Archive for the Robots Category

Nerdy Monday 21: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Posted in 1980's, 2000's, Modern, movies, Nerdy Monday, Robots, Transformers on March 8, 2011 by Divide By Zero

Ok, so there are some (or a lot) of people out there that don’t enjoy Michael Bay’s sequel to his own Transformers installment.  I don’t understand why!

Have you seen it? It was only, awesome.

I don’t know why people have become so jaded by watching movies.  This film not only brought back a lot of the elements set up in the first film, grazed upon some of the characteristics of the old T.V. show/comic books, but added to the storyline.  The same way Batman Begins added to the Batman storyline.

It’s easy to point out the bad things about a film that changes what we know and love from our childhood, but let’s look at some of the good things:

  • Devistator.  The ginormous Constructicon (that’s nerd lingo for more than one Transformer combining to make one Autonomous Robot) at the end of the movie built on the old Constructicons.  Back in the 1980’s it blew our mind when there were 2 trucks, or a truck and a helicopter or 2 of whatever transformed to combine one big robot.  Remember that on Saturday mornings?  TWO OF THEM!?  WHAAAAAAT????!!1 *KABLOOEY* that’s when our heads exploded all over the T.V. screen.  And Devistator… what were there about a dozen (?) or so different pieces of construction equipment that formed him?  People thought that was “too unrealistic” to be in the movie.  Are.  You.  Serious?  Like Optimus Prime doing his thing is really going to happen, but Devistator… that’s WAY too far fetched.  Dorks.

It took a team of Cal Tech doctors and one surgeon on acid to engineer this toy.

  • Soundwave.  How awesome did he look when he was connecting to that satellite in outer-freakin’-space?!  The only complaint I have about Soundwave is that I don’t think he got enough screen time.  But the point is Soundwave used to be a cassette recorder.. now he’s hooking into government satellites and intercepting intel from all over the world.  That’s something new and fresh that probably wasn’t even conceivable back when we were watching Ravage come out of Soundwave’s chest as a cassette tape.  C’mon now!

Definitely not what we grew up with.

  • Sector 7.  I’m not sure about this one, but I’m pretty sure that Secotr 7 made it’s debut in Transformers (2007).  John Turturro’s character as one of the S7 agents was a little eccentric and was the main source of comic relief in that movie.  I am very glad that his character was brough back in Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF).  I know a lot of people were disappointed at that, but why?  He gave a lot of relevant information to the plot AND added the some comic relief to ROTF.  I’ve even heard rumors that Michael Bay has done away with this character.  A big pee-soaked thank you goes out to all of you fair weather Transformers fans who have nothing to do but complain.  You non-appreciative disappointment-bags!

He means business. Funny business.

  • Sam Witwicky containing all the knowledge of the All Spark.  In all my extensive research (read: about 5 minutes of Googling) I haven’t come across this happening before ROTF.  I think it was a cool twist.  A lot of people didn’t agree with this concept, but think about how much sense it makes.  Anyone who has had a high school science class SHOULD know that energy can never be created nor destroyed, it can only change forms.  Since the All Spark is “pure energy” as mentioned countless times throughout all forms of the Transformers, it can’t be destroyed, right?  Therefore, since Sam had so much physical contact with the All Spark in the 2007 movie.. as well as being the one that pushed it into Megatron’s chest to “destroy” it… the energy contained really had nowhere else to go but into Sam.  Not so far fetched now, is it, critics?

This kid holds all the information and energy of the universe. He looks like it, doesn't he?

Those are the main arguments I’ve read on the internet and heard from other movie goers.  There are dozens more, but I really don’t have the energy to go through everything.. this article would be 50 pages long.

