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.

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Villains of the Azn Badger’s Youth

I’m not going to lie, tonight’s post is not entirely my idea.

In fact, I’ve gone and ripped off the entire concept from someone else’s article that I read last night!

Said article was written by Todd Brown over at Twitchfilm.net.

The article was, of course; titled “Villains of My Youth,” within which Mr. Brown cites his 5 favorite/most influential childhood film villains.

In all, the article was devoid of flash, and totally straightforward, however I found it very interesting to read someone else’s thoughts on the subject.

Anyway, it got me thinking, and by the time I sat down to start writing tonight, I realized I wanted to borrow Mr. Brown’s idea, and type up my own version of it!

That being said, I apologize in advance to Twitchfilm.net, and Mr. Todd Brown, but afraid that I’ve gotta’ do what I’ve gotta’ do.

My 5 most influential villains, in no particular order; are:

Jenner the Rat, from The Secret of NIMH (1982)


When I was a kid, sword fighting was just about my favorite thing in the world besides Godzilla and dinosaurs.

While The Secret of NIMH was a wonderful film, that I watched all the time as a kid, but, in truth; half the reason I fucking watched it so much was to see Justin and Jenner’s sword fight at the very end of the movie.

While this sequence was the highlight of the movie for my 3-5 year old self, even back then Jenner stood out to me as not only a terrific villain, but a very poweful presence.

The scintillating timber of Paul Shenar’s (the Columbian dude that says “Don’t fuck me Tony” in Scarface) voice, coupled with Don Bluth’s superb attention to detail in the facial animation of the character, served to create an intense and visceral character, that, while lacking in screen time; certainly left an impression on me.

Remember when I said sword fights were my thing back in the day?

Well, my next favorite villain is:

Sir Guy of GisbourneThe Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)


The Adventures of Robin Hood was a movie I used to watch at a friend of my dad’s house.

My dad would drop me over there as a sort of daycare from time to time, and every single time I ended up watching 1 of the same 2 movies:

Rodan, and The Adventures of Robin Hood (colorized edition).

Now I gotta’ tell yah’, some of you might not know this about me, but as a kid, if I ever even considered watching something besides a Godzilla movie, that meant that movie was really fucking special to me.

Robin Hood, was really fucking special to me as a kid.

Though I loved the movie, and it’s treatment of the Merry Men as being, well, truly fucking Merry, Sir Guy always stood out to me as a tool among tools.

Back then I mistakenly referred to him as The Sheriff of Nottingham, but mistaken identity or not, half the reason I watched the fucking movie was to see his ass get stabbed.

The climactic sword battle at the end of the movie will always stick with me as one of my fondest childhood memories.

Seriously man, Basil Rathbone and the king of swashbuckling himself, Errol Flynn, go balls-out on each other in it.

Look it up, the choreography and execution hold up even to this day.

Next on my list of villains, is:

The BlobThe Blob (1988)


Holy fucking shit.

Let me remind you, that this list is comprised both of villains that I liked, and villains that influenced me as a child.

Well, in terms of villainous influences of my youth, The Blob pretty much takes the cake.

In short, The Blob scared the piss outta’ me.

As a kid, I had nightmares for years about amorphous blobs, and other such faceless monsters that wanted to eat me.

Now, you know what the really crazy part is?

I didn’t see the remake of The Blob until a few years ago!

No, I’m not a total pussy that wets the bed over monster movies to this day, (*Ahem!* Not that I ever did…) what I mean to say, is that I didn’t even have to see the movie for it’s title character to have a huge impression on me.

All I ever saw of the movie as a child, was the cover of the VHS.

Yup, that same cover that’s just a few lines above.

Excuse me, I’m going to go check my closet for monsters…

Next up is:

Marcus Penn – Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

Fuck you, Steven Seagal’s movies are fucking AWESOME in just about the most AWESOME way.

By that I mean, they’re about as awesome as they are awesomely shitty.

Anyway, Under Siege 2 was the first R-rated film I ever got to see, and as such, I watched it an unhealthy amount of times in my youth.

Like the first Under Siege, 2 has the distinction of having a pair of villains that are simply too good for the movie itself.

That being said, Everett McGill’s portrayal of Marcus Penn AKA the silver-haired knife fighting dude, is a classic of film villainy, even going so far as to trump Eric Bogosian’s egotistical Travis Dane.

At least in my book.

McGill, holds a presence throughout the film, both figurative and physical, that is truly admirable.

Oh yeah, and the big knife fight at the end was bad-ass.

Last but not least, we have:

Megatron/GalvatronThe Transformers: The Movie (1986)

If anyone were to be at the top of this list, I’d say it would be these 2.

Transformers: The Movie, was a movie I watch literally every day of my early childhood.

My mother can attest to that, as she had to sit through it with me every day.

While I didn’t really get to see all that much of the Transformers cartoon as a kid, I was just a little bit too young; The Movie was just about my favorite thing in world as a kid.

As such, my understanding of the Transformers universe was largely derived from the first 2 seasons of the cartoon, and The Movie; that’s all.

Megatron was just about the most bad-ass villain I can remember.

For fuck’s sake, the man had his own laser gun sound effect and he turned into A FUCKING GUN.

He was tough, arguably more powerful than Optimus Prime, but more importantly, he demonstrated just how evil he was, time and time again.

Hell, during his one-on-one battle with Prime in The Movie, he goes so far as to feign a fair fight, only to cheat and break his own terms left and right.

Not only that, as Galvatron he kills a fuck-ton of high-profile characters, some of which are fellow Decepticons!

Megatron/Galvatron was one of the first villains ever presented to me in my lifetime, and to this day, he remains one of the strongest examples of the archetype that I have yet to encounter.

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