Tag Archives: Transformers

Movie Review – Bumblebee (2018)

This review is more than meets the eye, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of “Bumblebee.”

The first “Transformers” film wowed us and then the rest have been garbage.  Admittedly, it is a tough situation.  Focus too much on the humans and the nerds get upset.  Focus too much on the robots and it becomes just a very expensive CGI cartoon.

I’m not sure “Bumblebee” is good in comparison to other films but in comparison to the rest of the Transformer movies, it shines.  On the surface, it is the same old story told over again, namely that yet another wayward teenager (Hailee Steinfeld) seeks out a broken down car in a junkyard in the hopes of driving it to a new life, only to discover the car is a Transformer (and usually Bumblebee).

It’s shortly after the fall of Cybertron and Bumblee is scouting out Earth, waiting for Optimus and pals to arrive. He and Hailee will have to team up to fight Decepticons and John Cena who is an Army dude who isn’t quite sure what to think about transformers and, oh holy shit, do you really care?

It sucked less than the other films in the series.  However, I think at some point Hollywood either needs to can it with the Transformers, or re-start anew and figure out a way to embrace some decent plots whilst not becoming too silly.

Ironically, the 1980s kid show was heady for its day.  It was all about the fight for limited resources (the transformers need energy to run and Decepticons want to steal it from Earth) and about the responsible exercise of power (Decepticons believe that as twenty-foot tall robots they are destined to rule over humanity whereas Autobots believe that just because they could crush the humans doesn’t mean they should.)

Somewhere, there’s a good Transformers movie, but it hasn’t been made yet.  This came a little closer though, largely because this particular human, set in a 1980s world, had a more compelling story than the other humans, i.e. Shia and Wahlberg.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

King Arthur meets the Transformers in this, the fifth attempt by Michael Bay to score boku cash over you wanting to share your love of 1980s based robots with your kids.

BQB here with a review of “Transformers: The Last Knight.”

I’m not sure what to make of this one, 3.5 readers.  The critics are ripping it apart, saying it’s basically a big old stink burger that transforms into a poop burger.  Actually, I said that because I think it’s funny, but the critics have been rough on this movie just the same.

I heard one critic say that at no time was he able to figure out what the plot of the film was.  I’m not going to go that far because, in my opinion, this was the franchise’s most concerted effort to actually make a flick with a plot, be it a far flunk, wonky, wobbly one.

Apparently, Transformers have been visiting Earth since ancient times and at one point, even chilled with Merlin and became robotic knights of King Arthur’s round table.  Merlin was able to control them with a magic staff.

Flash forward to the present, where Optimus Prime has gone off on his own and humans and transformers are waging all out war against one another.  Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is hiding from authorities who are after him for assisting auto bots.  I just wish Mark could have assisted this film more but you know what?  He tried.  He really did.  Hi Optimus Prime.  Say hello to your mother for me.

Blah, blah, blah, some brown stuff hits the fan and its a mad cap search for Merlin’s long lost staff.  Along the way, Mark teams up with Sir Edmund Burton (Sir Anthony Hopkins) a British nobleman and the last of a long line of “Witwiccans” or those charged with keeping tabs on Transformers’ doings on Earth.

Rounding out the crew is Professor Vivian Wembley, an expert on British folklore and the King Arthur legend in particular, played by the epically boner inducing Laura Haddock.  (Haddock?  You know when it comes to that fish, I prefer it “bone-in.”  Bah ha ha!  I’m so funny.)

It’s been a good summer for Haddock.  You might have seen her as Meredith Quill aka the younger version of Peter Quill’s mother in “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” earlier this summer.

While this role seems ridiculously below the stature and dignity of a legend like Anthony Hopkins, my main impression was that, just based on the looks on his face alone, he had the best time of his life on this film.  Check him out in the car chase scene when his robot butler Godwin is driving for him.  He’s clearly having a blast and good for him.  He’s earned it.  Without him, the film would have fallen flat.

Though many are saying this film is the worst of the franchise, I think that award goes to the second one, “Revenge of the Fallen.”  Personally, I think the best three are the first one (just because of the initial wow factor), “Dark Side of the Moon’ or the third one, and this latest one.

My main complaint?  It’s too long.  And do you know when a film is too long?  When entirely new plot points are introduced at a time that would normally serve as the 3/4th of the film being halfway over mark.  Wahlberg and Haddock become a buddy cop duo turned budding lovers at this point and yet, there’s still much after it to go.

