Archive for Hot Rod

Transformers: The Last Knight

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 484 AD, King Arthur’s wizard Merlin forges an alliance with the Knights of Iacon, a group of twelve Transformers who have hidden on Earth. The knights give Merlin an alien staff, and combine into a dragon to help Arthur triumph over the Saxons.

In the present day, most of the governments on Earth have declared Transformers illegal, and the multinational Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) has been formed to eliminate the alien robots. Despite the absence of Optimus Prime (who left the planet to search for his creator), new Transformers continue to arrive regularly; the newest ship to arrive crash-lands in Chicago, where it is found by a group of children. When a TRF mecha confronts the kids, they are saved by Izabella, a survivor of the Battle of Chicago, and her Transformer companions Sqweeks and Canopy, but Canopy is killed by the TRF in the process. Bumblebee and Cade Yeager arrive and help them escape, but Yeager is unable to save the Transformer, Steelbane, in the ship. Before he dies, Steelbane attaches a metallic talisman to Yeager’s body—an act observed by Decepticon Barricade, who reports to his leader Megatron.

On the far reaches of the Solar System, Optimus Prime discovers that the Transformers’ home world, Cybertron, now disassembled into pieces, is heading directly for Earth. Optimus finds the being in control of Cybertron’s movement, a sorceress named Quintessa, who professes to be the maker he is searching for. The staff which the knights gave to Merlin was stolen from Quintessa, and using her powers, she places Optimus under her control, dubs him “Nemesis Prime,” and charges him with recovering it. Earth, she reveals, is actually Cybertron’s “ancient enemy” Unicron, and she intends to drain his life force so that Cybertron can be restored.

TRF member and former Autobot ally William Lennox brokers a deal between the TRF and Megatron, releasing from their custody a squad of Decepticons who will help Megatron recover the talisman from Yeager. The Decepticons hunt Yeager to his junkyard hideout in South Dakota, where he and many of the surviving Transformers are holed up. During the chaos of the ensuing battle, Yeager is approached by Cogman, the Transformer envoy of British Lord Sir Edmund Burton, who takes him and Bumblebee to England to meet his master. There, Yeager also meets Viviane Wembly, an Oxford professor, who Burton has had the Autobot Hot Rod kidnap. Burton explains that he is the last living member of the “Witwiccan” order, an ancient brotherhood dedicated to guarding the secret history of Transformers on Earth. He also reveals that Viviane is the last descendant of Merlin, and must find and use his staff to prevent the impending destruction of Earth by Cybertron.

Fleeing the TRF, Yeager and Wembly follow clues left by the latter’s father that lead them, Bumblebee, and Cogman to take the submarine HMS Alliance into the sea to find the Cybertronian Knights’ sunken ship, in which they discover the tomb of Merlin and the staff. Wembly activates the staff, and the ship rises to the surface; the TRF arrives to confront the group, but several knights awaken and attack them. The attack is cut short by the arrival of the mind-controlled Optimus, but fortunately, when the normally-mute Bumblebee is finally able to speak, the sound of his voice is enough to break Prime free of Quintessa’s control. A moment later, Megatron arrives to steal the staff; he too has been working for Quintessa all along. As Megatron flees with his prize, the knights attack Optimus for his betrayal, but Yeager, whose talisman becomes the sword Excalibur, stops the fight. Realizing he is the last knight, the knights yield to Yeager, who urges Optimus to protect the Earth once more.

Megatron delivers the staff to Quintessa, who begins draining the life force of Earth/Unicron via Stonehenge. When the military intervenes, Megatron shoots Burton, who dies with Cogman at his side. Using a ship procured by the Autobot Daytrader, the Autobots arrive to join the fight, landing on Cybertron and battling against the Decepticons and Quintessa’s Infernocons. Optimus and his Autobots, backed up by the knights in their dragon form, vanquish their many foes. Optimus defeats Megatron while Bumblebee appears to slay Quintessa. Wembly removes the staff, stopping Cybertron’s destruction of Earth, but leaving the two planets connected. Optimus declares that humans and Transformers must work together to rebuild their worlds, and sends a message calling any surviving Autobots to come home.

