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Old 2017-02-13, 05:27 PM   #4
Blackjack
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Transformers: Age of Extinction
Review:
“Autobots. Decepticons. Like little children – always fighting. Making a mess out of the universe. Then I’ve got to clean it up!”

It’s been a bit of a while since Age of Extinction hit the theaters. In a way, I honestly did not expect another Transformer movie, yet it would be stupid for the studios to let such a huge cash cow go. But how do you make a continuation from Dark of the Moon? It was an entertaining movie, but by the end of it all the villains lie dead with a certain finality. All the big names – Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Shockwave (even if he never did much in the movieverse) – lie dismembered and dead, and there’s only so many times that Michael Bay can pull off ‘Megatron teams up with an ancient Transformer to activate a doomsday weapon’ plot. In a way, the Transformers franchise needed an injection of freshness to really keep it going. And, yes, as much as the critics deride Bay movies and a portion of the Transformers fandom deriding the Bay movies for ruining the franchise forever (when, y’know, it’s the other way around) the movies still make a ton of money. But repeat the same thing more than twice and people will start to get tired of it. How do you make transforming robots fighting fresh?

And the solution was a surprising clearing of the state. The writers kept the setting, kept the continuity, but did a soft reboot. The entirety of the human cast was replaced to bring in a couple of new faces, and a majority of the robot cast was even scrapped. Only the three most iconic characters – Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron – remain, with two, maybe three, returning characters from the previous movies, neither of which had a lot of screentime. The opening of the movie quickly establishes its different tone, too. We get hints of a bigger universe apparently a bunch of aliens that are not quite Transformers are responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, and throughout the movie we get multiple hints of this ‘Creator’ race (how this ties onto the AllSpark creation story remains to be seen). Now obviously any self-respecting Transformer fan knows who the Creators refer to, but the idea that this franchise is actually building up towards something concrete with a payoff in a future movie instead of just shrugging and leaving loosely-defined plot threads (‘eh, we have a sliver of the Allspark, we’ll think of something to do with it in the next one’) is exciting.

Of course, as much as Age of Extinction is a breath of fresh air, one of the biggest problems of this movie is that, well, they had three decent plotlines that they forced together to form a two-and-a-half-hour long movie. You’ve got the very interesting KSI plotline, with interesting villains in the menacing Harold Attinger and the quirky inventor Joshua Joyce, with the plot exploring how Optimus Prime would react in an Earth that rejects the existence of the Autobots, and mankind that would rather not coexist but would rather study and build their own far more advanced transformers. The idea that the KSI scientists were able to learn more about the building blocks of Transformers better than the Transformers themselves do is not entirely unrealistic, and them creating far more superior transforms in the form of drones that can transform into fluid metal instead of using folding plates and moving joints, is a great story. Of course, they find out that playing a deal with the devil – Megatron’s head, in this case – ends up biting them in the ass as Megatron is reborn as Galvatron, leading an army of KSI drones to besiege a large city.

Equally interesting is the Lockdown plot. The idea of a third party to the Autobot/Decepticon conflict, this mysterious bounty hunter who’s working for the unseen creators of the Transformers, hunting Optimus Prime for mysterious reasons and utilizing technology that the creators use to cyberform planets, is also very engaging. It helps that Lockdown is quickly portrayed as this very menacing no-nonsense hunter that’s just so aloof and doesn’t give a shit about the Autobots, Decepticons, and even his human allies. There’s a lot of history in everything that Lockdown says. Hints about the Creators, about some ancient order of Knights, and generally a lot of worldbuilding.

And then there’s the Dinobots, who, as cool as they are, and as much as I loved their scenes at the end, really felt shoehorned in. Perhaps some better editing and tightening of the earlier Lockdown and Optimus conversation to hint at the just what these ‘Legendary Warriors’ are supposed to be, and why Optimus whacking Grimlock with a shield so hard his jaw dislocated causes all four to submit to Optimus Prime as loyal allies. Plot-wise the Dinobots are easily the weakest of the bunch, because all the promotional material seemed to indicate that the fossils in the Arctic were actually the Dinobots, and they would play a key part in the movie… but they just show up quite suddenly, help out in a fight, and then remain irrelevant to the plot.

