well. On Cybertron, Galvatron curses Unicron for destroying the moons but falls over in pain, as Scourge reminds him that they belong to Unicron, and after recovers, Galvatron orders the Decepticons back to Earth. On Earth, Ultra Magnus orders everyone to the shuttles so the can help their friends, thinking the Matrix might be able to help, which Hot Rod readily agrees with the idea. Suddenly, they come under attack by the Decepticons and manage to get away only for Galvatron to follow after them. Galvatron sends Cyclonus out, who incapacitates the shuttle carrying Hot Rod, Kup, and the Dinobots and they end up crashing on a nearby planet of Quintessa. As Galvatron goes after the second shuttle, Ultra Magnus orders an emergency separation and they succeed in fooling the Decepticons into thinking they were destroyed. Galvatron praises their success but when Unicron psychically attacks him again, he orders Cyclonus to take him to see Unicron. On Quintessa, Hot Rod is separated form the others and as he searches for them, he sees Kup being attacked by a giant mechanical squid and rescues him, then works on repairing the damage. When he finishes, the two Autobots go looking for the Dinobots but end up being captured by some strange creatures and taken to a citadel. Placed inside a dungeon, Kup and Hot Rod are greeted by Kranix, who starts to tell them about Unicron but he is grabbed by the guards and taken away to a kangaroo court, where the Quintessons, the rulers of the planet, sentence him to death and feed him to the Sharkticons. Elsewhere, Grimlock and the other Dinobots (Slag, Sludge, and Swoop) are searching for Hot Rod and Kup when they meet Wheelie, a small Autobot warrior that speaks in rhymes and helps lead them to where their friends are. Meanwhile, Galvatron asks Unicron why he attacked him and Unicron tells him that Ultra Magnus and the Matrix are still alive and sends him to the Planet of Junk to destroy him. On the Planet of Junk, Ultra Magnus, Arcee, Springer, Perceptor, Blurr, and Daniel (wearing an exo suit) are working to repair the emergency shuttle, unaware that they are being observed by the planet’s inhabitants, the Junkions. When the Decepticons attack, The Autobots run for cover and Ultra Magnus buries them under some junk, then tries to face the Decepticons on his own by using the Matrix but it doesn’t open for him and Galvatron has the Sweeps blow him apart, then grabs the Matrix to use against Unicron himself. Back on Quintessa, Hot Rod and Kup are brought to trial and sentenced to death but they begin fighting back against the Sharkticons. Before they can be overrun, Grimlock and the other Dinobots arrive and after destroying several Sharkticons, Grimlock is able to take control of them and orders them to attack the Quintessons while Wheelie shows the Autobots a nearby ship they can use so long as they take him with them. Back on the Planet of Junk, Arcee and the other Autobots mourn the death of Ultra Magnus when they are suddenly attacked by the Junkions. The Autobots try to fend them off but the fighting stops when Hot Rod and the other’s arrive on the planet. Hot Rod speaks with Wreck Gar, the Junkions’ leader and Wreck Gar declares a truce and as a sign of their new friendship, the Junkions repair Ultra Magnus. Realizing that Galvatron has the Matrix, Hot Rod says they have to go after him and Wreck Gar agrees to help, revealing a ship of their own. Meanwhile, Galvatron is calling out Unicron and says that since he has the Matrix, Unicron should do his bidding now but he is unable to open it. Unicron then transforms into a massive robot and tells Galvatron that he had considered sparing Cybertron but now plans on rending it asunder. As Unicron begins attacking the planet, Shockwave orders the Decepticons on the planet to begin attacking Unicron but he is easily able to fend them off. Galvatron begins attacking Unicron but Unicron simply grabs him and swallows him as Hot Rod and the others show up. As Unicron attacks the approaching ships, he blasts the ship carrying Hot Rod, Springer, Kup, Arcee, and Daniel in half but Hot Rod guides their damaged half straight into Unicron’s eye. Hot Rod is separated for the others, who are attacked by Unicron’s internal defenses, and as he goes looking for them, he encounters Galvatron. Galvatron suggests a truce against their common enemy but Unicron attacks Galvatron and orders him to kill Hot Rod and Galvatron agrees to do so. Meanwhile, Daniel gets separated from the others and discovers a smelting pit, where the captured inhabitants of the planets Unicron destroys are melted down for fuel. Daniel sees Spike, Bumblebee, Jazz, and Cliffjumper about to be dropped into the pit and as Spike yells for Daniel to help them, Daniel manages to shoot down the acid shield and rescues them. Elsewhere, Hot Rod and Galvatron continue fighting and Galvatron gets the upper hand and begins choking Hot Rod but Hot Rod manages to grab the Matrix from Galvatron and transforms into Rodimus Prime. Shocked, Galvatron shoots the Matrix from Rodimus’ hands but Rodimus grapples with Galvatron and manages to throw him out of Unicron. Rodimus then opens the Matrix, and it’s energy begins ripping Unicron apart from the inside. Springer, Kup, and Arcee meet up with Spike, Daniel and the other Autobots and as they try to figure out what is going on, they are met by Rodimus, who tells them they need to get out of there. The Autobots all transform and escape through Unicrons other eye as Unicron explodes from the Matrix’s energy, causing his head to orbit the planet as it’s new moon. On Cybertron, Rodimus and the Autobot’s regain control of the planet and Rodimus declares an end to the Cybertronian War and a new age of peace and tranquility to have started as they all celebrate.

The Transformers: The Movie met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A surprisingly dark, emotional, and almost excessively cynical experience for Transformers fans.” The death of Optimus Prime in the movie causes such a backlash among the fans, that Sunbow ended up bringing him back in the third season of the cartoon, while a new figure, Powermaster Optimus Prime, would come out the following year. Despite the popularity of the series, the movie failed to make a profit at the box office, earning $5.8 million off of a $6 million budget.

I have to admit that when I first saw this movie as a kid, I didn’t really think about how dark it was but this really is a dark movie, definitely darker than what a kid should be watching at the time. That being said, I love this movie and find it infinitely better than the recent live action movies. The voice acting was great, with many of the original voice actors reprising their roles from the cartoon while Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, and Lionel Standard were all good in their roles of Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime, Galvatron, Ultra Magnus and  Kup respectively. I loved Monty Python alum Eric Idle as the TV talking Wreck-Gar and thought Orson Welles was great as Unicron, though he apparently hated the role. The story was good, but incredibly dark. I mean, with the cartoon, you had plenty of laser blasts and explosions but nobody was seriously injured. In this movie though, you have an entire planet destroyed and all it’s inhabitants eaten, Transformers being shot and killed, and some being melted by acid. I honestly have to wonder how they thought this was something to be shown to kids. The animation was pretty good and definitely a step up from the cartoon, while they did do a decent job of introducing new characters to the series. It probably isn’t something that little kids should watch but definitely something that fans who grew up watching the show, and modern fans, will enjoy watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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