A movie is just too long when you end up sighing, looking at your watch, praying for the Deceptions to be dispatched already just so you can leave the theater and return to your life.  “Is this my life?”  I thought.  “Will I never do anything but watch this never ending movie from now on?”

My main criticism about the entire franchise is that in past films, Bay has tended to overlook a good story involving the Auto bots vs. Decepticons and instead, focuses on the disaster aspect.  Michael Bay is, if nothing else, a big budget disaster movie expert, so his films in this series tend to focus on the explosions, the mayhem, the people on the ground running away frantically as big ass robots smash each other and knock down buildings in the process.

Don’t get me wrong.  That’s good popcorn munching entertainment right there.  But the 1980s cartoon had a good story.  Kids liked it and when the story was tinkered with in an effort to put merchandise sales over story, kids walked away from it.  (i.e. they killed off Optimus prime and a bunch of the other characters in order to replace them with new toys for your kids to buy….because, I don’t know, someone thought that would be better than just telling the kids that Optimus and the other robots just went on a sabbatical for a little while.)

But I also get it.  This film isn’t made for me.  Hasbro already got money out of my parents.  Now they want money out of today’s parents who have little boys who want to recreate their own robot battles.  And those kids don’t really care about story as long as crap blows up.

One point about this franchise being for kids though.  There was a lot of low level swearing in this flick.  “Shit” and “bullshit” and just a lot of “shits.”  I think “dickhead” was used at least twice and Anthony Hopkins flips someone the bird.

Look, I’m no prude but, remember, this film isn’t for me anymore.  It’s for today’s kids and I’m not sure they should be exposed to language like that.  Then again, we could probably talk for hours about why it’s ok for them to watch explosions, gunfire, car crashes, violent fight scenes, etc but it gets dicey if someone uses an inappropriate term for “poop.”

Personally, I just think in a film like this, the swearing doesn’t do much for adults.  Adults who check these out are a) bringing their kids or b) doing it for the nostalgia factor because they used to play with Transformers – in short, the studio has these adults anyway and it’s not like there’s a big contingent of adults out there demeaning that the Transformers have potty mouths.

The adults don’t care and the kids don’t need it.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the big screen.

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Could They Make It Today? – Transformers: The Movie (1986)

Happy Weekend, 3.5 readers.

Welcome to my new column, “Could They Make It Today?” in which I go back in time, take a look at the pop culture of my Gen X youth (we did exist though we seem to have been forgotten early) and discuss how movies and/or TV shows from the past couldn’t be made in the present (at least not without an extensive tuneup).

First up, Transformers: The Movie (1986).

Now, if you’re a member of Generation X, and again, millennials, I swear we existed…we are the Baby Boomers’ kids and you just know more about the Baby Boomers because they are hanging on for a really long time thanks to advances in science and medicine and shit.

Let me try again.  If you are are a member of Generation X, then you probably remember where you were when Optimus Prime died.

The year was 1986.  Transformers were a popular line of children’s toys that combined a childish love of vehicles and robots by having robots turn into vehicles.  Two toys in one.

There was a corresponding TV show in which Optimus Prime, a tractor trailer with a John Wayne style voice, commanded the Autobots in their war against the villainous Deceptions, lead by the evil Megatron.

So, after several years of a show where robots fired lasers at each other and missed, thus giving children a sense of excitement without burdening their young minds with thoughts of death, some dumb ass or collection of dumb asses got it in their heads to completely rewrite the direction of the series with a major motion film.

I went to it.  I was a little kid.  Had my popcorn.  Had my Transformer.  Had my seat.  I was ready to have a good time and then boom…literally every character I loved dies.

Seriously.  What the shit?  Who thought this was a good idea?

Optimus Prime and Megatron clash on the field of battle.  Megatron gets the upper hand and takes down Optimus.

OK.  That was sad.  I don’t think it was a great move for studio execs to kill off a beloved children’s character, especially the main one who carries the series.

But then it gets worse.  There’s a scene where the main contingent of Autobots (i.e. Ratchet and Ironhide, etc.), characters who had been with the series since the start, are flying a shuttle back to…I don’t know, Autobot Town, I’m an adult now so I don’t give as many shits as I used to.