But trying to tie together the Lockdown plot, the KSI/Galvatron plot, and to top it off to have the long, slow-paced Cade Yeager story in the beginning really made this movie easily 30-40 minutes longer than it should. As much as I enjoy it, it really could’ve been trimmed down a lot, and as much as the human factor might be the draw for the casual audience, I felt that a lot of the first half of the movies that merely serve to establish Cade and Tessa could’ve been cut out. A lot of the scenes between Cade and Shane, Cade and Lucas, Shane and Tessa as well as Joshua and Cade fell flat. While Mark Wahlberg was a far more serious and cool-looking action hero star, and while I don’t find him unlikable, Cade Yeager is just… there. He’s not unlikeable at all, but at the same time... he’s also kind of bland. He’s heroic, he wants to save his daughter, he’s nice, he’s got the inventor quirk, he plays the bumbling father well… but he didn’t really have the chemistry or humour that the original cast had which made scenes in the original three movies that could’ve fell flat soared instead. In particular, a scene that I find just mortifyingly dumb is Shane and Cade discussing the age of consent in Texas, as well as the scene between Cade and Lucas discussing about IP, or the bud-light scene that just feel very flat.

Perhaps a big complaint of mine is how Cade’s story didn’t quite reach a conclusion. Sam Witwicky has to go through the 'no sacrifice, no victory' theme in the first movie, and in the third he had to deal with issues of self-worth and a hero complex. Here, Cade is presented as an obsessive inventor who is too focused on inventing something big and having a bit of a myopia when it comes to balancing his life, despite being otherwise a caring father. Yet other than allowing him to make some comparisons between himself and his evil counterpart Joshua, Cade never really got over his inventing obsession, neither did he 'invent something that mattered', unless that's supposed to refer to fixing Optimus Prime, which just felt clunky and awkward. He's definitely not a bad lead to follow for two and a half hours, but I really felt that his character could've actually done with a proper arc.

Joshua Joyce, on paper, should’ve been a very interesting character. Obsessed with making discovery and profit out of harvesting Transformers, kept blissfully unaware of the true horrors that his KSI buddies are doing, eventually confronted to deal with his morality by the heroes… yet the actor they got to play him tries to make him as bitchy and relatively unlikable, making it really, really hard to root for Joyce when all I want is for someone to punch him really hard in the face. A lot of the scenes, like his confrontation with Attinger, or his confrontation with Optimus, should've been awesome moments that just didn't quite do it for me. Really, he gets a lot of extended scenes where it just falls flat. He doesn't quite reach the annoying levels that characters like Leo from the second movie does, but still, the movie would've probably been stronger with a different take on the character. His character arc is interesting, that's for sure, but the way his character is actually handled is irritating, if that makes sense.

Tessa in particular was a particularly irritating part of the movie. She wasn’t as damsel-in-distress as she could’ve been, credit where credit’s due, but she’s just so unbelievably irritating, shouting for half of her scenes and generally being dumb for the other half – her throwing a prissy tantrum while on top of that wire-thing is just absolutely annoying. Shane is just kinda around, and his racing car skills do make him more relevant than just being a love interest/tagalong kid thing, but despite appearing for the entirety of the movie he doesn't really get to do a whole ton Lucas was another one that annoyed me – perhaps not as much as Leo from the second movie – but he was supposed to be annoying and he died, so there’s that, at least.

Su, Joshua's aide, was just kinda there to be a competent helper that helped Joshua survive the whole Decepticon uprising in KSI, and as much as I enjoyed her presence, it was definitely unnecessary because she is a wholly satellite character around Joshua and had little to no interaction with the rest of the cast. Likewise, for the surprisingly large amount of time she appears in the movie, Darcy isn't even the slightest bit important to the plot and I honestly forgot she existed and am genuinely surprised that she was present in the background of the human group for the majority of the Hong Kong scene.

