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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Sometimes Spoilers Are A Good Thing…

Evaluating an opinion on a movie purely based on pre-release materials is tricky business.

Inevitably, one’s decision making process ends up relying on one’s knowledge of the various actors and director’s track records, but at the end of the day; sometimes a really good (or really bad) preview can end up shaping one’s opinion quite handily.

Take for instance Green Lantern.

I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern comic, however up until about last week; my opinion of the upcoming live-action film was largely negative.

Early pre-release footage for the movie had it seeming silly, narrow, and very hard to take seriously.

Truth be told, the one thing that kept me from turning my back on Green Lantern in the early goings, was the presence of director Martin Campbell.

Seriously man, the guy made Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino Royale.

... Then again, he also directed THESE.

Despite some spotty pieces in his filmography, the man has proven that he knows how to make awesome movies, and in that sense; I never completely lost confidence in the possibility of Green Lantern upsetting it’s poor marketing campaign and turning out to be legitimately good.

In the case of Green Lantern, and as you’ll later read, Donnie Yen’s recently released film, Wu Xia; my apprehension about the film’s integrity was culled through viewing a brief preview clip of the film in it’s unedited state.

Though it’s uncharacteristic of me, I sat down and watched a (publicly available HERE) 1 minute clip of Green Lantern in hopes of finding a reason to go see it.

Said clip involved Hal Jordan desperately attempting to fend off what I’m guessing is supposed to be Parallax (who doesn’t seem nearly as “bug-like” as he did in the comics).

THAT'S fuckin' Parallax!

The action in this clip was nowhere near mindblowing, but unlike in the trailers; it at least seemed like how it plays out in the comics.

Green Lantern has always been a story about “space cops,” though in recent years the scale and severity of the violence in the comic has evolved to something more along the lines of “space soldiers.”

In short, sprawling splash pages of Lanterns hurling variously colored constructs at each other en masse are quite common in Green Lantern comics these days.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

Green Lantern combat isn’t about guys throwing progressively bigger and more elaborate constructs at each other; it’s about speed, precision, and who gets their shit off first.

In other words, it’s more like a hectic galactic gun fight as opposed to something overblown or drawn out like Dragonball fighting.

I saw a hint of this in the clip I watched, and as such; my opinion of Green Lantern has changed from “skeptical” to “somewhat optimistic.”

Which brings me to the recently released Peter Chan directed Donnie Yen vehicle, Wu Xia.

Hmm, SOMEBODY had a degree in graphic design...

Given that Wu Xia stars Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro, one can assume I was psyched for this one from day 1, right?

WRONG.

When I first saw the teaser for Wu Xia, my initial reaction was basically to let out one big-ass, slightly pompous sigh.

Okay, maybe “slightly” pompous isn’t the right word.

More like “IMMENSELY.”

I’m not big on Mandarin films, and for whatever reason; the teaser for Wu Xia just didn’t do it for me.

Then I watched an 8 minute clip of the movie that popped up on Twitchfilm.com, and suddenly I found myself intrigued.

By the way, if you go by Twitchfilm, and see all the Legend of the Fist ads; don’t buy into the hype.

Aside from literally, a few good fights, Legend of the Fist sucked some serious balls.

Well, at least this part was kind of funny... In the "good/bad" sort of way.

Anyway, said clip of Wu Xia revealed it as being kind of like Rashomon or Hero in the sense that it’s a story potentially told from an unreliable viewpoint.

Though I don’t understand Mandarin, the visuals of the clip were very clear in establishing that Donnie Yen’s character, while portrayed as feeble, but lucky; in one instance, may actually be a martial arts master hiding in plain sight.

While I didn’t care much for this storytelling device in Hero, (nor did I care much for the movie itself) it’s cleverness combined with Peter Chan’s beautiful cinematography leads me to believe Wu Xia could be a lot of fun.

I don’t expect Donnie Yen’s “Donnie Yen-ness” to be front and center, but the story seems to have legs; and Takeshi Kaneshiro is pimp-as-fuck, so I’m fairly optimistic.

PIMP. AS. FUCK. Too bad he's basically full-time Chinese now...

So there you have.

2 instances where an otherwise skeptical moviegoer had their opinion reshaped through spoiler clips.

I guess I’ve come a long way from being the fat little 10 year old that shunned all media outlets in hopes of seeing the American Godzilla movie in theaters before having the monster’s appearance spoiled for him..

Yeah, that worked out jusssssssst fine….

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Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies

Today we’re gonna’ be talkin’ about SAD SHIT.

SAD SHIT as in The Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies kinda’ SAD.

Please take note that everything contained in this list is a product of the Azn Badger’s childhood; so don’t expect any movies on here to be made anytime past the mid-90’s.

Anyway, let’s get thing’s rollin’, shall we?:

#5. The NeverEnding Story – Artax Eats Some Mud. Check That, A Lot of Mud…

The NeverEnding Story was a tough movie for me to watch as a kid.

It was long, I didn’t really get it, there was a lot of unintentionally scary imagery, and oh yeah, it was long.