In a mid-credits scene, scientists inspect one of the horns of Unicron, which is extending out of the desert. Quintessa, who has survived and is disguised as a human, arrives and offers them a way to destroy Unicron.

REVIEW:

Can you believe it has been 10 yrs since the first Transformers was released? 5 years later, this franchise is still going, though there is some debate about whether it should or not. With this 5th film, Transformers: The Last Knight, the trailers promise something darker and more character driven. Did they tell the truth? Let’s find out!

What is this about?

Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager, Bumblebee, an English Lord, and an Oxford Professor.

What did I like?

Continuity. In the first few films, outside of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream and a couple of others, we had a new lineup of Transformers in every picture. Starting with the last picture, Transformers: Age of Extinction, we seem to be keeping with a steady lineup, only bringing in one or two others…at least on the Autobot side. The Decepticons were all new, except for a returning Barricade, who was last seen running away from the climactic battle in the first film.

Tone. The trailers and all the talk leading up to this film led us to believe that this was going to be the darkest, most serious film in the franchise. In the opening scenes, it seems as if that were going to be the case until we meet Merlin. This iteration of history’s greatest wizard sets the tone for the whole film, a tone filled with comedic action, rather than dark drama. Personally, I prefer it this way. For goodness sakes, this is a film about giant robots that transform into cars and jets. Why on Earth would we want it to be serious?

Welcome back. Barricade isn’t the only returnee. Josh Duhamel makes his return, after last being seen in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. His character seems a bit more battle hardened and conflicted this time out, as he is having to work with the TRF, a group that exists to eradicate all the Transformers. The military seems to still be on their side but working with them out of necessity. Tyrese Gibson was also set to return, but there was a schedule conflict with filming The Fate of the Furious.

What didn’t I like?

History lesson. There seems to be a trend lately of putting fantasy characters into historical events. Wonder Woman showed us that she was in World War I, X- Men Origins: Wolverine (as well as The Wolverine) placed Logan in every war in history. Now, it appears as if the Transformers, who we saw arrive in 2007, have been here since the Middle Ages, if not before (according to this film…we won’t go into the convoluted history of the previous films). My question is why? There was no need to put them there, other than to make it convenient for the plot. I mean, seriously, what did they have to do with Frederick Douglass?!?

Human element. I know I said this about the first film, and maybe some of the others, but there is just too much emphasis placed on the humans in a movie called TRANSFORMERS!!! This is no more apparent than in the amount of time spent trying to develop our new female characters, one of which I suspect was chosen based solely on her resemblance to Megan Fox. Also, the final battle should have been an epic confrontation of clashing, twisted metal, but instead, we get humans jumping out of airplanes and trying to get a date. One more thing, when “Nemesis” Prime comes and Bumblebee takes him on, there is no reason for Mark Wahlberg to get involved in the battle. Seriously, what can a human do against one as powerful as Optimus Prime?

Who are you? The only new Autobot introduced is Hot Rod who, though he’s living in England, somehow has a French accent. He has this cool ability to stop time, but we never really get to know him outside of that. He’s not the only one we don’t get to become acquainted with. Megatron has a crew that he asks to be released in exchange for helping the TRF (no clue how it is that these guys are in “jail” and Megatron is just running free). These guys aren’t given anything to do and most are killed in the next 10 minutes! So, instead of giving us a cool new Autobot to get to know and some interesting Decepticons, this time is spent with the schizophrenic C3PO rip-off, Cogman. There is some comedy there, but not worth the trade off. Actually, he reminds me of Alan Tudyk’s character from a previous film, I forgot which one, Dutch.

