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Old 2017-02-13, 11:00 AM   #1
Blackjack
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Default Site Movie Stuff - AoE Review, etc

Well, it's basically a catch-all thread for me to dump things like synopses and all that jazz to work on the Movies section of the site -- it's a lot easier for me to deal with the html stuff by copying directly from a forum post. So.
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2017-02-14 at 03:14 AM.
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Old 2017-02-13, 11:00 AM   #2
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Dark of the Moon Synopsis:
Optimus Prime recalls the final days of the war on Cybertron, where an Autobot ship, the Ark, was shot down by Decepticons while carrying a certain secret cargo that would have changed their planet’s fate. The damaged Ark flew aimlessly through space, before crashing on Earth’s moon in 1961. Noticed by the humans on Earth, this led to the Space Race of the 60’s, leading to the Americans landing on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. The two astronauts make use of several minutes of engineered radio silence to investigate the crashed spaceship, finding the dormant Transformers within.

Present day, 2011: the Autobots continue to operate as part of NEST, with NEST installing energon detectors to help the Autobots hunt down Decepticons, while a group of Autobots led by Bumblebee shut down an illegal nuclear facility in Iran.

Lennox leads a team to investigate a tip from a Russian official and go to Chernobyl with Optimus Prime, Ratchet and a group of human soldiers, finding a Cybertronian fuel cell. However, Driller, a gigantic worm-like Decepticon, attacks them and manages to drive off Optimus Prime, but not before Optimus Prime re-acquires the fuel cell. The Russian official that told Lennox about Chernobyl is cornered and quickly killed by the bird-like Decepticon Laserbeak, who had been observing the NEST team unseen since they arrived in Chernobyl.

Returning to their base in Washington D.C., Optimus Prime is furious, demanding answers from Charlotte Mearing, Director of National Intelligence, for the humans keeping information about Cybertronian technology on Earth from them. Mearing, who has only obtained the previously-classified information herself, tells Optimus Prime about the circumstances behind the space race, while Optimus informs them about the nature of the cargo of the ship and its pilot – Sentinel Prime, his former master. Optimus and Ratchet travel to the moon on their spaceship, retrieving Sentinel Prime’s unconscious body and five ‘pillars’.

In Africa, Decepticon leader Megatron is in a sorry state, still suffering from the head wound he received during the climactic battle two years ago in Egypt, wrapped in rags and his army reduced to a mere shadow of their previous might. His lieutenants – Starscream, Soundwave and Laserbeak – arrive to report in, and upon being informed that the Autobots have recovered Sentinel and the pillars, Laserbeak is dispatch to terminate loose ends – which are all humans who were apparently members of various space programs.

Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is living with his new girlfriend Carly Spencer (having broken up with Mikaela prior to the events of this movie) as well as two ‘political refugees’, the tiny Autobots Wheelie and Brains. Despite being recognized by the President, Sam has trouble finding a job, no small part due to him showing up on FBI hit-lists during the events of the previous movie. To make things worse for Sam, his girlfriend actually has a very well-paying job, a very handsome boss (Dylan Gould) with lots of expensive cars that very clearly adores Carly, Bumblebee has left him to become a full-time NEST operative, his current car sucks, and his parents randomly show up to see him jobless. A string of job interviews end up in failure, though he eventually finds a position as a mail room worker in Accuretta systems. While he adjusts to working in Accurretta Systems, dealing with his oddball of a boss, Bruce Brazos, he is confronted by a very eccentric colleague, Jerry Wang. Wang tells Sam, who is a friend of the Autobots, to look into a conspiracy about disappearing astronauts and something about the ‘dark side of the moon’. However, shortly after his bathroom meeting with Sam, Wang is confronted by Laserbeak in his office, who quickly kills him. Laserbeak briefly assaults Sam in the office, but he manages to escape.

A flustered Sam drives to the NEST base and demands to speak to Optimus Prime, only to be detained by NEST soldiers due to carrying Wheelie and Brains with him. Bumblebee’s intervention stops Sam from being arrested, but Director Mearing takes the information from him and quickly shuts down any help, considering Sam nothing but a messenger. Sam sticks around to witness Optimus Prime using the Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime. Sentinel who informs Optimus and the rest of NEST that the pillars are used as a component to create a Space Bridge, which would allow instantaneous transport of resources through space… or weapons, as Mearing points out. Sentinel points out that only he can control the pillars, which, under human orders, have been sealed within the NEST base.