What about the antagonistic humans? Kelsey Grammer’s Harold Attinger plays his part with a pretty awesome menace, though it’s a bit of a shame that despite netting such a very talented actor, they didn’t give him much to do beyond being a one-dimensional evil government agent. Also, while I would probably find someone who's a genuine fanatical patriot to be a more interesting villain, the revelation that Attinger is actually in it for the money with the patriotism being a secondary objective (if it's even one at all) kind of makes him a lot flatter than he could've been. It does make rooting for Optimus Prime shooting him dead very easy, though. Attinger's top henchman, Savoy, is just a scary military man and plays that part to perfection, exuding the right amount of menace to be a memorable enemy.

Of course, the robot side of things were handled well, better than any of the previous three movies... which is definitely more important when you're making a movie titled 'Transformers'. All five main Autobots came off as actual people. Yes, their personalities can still be described in a couple of sentences, but trimming down the herd significantly proves to be a nice breath of fresh air. The bad guys are even just reduced to two – Galvatron and Lockdown – and probably only Sentinel Prime from the previous movie beats them out as my favourite villain.

Optimus Prime gets the brunt of the characterization, and he is just so furious this movie, with barely contained anger, stemming from his disappointment and general disgust at human treachery. And after spending at least the last two movies arguing for humanity's survival against Megatron and Sentinel, who championed the survival of their race, the fact that Optimus' trust and sacrifice is utterly turned around and spat in his face by humans is definitely a great catalyst to make him so, so angry -- and in case you forgot, y'know, let's show Ratchet getting brutally murdered to drive the point home. From his absolutely disgusted expression while hiding under Cade’s barn while listening to the KSI troopers threaten to blow a young girl’s brains out, to the absolutely badass bursting out of said barn shouting “HERE I AM!”, to his barely disguised furious lines (“I have sworn never to kill humans… but when I find out who’s behind this, he’s going to DIE.”) to his first lines in the movie being “I’LL KILL YOU ALL!” and his absolute fury when the horrors committed in KSI were shown to him. He’s all but given up on humanity at this point, yet the part of him that makes him Optimus Prime still wants to help, still tells everyone that this is that one last mission. I think it's best illustrated when he has Joshua at his mercy, but despite his evident rage and his earlier vow to murder whoever is responsible, he gets his soldiers to stand down and leaves. Of course, he gains a re-appreciation of humanity again thanks to Cade talking about mistakes leading to something good. It's not a speech that convinced me, but in any case, Optimus's friendship with Cade enough to break his rule of kill no humans to kill Attinger in order to save his new buddy.

Bumblebee gets comparatively less things to do in this movie without Sam to bond – he does hang out with Shane a bit, but overall he does Bumblebee things and has a mini-rivalry-thing with the soulless Stinger. It’s totally fine, though. The movies seem to be moving away from using Bumblebee as the main Autobot character and developing Optimus Prime instead, which is fine by me. The three newcomer Autobots were all very fun. Hound is just boisterous, carries like twenty thousand guns on his person, and basically is a less gruff version of Ironhide. His voice actor definitely put in a lot of effort to show him as this badass soldier that's prone to crack wiseass comments, but ultimately friendly and good-hearted enough. Also loved the fact that he's a huge, huge Optimus fanboy (he says "Optimus is here!!" like four times in the movie), and that last stand battle in Hong Kong was amazing, with so, so many excellent action moments that show how much more advanced and intricate we've gone since 2007.

Crosshairs is the resident jackass, and while he’s not quite evil, he drops some pretty mean lines and quickly tries to get confrontational with, well, anyone that’s not Optimus Prime. And it's hilarious! He easily gets some of the best lines in the movie, gets the most badass scene ever with the paratrooping. Drift is hilarious, because he speaks like a Japanese, talking about zen and making haikus and all that stuff, but he’s as much a crazy loon as the rest of the Autobots, being not so stoic after all when he gets surprised by that random tentacle on Lockdown’s ship. Drift also gets a lot of very great lines, delivered perfectly by Ken Watanabe. I don't think Drift is stereotypically offensive, not the way the Twins were in the second movie, and honestly I think he's my favourite out of the three new Autobots.

