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Author Topic: Transformers: Age Of Extinction - advance screening initial impressions  (Read 2916 times)
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JonLeung
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« on: June 25, 2014, 10:42:16 PM »

I just got back from an advance screening of Transformers: Age Of Extinction thanks to a friend who scored some tickets.  Here are my initial impressions.

It may change after rewatching the first three films, but for now I think the hierarchy of which is best goes like this:
Transformers > Age Of Extinction > Revenge Of The Fallen > Dark Of The Moon.

Minor spoilers follow...

THE GOOD:
-Mark Wahlberg > Shia Labeouf
-basically anything involving the humans was more realistic than in the first three movies
-human storylines not extraneous like in the first movie or goofy like in the previous two
-human villains and their motivations are more believeable than in Dark Of The Moon
-Cade wielding the sword-gun was much more believeable than the dumb gadgets Sam used in Dark Of The Moon
-oldschool Optimus Prime!
-Drift in helicopter mode!
-the action was good - at least when you could tell what was going on
-the way Lockdown was finished off
-definitely setting up yet another sequel
-not as silly as other films, no crude humour...

THE BAD:
-...but almost too serious, almost no humour (the only time I recall the audience laughing out loud was the "hand me my alien gun" line already seen in one of the trailers)
-at least a couple pointless or redundant human characters
-Decepticons transform differently now, and it looks bad
-not much variety in types of alt-forms...other than the Dinobots, everyone was either a car or a truck (save for one triple-changer)
-many Transformers in past films lacked personality - this time, way too many lacked it - especially with next to no Decepticon dialogue (other than Lockdown but he's not really one)
-Dinobots show up only in the last half-hour, look weird in robot form, and I don't even recall them speaking

THE ? ? ?:
-way too many American flags (not even subtle.  And I'm Canadian so I am allowed to roll my eyes at that.)
-no mention of the Witwicky family or Sector Seven
-thought I heard there was a post-credits scene, but not in the advance screening

Once you've seen it, let's see if you agree/disagree with my impressions.  I might not even agree with myself tomorrow morning...these are just initial impressions, after all...
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 05:27:32 AM by JonLeung » Logged
TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 04:05:27 PM »

Thanks for the review. I'm cautiously optimistic even though I'm not too fond of the newer robot modes with next to no kibble as well as those bad transformations you mentioned. In any case, I've already bought my ticket for an IMAX showing on Saturday at 1am.
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Pending project:
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tylerkendo
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2014, 06:59:19 AM »

I still have to watch first three movies of transformers, I guess i will first watch those and then check this one out.
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 09:22:40 PM »

Well, it's that time of the year again, where I try and reply to a whole bunch of posts at once.

I'm so divided about this film. In some respects, it's much better than the first three. In others, it's just as bad if not worse. Let me borrow JonLeung's format, with much spoilers also...

THE GOOD:
-The immature humour is gone;
-So is the constant military fetishism;
-Much better human antagonists;
-The Transformers themselves finally have scenes together where they exhibit some individual personalities! I love that they didn't completely forget about guys like Ratchet or Brains and actually took the time to introduce the new Autobots. I also loved Lockdown as a character who was frightfully effective and methodical, as well as considered himself above that silly "civil war";
-Cade was also much more bearable than Sam who was alright in the first movie but kept getting worse with each sequel.

The BAD:
-Very little humour, as in not enough for such a grim film;
-Boring human cast. Say what you will about Sam's parents, Leo and Simmons, but they were, if not good characters, at least entertaining ones;
-For that matter, no references to any human from the previous movies;
-Although the Autobots actually have individual personalities this time around, most of them are not endearing. Bumblebee became super immature, Drift goes from wise samurai to bloodthirsty fighter in half a second and Hound likes to shoot helpless aliens because they're ugly. Also, Prime is even most inconsistent then in the previous films (wants to kill humans for revenge then not, then frees the Dinobots from prison before threatening to kill them if they don't help him?);
-Speaking of the Dinobots, they're barely in the movie and have no characters worth mentioning;
-The plot makes even less sense that Revenge of the Fallen and keeps dropping plotlines. Prehistoric metalized dinosaurs have no link to the Dinobots, Prime's backstory is retconned but half-heartedly (after Megatron's three mutually exclusive master plans, we have Prime being not a descendant of the Primes but a product of the Creators and also a knight but he doesn't seem to remember?), Transformers now require transformium to live (instead of the Allspark energy or Energon), humans can make better Transformers than the Transformers themselves, Galvatron is Megatron reborn and he wants the seed but then he just runs away and he has very little presence in the movie, etc;
-Action scenes that are pointless and way too long (Lockdown's tractor beam antics made the movie feel a half-hour too long);
-Not enough transformations! In hindsight, only the first movie made sure to showcase every character transforming graphically and in details, and every movie after that started cutting corners, this one being the worst. Even leaving aside the Decepticons with their magical "flying little cubes" transformation, I don't remember seeing either Hound or Crosshairs change at all, Drift only turned into his helicopter form and not his car mode and little was done about the fact he's a triple-changer. I'll give them something though: it took four movies but they finally showed a Transformer adopting a new alt-mode in details.