Sam, now with Bumblebee in tow, decides to continue pursuing this investigation and ropes in former-agent-turned-successful-writer Seymour Simmons to help out. With the help of Seymour, his bodyguard Dutch, and information searching by Brains, the group manages to find out more about the conspiracy, and that the space race was meant to hide something from the public. However, Carly, upon seeing that Sam has relapsed into trying to be a hero, having lost a brother to war, decides to leave Sam if he continues on this path.

Optimus and Sentinel, meanwhile, drive into the wilderness of Earth for a brief conversation, where both reflect on the beauty of the planet. Optimus briefly attempts to secede command and the Matrix of Leadership back to Sentinel, but the older Autobot leader refuses it, noting that Optimus knows the world better than he does.

Sam, Simmons and Dutch, accompanied by Bumblebee, Sideswipe and Dino, track down a couple of Russian cosmonauts, who reveal that the Russian manned missions took photographs of the dark side of the moon before the Apollo 11 mission happened, showing that someone took the several hundred space bridge pillars that once lay on the side of the moon. Sam and Simmons conclude that the Decepticons left Sentinel Prime behind on the purpose, knowing that Sentinel was the only one who could activate the Space Bridge, and only the Autobots with the Matrix can revive him in turn. Sam warns NEST about how Sentinel is the Decepticons’ target, and the group rendezvous with Sentinel Prime, escorting him to NEST headquarters. However, on a highway, three Decepticon soldiers attack the group, leaving Simmons injured and causing a large amount of collateral damage. Bumblebee and Dino manage to take out one of the Decepticons, Hatchet, and Sideswipe manage to hold his own against the two remaining Decpticons (Crankcase and Crowbar) long enough for reinforcements in the form of Ironhide to intercept the other two. After a brief standoff, Ironhide and Sideswipe take down their opponents.

However, as they reach NEST headquarters, Sentinel reveals his true allegiance – that he was the true mastermind and had been in league with Megatron all along to ensure Cybertron’s survival. Sentinel shoots Ironhide fatally and kills him, and rampages through the NEST base before escaping with the remaining pillars. Sentinel travels to Washington D.C. where he meets up with Megatron and Starscream, and uses the pillars to open a portal to the Moon. A large amount of Decepticon troopers and ships have been hidden under the Moon’s surface, which rise and enter the portal and pour out onto the streets of Washington, unleashing chaos. Optimus arrives too late, and manages to confront Sentinel, who claims that all of this is for their homeworld of Cybertron. Sentinel spares Optimus’s life, and Optimus is forced to retreat.

While all this is going on, Sam gatecrashes Dylan Gould’s party to find Carly, and tries to get him out of the party. Dylan, however, quickly sheds his disguise and reveals that he is actually a collaborator with the Decepticons, with his father being part of the group that helped them uphold the NASA conspiracy. Soundwave reveals himself to have been hiding as the Mercedes SLS-AMG that Dylan gave Carly several days prior, holding Carly hostage. Dylan tells Sam to ask Optimus Prime about the Autobots’ strategy, otherwise Carly will die. As additional insurance, a watch Decepticon is slapped onto Sam’s wrist.

Sentinel Prime, meanwhile, gives mankind a choice – exile the Autobot ‘rebels’ that are getting in his way to save Cybertron. The US government obliges with this plan, and all the Autobot personnel on Earth drive up to their starship, the Xantium. Sam tries to worm his way out of betraying his Autobot friends, but Mearing recognizes his resourcefulness earlier on when he uncovers the space conspiracy, recruiting him immediately and bringing him in front of the Autobots. Forced by the watch Decepticon constantly sending signals of pain, Sam asks Optimus Prime about the Autobots’ plan… to which Optimus replies that “there is no plan”, and mankind had to fight on its own. As the Autobots take off, Starscream, waiting in Earth’s orbit, swoops down and opens fire on the Xantium, apparently killing all onboard. Dylan and the other Decepticons let a distraught Sam off with this information.

Meanwhile, without Autobot interference, the Decepticon army returns and attack Chicago in full force, massacring a large amount of humans to set up the city as their stronghold. The control pillars for the Space Bridge is placed in a tower supervised by Sentinel Prime and Megatron, while other Decepticon agents around the world unleash pillars of their own. Dylan informs a captive Carly of the Decepticons’ plan – that they don’t want to return home, but rather bring Cybertron into Earth’s orbit… and they also plan to use humans as slave labour to rebuild their dead world.