Ratchet and Brains return, and as I mentioned before, killing off Ratchet is absolutely effective, and is easily the Autobot death that got me the most throughout this franchise’s history. Perhaps it’s because it’s Ratchet, someone that’s always present, but never prominent. Perhaps it’s the brutality in how he’s hunted, cornered, shot at, and had a leg blown off before having his heart ripped out. Ratchet's death scene plays out for a relatively long scene, and there's that cruel, cruel hope as he starts to realize that he's boxed in, outnumbered and outgunned, and that there's no last-minute rescue by the other Autobots. Perhaps it’s how to his final moments he still tries to negotiate with these humans, and refuses to even talk to Lockdown about Prime’s whereabouts. I dunno. But it’s definitely a death that affected me, and affected Optimus' decisions because it's brought up so many times afterwards during the KSI plotline. This is absolutely awesome, because in previous movies Jazz and Ironhide’s deaths were all glossed over after it was done with, but here we see Ratchet’s death mattering as the trigger to Optimus’s rampage in KSI around the halfway mark of the movie.

Meanwhile, Brains is a bit weird, because he doesn’t get to do much but exposit, but he still feels organically tied into the story. I find it strange that no one but Tessa calls him out for basically, well, letting Megatron be transformed into Galvatron, if not being the catalyst behind it... but the depiction of Brains being wounded, trapped in a box and electrocuted brutally or not even resisting -- just talking out loud -- really makes it hard not to at least understand the hatred Brains has against Joshua. Brains' presence (and survival) also makes a very nice nod that despite the large amounts of retooling done, the movies are not forgetting its history.

Also, can I just say that the designs for the fourth movie are just so much... cleaner than the previous ones? I will fight anyone who says the movie designs are ugly (Twins and Wheelie exempt from all this), but one of the most common critics by more casual fans is that the action is hard to follow when a lot of the robots are just black or gray. In addition to giving all of the new Autobots very distinct-looking body shapes (following a thematic thing of being modeled after Earth warriors too), even the villains get in on this, with only Galvatron and Lockdown being gray and even then those two have pretty distinctive looks.

As for the Decepticons, Lockdown’s motivations were simple. Get Optimus Prime, get money from the Creators. He’s very simple, and very focused, and there’s a nice refreshing change to than compared to vague ‘destroy the world’ plots that most sci-fi villains have. Lockdown’s lines are also excellently delivered with menace and a certain degree of condescending tone. He's definitely a very awesome threat, and his cryptic lines about cosmic balance, about the enigmatic Creators, and about just everything that's bigger than just the Autobot/Decepticon/human conflict is well-delivered. While I would like a little bit of revelation done in this movie, keeping it for the next one works out too.

Galvatron is… a bit more complicated. He’s awesome, of course, visually, and his backstory as taking use of the KSI to build him a body is interesting, but in practice, Galvatron was far more awesome when he was just a KSI-controlled drone and it’s a thrill to wait until Galvatron actually does something. When he finally does his little revolution, though, Galvatron himself barely does anything, with his troops getting the brunt of the action, so it really feels weird to actually have him around in the finale if they're not going to do anything with him. Stinger, likewise, is voiceless and soulless, and while it's cool to give Bumblebee someone to fight, he's just kind of there.

Still, for all the faults that the movie has pacing-wise, I definitely still think that it’s the best out of the three sequel movies. It helps that the action scenes in this movie might just be the best ever, due to how distinctive and crisp the robots are. The scenes where the Autobots ride the Dinobots and charge into the city, and the massacre of KSI robots that followed, is just awesome, and the score that just builds up the sheer majesty of these ancient warriors coming down to rescue their comrades is great. Even the human-versus-human fight between Cade and Savoy felt awesome because it involved some jumping up and down on the side of a building instead of the boring slug-fest that Sam and Dylan had in DOTM.