The bottom line is that Transformers (2007) was a huge accomplishment in the Transformers Franchise.  Therefore ROTF had some pretty big shoes to fill.  I’m not saying that ROTF was better than the 2007 movie.  Nor am I saying it was better than the old show, or the comics.  But I tell you what, it wasn’t WORSE!  And with all of that “disappointment” ROTF was surrounded by, let’s look at the other movies that came out the same month ROTF was released:

  • Land of the Lost
  • My Life in Ruins
  • Tennessee
  • Imagine That
  • The Taking of Pelham 123
  • The Proposal
  • Year One
  • My Sister’s Keeper

Is anyone talking about those movies anymore?  Look on your DVD shelf, do you own any of these movies?  Who was even IN those movies?  Of all the movies on that list, I’ve only seen one.  One single movie: Pelham 123.  It was okay.  It didn’t hold a candle to “Michael Bay’s excretion called ‘ROTF'” though.

All in all, I can’t wait for the next installment to be released.  I can’t wait to see what else Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise adds to the storyline.

Quit whining about all the things that “don’t add up” in a movie, and appreciate it for what it is.

Pictured: most of the people complaining about ROTF.

See you at the concession stand.

The Jester.

 

*All images are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  All images obtained through Google Image Search.*

Nerdy Monday 20: Transformers (2007)

Posted in 1980's, 2000's, Family, Modern, movies, Retro, Robots, T.V. shows, Transformers on February 25, 2011 by Divide By Zero

I’ve been thinking about how to set up this nerdy Monday post for a while now.  I batted it around, chewed it up, all that jazz, but I think I’m just going to dive right in.

I’m going to be talking about the first Transformers move directed by Michael Bay.  Before the movie came out in 2007, the only other Transformers movie there was, was the full-length animated 1984 installment entitled Transformers: The Movie.

I remember the opening day of the movie.  I went to the midnight sneak preview of the movie here in town.  And let me just be clear about this, in my small corner of the world, movie theatres are never ever at risk of selling every seat in the house.  But this night, it was a packed house.  I had to get there more than an hour early to get a mediocre seat.  I don’t know how to explain it, but in the theatre that night, the air was electric.  Everyone was dressed up somehow in a Transformer’s tee-shirt, a few of them brought some action figures, one guy had boots on that looked like Optimus Prime’s feet!

I remember vividly the shock and awe, and the uncontrollable yelling and applause when Optimus first came on the screen.  I remember the same thing happening when all the transformers, and the 2 main characters of the movie gathered in that alley and all of the Transformers started changing into their robot-form.  It looked awesome, it looked detailed, and it looked like it could be real.  It could have been happening right in front of us in real life, and we (the audience)  couldn’t be more excited!

As I looked around the room, I noticed that everyone was right around my age.  I was born less than one year after the pilot episode of the Transformers aired.  So I literally grew up with all the characters from that show.  I wish I still had all of the toys, comic books, and VHS tapes I recorded the show onto.  It would be a treasure trove of awesome nostalgic memorabilia.  And we all (I know I was) had been waiting for this movie to be made for a long time.

That same feeling came back to me when that movie was released on DVD/Blu-Ray and put on the Wal-Mart shelves.  Again, I showed up at midnight, and waited eagerly for the stock boy to bring the palate jack out with the Transformers movie display on it.  I waited along side 2 or 3 dozen other people all wearing Transformers shirts.. and the guy with the Optimus boots was there too.  It was odd, I know, but it’s the truth.

Michael Bay is looked down upon by a few critics, but I think he did an awesome job with this movie.  He knew how sentimental the fan base was, and did not disappoint.  I don’t care that everyone says he has too many explosions in his movies.  Or how he has too many jump-cuts to different scenes, or the whole Armageddon fiasco he was made fun of for.  He took the Transformers and made something cool, even cooler.  Bay even received an award from the man who created the Transformers AND the CEO of Hasbro (the company that makes/licenses the Transformer toys) for being humble, noble, and staying true to the morals upheld By the Transformers.  Yes, he was that serious.  [If you bought the special edition DVD with the bonus features on it, you’d know that already].

So not only did this pretty much make Michael Bay a pop culture icon, as well as a household name, it launched Megan Fox’s career.

Thank you Transformers. And Michael Bay.

 

Sure she’s done some crappy movies in between the filming of the Transformers/Bay movie franchise.  Seriously, what was that whole Jennifer’s Body supposed to be?  But no one is watching her for.. well, I think we all know what people watch her movies for.

