action, adventure, animation, comic book, movie, movie review

October 9th, 2018 Movie – Big Hero 6

big hero 6

Another free movie for signing up for a service. Got to love how that works out. Anyways, I don’t care how old I get, I still enjoy watching cartoons, whether it be a TV show or an animated movie. Now with Disney pretty much owning the rights to Marvel, you just knew at some point that there was going to be an animated move based on a Marvel comic book. However, while Disney has done several cartoon shows on Disney and Disney XD based on the more popular characters, their first feature film focused on a lesser known comic. My guess is that since the live action MCU was doing so well, they didn’t want to risk turning people away from those movies. Whatever the reason, there was an animated super hero movie in theaters and I for one couldn’t wait to go see Big Hero 6.

The plot: In the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, 14 year old Hiro Hamada participates in an illegal robot fight, hustling the champion Yama out of his money. When Yama grabs Hiro’s bot and tells his men to teach him a lesson, Hiro is rescued by his older brother Tadashi, who chastises him about participating in illegal fights, just before they get arrested by the police. The boy’s aunt Cass bails them out, the chastises both of them, as she had to close her cafe down early to bail them out. When Hiro plans on going to another bot fight, Tadashi says he will take him there but instead, takes him to the science lab at his university. At the lab, Tadashi introduces Hiro to his friends and classmates (Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred) then shows Hiro the project he is working on, a robotic nurse named Baymax. Hiro is impressed with Tadashi’s project and when he learns that Professor Robert Callaghan, who is one of Hiro’s idols in robotics, is Tadashi’s teacher, Hiro begs Tadashi to let him know how he can get in to the university. Tadashi tells Hiro that Callaghan has a contest every year and the kid who impresses him the most gets in but when Hiro sits down to come up with an idea, he draws a blank. Tadashi tells Hiro to not give up and Hiro eventually comes up with an idea for the expo. When they get there, Tadashi and all his friends wish Hiro luck and he presents his invention, microbots. Hiro amazes the crowd when he shows everything the microbots can be used for and after his presentation is done, he is approached by Alistair Krei, the CEO of Krei Tech. Krei wants to buy the microbots from Hiro but when Callaghan tells him that he doesn’t trust Krei, Hiro tells Krei that they aren’t for sale. Callaghan tells Hiro he has been accepted to the school and Aunt Cass says she will treat everyone to dinner at the cafe. Tadashi tells her he and Hiro will join them in a bit, then he pulls Hiro aside to talk with him. Suddenly, they hear alarms going off and people screaming and they turn to find the expo is on fire. When he learns that Callaghan is still in there, Tadashi goes in to help him and Hiro decides to go as well but he is knocked back when the building explodes, killing both Callaghan and Tadashi. Several weeks later, Hiro has fallen into a state of depression over Tadashi’s death, refusing to register for his classes. As he is moping in his room, he stubs his toe and accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to assist Hiro. Hiro tries to get Baymax back in his case but during the process, discovers one of his microbots in his hoodie he was wearing at the expo. The microbot seems to be trying to go somewhere but Hiro says that it must be broken as the other microbots were destroyed. Baymax takes the microbot and decides to see where it is trying to go and Hiro chases after him, eventually reaching an abandoned warehouse. Deciding to head inside, Hiro discovers that someone is mass producing his microbots when the microbots suddenly activate and attempt to attack them. Hiro and Baymax try to run away and see a man in a kabuki mask controlling the microbots, just before they are shoved out a window. Baymax saves Hiro and they go to the police to report what happened but Baymax begins running out of power and Hiro leaves, as he doesn’t want Aunt Cass to know he didn’t sign up for college. When he gets home, Hiro realizes that the man in the kabuki mask had set the fire at the expo to cover up his stealing Hiro’s microbots. Wanting to bring the guy to justice in order to avenge Tadashi, Hiro decides to use Baymax to accomplish the task, downloading karate onto a memory chip and inserting it into Baymax, then fashioning him a suit of armor. Hiro and BAymax use the microbot to track the killer, finding him at the docks but before they can attack him, they are confronted by Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred, who had been contacted by Baymax earlier. When the man in the kabuki mask attacks them,  Hiro tells the others to let him and Baymax handle him but Baymax is overpowered and the others grab Hiro and force him to leave with them. They kids attempt to escape but end up crashing into the ocean, only for Baymax to save them all. Trying to figure out where they should go, Fred takes them to his home, which is a mansion, and he reveals that his parents are rich. Hiro tries to figure out what the symbol on the item the kabuki man was carrying means and Fred says that it is probably Krei, as he had attempted to buy the microbots at the expo. Hiro decides to go after the kabuki man again and the others agree to help so Hiro works on designing them all super hero outfits and weapons. After testing everyones’ super suits, Hiro takes off with Baymax and tests his new armor, then