Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Optimus Prime Is An Asshole

ASSHOLE.

*Caution! This article contains spoilers for ALL of the live-action Transformers films!*

Before you lose your shit and start calling blasphemy at the title of this post, please take heed and understand the face that the above phrase is only in reference to the live-action Michael Bay version of the character.

I grew up watching the original Transformers.

Optimus Prime was, and is; one of my biggest heroes.

That being said, after (finally) watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I can honestly say, with an absolute degree of certainty; that Michael Bay’s take on the character barely qualifies as a “in name only” representation of the original Optimus Prime.

Much like the Roland Emmerich take on Godzilla, commonly known as GINO or "Godzilla In Name Only."

Watching Optimus Prime evolve, or should I say, degenerate; from film to film has been a horrific and sickening process.

The original character of Optimus Prime was that of a regal and clean-cut goody goody.

He was noble to the point of being kind of a tool, he rarely was at the forefront of combat, deferring most of the dirty work to his Autobot cohorts, and in every case, regardless of how practical it may be; he did whatever he could to stand for peace and altruism.

He was an admirable role model for impressionable young children, and one that, in a perfect world, would still hold up to this day.

The first live-action Transformers movie, a mediocre film overall, but easily the best of the trilogy; took many liberties with it’s interpretations of many of the Gen 1 characters, however when it came to Optimus Prime, it mostly got it “right.”

In Transformers 1, Prime was every bit as regal as his old self, with the sole exception of a few uncharacteristically goofy moments.

One of his finer moments in the film came at the very end, when Prime attempted to sacrifice himself and the All-Spark.

Sam, being the mental giant that he is, instead decided to kill Megatron with it.

He never once suggested using it to destroy Megatron, nor did he ever seem at any point prepared to outright kill his lifelong rival.

While his character was never developed to the point in which anyone could really care about him, it was nonetheless very appropriate to have Prime mourn the death of Jazz at the film’s conclusion.

Really Prime’s only really odd moment was during his battle with Bonecrusher, wherein he basically decapitated the severely outmatched Decepticon without giving it a second thought.

While somewhat shocking, dealing with his opponent at the time, quickly and efficiently; was cause enough justify Prime’s course of action.

Even so, while it was cool to see Prime cut loose and kick-ass, it’s hard for me to associate the phrase “stone cold killer” with him.

Which brings us to the train wreck that is Revenge of the Fallen.

Pictured: One of the innumerable problems that made up the blasphemous pile of poo that was Revenge of the Fallen.

Probably the worst in the trilogy, Revenge of the Fallen’s version of Optimus Prime was worse than the first film, but in my opinion; not quite as bad as the 3rd one.

Not all too different from his Transformers 1 counterpart in speech and mannerisms, the one really noticeable change in his character came in the form of a gung ho, “kill them until they die from it” attitude.

I’m guessing it makes me sound like a pussy to say so, but I was downright shocked to see Optimus blow Demolishor’s head off at the beginning of the movie.

It's all in good fun until someone gets hurt...

While far from the dumbest or most offensive sequence in the movie, seeing a childhood hero think nothing of executing a defenseless opponent just seemed really fuckin’ wrong to me.

Similarly, it came as a shock to me that Prime would brutalize and utterly obliterate The Fallen at the film’s conclusion.

The world was no longer in danger, and in his “Super Saiyan Prime” form, The Fallen seemed to be no match for him; so in my mind it seemed kind of odd for Prime to go the extra mile to butcher and obliterate his opponent.

Sadly, that last part is a direct quote.

I’m not at all opposed to killing in Transformers movies, however I do take offense to unjustified killing via the hands of Optimus Prime.

Killing Blackout during the 3-on-1 battle in the forest (arguably the best scene in any of the movies) came as a result of necessity I.E. defending himself and more importantly, Sam.

Decapitating a defenseless, and largely incapacitated opponent, was hard to justify outside of appealing to a bloodthirsty audience.