Shia Lebeouf is also in the movie, he’s the star, or something.  I don’t know, I think the people who did the voices of the robots should have been cast about Shia.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Shia.. I actually watched him back in the day when he was on the Disney Channel show, Even Stevens. I think he’s hilarious!  It just seemed a little off to me when he was cast as Sam Witwicky in Transformers, only because it’s a more dramatic role.  It was different at first, and he did an okay job.  I think he developed his character towards the end of the first movie.  He just seemed more comfortable in the role, and it showed.

Who knew this kid would grow into his nose and be the guy a new generation of Transformer fans would want to be.

Oh and he made out with Megan Fox!

Overall, I am very pleased with the way these movies are unfolding.  And the next one is being filmed in Washington D.C.!  That’s my old stomping grounds!  I was born and raised not too far from there.  It sucks that they had an on set accident with one of the BumbleBee cars:

But with all the money involved in this franchise, I’m sure they have more than one of everything.

This movie is overly satisfying, nostalgic, clever, and just plain old awesome.  It’s funny in the right spots, and very reminiscent of the old cartoons/comics.  The only thing that irked me a little bit, was that GM plugged an entire line of cars to be used for the movies.  I think they could have diversified the line up a little, just to make it more exciting.  But I have to give them credit for making BumbleBee a Camaro, because in the old cartoons he was a VW Beetle.  Or more commonly referred to as “the bug”.  I can see how that’s a cool play on words, but for real, no one today would think of BumbleBee as an intimidating “Guardian” alien robot as a Bug.

Pictured: Definitely not a badass intimidating Guardian alien robot with a heard of gold.

I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Fun Fact #1:  Did you know the voice of Megatron was the same guy who played Agent Smith in the Matrix movies?

Fun Fact #2:  And the guy who did the voice of Jazz (The Pontiac Solstice) is the guy who played Eddie Winslow (Steve Urkel’s friend) in Family Matters?

That’s it for now, see you in the ticket line for the next installment.

The Jester.

 

*All images and videos are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  All images obtained through Google Search.  All images obtained through Youtube.com Search.*

 

Nerdy Monday 5: Robots!

Posted in 1980's, Nerdy Monday, Retro, Robots with tags , on October 4, 2010 by Divide By Zero

That’s right.  This week we’re talking about robots.  It is my belief that if you call yourself a nerd, you have to have a firm stance on robots.  Whether you take the Terminator route and believe they will become self aware and try to enslave us all, or you think that we create them as weapons and they develop a personality somehow and entertain us until their batteries run out.  Either way, we nerds are kind of fond of robots.

I’m not at all into the whole fire and brimstone, doom and gloom theory of artificial intelligence, so we’re going to focus on robots that have become sentient beings, mostly just here for our enjoyment.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time.  From so long ago, I hadn’t even created this blog yet.  Let me just jump off from this point: Did any of you notice the similarities between Wall-E, and the 1986 robot in Short Circuit?  Me too.  Let’s get started.

[Before you read any further, I want to make sure that everyone understands that this isn’t another rant about the physical similarities between the 2 robots.  I am going to touch on the similar messages of both movies.]

Can't go wrong.

The reason why I’m not comparing Wall-E to Johnny 5 based on their physical attributes, is because there’s no comparison, Johnny 5 is tall, slender, has shoulders and a mouth.  Wall-E is short, chubby, does not have shoulders, or a mouth.  Both robots are cool, but there’s no comparison.

Wall-E

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go see it.  I don’t care if you’ve heard that it’s “a big political statement” or of any of the alleged underlying tones about it.  It’s a kids movie.  When children watch Wall-E, they see cute robots, doing cute things.  It’s the adults that read way too much into the movie and recognize certain patterns or references that they think influenced the movie.  There’s references to the outside/real world in every movie ever made by anyone.  They aren’t necessarily bad, they are just influences.  It’s exactly like your grandparents saying “We could do that back then, because it was a different time.” the outside world influenced them.  It’s exactly the same thing as movies being made by George Lucas (for example) being influenced by the movies he used to watch growing up.  It’s the entire basis of our civilization, we started with nothing, and now we have phones you can surf the internet with.  We build on what we have.