Meanwhile, Sam decides to go to Chicago to get Carly, at the very least. Robert Epps, who has retired from NEST to work as support, accompanies Sam and recruits a group of former NEST soldiers to help them out. Meanwhile, a now wheelchair-bound Simmons tries to provide some technical support of his own as he and Dutch arrive at Mearing’s command center. As Sam’s group approach Chicago, they see that the city has been devastated and the survivors clamouring to escape the now Decepticon-controlled city, and their group is attacked by a Decepticon ship… which is immediately destroyed by the arrival of Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots. Optimus reveals that they never intended to leave Earth in the first place, knowing that the Decepticons will betray them, but they needed to fool their adversaries.

Sam and Bumblebee commandeer the Decepticon ship to infiltrate Dylan’s skyscraper, while Optimus Prime leads the rest of the Autobots and Epps’ team to enter Chicago by ground. Sam manages to rescue Carly from Dylan, getting on board their commandeered Decepticon gunship, but not before getting attacked by Laserbeak. A combined effort between Sam and Bumblebee kills Laserbeak, and the three of them manage to escape and regroup with Epps’ team. Dylan warns his Decepticon overlords of the Autobots’ survival, causing the Decepticon forces to cut off bridges to the tower where the pillars are held. Sam, Epps and Carly find a damaged UAV sent by the US military early on in the invasion, and manage to contact Mearing and Lennox, alerting them to the specifics of the Decepticons’ plans. As Seymour and Mearing coordinate support efforts, Lennox prepares any remaining soldiers to move in and retake Chicago. Epps’ team plans to launch a rocket from the top of a high-rise building to take down the control pillar. However, as they move out, the Autobot forces are attacked and scattered by the arrival of Shockwave and his massive partner Driller. The humans, equipped with gadgets from Que, continue their plan to sabotage the control pillar, the Wreckers distract Shockwave, while Optimus leads the remaining Autobots in battling the many enroaching Decepticons.

As Lennox and a large amount of soldiers fly in on ships, many are shot down by Starscream, while Lennox and the remaining survivors jump out and use wingsuits to enter the city, avoiding groups of Decepticon ships in the way. Sam, Carly, Epps and the other humans with them arrive at a skyscraper and are about to fire on the control pillar, but a group of Decepticon ships attack them and force them to escape once more. Falling debris from their battle against the Decepticon soldiers attract the attention of Shockwave, who sends Driller to attack the building and crush it. Sam’s group barely hangs on to life as the building is torn apart, but Optimus Prime, equipped with the flight tech from his trailer, arrives, engages the Drilled in battle and beheads the massive Decepticon. However, Shockwave returns fire, causing Optimus to crash-land and be trapped in construction crane cables, though the Wreckers quickly see their leader’s plight and head on to rescue him.

Sentinel Prime orders the Decepticons around the world to activate the pillars, summoning Cybertron into Earth’s orbit. Meanwhile, Sam and Carly are separated from Epps and the other soldiers. The two of them are attacked by Starscream, and Sam manages to make use of the gadgets from Que first to rip into one of Starscream’s eyes, and as the Decepticon trashes around, Sam manages to drop one of the bombs into Starscream’s person. Lennox and his team arrive in time to help in attacking the rampaging Starscream, and Lennox cuts Sam loose from the grapple line that sticks him to Starscream just in time before the bomb explodes and kills Starscream.

Wheelie and Brains, meanwhile, having left to their own devices by the Wreckers earlier in the battle, hijack a Decepticon dropship and gets sucked into a larger Decepticon warship. Simmons and Dutch hack into Chicago’s cameras to help recon the city, and help Lennox’s and Epps’ team, the two teams having regrouped, move around the city. Soundwave and a group of Decepticons have captured a group of Autobots, and Dylan urges the Decepticons to kill them. Barricade executes Que, and as Soundwave drags Bumblebee as the next one in line, witnessed by a desperate Sam, multiple Decepticon dropships rain down and crash all over them. Brains and Wheelie has succeeded in sabotaging the warship they snuck in, and this distraction allows Bumblebee to get the drop on Soundwave, and after a brief scuffle, Bumblebee kills Soundwave.