Final verdict on Transformers: The Last Knight? It makes a valiant attempt to keep this franchise relevant, but truth be told, other than die-hard Transformers fans, no in the US is clamoring for these films. Most people seems to hate them for whatever reason. Personally, I think a new director would do wonders for this franchise. Props to Michael Bay for bringing them to big screen a decade ago, something never thought possible, but now it is time for someone else to take over, preferably a fan of the original cartoon. With that said, this is actually probably the 2nd or 3rd best film in the franchise in my book. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do, but I wouldn’t get in a rush to see it. The theater I was in this afternoon was mostly empty, so I’m sure there will be plenty of seats for you.

4 out of 5 stars

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Transformers: The Movie

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

Unicron, a space-roaming artificial planet, destroys and eats robot planet Lithone, along with its population. Several of the inhabitants attempt to flee the planet in spaceships but many fail.

It is revealed that the evil Decepticons have gained control of the Transformers’ homeworld, Cybertron. The heroic Autobots are readying themselves on two of Cybertron’s moons for a strike against the Decepticons, preparing a supply shuttle for launch to Autobot City on Earth. Their transmission is intercepted by the Decepticons, who ambush the shuttle and kill its crew, consisting of Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl, and Brawn. The Decepticons then attempt to use the ship to infiltrate Autobot City on Earth without being detected.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Daniel Witwicky and Hot Rod race to greet the shuttle. They notice its damaged exterior and spot Decepticons aboard the damaged shuttle, upon which Hot Rod fires at the stowaways. After a brief battle pitting Hot Rod and Kup against the Decepticons Blitzwing and Shrapnel, the Decepticons begin their attack on Autobot City. The outnumbered Autobots, including Autobot City Commander Ultra Magnus, Blurr, Springer, Perceptor, and female Autobot Arcee, fare poorly. Ultra Magnus sends orders to alert Blaster to radio for assistance from their commander and leader Optimus Prime. An attempt to thwart the transmission by Decepticon Soundwave fails, and the broadcast reaches Moon Base One where Optimus is stationed. Optimus Prime and the Dinobots arrive to successfully repel the Decepticon invaders, including the here far-more-menacing Devastator.

Here too, Optimus Prime, almost single-handedly takes down many Decepticon warriors. In an epic clash of the titans, Optimus Prime and Megatron engage in a memorable final battle that leaves Prime mortally wounded (due to the untimely intervention of Hot Rod) and Megatron severely damaged and near-death as well. Prime manages to turn the tide of battle however and defeats Megatron. The Decepticons retreat with their fallen leader and other war-wounded loaded aboard Astrotrain for transport back to Cybertron, on the orders of Starscream.

Inside Autobot City’s walls, Perceptor alerts the other Autobots that the wounds that Optimus Prime has suffered during his battle with Megatron are fatal. The dying Optimus Prime calls on Ultra Magnus to assume command of the Autobots and bestows him with the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, which Optimus extracts from his chest. Optimus asserts that the Matrix one day will light the Autobots’ darkest hour, right before he dies. Back in space, Astrotrain’s shortage of fuel prompts the Decepticons to eject the dead weight of their injured — including the protesting Megatron. This leaves the remaining Decepticons to bicker among themselves for leadership.

Drifting aimlessly, the Decepticon castoffs encounter Unicron, who offers to give Megatron and the others new bodies on the condition that they destroy the Autobot Matrix, which, Unicron says, is the only thing that can stand in his way. Megatron reluctantly agrees, and Unicron uses his power to reformat him into a new form: the powerful Decepticon warrior christened “Galvatron”. His damaged underlings were also reformatted into Cyclonus, Scourge, and the Sweeps. Unicron provides them with a craft on which they travel to Cybertron, where Galvatron confronts and obliterates the treacherous Starscream and takes command of the Decepticons, as his alter-ego Megatron did before him.

Back on Earth, the Autobots are alerted as Unicron consumes Cybertron’s two moons, along with Autobots Jazz, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper and Daniel’s father Spike (who are ultimately rescued). Galvatron leads the Decepticons in another assault on Autobot City. The Autobots board a pair of shuttles and flee toward their threatened planet of Cybertron. Hot Rod, Kup and the Dinobots are shot down over the planet Quintessa, while Ultra Magnus and company evade their pursuers and set down on the planet of Junk for repairs.

