Monday, June 30, 2014

Age of Extinction- The Bayverse—

Its funny to think that I sat down on Friday with the complete intention of getting rid of any bad feelings about TransFOURmers, and yet somehow, I predicted the future. Friday night I went to the theater, for the first time in over a year, risking Cincinnati Bedbugs so that I could enjoy my favorite Sci-Fi franchise. Needless to say… an hour and a half later, I was ready to head home, put my clothes in the dryer and be done.

My first sign that things were going array was the fact that I have only picked up two AOE figures… Grimlock and Scorn. Those two figures have not completely blown my skirt up, and I have not been compelled to pick up anymore. Then as I was checking out the Botcon coverage, I found that IDW is not providing any support for the movie. Actually they have decided to not touch the Bayverse and focus their energy toward their G1 books (please note I am not complaining). But still I tried to hold up hope. I actually avoided the trailers and any possible spoilers that would have been included. I have not overly researched any story plots but tried to keep my pallet cleansed so that I could be surprised by the actual movie, and stayed out of any of the negatives, but here I am, ready to spoil yours if you feel you need it.

So if you do not want to know about anything in the movie, please stop reading this until you have seen it. I am welcome to comments and arguments, however, this is my opinion. Actually please provide me with counterpoints… I want to be brought back into the light.

When the movie starts off it actually does exactly what I did not want it to do. The first scene starts by completely wasting Ratchet on screen. I’m pretty sure this was trying to show that this is not a reboot, however it is just a new trilogy, that is entirely different. I can’t believe that they took him out in such a fashion though because he was the last link to the original movie from ’07. I know there is still bumblebee, and Optimus Prime, but lets face it… at this point, Bumblebee is the Rick of this series. It focuses on him, and he isn’t going anywhere soon. On the other hand, noting PERMINANT will EVER happen to this Optimus Prime. They will continue to “kill” him for a few minutes when the find it helpful. Ratchet represented the old kingdom… and even though the team no longer has a medic, he just had to go. I could see getting rid of the old trilogy by focusing on the death of Leadfoot, which could have served as a great way to serve this point, but keep Ratchet as either a hostage or “damsel in distress” to motivate the Autobots to go in. Honestly Ratchet would be a perfect background character and perfect for the background for the next two movies. He would serve a purpose without being needed polygons in the battlefield. After the battle is done he would be perfect to explain who patched up the bullet holes etc. but instead he is just bolts laying on the ground.

Then we enter into the introduction of the new human cast. I have to say… originally this worked out incredibly well, however I felt some sort of connection to Cade and his daughter… the boyfriend left me with a “Michael Bay just wants to pay an homage to Armageddon. Also looking back to the 07 movie, I Remember leaving with Megan Fox becoming my new Hollywood crush, which sadly still stands today… thumbs and all. Cade’s daughter did not have that same effect on me. I admit she is quite attractive, however maybe it was the emphasis of how she was 17, maybe even that combined with the fact that I now have an 18 year old at heart that just did not repeat in this movie.
“Lucky Charms” had to be a major issue for me in the movie. He really was entered as a great “action hero” ready to run from anyone to save his “boo’ (yes I just got GHETTO in this piece). However, as the movie progressed he became just another hang on. His helpfulness really took a sharp downward turn whenever he was not behind the wheel of a car, and even faded into complete cowardice in the Cybertronian vessel. It was quite embarrassing, but somehow he earned Cade’s respect by pissing his pants and taking cover… I guess Cade just really respected how he handled the stick… in the cars people.

He’s not so magically delicious

Cade himself was somewhat of an arguable point for me. I understand that Marky Mark will be well Marky Mark, but I hoped it would be turned down. Where I did not see the guy that I quite enjoyed in Ted, he did still let some of his old self shine through his lines. I feel that this movie entirely focused on him more than any other character. I understand that the 07 movie did the same with its focus on Sam, however, that was nothing more than a plot device to enter you into the conflict. This seemed to be Cade’s story entirely. As I said before, It made me take the fatherly stance in response with his daughter. Also I feel that the boyfriend was entirely useless. Also as you watch the film, in each action sequence, you typically seen Cade firing his Cybertroninan sword, rather than these amazing robots battle it out. The sad part is, by the middle of the 07 movie, I actually gave a shit about Sam, in AOE, I just wanted to see what everyone else was doing.

What Michael Bay did to Formers Fans

I have to say the only human that I really completely enjoyed was T.J. Miller’s character. However unlike Sam’s college roommate, T.J. was a casualty of the movie again wasted as if he were Ratchet.