Also, as an Asian, I appreciate how a huge chunk of the movie is set in Hong Kong, and the city is treated as, well, just a city instead of being racist about it, showing both seedy alleys and the metropolitan areas in equal amount. And, yes, some geological impossibilities if you know how Hong Kong’s really laid out, but it’s a movie about giant transforming robots. So yeah. There were Chinese characters involved with Su being the most major as Joshua’s aide, though she honestly doesn’t have all that much to do.

A lot of the complaints about the Bay movies (length aside) is addressed and completely done away with in this movie, showing that, yes, even Michael Bay can learn. The toilet jokes are absolutely gone, which will not be missed, and the only ‘annoying foul-mouthed human’ character bites the dust 40 minutes in. Tessa isn’t used for eye candy as much as Mikaela or Carly were, with Cade telling her to cover up within seconds of showing up with a pair of daisy dukes. One of the criticisms of DOTM is how… super-powerful the humans are, taking out big-name Decepticons like Starscream and weakening Shockwave a lot, leaving the Autobots kind of… m’eh. Here the way Cade helps out the fight is more as a distraction, and having Tessa and Shane just play support by tow-trucking the sword that pinned down Optimus is well-done.

What else don’t I like? Oh, those freaking weird goggly-eyed things on Lockdown’s ship that Tessa kicked in the face. That just came out of nowhere, made no sense, added nothing and I wished they didn’t exist. Also felt like Darcy, Joshua’s geologist lady friend, was redundant for the entirety of the movie. But overall, it’s still ultimately a movie that I enjoyed on rewatching. The soft reboot angle works well, freshening the franchise and giving this movie a pretty close-knit focus. No, it’s not going to rank up way high up with all your favourite movies, but it’s a summer blockbuster about alien robots beating and shooting each other. And for a movie like that, it definitely delivers.

(8 out of 10)

Notes:
The anti-Transformer/anti-Autobot sentiment by the public and all the posters done were actually a plot point from Dark of the Moon that ended up being merely glossed over in the final cut of the movie, but here it’s far more pronounced and relevant as a plot point.

Frank Welker returns to voice Galvatron. Frank Welker is, of course, the original voice of Megatron in the G1 cartoon, and took over voicing duties for Galvatron after the 1986 movie. Welker also voiced Megatron in the Prime cartoon, and was involved in both ROTF and DOTM as various Decepticon voices.

Drift is actually technically the first triple-changer in the movie franchise, not requiring to re-scan new alternate modes when he switches back and forth between his helicopter, robot and car modes, though no special attention is called to that.

Leadfoot makes a brief cameo as one of the Autobots that are confirmed to be killed by Cemetery Wind, and while Cemetery Wind is implied to have killed numerous others, there is no real solid evidence to really determine how many of the Autobots that survived at the end of Dark of the Moon were killed. Despite his voice actor John DiMaggio returning in this movie as the voice of Crosshairs, Leadfoot’s death cries are unmistakably Ratchet’s voice. Sentinel Prime’s head also makes a brief cameo in the KSI lab.

Lockdown’s ship makes use of the same one-Transformer gunships used by Sentinel’s Decepticon army in Dark of the Moon.

Among the deck of cards that Attinger plays with in the opening scenes are Bumblebee, Ironhide, Arcee, Que, either Shockwave or Soundwave, Starscream and some dude called ‘Load-’.

The ringtone on Wembley’s cell phone is a riff from the G1 theme song. The G1 transformation sound is heard when Optimus scans his new truck mode, specifically when the Autobot insignia appears.

A bit interestingly, neither Hound nor Crosshairs are actually shown transforming on-screen.

During the initial shooting of this movie, China's channel CCTV6 screened a reality show to pick four actors (a 'kung fu master', a 'sexy goddess', a 'cute girl', and a 'computer geek') to star as extras in Age of Extinction. The roles were won by the actors who would play the Hong Kong guy in the elevator that rescued Joshua, the woman in the elevator that gets spooked by Attinger, the assistant to the Chinese Minister of Defense and Attinger's driver in China.

Michael Bay makes a cameo in the film as a passenger of a truck whose trailer Bumblebee and Optimus crash through during the highway battle.

