Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reviewiverse number 1



Kevin Scott Bolinger

  Hello all to a brand new feature on my blog. In this, I will review current films in theaters, or films from the past that are much loved. I will warn everyone now, for current films there will be spoilers. I had a opportunity to go see an advanced screening of Transformers 3 : Dark of the Moon, thanks to my friend Zac winning tickets from a radio contest. The film was shown in 3D, which was amazing, I must say, but will not be the focus of this review.  I will now once again give the warning:


         YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Our movie opens with Optimus telling a tale of the final days of the Great War. We see the Cybertronian landscape, war ravaged. Skirmishes abound far below, as an Autobot ship is trying to get away from a few Decpticon ships in pursuit. Prime lets the audience know that the ship is carrying something that will tip the balance of the war for good. Alas, a small con fighter, Starscream in Cybertronian mode, fires at the ship as it makes it to space, damaging it and sending it tumbling away.

    We switch to Earth in 1961, where they have detected an alien spacecraft on a trajectory for the moon. As the ship crashes, we see it was the same one Starscream had shot as if fled Cybertron. It crashes, and President Kennedy declares that the United States needs to beat the Russians to the moon to examine the crashed vessel.

   We then get to July 1969, and Apollo 11 blasts off. As they approach the moons surface for landing, Armstrong and Aldrin look through classified documents.  As soon as they are in communications blackout from the Moon’s position, relative to the Earth, they are to make their way to the craft and explore. They do so, and we learn there are no survivors. They bring a few trinkets back to Earth.
The true reason we went to the moon?

    We then get to modern times. Sam is now living with new girlfriend Carly, as well as Wheelie and Brains. He is out of work and has many interviews. Meanwhile , the NEST group has been used to take care of major political situations abroad, using the Autobots as uber weapons.  One mission brings Optimus, and Ratchet to Chernobyl, where they detect energon.  While being spied upon by Laserbeak, Lennox and his team find a piece of Cybertronian tech linked to Earth tech. Suddenly they are attacked by a huge Cybertronian worm. Optimus springs into action, his trailer become a weapons bay. He manages to retrieve  the Cybertronian artifact as the worm retracts to reveal it’s master, Shockwave. As that was all going on, Laserbeak assassinates the Russian official that led NEST there.

    As they return to NEST headquarters, we see the Autobots all sent to separate bays for various maintenance, and Skids and Mudflap make a blink and you will miss the appearance as the cars enter the garage. A female government official shows up, demanding to know if NEST was involved in a few highly dubious missions overseas. Lennox tries to give her the runaround, but she wont have that. She demands answers and wants to speak to Optimus. Ironhide informs her that now is not a good time to bother Optimus, because he is, for lack of a better word, pissed. Still in truck mode, Optimus has sat in the bay since his return, not speaking to anyone. Ironhide bops him on the roof to get him to come forth. He transforms and informs everyone that the humans have lied to the Autobots. The sphere from Russia came from the Ark, the crashed ship on the moon.

    Optimus and Ratchet then take an Autobot ship to the moon to see the wreck themselves. There, in the crash chamber, they recover Sentinel Prime, and five rods he had with him. They return to Earth.
Sentinel Prime

    During all this, Sam finally lands a job, in a mail room, on the recommendation of one of the companies board members. One of the managers, a small Asian man, begins following Sam suspiciously.  As days go by, Sam learns that Carly’s boss was the one that gave him the recommendation. Sam does not like the guy, because he is too friendly with Carly. Back at his mail room job, he is stopped in an elevator by the asian manager, who takes his coat to get Sam to follow him in the bathroom. Inside, he gives him papers with information needed about the real reason behind the moon landings. 