I know I have a lot more negative points than positive ones, but that's how I felt. I still enjoyed watching it in general, but I can't help but hope they somehow reboot the movie franchise someday and do something closer to the new comic. Seriously, IDW's "More Than Meets The Eye" is my favourite TF comic ever, and it creates such enjoyable characters that feel alive and distinct in speech and mannerism that it makes the vast majority of what came before feel lifeless and boring.
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Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
JonLeung
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 02:09:43 PM »

Of the live-action films, the first was the best.  Maybe it was fresh and new, Shia LaBeouf's antics weren't wearying yet, the humour wasn't too too crude (aside from the one masturbation question) or over-the-top, the Autobots were a more iconic selection, the Decepticons had considerable variety of types, or perhaps a combination of these and other factors.  It was by no means perfect - too many human storylines, Sector Seven seemed too silly, not enough dialogue for the Transformers, especially the Decepticons, etc. - but compared to the others, its faults seem more forgivable.

On that last note, why DO the Decepticons have so few spoken lines, especially amongst themselves?  Barricade threatened Sam in the first film and Lockdown had plenty to say to the humans he was working with, but between Decepticons, there wasn't much.  I suppose your typical cartoon bad guy dialogue is usually pretty silly, quickly conveying a pretty stupid and obvious plan because a 22-minute cartoon doesn't leave much time to develop it gradually, or maybe the dialogue is limited becuse they don't want the audience to "identify" with them (for empathy, and/or because they'll be killed off anyway), and just enough attention is given to hate and/or fear them.  I found the same fault with the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, where though the unmasked Shredder speaks in a couple scenes while hiding in shadow, once he's suited up he barely says anything...sure, there's the obvious and expected line about "turtle soup", but not much else.  They added the Eric Sacks character; couldn't they have removed him and had the Shredder do more? 

But enough about TMNT, we're talking about Transformers...I just think of the many things I could nitpick about and hope for them to fix, the one thing they could try is giving the Decepticons more to say.  It's hard to imagine an episode of any version of the Transformers cartoon where the Decepticons don't say anything (unless they aren't present at all).  Must the movies be that different?
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014, 06:09:21 PM »

The strange thing is, in most incarnations of the franchise, you'd get just as many memorable Decepticons/Predacons/Vehicons as you'd get Autobots/Maximals. There's a reason why characters like Starscream, Soundwave and Shockwave, not to mention Megatron himself have been brought back over and over. It's not *just* name recognition; these guys were as interesting and developed as guys like Optimus Prime, Prowl, Bumblebee and Jazz.

And yet, the movies went to great lengths to make the Decepticons as unrelatable as possible, giving them monstrous and jagged appearances with very little dialog (and in the first movie, mostly cybertronian speech among themselves). Whereas the Autobots are all very humanoid in shape and faces (almost too much with later movies with guys like Que). Now, it's not an invalid approach if you want to suggest that Autobots prefer to interact with less advanced species and thus tend to tailor their robot forms after them, while the Decepticons strive to maximize the effect of fear and terror by looking as disturbing as possible, not to mention adopting less humanoid forms that are better-suited for combat.

Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they deliberately made them as ugly and scary as possible so as to make the audience agree without question whenever the Autobots would pull something like murdering an injured prisoner by shooting him in the head (Demolishor at the start of Revenge of the Fallen) or murdering a fleeing suspect by slicing him in two lengthwise (Sideways in the same scene).
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 06:09:35 PM by TerraEsperZ » Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
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