Homages to Past Transformers Fiction:
As usual, nearly all of the Transformers are references to older pre-existing characters. Crosshairs, Hound, Drift, Galvatron, Lockdown, Grimlock, Strafe and Steeljaw are all reusages of names of previous characters, though with varying degrees of similarity to their in-movie counterparts. Slug seems to be an intentional misspelling of the now-internationally-inappropriate Slag. Scorn and Stinger are brand-new names to the franchise, though Stinger was the working name of Sideswipe in Revenge of the Fallen.

Hound and Crosshairs share names with characters originating from G1, though aside from their allegiance, there’s very few in common personality-wise with their G1 counterparts. Hound is green and turns into a military vehicle, but his personality seems more akin to Roadbuster or Bulkhead from previous franchises.

Drift is based on a relatively new addition to the G1 franchise, a character introduced in IDW comics. While G1 Drift was more ninja than samurai, both Drifts transform into sports cars and have an unmistakable Japanese influence, especially their penchant of carrying lots of swords.

Lockdown, as a technically-neutral bounty hunter, originated from 2008’s Transformers: Animated, and has proven absolutely popular with the fandom. The movie version of Lockdown shares a remarkably large amount of similarities with his Animated counterpart, namely transforming into sports cars, being predominantly black, the ability to swap out their right hand into various weapons (most commonly a hook, something that movie Lockdown uses several times), prominently features a personal spaceship, a penchant of taking trophies and a conflict with Ratchet.

Galvatron being a new, reborn body of Megatron has been a recurring theme in nearly every Transformers series. Galvatron being a central sentient Decepticon leader leading an army of mindless drones calls to mind the Beast Machines incarnation of Megatron.

In addition to all that, KSI’s intentions of creating a human-controlled drone that resembles a black version of Optimus Prime is very similar to some iterations of Nemesis Prime, specifically the Transformers: Prime cartoon.

Galvatron’s line, “I am Galvatron!” seems to reference Megatron’s initial reactivation in the first Transformers movie, where he declares “I am Megatron” while being activated in a human facility, rampaging and tearing through humans. Galvatron also tells the Decepticons to “transform and rise up”, which is Animated’s answer to Optimus’s ‘roll out’ catchphrase.

The Dinobots, while not named as such in the movie itself (but in practically all secondary media), is a group of extremely powerful Autobots that transform into dinosaurs, originating from G1 and having multiple incarnations over the years. The original team was lead by Grimlock, and its other members have a one-syllable name starting with ‘S’. While the movie has swapped out a lot of members, the naming scheme still remains. Slug is based on G1 Slag, sharing a common alternate mode of a triceratops, whereas Strafe is based on G1 Swoop, sharing a common alternate mode of a pteranodon. Scorn is the odd one out, where no previous transformer in any series, Dinobot or not, has ever transformed into a spinosaurus. Also, in nearly all his incarnations, Grimlock respects only strength and has challenged Optimus Prime for leadership.

The Dinobots are referenced to as ‘Legendary Warriors’ and Knights at different parts of the movie, though the Knight moniker might just refer to Optimus. The Knights of Cybertron are a group of ancient warriors protecting Cybertron, introduced in relatively modern IDW comics.

Even moreso than his previous bodies, Optimus Prime’s beat-up body during the first act of the movie is a huge homage to the original G1 design, because for the first time in the movie series, Optimus Prime adapts a flat-nosed semi-truck cab, and the placement of the cab’s features – windows on his chest; grill on his stomach – is a dead ringer for the G1 design.

KSI’s creation of a mindless drone army controlled by humans, and eventually hijacked by a Decepticon, is similar to multiple similar plotlines in G1-based comics, among others IDW’s Machination (taken over by Scorponok), Dreamwave’s Prime Directive (taken over by Megatron) and various human-made robots made by Sumdac corporations in Transformers: Animated.