    Sam, who has been treated badly by the government and tossed aside, not even allowed to have Bumblebee with him anymore, goes over the information and realizes how important it is. He goes to confront the manager, and the man is acting strange. Though Sam cannot see it, the mans hand his trapped by the computers mouse. The man chases Sam out of his office, and the computer transforms, revealing Laserbeak, who tells the man he is going to suicide him. He does so by pushing him out a window. Laserbeak then attacks Sam, but he manages to evade the Decepticon.

    Sam gets Carly, and makes for the NEST base, there the guards give him a rough time, till Sam grabs one of their radios and calls for Bumblebee, who comes out, not looking favorably on the guards. Lennox then comes to get Sam and Carly.  Sam gives Lennox the information, and the woman from the Government is none to happy, she has Sam brought to her office, and tells him he is not needed, he is not a soldier, just a messenger boy. Sam informs her of how he was attacked by a Decepticon earlier, and Bumblebee is reassigned to him.

   Meanwhile, in the repair bay, Optimus uses the Matrix to revive Sentinel. The five rods are locked away. We then learn that the rods for a space bridge. Sentinel invented the technology, and only he can use it. 

     In and African plain, we see a rusty big rig arrive near some elephants. It transforms and Megatron is revealed, looking worse for wear. He makes his way to a tent like structure, where there are hatchlings, as well as Soundwave. Small parasitic bots crawl all over him, picking at his damaged head.  Starscream arrives, as well as Laserbeak. Both inform him that the Autobots have taken the bait. He orders Soundwave to move forward with the plan.
The Road Warrior called, they want their truck back...

    Sam wants to get to the bottom of all this mess, so he enlists the help if former agent Simmons, now a successful author. Simmons now has a personal bodyguard named Dutch, who is more then he seems. Sam calls Simmons, and Dutch uses a scrambler to make the line secure. Sam then give enough hint to Simmons to get him to join him.

    A few days later, Simmons is with Sam in Carly’s loft, using Brains as a laptop to help search for the information they require. Upon finding what they need, they travel to seek out two former Russian Cosmonauts. After letting them know that they know about what really happened on the moon, the Cosmonauts show them images taken by Russia in the mid 60’s. It shows hundreds of the rods that Sentinel had, dragged across the surface and stacked neatly. Sam realizes Sentinel is the key and must be protected.

    The Autobots then race to Protect Sentinel and get him back to NEST headquarters. They are attacked on a highway by the Dreads, but manage some really cool escapes. Simmons is tossed from his car and left for dead. Sentinel gets back to the base, as the other Autobots prepare to fight the  Decepticons. Ironhide goes head to head with two of the Dreads and smashes into them, as all three transform. Sideswipe joins him, and they have a Mexican standoff. The Dreads try and pull as fast one, but Ironhide and Sideswipe make fast work of them.

     When they return to NEST base, Sentinel transforms, and they learn the truth. He was not bringing the space bridge technology to the Autobots at the end of the war, he was bringing it to Megatron. He tells then that he had seen the devastation the war brought, and decided the only way to survive was to join the enemy, to put an end to the war. He then attacks Ironhide, shooting him several times with an acid based weapon. Ironhide dies, and begins to melt. Sentinel then attacks the interior of the base and retrieves his rods, escaping with them.

    Earlier, Carly, in a new car given to her by her boss, had an argument. She leaves him to attend a work function, and Sam had returned to his research. After Sentinel’s attack, he seeks out Carly.

   Meanwhile, Megatron and Starscream arrive and the Lincoln memorial, where Megatron destroys the statue and makes the seat his throne. Sentinel sets up a small space bridge in the reflecting pool and brings Decepticon reinforcements that had been hiding on the moon. Optimus confronts him, but Sentinel quickly beats him down, but sparing his old friend.  Optimus, seeing they are overwhelmed, orders a retreat.

     Sam then find Carly at her bosses house, and as they try to leave, he finds out her boss has been working with the Decepticons. Carly’s new car turns out to be Soundwave, and he holds her captive to ensure Sam will cooperate. Her boss slaps a Decepticon on Sam’s wrist, which attaches itself to him, and turns into a wrist watch. They will now know everything Sam sees and hears. He is ordered to figure out Optimus’s plan.