There was a phrase that Prime tossed around in virtually every episode of the old TV show, namely that of “Easy, Ironhide.”

This phrase was meant to separate Prime from his more bloodthirsty counterpart.

The phrase was used in Transformers 1, but somewhere down the line they decided to ditch it and the philosophical implications it brought to the table.

That being said, while Prime was obviously trending towards a more bad-ass persona in Revenge of the Fallen, in my eyes they took this much too far in Dark of the Moon.

"Peeeeaaace..... No Peace..."

Prime’s role in Dark of the Moon was somewhat diminished in comparison to the previous films in the series, however his behavior in the 3rd film was borderline offensive.

First off, and this applies to all of the Autobots; I found the idea of the Transformers rallying behind the U.S. military to combat terrorism to be more than a little insulting.

Throughout every film, Optimus Prime has declared himself to be an ally of humanity, making it completely absurd that he and the other Autobots would seemingly align themselves exclusively with the U.S., a single nation among hundreds of others.

I know these movies have obligations to portray the U.S. military in a certain way, largely due to multi-million dollar contracts with the armed forces; but attempting to trick kids into believing they’ll get to hang out with autonomous transforming robots when they sign-up is more than a little offensive.

Oh well, at least it’s not as dumb, or as blatant as Taiwan’s military ad campaign:

Moving on, it’s hard to deny that Prime’s gung ho/take no prisoners attitude from Revenge of the Fallen was turned up to 11 for Dark of the Moon.

Gen 1 and first film alum, Ironhide, as well as a handful of other Autobots are killed in the film, however at no point does Optimus Prime take a moment to reflect on their passing.

The death of any Autobot is always going to be a big deal, but for IRONHIDE, one of the most well known and beloved characters in the franchise to pass on without acknowledgment; is pretty fuckin’ lame.

What’s also pretty fuckin’ lame is hearing Optimus Prime arrive at the battlefield and declare bullshit G.I. Joe phrases like:

That’s a direct quote by the way.

I don’t care how many civilians the Decepticons kill, to hear the venerable leader of the Autobots order a fuckin’ genocide on the opposition is just plain fuckin’ wrong.

To make matters worse, Prime once again can’t seem to stop himself from killing everything in sight.

Countless (generic) Decepticons meet their fate at the hands of Prime in Dark of the Moon, however the really offensive deaths come at the film’s conclusion.

At the end of the film, Prime is severely wounded and faced with 2 opponents, Sentinel Prime and Megatron.

At one point Megatron proceeds to offer Prime a truce, whereupon Prime interrupts him and proceeds to tear his fuckin’ head off.

Following this, a mortally wounded Sentinel Prime crawls about on the ground and begs for his life, whereupon Prime interrupts him and proceeds blow his fuckin’ head off.

 

Apparently, negotiation is not one of the Autobot’s strong suits.

I don’t know about you, but shit like this grinds my motherfuckin’ gears.

It’s like the equivalent of a grossly unwarranted and unexpected heel-turn of a beloved face in wrestling.

The only difference is, in wrestling shit like that usually ends up paying off in the long run.

Corporate Rock, while hard to swallow in the first few months, was one of his better moments.

G.I. Kill-Master Prime, as well as any of the live-action Transformers films, will likely continue to be shitty as ever 10 years from now.

Anyway, I won’t be writing a review for Dark of the Moon, (it sucked) but I felt I needed to pound out this article, because I genuinely felt that this interpretation of the character was entirely “wrong.”

Oh well, I guess this is the kind of shit you have to expect from movies when the military is heavily invested in their making, the countries’ been at war for over a decade, and kids have been living off Call of Duty games and their imitators for the past 8 years.

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Michael Bay Recycle Old Material? Surely You Jest…

Pictured: Michael Bay getting set to impale some poor soldier with his massive, military hardware induced boner.

Just so we’re clear, I haven’t actually seen Transformers 3 yet.

I will see it eventually though, mostly out of obligation.

