Archive for talisman

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

Red Sonja

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , on December 19, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Red Sonja is visited by a spirit who grants her the strength to seek her revenge against Queen Gedren. In a flashback scene, Gedren murders Red Sonja’s brother and parents after Sonja rejects the queen’s sexual advances, and Sonja is raped by Gedren’s troops.

Later, Gedren’s army and her aide-de-camp Ikol attack a temple full of white-robed priestesses, who are preparing to destroy a large, glowing green orb called the Talisman, used by the Creator to forge the world. This dangerous artifact’s destructive power is growing, and the priestesses intend to destroy it before it gets out of control and destroys the world. Only the priestess Varna manages to escape and she is mortally injured. Varna encounters Lord Kalidor and begs him to help her find her sister, Red Sonja. Kalidor finds Sonja and tells her that her sister is dying. Before dying, Varna tells Sonja what happened at the temple, and urges her to find the Talisman and destroy it. Sonja begins a journey to Berkubane, Gedren’s Kingdom of Eternal Night.

Sonja sees a storm in the distance, indicating that someone is using the Talisman. Kalidor offers to help her, but Sonja rejects his offer and rides to the now-ruined kingdom of Hablock. There she meets the young Prince Tarn and his servant, Falkon. They tell her that Gedren wiped out Hablock and its army with the Talisman because Tarn refused to surrender. Tarn announces that he is raising a new army to crush Gedren and invites Sonja to work for him as a cook. She declines and goes her own way.

Sonja kills Lord Brytag after he refuses her passage through the mountain passes. His troops surround Sonja, and Kalidor, who has secretly been following her, attacks their rear, allowing Sonja to escape. Sonja comes across Tarn and Falkon in the mountains. Tarn is being tortured by bandits. Falkon rejoins Sonja to help her kill the brigands and free the prince. They travel onward toward Berkubane.

At Castle Berkubane, Gedren and Ikol watch Sonja and her party approaching on a magic screen. Gedren recognizes Sonja and orders that she be brought back to the fortress unharmed. She and Ikol use the Talisman to conjure up a storm, forcing Sonja’s band to take shelter in a watery cavern. Gedren unleashes an “Icthyan Killing Machine” in the cavern. Kalidor reappears, and helps Sonja blind the beast.

Sonja now accepts Kalidor’s company, but also warns him that “no man can have her” unless he can defeat her in a swordfight. Kalidor challenges her and they fight to a draw. Kalidor, Sonja and Falkon then infiltrate Castle Berkubane. To protect Tarn, they convince him to stay behind in order to prevent Gedren from escaping. Sonja confronts Gedren, while Kalidor and Falkon deal with her guards in the castle’s dining hall. Ikol tries to escape with gold looted from Hablock, but is stopped by Prince Tarn, who accidentally kills him.

The Talisman, which Gedren has placed in a Chamber of Lights, is becoming too powerful to control. Its power breaks the floor open, revealing a chasm of molten lava beneath the castle. Sonja and Gedren fight in the Chamber, and Gedren falls into the chasm. Sonja throws the Talisman in after her, destroying it and starting a chain reaction that tears Castle Berkubane apart. The heroes manage to escape just before the castle is consumed by the rising volcano. Sonja and Kalidor kiss. Prince Tarn and Falkon look on before departing.

REVIEW:

I really like these sword and sandal type flicks. I also have a thing for scantily clad redheads. With those two things in mind, it would seem that Red Sonja would be right up my alley, but that turned out to be quite the case as this ended up being vastly overrated.

What is this about?

After her family is brutally murdered, a young woman named Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen) sees “red” and becomes a master of the sword — all to seek revenge on the evil queen responsible for the tragedy that snuffed out her kin.

What did I like?

Action. Once you get past the useless diatribes and pointless plot, there are some decent sword fights and action scenes sprinkled in here, most notably one featuring Sonja and a metallic dragon she fights in the water. While I do wish there was more, what we do get is worth seeing.

What didn’t I like?

Acting. Good golly Miss Molly was the acting in this film bad. Far from being the worst I’ve seen, it was still pretty horrible. I can forgive Schwarzenegger because he was still learning the language, but everyone else…geez! It is a miracle Brigitte Nielsen managed to get some kind of career after this film, she may very well have been the worst offender, and she’s the title character!

Forgettable. There is nothing that I can remember about this film and it just ended a few minutes ago. I can’t imagine that anyone will be remembering anything about it a week, month, or year after watching it. Usually there is at least something to wrap your mind around, but not the case with this, which is such a shame.

Prince Tarn. There are annoying kids and then there are those that are just downright unbearable. Prince Tarn is one of the latter. Part of it is his character, but that can only go so far. How can any one child, who was obviously meant to be comic relief, bring the film down so quickly?

Red Sonja was supposed to be a nice little action flick for me to check out during my typical Wednesday night film session, but it turned out to be something that nearly bored me to tears. I had such high hopes for this, but they were quickly dashed. I do not recommend this to anyone, unless you’re trying to torture someone. It isn’t the worst thing one can see, but it is pretty bad.

2 out of 5 stars