The idea of a human strike-team indiscriminately hunting down all Transformers on Earth after a huge incident has been reused several times throughout multiple comics, with the RAAT (Marvel G1), Machination and the various iterationss of Skywatch (IDW), Lazarus (Dreamwave) and G.I. Joe (Devil’s Due crossover) all having served a similar purpose to Cemetery Wind in their respective universes.

The idea of the Transformers being built by an alien race was first shown in the G1 cartoon, where it’s revealed that they were created by the alien race known as the Quintessons.

The idea of a device that can Cyberform other planets, transforming organic into metal, first appeared in the G1 cartoon ‘Key to Vector Sigma’, which would later on be explored more as major story ideas in Marvel’s G2 comics and the Beast Machines cartoon. The term Cyberform is actually a fan-made term, which, well, seems to have graduated into official material now.

Slightly reaching, but a different kind of transformation, that has parts just… morph into different parts of the alternate mode instead of a more traditional ‘parts slide to form a car’ has been briefly explored earlier in the franchise in Beast Machines.

Goofs:
The establishing shot of digsite in the Arctic has no cyberformed dinosaurs at all, but the next scene, which is still set in the same location, has them appear out of thin air.

The scenes during Cemetery Wind and Lockdown’s pursuit of Optimus Prime and the Yaegers are obviously composed of shots filmed during different times of day, with the position of the sun changing in the background.

Damage done to Shane’s car, such as the Cemetery Wind vehicle sideswiping it, as well as the visible shattering of one of its windows, disappear in subsequent shots, with the shattered window merely rolled down.

Shane states that the Romeo and Juliet laws are ‘statute 2705-3’, but the card he shows Cade reads ‘statute 22.011’. Or, y’know, Shane could’ve just misremembered the exact numbers.

While riding inside Optimus Prime, the order of Shane, Tessa and Cade switch around several times. Not when they are inside the truck themselves, but when they exit the truck during Optimus’s first reunion with the other Autobots, as well as when Optimus transforms mid-fight during the Galvatron battle, the humans are in different positions relative to how they are in interior shots.

When Optimus Prime scans his new truck mode, the first shot of Cade inside old truck Optimus has him without his jacket, but when the shot cuts out to show Optimus Prime transforming, and when we see Cade inside Optimus he suddenly has a jacket on.

When Optimus Prime reunites with the Autobots, Drift is on the road with Bumblebee and Crosshairs in his car mode, but in the span of a shot or two, he is on top of a rock formation in robot mode.

In the same scene, during the long turnaround shot of Optimus Prime’s vehicle mode, a camera truck can be seen reflected on Optimus Prime’s shiny chrome bumper.

When Joshua does his Transformium presentation, in several shots Ratchet’s head in the background is unpainted and gray.

The state of Megatron’s head in the possession of KSI doesn’t exactly match up to the state that it was left in after Optimus Prime put an axe through it at the end of Dark of the Moon, plus its design seemed to be more similar to Megatron’s head in the first movie than the DOTM design… though it’s not implausible that KSI refurbished it after obtaining the head.

During Optimus and Galvatron’s fight, the door of the car that Tessa hides in changes on whether it’s open or closed depending on the shot, despite Tessa being clearly shown to have closed it earlier in the movie.

When Cade falls after he loses his grip on the net, Cade is shown falling towards the street, but when the show changes he lands on the grass.

During the first shot of the Autobots assembled on the bridge before the board Lockdown’s ship, Crosshairs is shown to be mouthing and gesticulating, but no dialogue is heard.

When Crosshairs and Drift are talking on board of Lockdown’s ship, the camera suddenly jerks awkwardly (as Drift speaks about the dark matter drives) where the shot restarts a pan towards Drift and Crosshairs talking.

When Cade, Tessa and Shane are climbing the anchor cables from Lockdown’s ship, a group of Steeljaws climb onto the cables after them. The camera switches angles to focus on Cade telling Tessa not to look back, and when the camera switches again to Tessa, with a clear view of the cables behind her, the Steeljaws are not present. Likewise, during a large panning shot of the whole anchor cable thing, the Steeljaws disappear for a couple of shots despite being established to be there in the shots preceding it.