   They next day, Sentinel addresses the leaders of Earth, demanding the Autobot renegades be removed from Earth. NEST is shut down, and at Cape Kennedy we see an Autobot ship merged with a space shuttle. It is taken care of by the Wreckers, three Autobots with a NASCAR addiction. All the Autobots board the ship, Optimus telling Sam he has no plan. A few hours later, the ship is launched. As it reaches altitude, Starscream zooms down from space, transforms and blasts the ship to pieces.
Shockwave, one bad bot!

   With the Autobots now dead, the Decepticons make their move. Carly is taken hostage to Chicago, where the Decepticons begin to lay siege. The city quickly falls to the, thousands are killed. Megatron and Sentinel are on top of one of the towers, where Sentinel reveals he is going to bring Cybertron to Earth and use the human race as slaves to rebuild it. Megatron revels in the fact Sentinel is working for him, but Sentinel quickly grabs Megatron;s head, pulling out more wires and circuits, further degrading him. Sentinel shows who is really in charge.

    The city is blocked off, nothing is getting in or out. All fighter jest are quickly shot down. Chicago is now a fortress. Sam wants to rescue Carly. Eps, who had quit NEST long ago, but still helped keep an eye on some of the Autobots while they were there, agrees to put a team together to help. When they get to Chicago though, the team realizes its hopeless. A Decepticon fighter comes down to attack them, but is suddenly shot down. As they turn, Optimus is standing there, holding a giant shotgun. The Autobots had fooled everyone, hiding in the first booster to be jettisoned from their ship. All Starscream had done was destroy an empty vessel.

   Battles erupt over the city, as the Autobots begin to fight back. Everyone’s goal in to destroy the control rod before Cybertron can be brought to Earth. Various action scenes unfold. Sam rescues Carly, only to become trapped in a skyscraper with Eps and his men as Shockwaves pet destroys the center of the building. Optimus, in his flight armor, swoops in and destroys the worm, but a shot from Shockwave causes him to crash into some cranes, becoming entangled in the wires, upside-down. The Wreckers spot him and try to get to him.

   Meanwhile, after escaping the crashing building, thanks to Optimus, Eps, his men, Sam and Carly are all back on the ground. Sam and Carly are attacked by Starscream, and Sam uses a grapple device given to him by Autobot inventor Que, and he rips out Starscream’s eye. As Starscream is screeching and flailing, Sam takes a spiked bomb Que also gave him, and jams it in Starscream’s other eye. Lennox and his team, after having made a daring jump into the city with heavy casualties, comes to Sam’s aid as the grapple still has him attached to Starscream, with the bomb getting ready to detonate. As Starscream lashes out in pain and anger at being blinded, Lennox cuts the wire, and he and Sam fall from a building as Starscream’s head explodes, killing him. Bumblebee shows in the nick of time to catch the two.
An eye for an eye...

    Some time later, most of the Autobots, sans the Wreckers, Optimus, Wheelie and Brains, have been captured by Shockwave, Soundwave, and Barricade.  Soundwave is happy to have the prisoners, when Carly’s boss points out that they should not keep them as prisoners, but make examples out of them.  Soundwave agrees, and decides to make them trophies. He takes Que, and shoots him in the back, then a generic drone Decepticon finishes the Autobot inventor off. Bumblebee is next to be taken for execution. As Soundwave is powering his blaster, Decepticon fighter craft begin falling out of one of the large carriers overhead. Wheelie and Brains had snuck aboard and sabotaged the ship.  As it crashes into the river, we are left wondering if the two brave little Autobots survived.  The distraction lets the Autobots fight back, and also allows Lennox and Eps and their respective teams to set up an ambush. A sniper Shoots Barricade in the eye, and  gets a few shots on Shockwave. Soundwave is killed by Bumblebee as the two fight.