Pictured: One of the INTENTIONALLY scary parts of The Neverending Story.

So long in fact, that I never really finished it as a kid, resulting in me thinking the whole thing ended with the end of the world at the hands of The Nothing.

Pretty fuckin’ sad, am I right?

Thankfully, I went ahead and saw the rest of the movie a few years ago, thusly patching up a few childhood scars in the process.

That being said, while this death doesn’t really count as a death; ’cause if memory serves, Artax is still alive and well at the end of the movie, to the young Azn Badger the fuckin’ horse died in the mud hole.

Anyway, this death marks probably the first and only time the Azn Badger ever felt any sort of emotion in reference to a horse.

It was the fuckin’ kid that got to me, that girlie-boy Atreyu.

Hah! Father Time kicked his ASS!

They’re both standing in them mud, and the fuckin’ kid is blowin’ his lungs out screaming at his fuckin’ horse to “not give in to the sadness of the swamps” n’shit.

Meanwhile, the music is swelling and gettin’ all sad and crestfallen n’shit.

The whole thing was just too much for me as a kid, and for the life of me; I bought into it.

"Artax, you're sinking!" Oh God, make it stop!!!!

While I didn’t really “get” the Neverending Story back then, little episodes like Artax bitin’ the big one stuck with me on a visceral level; in this case, making me very sad.

Fun Fact – The only reason I remember that damn horse’s name is because of his death scene when Atreyu yells it about 50 times.

Repetition:  It works.

#4. The Lion King – Mufasa Gets 50,000 Wildebeasts Rammed Up His Ass

Who's featured most prominently on the poster? That's right, MUFASA.

Mufasa was a pimp.

You take the raw power of James Earl Jones’ voice, and transplant it into the body of the biggest, baddest, most pimp-as-fuck lion in all of existence; and you’ve got Mufasa.

"This, is CNN..."

Needless to say, in my youth; Mufasa’s death hit me pretty hard.

As I hope we all know, Mufasa met his fate at the hands of the combined force of a stampeding herd of wildebeast, and the nasty claws of Jeremy Irons.

Wow. Believe it or not, I think Irons just topped himself...

Any less, and I’m sure his pimp-ass self would’ve survived somehow.

Anyway, Mufasa; pimp that he is, rushes headlong into the stampede to save his pussy-ass son, Simba.

'The fuck was up with kid in the 90's anyway? He was EVERYWHERE.

While he is successful in rescuing the boy, Mufasa takes some serious shots from the fuckin’ wildebeasts, the kinda’ hits that would fold a lesser lion in half.

All the while, Hans Zimmer’s music was goin’ crazy, and all the kids in the audience were either pickin’ their boogers, or hoping against hope that ‘ole Mufasa was gonna’ pull through and not fall prey to “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

That’s right Disney, don’t pretend that us kids don’t know about “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

Disney: Teaching kids that their parents are gonna' die.

Just as Mufasa’s managed to escape the stampede for just a few seconds, out strolls his brother; Jeremy Irons.

Slimey prick that he is, Jeremy Irons busts out his freshly manicured nails; and digs them puppies into Mufasa’s paws; but not before saying something creepy and vaguely savage like:

How ironic that the pimpest of all lions would be felled by a bunch of wildebeast AKA the butt of every Discovery Channel predator/prey joke…

To make matters worse, Mufasa’s death has the added impact of having a 40 minute guilt trip attached to it.

Jeremy Irons tells Simba, straight to his face; that the whole thing was his fault.

This of course results in Simba running off into the wild for the next 10 years to eat bugs and talk to clouds.

Talking to clouds: Useful for convincing one's self to go out and kill their uncle.

Oh well, guess we all have to cope somehow…

#3. The Land Before Time – Littlefoot’s Mom Gets Sharptooth-ed

I betcha' this movie wouldn't have done half as well without the T. Rex on the cover.

The Land Before Time was a special movie for me back in the day.

Come to think of it, while I’m sure how it all worked out, Don Bluth movies were all some of my favorites as a kid.

Not this one though... This one was just plain awful...

While the Secret of NIMH was definitely the cream of the crop, even back in the day, (sword fight!) The Land Before Time had dinosaurs and Spielberg-ian funding, making it a close second.

Although it wasn’t a Disney production, rest assured Mr. Bluth saw fit to work some “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome” into the mix in the form of Littlefoot’s Mom.

Much like the Lion King after it, Littlefoot’s Mother meets her fate partially due to the actions of her son.

Stop smiling, you killed your mother!

In short, Littlefoot and Cera are dickin’ around in the wild, they piss off Sharptooth, Littlefoot’s Mom shows up to save the kids, does so, but is mortally wounded in the process.

Easy to see why, look at that beast! He's a fuckin' Pimp-A-Saurus Rex I tells yah'!

Cue lengthy and heartbreaking death scene wherein parent reminds child that “they’ll always be with them.”

While the actual battle with Sharptooth was awesome to the young Azn Badger, instead of horrifying as it may have been intended to be perceived, the death sequence afterwards was just plain tough to sit through.

Oh no, it's happening again!!!