Sure, seeing the first 2 in theaters is a pretty good reason to do the same for the third, but in all honesty; it’s my lifelong passion for the Gen 1 cartoon that keeps me coming back to the Michael Bay movies, regardless of their overall level of quality.

Reviews and opinions mean close to nothing to me at this point, so don’t bother trying to dissuade me from wasting my money or what have you.

If it’s got Optimus Prime in it, doing anything vaguely Prime-like, it’s my civic duty to go see it.

I know it sounds silly, but when it comes to Transformers, Godzilla, and Arturo Gatti; every show is worth seeing on some level.

Even when he lost (or should I say, ESPECIALLY) he was always a joy to watch.

Fan boy-i-ness aside, I’d like to change the subject of this wildly unfocused post, and draw attention to something I stumbled across on Topless Robot.

Cue video:

What the fuck is up with the stock footage Michael Bay!?

In this day and age, where blockbuster movies routinely cost upwards of $100 million to produce, are we to believe that Paramount and Michael Bay were forced to cut corners to the point of cannibalizing their own films from only 6 years ago I.E. The Island?

The use of stock footage, in films of all budgets is pretty much standard practice, but even so; this just seems kind of lame from an artistic standpoint.

I mean, if you’re going to strut around town calling yourself the “Cars, Asses, Explosions, Racial Stereotypes and Sunsets Guy” wouldn’t it be in your best interest to go balls out and stage your own shit for every movie, rather than, I don’t know; STEAL FROM YOURSELF?

Oh well, from a technical standpoint it makes sense for Mr. Bay to borrow footage from his own films.

As many personal touches as the man is known to add to his films, color correction is probably the most noticeable, meaning it would probably be easier to match stock footage from pre-existing movies in his filmography as opposed to grabbing someone else’s and having to color correct the shit out of it.

Pictured: The World Through The Eyes Of Michael Bay

Anyway, as much as this sounds like a pissy rant, it’s really not.

From what I understand, these 2 shots are the only instances of cannibalized stock footage; (not counting the truck load of military footage) and really that’s not too bad.

Truth be told, I’m used to far worse.

I grew up watching movies like Godzilla vs. Gigan, which made extensive use of stock footage from previous Godzilla movies.

Hell, virtually every Godzilla movie of the 70’s was produced on the strength of special effects footage ripped from Toho’s film libraries.

And that’s not to say this practice was only restricted to the Japanese film market, rather it was; and largely still is, common practice in virtually all film markets, big and small alike.

Take for instance, Hollywood in the 1950’s:


That, ladies and gentleman, was Bela Lugosi… Uh, saying stuff, while pretending to look upon stock footage of a busy street.

The only reason the use of stock footage in Transformers 3 stands out at all, is because the footage is borrowed from the director’s own filmography, and is still relatively “fresh” as opposed to the more typically employed public domain type stuff.

Borrowing from nature documentaries and military archives is one thing, but outright stealing tailored and personalized shots from your own filmography, and then compositing special effects over them is indeed quite low.

Oh well, it’s not like this is something that’s going to offend anyone on a personal level or anything.

At most, it just reflects poorly on Michael Bay and Paramount, making them look lazy and/or inept.

In any case, I’m hoping to see the movie sometime soon; and no, I won’t be going into it looking for reasons to hate it.

Here’s hoping Optimus Prime does something cool over the course of 2 and a half hours, as that’s all I’m really asking for!

*Sigh* THIS, is cooler than the entirety of Transformers 2...

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What Happened To Theme Songs?

Remember, back in the day, when every movie/TV series/cartoon had a cheesy self-titled theme song to go with it?

I miss those days.

I miss the days when (almost) every James Bond movie would have a goofy song of the same name as it’s theme.

I miss the days when the opening lyrics of my Saturday morning cartoons would remind me every .125 seconds of what the hell I was watching.

I miss the days when Kamen Rider would ride into battle to a triumphant theme song bearing his name.

Something happened to the traditional self-titled theme song in the past decade or so, and by golly; I’m upset.