Lennox and Epps’ team join up with all the other soldiers that have been making their way into the city, and begin to systematically take out the Decepticon army. A combination of snipers, ground-bound demolition teams, parachuters and the arrival of a large group of Autobots and NEST mortars cause the deaths of a large amount of Decepticon soldiers, and severely wounding Shockwave.

Optimus Prime flies in, and opens fire, and as he lands, he single-handedly wipes out two streets’ worth of Decepticons, before reaching Shockwave, killing him by ripping out the Decepticon’s eye and using his cannon to open fire on the control pillar for the Space Bridge, deactivating it mid-transport.

Sentinel Prime comes down to confront his former pupil, and the two of them engage in a violent melee. The NEST soldiers and Autobots rush to help Optimus, but the remaining Decepticon forces – including a relatively large amount of ships, manage to pin Optimus down. While the military’s guided missiles take out a large amount of Decepticon ships, Sentinel Prime himself holds his own against the massed forces of the Autobot soldiers. Meanwhile, Carly stumbles upon Megatron, sitting in an alleyway. Carly has previously witnessed Sentinel putting Megatron in his place, clearly disrespecting the Decepticon leader, and Carly succeeds in appealing to Megatron’s pride, that he’ll never truly be the ruler he wants to be if he’s being ‘Sentinel’s bitch’.

Meanwhile, Dylan, realizing that he has to activate the fallen pillar, rush to do it while all the Transformers are fighting. He is confronted by Sam, and the two fight, though not before Dylan manages to reactivate the toppled pillar. The fight between Sam and Dylan ends with Sam pushing Dylan into the control pillar, electrocuting him to death, while Bumblebee destroys the pillar itself. The deactivation of the space bridge causes the remaining Decepticon warships to be pulled back to Cybertron, which apparently causes a chain reaction that ends with Cybertron itself imploding.

As this goes on, Sentinel retreats from the massed attack by Autobots and NEST soldiers, only for Optimus to catch up near a bridge and continue their one-on-one battle. The battle culminates in Sentinel slicing off one of Optimus’s arm, and having his former pupil at his mercy… before Sentinel is brutally shot and mauled by the unexpected arrival of Megatron. Upon witnessing Cybertron’s destruction, Megatron offers Optimus Prime a truce, because all he wanted is to be in charge – and asks mockingly what Prime would be without him. Optimus replies: “time to find out”, rushing Megatron, slamming his axe onto Megatron’s head and ripping his head clean off his body, ending Megatron’s long-suffering life. The fallen Sentinel tries to plead with Optimus, using the future of their race as an excuse for his treachery. Optimus picks up Megatron’s weapon, and declares that Sentinel betrayed himself, and executes his former mentor with a shot to the head.

With Sentinel Prime, Megatron and nearly all the Decepticon army dead, Optimus tosses away the gun in disgust. The Autobots and their human allies gather around Optimus, with Sam and Carly reuniting. Optimus Prime looks to the sky and notes that Earth is their home now, and the Autobots will always be here to protect the Earth and the humans.

The end… or is it?
 
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Old 2017-02-13, 12:40 PM   #3
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Age of Extinction Synospsis:

65 million years ago: the Cretaceous period, long before any known contact between Transformers and Earth – not Megatron, not the AllSpark, not the Fallen, not the Ark. A world ruled by the dinosaurs, which was destroyed as hundreds of alien ships piloted by seemingly non-Transformer aliens arrive around Earth, unleashing strange metallic seeds across the planet that detonate and transform both the landscape and the stampeding dinosaurs that fail to outrun the blasts into metal.

The present day: an excavation site in the Arctic uncovers a pair of metallized dinosaur skeletons, a discovery that attracts the attention of Darcy Tirrel, representing the company KSI.

It is five years after the invasion of Chicago, and despite the Autobots emerging victorious, it was not a happy story for them. Anti-Autobot sentiment rose up among the populace that blamed all Transformers, and not just Decepticons, for the widespread destruction and death during the battle of Chicago. This had eventually caused the United States government to terminate all human-Autobot joint programs, and in place of NEST rose the organization Cemetery Wind, an elite CIA team intended to hunt down and execute the remaining Decepticons left on Earth… officially. Unofficially, however, Harold Attinger, leader of Cemetery Wind, is out for the blood of both Decepticons and Autobots, while the actual government seems to think that the Autobots are being offered sanctuary, and are operating covertly.