It was in his Rider… listen to T.J. Millers’ Standup… I promise you will laugh

Then we get to meet the Autobots. I have to say that this group of movie bots could not be further move away from my views of the “good guys” that I have ever seen. My first major issue was the fact that they implement the Optimus Prime SOS signal, and these bots gather together, lets say sixty miles away from Prime and decide to hold up in a mountain and hide rather than respond to the SOS. Well other than Ratchet, who was somewhere near an ocean port, trying to help Prime, but we all know what happened to him.

Speaking of Optimus Prime, I have to say that the Bayverse Prime has completely left the character other than a few visual keys. If I remember correctly, the first words we hear him say, other than a distress signal is DIE… I will KILL YOU! Yes, I understand that he was indeed wounded in battle, however he continued to wave his rifle at the humans even after he realized that they were not Lockdown. I have always been a very strong supporter of Optimus Prime. Quite often Prime is the first figure that I pick up from a line. I love what he stands for and the character that he has become, however this is not Optimus. I feel that the G1 Prime, why more often that not resonates through each incarnation has left this body. In DOTM he destroyed Megatron, at point blank range, after giving Sentinel the Que-De Gras. This action alone made me realize that this is not my Optimus Prime. I have heard the argument that he needs to be edgier. He can’t be the hippy prime that was introduced in the original series. Todays youth needs a hero that kicks ass, not one that gets walked over.

Personally I argue the complete opposite. Firstly G1 Prime is far from being a hippy. He is the complete opposite. He is a compassionate leader that is full of character, something that I feel kids need as a role model. Secondly he always looks for the non-violent alternative action, but he is not afraid of action. In the 1986 movie you see Prime land on Autobot City on earth. His base has been ransacked, sieged, and his best friends have been slaughtered at the hands of the Decepticons. When he arrives on he exits his ship and goes head first into battle. He intricately takes out the whole trail of opposition on his way to his nemesis. With the precision of a surgeon he halts the siege, without complete outright murder. He than stands to Megatron. The battle is hard fought, however Prime then has the upper hand. Megatron pleads for help, stalling the fight so that he can get his hands on another blaster, and Prime reasons with him. I fully believe that had Megatron surrendered at this point, Prime would have accepted the surrender, and continued as a true leader would, as oppose to Bay Prime who would have destroyed his spark. For me Prime is an essential role model, however Bayverse destroys this. Bay Prime is a warmonger who just wants to kill all enemies. He has also turned on the human race. Call me a G-Onner however I do not believe that Prime would turn on Humanity in respect to Decepticon dealings no matter what we had done. He takes ownership of his race’s battles, he won’t let humans be taken over by Decepticon command, no matter what happens to him. Then you enter the last battle on earth, where he distracts his attention from Lockdown in order to place a single round into Kelsey Grammar’s character. Little bit of over kill Prime? I am pretty sure Cade should be able to hand the old man!

Crosshairs is another “badass” bot that was introduced. He just reminds me of Hot Fuzz, and basically he is only around so that he can take part in all the badass cop movie action. He also is always ready to completely walk away from the Autobot path and continue alone, but for some reason he feels the need to be leader of the rag tag crew.

You do know there are more guns in the country than there are in the city.

This now leads me into Drift. I know this has been addressed before but please tell me how the character that speaks Chinese is based off the look of a Samurai which is very Japanese and has a strong Japanese accent. I loved how quickly he turns on his life saving nature… “you must always try all other avenues prior to battle… its dead now.” Also I will say that it was cool to introduce a triple changer into the movie, however it is completely an afterthought. He was made into a triple changer just to sell a few more toys. My major beef with that is simply half of the scenes were “get the humans away” and they shove them into a car. All that I could think was Drift is a HELICOPTER… FLY THEM THE FUCK AWAY!!!

The only new bot that I really enjoyed was Hound. He was very much there to replace Ironhide who had been wasted in DOTM, but he seemed to add a new dynamic to the movie. As a matter of fact he really repeated Irohide’s Cannon scene with Sam. There isn’t much to say about him, other than I actually enjoyed what he brought to the screen.
Also I like the continued inclusion of Brains. I wish Wheelie was still with him but either way it was nice to have him back. I actually enjoyed them, just not much to analyze.

Now we reach the introduction of Galvatron. So as Hasbro joked about in the panel at Botcon, the worst kept secret of AOE. Surprisingly when they reuse parts from Megatron, he takes over the body that they used his parts to build!!! His first transformation sequence (and I will touch on that in a minute) when he takes robot form all that I could think about was the 07 Movie when bone crusher transformed. I have to review the tape, but I am pretty sure that it was verbatim of Galvitron’s attack. Way to reuse wire frames ILM!