scans the city to locate the kabuki man, finding him on an isolated island. The group heads out to the island and as they look around, they discover that the island was once a test lab for Krei Tech. The find video showing that Krei was testing a teleportation device but an accident occurred and the test pilot disappeared through the portal. Suddenly, the kabuki man attacks them and they attempt to get the mask away from him, as Hiro says that it is what is controlling the microbots. Hiro manages to knock the kabuki mask off the man only to discover that it is Callaghan, not Krei. A shocked Hiro asks Callaghan how he survived and Callaghan tells him he used to microbots to survive the explosion, telling Hiro that Tadashi’s death was his own fault. Enraged at the betrayal, Hiro tells Baymax to destroy Callaghan, taking out his healthcare chip in order to allow Baymax to attack without mercy. Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred try to stop Baymax and succeed when Honey Lemon puts the healthcare chip back in Baymax but doing so allows Callaghan to escape. Hiro is upset at the others and leaves with Baymax, hoping to repair his scanner so they can find Callaghan. When Hiro attempts to remove the healthcare chip again, Baymax refuses to let him, asking if this is what Tadashi would want and showing Hiro video of Tadashi as he was building Baymax. Go-Go and the others show up at Hiro’s garage and Hiro apologizes to them. Honey Lemon tells Hiro they found something on the island and pulls out a flash drive, which shows that Callaghan was at the teleportation testing. When they scan through some of the other video files, they realize that the test pilot was Callghan’s daughter Abigail and that he blames Krei for her death. At Krei Tech, Callaghan attacks Krei and then reveals that he has grabbed the portal and puts it back together, causing it to begin sucking Krei Tech into it. Hiro and the others show up and try to get Callaghan to stop but when he refuses, they go on the offensive. Callaghan is able to capture them but Hiro comes up with a new plan, getting the microbots sucked into the portal so that Callaghan no longer has a weapon to use. The plan works and they are able to stop Callaghan but the portal is still active and Krei says there is no way to stop it. Hiro says that they should run but Baymax says he detects life coming from within the portal and Hiro realizes that Abigail is still alive so he jumps onto Baymax and they head in to save her. Making their way through the portal, they eventually find Abigail’s ship and head back to the portal but when some debris is heading towards them, Baymax shield Hiro and Abigail’s ship with his own body. Baymax’s armor is damaged and when he notices the portal is closing, he tells Hiro that there is another way to save him, placing his rocket fist into the ship’s engine. Hiro doesn’t want him to do this, as he doesn’t want to lose Baymax, but Baymax says he will always be with him so Hiro reluctantly deactivates Baymax, just as he launches his rocket fist. Hiro makes it through with Abigail, just before the portal explodes, and when the others ask about Baymax, Hiro shakes his head no. Callaghan is arrested as Abigail is sent to a hospital for treatment while Hiro and the others leave the scene. Some time later, Hiro has taken over Tadashi’s lab at the university and as he places Baymax’s rocket fist on a shelf, he sees the healthcare chip in the fist. Realizing what this means, Hiro rebuilds Baymax and when he is activated, the two hug. Hiro and Baymax continue to act as superheroes to the city, with the others joining them and calling themselves Big Hero 6. Some time later, Fred is talking at a picture of his dad when he discovers a hidden room full of superhero equipment and when his dad shows up in the doorway, Fred hugs him as his dad says they have a lot to talk about.

Big Hero 6 met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.” According to Scott Watanabe, the movie is set in an alternate future where after the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt by Japanese immigrants using techniques that allow movement and flexibility in a seismic event. After the city was finished being rebuilt, it was renamed San Fransokyo due to it being a city with Japanese and American architecture combined. Big Hero 6 was the highest grossing animated movie of 2014, earning $657.8 million off of a $165 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

This is such a great movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit doing great jobs as Hiro and Baymax respectively. All of the other characters were equally good but I loved the cameo of Stan Lee being Fred’s dad, and the fact that they made him look like Stan Lee was even better. The story was really good, showing a lot more depth than I honestly would have given Disney credit for in a super hero movie. I loved the character development they showed with Hiro, going from reckless teenager to responsible kid, from wanna-be superhero to an angry, revenge seeking kid and back again. Hiro’s development drove the movie almost as much as the main story itself. The animation was great and some of the background animation and scenery was incredibly vivid and colorful. A great Disney movie that is well worth watching and definitely one that will end up being one of their all time greats.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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

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

transformers-age of extinction

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3 out of 5

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