Cemetery Wind moves out on a mission, tracking down the Autobot medic Ratchet that has been hiding on an abandoned boat. Ratchet’s attempts to flee is brutally stopped Cemetery Wind blowing one of his legs off. The field leader, James Savoy, dismisses Ratchet’s pleas of innocence, citing that his sister was killed in Chicago, and brushes aside Ratchet’s replaying of a transmission of Optimus Prime that orders all Autobots to stand down and hide. Ratchet is swiftly and brutally attacked by a mysterious Transformer, Lockdown, who is neither Autobot nor Decepticon, and appears to be in league with Cemetery Wind. Lockdown demands to know Optimus Prime’s whereabouts from Ratchet, who adamantly refuses to give up any information. Lockdown rips out Ratchet’s spark, killing the Autobot.

In Texas, Cade Yeager looks around an old theater to look for materials to salvage. Cade is a inventor and a tinkerer, having filled his house with lots of strange mechanical contraptions, but he’s struggling monetarily. Cade finds a strange old truck in the theater, filled with artillery shells and generally being out of place, but buys the truck anyway, putting it in their garage. Both his daughter, Tessa, and his friend, Lucas, note the wastefulness of buying what they see as a heap of junk. However, as Cade tinkers with the truck’s engine to try and sell it, Cade finds out that the truck is actually a dormant Transformer. Cade’s suspicion is confirmed when their attempts to hotwire the truck replays a message ordering Autobots to hide from humans.

Lucas and Tessa both tell Cade to call the government and claim the huge reward that they post for Transformer sightings, but Cade refuses, wanting to work on the truck and get a technological breakthrough and find out how Transformers work. Cade’s attempts to figure things out ends up with him removing a missile from the truck’s core, and before Cade, Lucas and Tessa’s eyes, the truck transforms into a badly damaged and delirious Optimus Prime, roaring and threatening to “kill them all”. Cade gets Optimus to calm down, and Optimus replies that he needs to rescue his Autobots, because they are being hunted down by humans. Cade offers to repair the damaged Optimus Prime, and as he helps fix the Autobot leader as best as he can, the two bond.

In the Arctic, Attinger arrives via helicopter on Lcokdown’s spaceship, and have a terse discussion where they each blame the other for their part in failing to kill and subsequently losing Optimus Prime during a prior battle in Mexico City. Lockdown is outright dismissive of the humans, and is very much obsessed with hunting down Optimus Prime.

Attinger returns to Washington D.C., and receives a tip (later revealed to be from Lucas) that Optimus Prime has been located in Texas. Savoy’s team is dispatched and attack Cade Yeager’s barn, holding Cade, Tessa and Lucas at gunpoint, but when they investigate the barn, they find no trace of a Transformer. Attinger instructs Savoy to threaten Cade’s daughter to make him talk, and as Savoy is about to shoot a sobbing Tessa in the head, Optimus Prime, having hidden himself underneath the barn, erupts out and attacks the Cemetery Wind soldiers, allowing Cade, Tessa and Lucas to escape. During the battle between Optimus Prime and Cemetery Wind, the Yeagers’ house ends up getting destroyed. Optimus Prime leads the Cemetery Wind soldiers and Lockdown on a chase, while Cade, Tessa and Lucas are rescued by someone driving a white rally car – the driver of whom is revealed to be Shane, Tessa’s boyfriend (someone that Cade is not aware of) and an expert rally car driver. Both Optimus Prime and the humans manage to outrun Cemetery Wind vehicles on two fronts that eventually end at an abandoned factory.

Optimus Prime and Lockdown battle, while Shane leads the Cemetery Wind forces into a chase that makes great use of the tight spots, including a leap out the side of a building, which causes the Cemetery Wind forces to crash. However, Shane’s stunts end up wrecking his own car. Lockdown lobs a grenade towards the humans, which begin to transform the ground around them into metal. The humans run towards Optimus Prime, but Lucas is caught in the blast and transformed into metal. The Yeagers and Shane manage to enter Optimus Prime, who helps them escape.

Optimus Prime leaves the humans at an abandoned gas station while he scouts out any potential pursuers. This gives Cade ample time to confront both Tessa and Shane for keeping this relationship secret from him, but Tessa herself is furious that Cade’s obsession with inventing had caused all of them to be put in danger. While tension between Cade and Tessa is high, they stick around as a group and travel alongside Optimus Prime. Cade hacks into a Cemetery Wind drone he stole during the earlier fight and finds out that, yes, they are being monitored by Cemetery Wind, as even attempting to draw money from an ATM causes a group of Cemetery Wind soldiers to arrive.