I first watched Wall-E through my On Demand movies, and loved it.  I am a movie connoisseur, and hang out (and even live with) other people who enjoy movies.  Hasn’t everyone had a conversation about one movie, and over the course of that conversation you relate that movie to other movies, and relate those to even more movies, and so on?  I shared Wall-E with all of my friends, even some that don’t usually like animated movies, or only like action movies, or that overall wouldn’t normally watch Wall-E.  They all enjoyed it.  It was great, knowing that a movie with almost no dialogue can have that much of an impact on movie-goers, and their cinematic experience.

He wants to eviscerate the proletariat, cause he's pissed.

The whole thing behind Wall-E is that he was built to clean up the Earth while all the humans went on this super awesome space cruise.  The Earth had become so fraught with garbage, we just said “forget this, we’re gonna make stuff to clean up our other stuff, and then go tour the galaxy.”  A pretty cool concept, I think.  The whole project was supposed to be 5 years long, or something (I haven’t re-watched it in a while) and ended up being more than 700 years.  So Wall-E is at least 700 years old.  In that time he developed a personality.  He turns out quite happy considering he is a garbage man, and his main component is a trash compactor.  I think that right there shows kids that they need to be able to find the good in the bad.  They need to be able to take a horrible situation, and turn it into something they can enjoy.  There’s positive message number 2, and if you didn’t catch it, it was about work ethic.

The list can go on.  But I’m going to end with this one: learn to look past people who are different.  How does Wall-E teach children about this?  He’s an outcast himself, first of all.  And second of all, did you see the posse he had after he boarded the Axiom?  They were all “broken”, they were the nerds of the Axiom, basically.  And the star of the movie befriended them, and had them all work together for the betterment of mankind.

Be honest. If you saw this, you wouldn't know what to do either.

Short Circuit

This movie had a lot going for it.  The robot, affectionately known by the end of the movie as “Johnny 5”, and Steve Gutenberg.  I don’t know what people have against Gutenberg, but I loved him in this movie.  Back in the 1980’s he was a well known and very funny comedian.  Between him and the robot, there was a lot of different types of humor going on, from corny and schtick, to more complicated and detailed.  I remember watching this movie all growing up.  This was the first time I saw someone imitate the three stooges (the robots Johnny 5 programs), it was the first time I wanted to read really fast, like a robot could.  My friends and I would run around like Johnny 5 saying “more input” after seeing this.  It being the ’80s, sadly the merchandising and endorsements weren’t what they are today, so all we had to play with was the movie.  The VHS.  There weren’t even any bonus features.

Anyways, this movie had some solid values children took away from it, aside from the funny parts, a lot of which were inspired by “The Gutenberg Factor”.  If you watch this movie again and pay attention to it, it is Wall-E.  Johnny 5 befriends unusual characters, and brings them together for a happy ending.  He was able to be imitated easily, and taught kids that imitations can be funny and relevant to a conversation instead of annoying and you’re-going-to-get-kicked-in-the-face worthy.  Also, like Wall-E he was an outcast just trying to fit in.  Unlike Wall-E though, Johnny 5 wanted to be human.  Also.. I wanted to point out an inconsistency with Short Circuit.  Johnny 5 was struck by lightning or electrocuted somehow and instantly grew a personality, yet later in the movie, Gutenberg’s character checked out Johnny 5’s wiring and found it to be “all messed up”.  Which one was the real reason this robot is talking to me?  I don’t know, we’ll blame it on the ’80s movie ignorance, or the Gutenberg Factor again.

Overall, I loved both of these movies.  Everyone I knew at least liked them, even if they thought of themselves as a pretty tough movie critic.  And what is it with people taking robot movies and twisting them into some political thing, or making it try to convey something it’s not?  I don’t know, I may have to write about all of that one day.  Please go see these movies if you haven’t already, you’ll see parallels without even trying.