Nearly all the vehicles seen in Hong Kong are left-hand drive cars, whereas Hong Kong cars are generally right-hand drive. Also, there are no overhead railways nor dilapidated Chinese ruins in Hong Kong at the moment of writing, but we’ll chalk that up to rule of cool.

When Joshua and Su are chased by Cemetery Wind vehicles, for several scenes, the vehicles change from a Cadillac and an Audi into two Audis.

During the fight between Savoy and Cade, Cade very visibly jams his thumb into Savoy’s eye, but in subsequent shots no injury, permanent or temporary, is shown on Savoy’s eye at all.

When Grimlock transforms into his dinosaur mode and charges at Optimus, the other Dinobots and the ship are not present in the background, but subsequent shots show that the Dinobots are standing very nearby.

When Hound fights the two-headed Shockwave-esque Decepticon, Cade randomly wears his jacket for a couple of shots (he spent most of the Hong Kong scene without the jacket) before losing it.

The damage that Hound visibly receives during his stand near the glass house disappear in all shots after the Dinobots arrive.

Crosshairs appears driving next to Drift and Hound among the team to get the Seed outside of the city, but the previous scene shows him holding the line with the Dinobots.

During the final battle, as the wall that Cade was using for cover gets hit by a shot from Lockdown, briefly a second man (a crew member?) can be seen standing next to Cade for that shot.

So considering that Bumblebee apparently just drove the whole distance back from the battlefield between Optimus Prime and Lockdown to the rendezvous site near the waterfront, whereas Optimus flew, how did Bumblebee reach the waterfront first?

The final shot of Optimus Prime taking off has a couple of shots where the Autobots are missing and not edited in.

Dinosaurs. Well, the remains of a tyrannosaurus and a spinosaurus are found frozen together in the Arctic, and while it’s not inconceivable that the Creators might’ve moved them around, the two species are found on different continents – the T-rex in what is now America, and the spinosaurus in what is now Africa. Spinosaurs also live 112-97 million years ago, while the T-rex are alive 68-66 million years ago. The three dinosaur species that are prominently featured in the prologue are all from different eras and locations as well, despite being shown on-screen together – the Psittaccosaurus inhabited what is now Asia in the early Cretaceous period (120-100 millions of years ago), the Brachiosaurus inhabited what is now America in the late Jurassic period (154-153 millions of years ago), and the Hadrosaur family, while found worldwide, is from the late Cretaceous period (86-66 millions of years ago). Also, the Psittaccosaurus is a herbivore while it’s depicted here killing fish.

Deleted Scenes and Concepts:
The lack of novelization and comic adaptations means that we don’t really get to see much in lieu of scrapped ideas from the script, so the section for AOE will be a lot shorter than the previous three movies. One particular deleted scene actually made it into some TV spots, where Bumblebee dances to music in their church base with Tessa. Several other cut scenes of Cade talking (answering ‘you tell me’ to Attinger, for one) is also not present in the final cut.

In some interviews, Kelsey Grammer and Michael Bay also alludes to a scene of Grammer throwing a Chinese official out of a moving vehicle to his death that was cut at the request of the Chinese government.

The Dinobot Slash, transforming into a feathered velociraptor, was originally intended to appear in the film. Concept artwork shows various versions of him, including several concept art pieces that showed that multiple Slashes would follow the larger Dinobots into battle.

What appears to be a scrapped battle would be a battle between the Autobots and Decepticons that took place on top of boats in the waterfront, being featured in many different concept arts by different artists.

Glenn Morshower, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson (Morshower, Lennox and Epps respectively from the original trilogy) were slated to return into the film as cameos, but ended up not doing so. Morshower in particular was actually put in multiple casting calls, and it’s confirmed that a scheduling conflict prevented the actor from being present.

Among the actors considered for the role of Cade Yeager was his Pain & Gain co-star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

While casting calls this time around used names of characters from the Rocky movies to disguise the identity of the robots, Crosshairs was apparently slated to be called Slingshot at some point during the production.
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2017-02-15 at 04:31 AM.
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