Optimus Prime drives towards Monument Valley, scanning a brand-new truck cab alternate mode in the process. As he arrives there, he meets the other surviving Autobots – a ragtag bunch consisting of Bumblebee, Hound, Drift and Crosshairs. It’s clear that the group is dysfunctional without Optimus Prime leading them. Crosshairs, in particular, is very eager to shoot the humans for betraying the Autobots, but Optimus gets him to stand down, noting that these particular ones are allies. Cade hacks into the Cemetery Wind drone, and manages to recover footage of Cemetery Wind hunting down and executing Autobots, with Ratchet and Leadfoot’s deaths being prominently seen. The sight of his comrades butchered causes Optimus Prime to note that while he had sworn to not kill humans… whoever is responsible for this betrayal will die.

Cade’s investigation of the drone leads them to a company in Chicago called KSI, run by Joshua Joyce. Joshua has been in contract with Attinger to create artificial transformers to be used by the military, having access to the remains of Sentinel Prime, Megatron, the dead Decepticons of Chicago… as well as the Autobots that Cemetery Wind has been hunting. As Ratchet’s corpse is melted down for its components, Joshua gives a demonstration that they have synthesized the metals that allow the transformers to transform, dubbing it Transformium. When given proper commands, Transformium can instantaneously morph into various shapes and objects. Joshua shows off several of his projects – first, a drone that transforms into a sports car named ‘Stinger’, modeled to be a superior version of Bumblebee, and one that is modeled after Optimus Prime, named ‘Galvatron’. However, Joshua’s attempts to create a friendlier, Optimus-Prime-esque form continues to mysteriously fail, with Galvatron’s face constantly rendered into a visage that resembles Megatron.

Bumblebee, Cade and Shane work to obtain fake ID badges, allowing the two humans to infiltrate KSI under the guise of sports car transporters. Shane and Bumblebee hang out in Stinger’s showroom, causing Bumblebee to be enraged at the promotion that boasts Stinger being better than Bumblebee in every conceivable way. Cade infiltrates the inner workings of KSI, and the footage he sends back to Optimus Prime of Ratchet’s head being melted, and the tiny Autobot Brains being enslaved and locked in a cage, causes the Autobots to fly into a rage.

Cade is captured by KSI personnel and is confronted by Attinger, who claims that all this is done for world peace, before interrogating Cade about Optimus Prime’s whereabouts. The Autobots, however, are already there, and attacks the KSI facility. Bumblebee (having scanned a new alternate mode in the way) and Drift rescue Cade from Attinger, while the others, led by a furious Optimus Prime, tear apart the KSI laboratory, destroying a large amount of their equipment and liberating Brains in the process. Joshua walks up to confront the Autobots laying waste to his property, and despite Prime’s rage at using his friends as parts, Joshua declares that what’s done is to prevent any kind of transformer-related damage, that the humans have taken their own fate into their own hands and do not need the Autobots any longer. Prime and the Autobots leaves the facility in disgust.

The Autobots leave the facility, but Attinger forces Joshua to activate the two drones that are battle ready to hunt down the Autobot terrorists. Despite Joshua’s reluctance, he eventually secedes to Attinger’s demands. Galvatron and Stinger are activated, and are remote-controlled by KSI agents as they pursue the Autobots down a highway. However, Galvatron begins to launch missiles without permission, and upon transformation, destroys several civilian cars for no real reason. Bumblebee’s attempts to battle Galvatron is met with the KSI-created Transformer simply disintegrating into floating clouds of liquid Transformium, before reforming elsewhere. Optimus Prime deposits the humans riding him onto the ground, before doing a one-on-one battle against Galvatron. As the two fight, Galvatron reveals himself to be far more than a mere drone, able to retort to Optimus’s words with those of his own.

In the middle of fighting, Optimus Prime is shot from behind by Lockdown, who arrives with his ship. Lockdown talks to the injured Optimus that he is built, not born, and that his Creators want Optimus Prime back in one piece. Lockdown drops a net over Optimus, which also captures the nearby Tessa, and lifts the Autobot leader into his ship. Cade and Shane are helpless to do anything to rescue Tessa there, but resolve to get her back. In Lockdown’s ship, Optimus Prime is placed in a cage, and Lockdown shows off his collection of captured aliens, including several Cybertronian warriors. Lockdown also reveals that his ship was originally the Knightship Temenos, a ship used by a group of legendary Knights (which apparently included Prime himself). The sight of Lockdown’s ship triggers panic in the streets of Chicago, which Attinger tries to solve. The capture of Optimus Prime signals the end of the deal between Lockdown and Cemetery Wind, and Lockdown honours his side of the deal by giving Savoy what was agreed for their assistance in Prime’s capture: a Seed.