Captured by Quintessa guardsmen, Hot Rod and Kup witness the sentencing and execution of Orbilus and are then subjected to a trial by Quintesson executioners. Before the trial, they see Kranix, now Lithone’s last survivor, who then tells them about Unicron, before he’s taken away by the Quintessa guardsmen to be fed to the Sharkticons. At the trial, Hot Rod and Kup battle the Sharkticons with difficulty, but luckily, they are rescued only by the arrival of the Dinobots. Grimlock intimidates the Sharkticons to rebel against the Quintessons with ease, while the Autobots escape. With help from the Dinobots’ new ally, Wheelie, the group locate a ship and depart for the planet to join the other Autobots.

Meanwhile, Galvatron finds and hunts down the Autobots on Junk. Ultra Magnus tries but fails to awaken the Matrix’s powers, and then is destroyed by the Sweeps. Galvatron steals the Matrix, stating that he intends to use it to make Unicron his slave. The remaining Autobots are harassed by hostile Junkion natives, led by Wreck-Gar, until Hot Rod’s party touches down to befriend them. The Junkion allies repair Ultra Magnus and volunteer a vessel to help the Autobots fight against Unicron.

Back in space, Galvatron attempts to subjugate Unicron using the Matrix but is unable to unleash its power. Unicron, seeing that Galvatron is underestimating him, transforms into a huge planet-sized robot and attacks Cybertron. As protest against this, Galvatron opens fire on Unicron, but Unicron simply swallows him up. Decepticon defenders scramble to counter Unicron’s attack, to no avail. As the Autobots reach the scene, Hot Rod crashes his ship into through the giant’s eye and finding themselves separated within Unicron’s body. At that time, Wreck-Gar and his Junkions fight back against Unicron, but Unicron crushes their only ship, however they survive.

Inside, Hot Rod fights the recently consumed Galvatron. Hot Rod secures his grip on the Matrix, and the power of The Matrix is unleashed, transforming him into Rodimus Prime. Rodimus unleashes its power to destroy Unicron from within, but not before he throws Galvatron deep into space. Rodimus leads the other Autobots out of Unicron’s body before it explodes, sprawling parts of the giant across the galaxy. Reclaiming Cybertron, the victorious Autobots declare the beginning of a new age of peace and happiness. The movie ends with Unicron’s monstrous head circling Cybertron, a dark replacement for the two moons that once existed.

REVIEW:

As a huge fan of the Transformers, I can remember when this film came out and feeling like a piece of me taken away when Optimus Prime was killed. Now, I look at this film, and appreciate how revolutionary his death was. The same goes for the others that died. Ironically, the reverse of those that died in the 2007 film.

Unicron is one impressive creation, and having Orson Wells voice him, in his last role, nonetheless, just makes him more menacing. Arcee is a waste of animation, though. I fully believe they made her just to appease the female fans.

Hot Rod is partially responsible for Prime’s death, but the way the film plays out, that could have been done for a reason, as he is the one who ultimately saves the day and assumes leadership of the Autobots.

There is rampant speculation to this day over which Decepticon became Cyclonus, Skywarp or Bombshell. As many times as I’ve seen this movie, I go back and forth on which. This time I have to say Bombshell, but next time I see it, I may go with Skywarp.

When this movie was initially released, it got mostly negative reviews. Since then, its become a cult favorite. I suppose it was just before its time.

One thing I have a bit of an issue with is the voice cast. They brought in many big name voices, but these actors didn’t stick around for the series. It wouldn’t have been any better or worse with the normal voice actors. Orson Wells, excluded, of course.

I highly recommend this. Transformer fans more than likely have this movie memorized, but for those that are getting to know the TF universe or what 80s movies were like, then this is a must see.

5 out of 5 stars