I swear I have seen this before

As far as Decepticons, I have to say that having basically 2 and a ton of drones seemed to work well. And they even made it so that transformation was not needed what so ever. I have to say for a forth movie, ILM really took the cheap way out. Whenever Drift transformed in or out of helicopter mode it was continently either off screen or hidden. The same thing happened here with the Decepticon Drones, except now they change form in an amazing wasp nest swirl effect.

The only real villain that I enjoyed from this film was Lockdown. He actually gave a nice outsider mentality that really gave a great homage to the Animated! Incarnation. It was nice to see third non-affiliated faction entered into the mix. Along with Hound, Lockdown may be the only introductions that I enjoyed in movie.
The highlight of the movie was supposed to be introduction of the Dinobots into the movie audience. They had some great setup points to try and explain their significance and presence into the movie and then in the amazing way that Bay does things all these ideas were thrown to the wind and they were just present in the ship that the Autobots had taken over. Firstly how convenient that not only was prime in prison next to them but also that the trophy case was essentially an escape pod. That was just perfect. So barring their introduction, and the presence of a metal T-Rex in the opening scenes, they are introduced, they trounce some over-powered Decepticon drones, and then they run away in the middle of Hong Kong at the end of the movie. This was the major draw… all publicity of the movie is based on Optimus Prime riding Grimlock. Every store I walk into where Bumblebee once was I now see is now replaced with Grimlock, and they are given no real story, but are just broken wild animals that are trained in a matter of five minutes… great story writing. Then at the conclusion, they just run away into the amazing abandoned land of China… where only 20 billion people will be able to find them. To continue my point… there is a scene where Strafe has bumblebee fighting a drone on his back. The polygons of the Computer Generated scene was so hard to follow that everything just blended together. All that I could imagine was that I was back to Windows 98 and watching my Flowerbox Screen Saver.

Dinobots Fight Scene

Needless to say I was not impressed. I find the collector side of me still partially yearning for the movie characters of AOE, but I am battling it. I really have hit a point where I just need to look toward my Generations and legends figures, at least Hasbro knows the collectors will not be happy with AOE. I really wish that I had just stayed in my own great G1 Universe that was setup in IDW… and I really wish that I could have reacted to TransFOURmers like they did, and not even recognize that it happened.

Transforming Perspectives:

So Age of Extinction was released last night, and I have to say that I was not planning nor did I attend a midnight showing of the new film. Its actually funny, I can remember vividly the horrible feeling I had in the pit of my stomach as my flight was cancelled to Botcon 2007. I remember running out to pick up my two tickets for the absolute first showing of the original Bay Movie. I have to say my whole attitude toward the Bay movies has changed though. For the first movie… they had me hook line and sinker. I was in for everything. Each trailer I studied and inspected closely. I took part in all the available media events, including being the first in line for when the Sector 7 trailer rolled in front of my theater. I would do anything to catch a glimpse of what was about to happen. What was funny is the whole time I soaked up all this information, I was completely hating on all of the designs. I can honestly tell you that when I sat in that theater seat, I was excited, but entirely prepared to be completely let down. When Blackout transformed at the military base, all of my expectations were destroyed, and I was completely indulged into the movie franchise. However, the Bayverse has become stale to me. Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon have sadly become nothing more that summer popcorn flicks. Worse than that the Bay Optimus Prime has completely destroyed the vision of what Optimus stands for in the end of Dark of the Moon. Also the complete lack of interest in keeping characters who could become cool has been ridicules. In the first movie, when Megatron kills Jazz, it actually was somewhat powerful and held meaning. Granted Bonecrusher was a who cares fatality, but the little time we knew Jazz, it was powerful. It meant something. By DOTM all that has been lost. You see them just lay waste to Ironhide for no apparent reason. Then they have Sam take out Starscream because for some unforeseen reason he became the focal point of all the movies. Finally when you reach the execution scene, all power has been removed from character death. They waste characters who basically have no audience reaction except perhaps to tell you their name, and then Bumblebee. Please folks, you know that Bay won’t murder his checkbook… therefore Bumblebee is spared. I have to say that going into Age of Extinciton tonight I really was not thinking that I was going to see in on opening day but I have a scheduled time to check it out. I am somewhat interested to see what will happen in the new trilogy but feel that I am partially seeing this movie in the theater out of brand loyalty. I hope that once again Bay can surprise me and let me leave the theater with complete satisfaction… for some reason I believe that I am going to be let down.