While Lockdown’s ship prepares to leave Earth, the Autobots, Cade and Shane manage to get on board the ship, but are quickly separated from each other. While Crosshairs sabotages the ship’s manual anchors, Drift and Hound go off to rescue Optimus Prime, while Cade and Shane look for Tessa. Tessa, on her own, narrowly avoids near-death encounters with strange-looking drones abroad Lockdown’s ship, a tentacled alien and several of Lockdown’s underlings. Drift and Hound locate and free Optimus Prime, and commandeer a section of Lockdown’s ship that could separate from the main body.

Cade manages to appropriate a tiny Cybertronian sword from an armory that opens up to reveal a gun. Wielding the weapon like a rifle, Cade manages to shoot down several of Lockdown’s henchmen, and eventually rescue Tessa. Pursued by a group of wolf-like creatures called Steeljaws, the humans are forced to run down the unstable anchoring wires to get off the ship and onto the buildings that it’s moored to. After their attempts to pursue Cade’s group gets thwarted by Cade’s Cybertronian gun, the Steeljaws tear through the anchors, dropping the humans several hundred feet from the sky, if not for Bumblebee’s intervention, capturing the trio of humans before slowing their fall onto the side of the building. Crosshairs, having stolen a gunship from the Knightship, picks Bumblebee and the humans up, but are quickly engaged in a pursuit with several more gunships piloted by Lockdown’s forces. Bumblebee manages to destroy some of the gunships, and Crosshairs gives Cade and Shane a crash course in using a Cybertronian gunship’s guns, while Crosshairs himself leaps out into the air and takes down several of the gunships himself.

The Autobots regroup at an abandoned train yard, with Optimus Prime noting that he sensed Megatron’s presence while fighting Galvatron. Brains explains that KSI forced him to decode the dead Decepticon brains, and during these interfaces, Brains discovers that Megatron’s mind is still alive, and had planned to transfer itself into Galvatron’s body, and any information that KSI obtained from it was all in Megatron’s plan to build him a more powerful body and a new army. Optimus and Hound explain to Tessa that the Seed she saw being handed over to Savoy is a weapon used by their Creators in the past to convert organic material into metal for the purposes of harvesting Transformium. As the Autobots board their shuttle, Optimus explains that the Autobots will travel to Hong Kong and get back their Seed… but after that, humanity will be on its own. During the flight back, Cade attempts to appeal to Optimus Prime and try and make a case for humanity.

Meanwhile, KSI has moved all their equipment to their Beijing facility, while Joshua is absolutely pissed off at the performance of the Galvatron unit. Cade calls Joshua to warn him about Galvatron, trying to appeal to their shared professions as inventors. Joshua appears indifferent and shuts Cade off, but installs increased security around Galvatron nonetheless.

In space, Lockdown discovers the absence of Optimus Prime and the smaller ship, and promises vengeance as he returns back to Earth.

Meanwhile, Joshua meets up with Attinger and Savoy, who brings him the Seed. Joshua intends to detonate it in the Gobi Desert to create a huge source of Transformium to harvest, but proposes they take their time in developing this technology. Attinger is angered by this, but before anything concrete can happen, Galvatron activates himself, bringing himself to life, and activates the legion of KSI transformers that have been constructed. As Galvatron and the newly-minted Decepticons rampage, Joshua takes the Seed and heads off with his associates Darcy and Su to hide the Seed in Hong Kong.

However, Cemetery Wind is now hunting after Joshua as well, who views him as a traitor. Joshua manages to get help from Cade, and after getting separated from his associates while trying to escape Cemetery Wind agents, Joshua is a step away from boarding the Autobots’ ship with the Seed. Bumblebee, Hound and their human allies end up falling out of the ship onto the rooftop with Joshua, while the ship, with the rest of the Autobots in it, is sent careening away into a valley outside Hong Kong.