Even now, I bet I’d have a tough time getting through it without biting my lip or taking a deep breath or 2.

#2. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Captain Nemo Succumbs To His ACTING TALENT

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, along with The Adventures of Robin Hood, was one of those terrific “old movies” that as a kid; I never knew was “old.”

I watched the both of them about a million times, and I don’t think I ever got close to getting tired of them.

While Robin Hood had swashbuckling and and ungodly amount of merry laughter, Leagues had Kirk Douglas and a GIANT FUCKING SQUID.

You have no idea how many times I sat through this entire movie just to get to this part.

The epic-ness of these 2 factors made for one of the single most spectacular and enchanting films of my childhood.

That being said, despite Kirk Douglas’ Ned Land being my favorite character, James Mason’s Captain Nemo was a pretty close second.

SO fucking pimp...

Even as a kid, I loved his pimp-ass beard, and the curious way in which he spoke.

His voice was awesome and all, but I loved the pace of his speech, how it was just a half beat slower than everyone else.

Appropriately, it made him seem enigmatic, like you’d never be able to figure out what he was thinking in a million years if you tried.

Anyway, while 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was yet another movie that I didn’t quite “get” when I watched it as a kid, Captain Nemo’s death was something that I understood all too well.

As with seemingly all deaths on this list, the music made all the difference.

Captain Nemo is running atop the Nautilus, dodging incoming gunfire from the dudes that want his technological secrets.

He jukes left, he jukes right, and all the while the strings in the orchestra are goin’ fuckin’ nuts.

Suddenly, just as he’s within feet of the entrance to the lower deck of the submarine, his body spasms and the music crashes to a halt with a horrifying *DOOOOMMM!*

No squib, no blood spurt, just James Mason’s ACTING TALENT and the power of a music cue.

From there, the rest of the movie has Nemo, resigned to the fate of his eventual death; lurch and stumble his way through the submarine to a couch next to an undersea viewing window.

Nemo’s last moments are spent gazing into the deep blue that he loved so much.

While the death was pretty epic, it was the initial gunshot that hit me as a kid.

As soon as that music cue hit, my tiny heart sunk down to my toes.

*Sniff!* I honestly thought he was going to make it…

#1. Transformers: The Movie – Optimus Prime Becomes One With The Matrix

FUCK YES.

This may seem like a cop-out to some.

A predictable, bandwagon-y ploy to get the nerds to read the blog; however if any of you genuinely think that, then you obviously don’t know the Azn Badger.

As mentioned several times on this blog, I watched Transformers: The Movie, quite literally nearly every day of my early childhood.

My older brother did the same.

Transformers: The Movie was one of those magical films that just did it for me as a kid.

I loved Godzilla movies as kid, but that was because I loved Godzilla as a character.

Man, what I would give to have been one of those kids...

Transformers: The Movie was a case of me simply loving an individual movie more than any human child should.

While I was a little bit too young to have enjoyed the Transformers TV show while it was first airing, The Movie served as my ambassador to the series; giving me a crash-course on the Gen-1 stuff before I even started watching the re-runs.

That being said, the opening battle on Cybertron, that takes the vast majority of the original cast of the show and kills them off in favor of new toys, I mean characters; was truly a thing of beauty.

The battle on Cybertron worked because it had actual stakes.

Lives were lost on both sides of the conflict, such that you truly got the sense that everyone was fair game.

Hell, Ironhide was one of my favorites from the TV show, and he got his head blown off in the first 10 minutes.

"Such heroic nonsense..."

Not only that, Prowl died a few seconds earlier via some hot chili; and Wheeljack, fuckin’ Wheeljack wouldn’t even get the respect of having an on-screen death.

Should probably cut back on those habaneros Prowl...

These were big name guys, characters that were at the forefront of the action in every episode of the TV show, and here they were gettin’ their clocks cleaned in the first 20 minutes of The Movie!

Then they went and killed Optimus Prime.

If the battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron at the beginning of Transformers: The Movie is one of the best fights in cinema history, then the death of Optimus Prime is surely one of the most dramatic deaths.

I love the subtlety of the death sequence.

Everyone is gathered around Prime, their facial expressions communicating far more than words could hope to.

Aw, Kup's sad face is sad!

Perceptor, the closest thing the group has to a doctor, presents his diagnosis with a simple:

“I’m afraid the wounds are, fatal…”

With the silence broken, Daniel; the child of the group, is the first to speak his mind:

"Prime, you can't die!"

From there, the whole thing just gets more and more epic.

We have the passing of the Matrix to Ultra Magnus, the not-so subtle symbolism of Hot Rod catching the Matrix, and Optimus Prime just plain being awesome, even as he’s moments from death.

"LIGHT. OUR DARKEST. HOUR."

At the end of it all, the hammer of childhood trauma drops as Optimus Prime’s entire form turns black, a decidedly fatalistic percussive music cue hits; and Prime commits his final act as his head limply turns to the side.

Shit just got real.

That, my friends; is how you kill an icon.

... And thank you Michael Bay for showing us how NOT to do it.

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