   Optimus, being freed by the Wreckers, joins the fight. He flies in, killing Barricade. He then fights with a slightly damaged Shockwave, who seems to take a lot of damage before finally succumbing to the blades of Prime.  Meanwhile, Carly finds Megatron sitting down in an alley, looking like a homeless person. He is mumbling to himself, and as she approaches, he halfheartedly threatens her. She then taunts him , finishing by referring to him as Sentinel’s bitch. Enraged, he moves to strike her, but realizes she is right.

   Optimus and Sentinel fight, with Sentinel gaining the upper hand. He slices off Prime’s right arm, and pins him to the ground. As he begins to deliver a killing blow, Megatron attacks him, and beats the old bot down.  Megatron then looks at prime and wonders where Optimus would be without him, as he prepares to kill his mortal enemy. Optimus declares that he will find out, and with one arm, e=he beats down and rips off Megatron’s head, killing him finally. He then walks over to Sentinel, badly wounded, who pleads with Optimus. Optimus executes him with his shotgun. San hits Carly’s boss with a piece of metal, sending him into the control rod, which fries him. Bumblebee and Ratchet then attack the rod, destroying it, and destroying Cybertron in the backwash of the collapsing space bridge, with many Decepticon ships also being sucked in and destroyed. This is where the movie ends, the Autobots finally victorious, but at the cost of thousands of human lives and the destruction of a major city.

     My thoughts on this film. It was good, probably the best of the three Bay Transformers films. It took him three tries to get it right, with one major exception.  The fights are no longer fast paced blurs where you cannot tell what is going on. The acting is better. The Autobots get more screen time. The plot, though lifted from several G1 episodes mashed together, does flow nicely with very few holes. All that being said, I do have one complaint.

    Megatron. For those of us that grew up watching the old show, or even some of the newer ones, he was the ultimate embodiment of evil. In this film though, he is little more then a broken down warrior, grasping at the final straws of a plan initiated thousands of years ago. His mind is damaged, from the battle at the end of Revenge of the Fallen. He wields no control over his own forces. He is little more then a pawn, used, abused, and in the end, destroyed when his usefulness has come to an end.  He deserved better, yet what he got was a last hurrah in fighting Sentinel, only to be taken down in seconds by a badly damaged Optimus.


    One other thing that made me groan is a certain line thrown in to Star Trek fans, spoken by Sentinel. He tells Optimus that he is doing what he is doing because " The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." A famous line, no doubt, but in this context it is evil. I imagine Leonard Nimoy in the recording booth, looking at Bay and saying "really? you seriously want me to say that line...again?"

   Now that I have that out of the way, I will say I really did enjoy this. I went in with low expectations, due to the previous film, but I left with a smile. Michael Bay has redeemed himself a bit. He really can make a decent film if he controls his impulses.  I highly recommend it to anyone. Keep in mind, it is PG-13, and there are a number of robot and human deaths. Humans seem to explode, with bones being lefts behind as they are hit by Decepticon weaponry. If your child can handle such things, then by all means bring them, but use your better judgment.

     I look forward to others seeing this film and giving their opinions. Feedback is most definitely welcomed on this one. I left a few things out, like the bits with Sam’s parents, and other  small plot points. In a nutshell, this is a good summer blockbuster. Till next time, be well!

1 comment:

  1. Oh joy, another pissed-off executioner Optimus. Though, in fairness, he was that way in season 1 of G1 .... he just always missed. But I specifically remember Megatron surrendering and he shot him into lava anyway. Not sure why he got so soft by the movie ...

    And here I am discussing G1 instead of the movie you just reviewed. LOL. I think I will go see this next week, but not 3-D since that makes me dizzy.

    I know I'm too cynical and all, but even if the movie is awesome, I'm still glad to close the book on Michael Bay's vision of Transformers. VIVA LA REBOOT!