The army of KSI Decepticons, led by Stinger, besieges the group and engages Bumblebee and Hound in battle. Attinger and Savoy go out on their own to retrieve the Seed from Cade’s group. Cade leads Savoy away from the others, and the two of them fight as they fight across the rooftops of Hong Kong’s high-rise apartments, crashing into houses and getting into a vicious melee. However, Cade eventually gains the upper hand, and Savoy falls out of the building, down several stories and dies.

Hound, Bumblebee and the humans do their best to fight their way through the legions of KSI-built Decepticons, but are severely outmatched. In the valley, Crosshairs advocates leaving the humans to their fate and just escaping, but Optimus Prime enters the crashed ship, pulling out one of the swords from the armory, and freeing the other Transformer captives within the ship. Optimus Prime introduces the four gigantic imprisoned Transformers as legendary warriors, and tries to convince them to fight alongside them. Their leader, Grimlock, does battle with Optimus Prime, and after a brutal fight, Optimus Prime defeats Grimlock and demands that the warriors will protect his family or die. Their allegiance secured, the Dinobots allow the three Autobots to ride them, as they charge into Hong Kong.

While Bumblebee and Hound hold the ground against the seemingly endless army of KSI drones, Optimus leads the army of Dinobots and Autobots as they charge through the Decepticon forces, absolutely crushing through them with sheer brute strength. The airborne Dinobot Strafe picks Bumblebee up, but not before he is attacked by Stinger. Bumblebee and Stinger do battle as Strafe flies through the skies above Hong Kong, but eventually Bumblebee triumphs and destroys Stinger. At the sight of his forces being destroyed, Galvatron retreats. Optimus confronts Joshua for his actions, noting that everything that has happened is his fault. He gives the Autobots the order to escort the Seed out of the city.

However, Attinger activates a homing beacon he had planted within the Seed, allowing Lockdown to track down Optimus Prime. Lockdown’s Knightship activates a massive magnet, which begins to pull up giant chunks of Hong Kong cars, trains, buildings and ships and dropping them elsewhere, something that wreaks havoc with the Autobots’ attempt at transport. The humans are separated from the Autobots during the chaos as the car they are in is trapped in a building. As the magnet catches the Dinobots and Optimus Prime in its influence, Optimus Prime opens fire into the heart of the magnet and destroys it. Optimus Prime gives the Autobots the order to get the Seed out of the city, while he deals with Lockdown personally. The Dinobots and Crosshairs hold down a position at the bridge, while the other Autobots escort the Seed out of the city.

Optimus Prime drives towards a nearby factory, while Lockdown descends, and the two begin to do battle. Cade leaves Tessa with Shane and the Autobots, while he follows Optimus Prime, intent in fighting alongside the Autobot leader. However, before Cade can do anything to contribute in the fight, he is held at gunpoint by Attinger, who accuses him of betraying his own race, but Optimus protects Cade, shooting and killing Attinger. This moment of inattention causes Lockdown to gain the upper hand over Optimus, impaling him with his own sword and pinning him to the side of the factory. Before Lockdown could deliver the killing blow, however, Cade distracts the mercenary with his Cybertronian gun.

Tessa convinces Bumblebee and Shane to turn around, and the three of them join the battle against Lockdown. With Bumblebee battling Lockdown while Cade covers him with gunfire, Tessa and Shane manage to hook up a tow truck to the sword pinning Optimus Prime down. As Lockdown is about to kill Cade, Optimus Prime is freed from the sword, and he uses it to impale Lockdown in the chest and slice his upper body in half, killing him. With Lockdown dead, Optimus Prime activates one of Lockdown’s grenades to destroy the remaining KSI drones, before activating rocket boosters to get himself and the humans out of the way of the blast… though Galvatron survives to stalk off, promising vengeance.

The Autobots and their human allies regroup near the river. Joshua notes that he will help the Yeagers out with their destroyed home, and Cade accepts Shane as his daughter’s boyfriend. Prime allows the Dinobots to roam free, and they leave the Autobots. Optimus Prime notes that the bounty on his head placed by their mysterious Creators will paint a target on Earth itself, and he leaves Earth and the Yeager family in the protection of the Autobot soldiers, before blasting off into space with Lockdown’s Seed. As he leaves Earth and enters space, Optimus Prime sends a message to his Creators: leave planet Earth alone… because he’s coming for them.

End.
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2017-02-14 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 2017-02-13, 05:27 PM   #4
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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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