Don’t get me wrong, theme songs still exist, especially for cartoons, it just makes me sad that culture has seemingly trended towards out-moding them in the mainstream.

Some time in the mid-80’s, a few years before I was born, it seemed like everything had a dumb self-titled theme song to go with it.

In example, I give you the (awesome) theme song for Cat’s Eye:

Cat’s Eye was an exceptionally shitty Stephen King movie by the way.

Not as bad as The Langoliers or anything, but nowhere near “good.”

Moving on, for the requisite sports drama; we have Sammy Hagar’s not quite named after the movie, but close enough theme song for Stallone’s appropriately titled, Over The Top:

While many of the songs of this era were kind of shitty, I always found it kind of cool that they were obviously written specifically for the production they were used in.

It shows that someone cared enough about the production to make a song dedicated to it.

As silly as that sounds, I think that’s kind of neat.

These days it seems like, anime, tokusatsu, movies, and TV shows no longer have “traditional” theme songs, rather they simply have some sort of pop song in it’s place.

Kamen Rider used to have self-titled themes for all of it’s iterations up until the 2000’s, when the themes seemed to stop making mention of the title character.

To be fair though, Kamen Rider theme songs seem to have been produced specifically for the shows they’re used in, as evidenced by the lyrics typically being firmly rooted in the core themes of the show, as well as occasionally being sung by some of the cast members:

What really grinds my gears though, is when pop song themes don’t really have anything to do with the production they’re used in besides serving as a musical motif in the soundtrack.

My best guess is, across all aspects of the film medium; this is done for economic purposes, but I ask you:

Does fuckin’ Linkin Park really hold a candle to the old Transformers theme?

Didn’t think so.

And by the way, no, I’m not going to embed the Linkin Park song for you ’cause… Well, just ’cause.

If there was any one thing I could wish for in Transformers 3, it’d have to be the inclusion of the Gen 1 theme song in some form.

Well, that and I suppose it would be nice if the movie didn’t suck.

Anyway, this has been a retarded rant, hopefully you all aren’t confused and/or angered by it.

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hoping This Summer’s Movies Don’t Suck

Man, work sucks.

I had an awesome idea for a card earlier today, but thanks to the sudden emergence of my mandatory overtime day tomorrow; I was forced to hold off on working on the good stuff until the weekend.

Oh well, even though the craftsmanship of the card above is indeed a rush job, and a shitty one at that; in my mind, any Conan is good Conan.

Speaking of which, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t have my hopes up for the new Conan movie this year; but I’ve got my fingers crossed nonetheless.

That seems to be the theme for all of the big blockbuster movies for me this summer.

I’m excited about them, but as of now my biggest hope is that they don’t end up being embarrassingly bad, or worse yet; “I want my money back” bad.

Transformers has a horrendous track record working against it, but it’s Transformers; so I’ll always be willing to give it a shot; common sense be damned.

"Common Sense" and Michael Bay just don't mix...

Green Lantern has good people involved in it’s production, but the art design looks kind of shitty; and Ryan Reynolds isn’t exactly my favorite leading man.

Especially when looks goofy like this.

Thor looks… Y’know what, fuck it. I don’t even wanna’ talk about how Thor looks…

...Although the prospect of seeing Anthony Hopkins in power armor is awfully enticing.

Conan looks to be headed in a good direction, with a harsher aesthetic and what not; however it’s seriously lacking in the Arnold quotient, (which is “zero,” for those that are curious) which will likely be it’s downfall being as the Arnold version is Conan for Conan newbs like myself.

Although the casting of Jason Momoa does wonders to improve the series' Hawaiian quotient, which is always a good thing in my book.

Oh yeah, and Captain America looks alright as of now, but like all of the others listed above; it’s very much a slippery slope.

Pictured: What said slippery slope can lead to when left unchecked.

The chances of a shitty summer movie season are pretty high, though in all honesty; I feel that I’ll probably end up heading to the theater more often than is the norm for me.

Anyway, I got work tomorrow, so I’ll see yah’ later.

 

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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