Long story short, Megatron and his lackies break down the door and totally Wild Bunch the shit out of the Autobots.  I’m serious.  After years of lasers that never hit anyone, Megatron’s lasers hit everyone with great precision.

And it’s not just like, “Boom!  You’re dead!”  We see the lights in the Autobots’ eyes flicker and go out.  Smoke comes out of their mouths. Holes rip up their chassis.  It’s total carnage and mayhem.

Death has been a part of kids movies since the beginning of animation.  When Bambi’s mother dies, it introduces kids to concept they yeah, one day your grandparents are going to croak, then your parents, then pretty much everyone else you know until you end up all alone and the grim reaper puts his icy hand on your shoulder.

Personally, I didn’t even think it was cool for Disney to kill of Bambi’s mother but ok.  There’s a difference between Bambi’s mother dying and the stone cold political/ideological assassination that takes place in the Transformers movie.

By the end of the film, new Autobots take over.  “Rodimus Prime” takes Optimus’ place and as a kid, it’s basically the equivalent of your how you feel when your mom kicks dad out of the house and starts dating some new guy and wants you to call him “Dad.”

RODIMUS PRIME:  Autobots, roll out!

1980s’ Kids:  F%*k you!  Only Optimus can say that!  You’re not my real Autobot leader!

Like many cartoon shows, Transformers was a vehicle to sell toys.  Kids bond with the characters on TV, look at them as if they are friends, and then want their parents to buy them a friend they can play with in the form of toys.

But some young 1980s Baby Boomer screwed the pooch because kids were highly displeased, so much so that Optimus Prime is brought back to life by the end of the series.

The whole movie was intended to reset the series and bring it to a futuristic 2005 (which, sadly, is now in the past) with the robots turning into sleeker, more futuristic robots.

Clearly, the assumption in the board room was that they’ll kill off all the main characters (even Megatron and company get converted into new characters) and then the kids will throw away all their old toys and buy these new toys.

Just as clearly, these people did not know kids.  Have you ever tried to pry a beloved toy out of a kid’s hand?  Good luck.  Kids kept playing with their old transformers.  In the battles that played out on living room furniture, Optimus and friends were still alive.  T

The new replacements were seen as wannabe step-dads trying to buy our love with ice cream and thus, the series didn’t last much longer after that.  The movie pretty much blew up the whole enterprise.

The idea went over like a lead balloon and was so widely rejected by kids that a GI Joe movie that came out around the same time was quickly rewritten to prevent Duke from dying.  Those suits were totally gunning for Duke and he was only saved because Optimus’ death went over so poorly.

Could they make it today?  Well, they do make it today.  Now the Transformers films have become these grand scale Michael Bay action/disaster movies with plenty of action and very little plot.  And yes, occasionally a Transformer will buy the farm in these movies but the millennials didn’t grow up with them and Generation X is still too old to care.

Although personally, I was sad when Jazz gets ripped apart in one of the new films.

I think the film taught the toy/cartoon industry complex a valuable lesson.  You don’t have to kill off characters just to introduce new toys/characters.  There was no reason why the Autobots couldn’t have lived and still made friends with new characters/toys that could be sold at parental wallet draining prices.

This is what frustrates me with the millennials.  They think the baby boomers are mean and greedy and hey, I feel your pain.  I’ve been feeling it ever since some Gordon Gecko-esque fancy suit wearing 1980s baby boomer prick decided that subjecting my young self to a scene where all my favorite toy characters suffer from political assassination was a good idea.

In conclusion, Generation X exists, and while Transformers movies continue to go on strong, the powers that be have learned to not kill off beloved children’s characters all willy-nilly.


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Movie Trailer – Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Humans and Transformers are at war and Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins are involved.

Also, Optimus Prime may have become a douche-bot.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Game of Thrones Finale

Still haven’t processed my feelings about last night’s Game of Thrones.

Maybe tomorrow.


I haven’t felt this sad about a fictional character’s death since I was a kid watching Megatron wack Optimus and the Autobots stone cold gangster style.

By the way, which 1980’s sadist thought that was a good idea?

“Hey kids!  Know those characters you love?  Well, they’re all dead!  Time to ask Mom and Dad to buy more toys!”

But I digress.  Game of Thrones Finale Wrap-Up coming as soon as possible.

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Previously on Bookshelf Battle… (June 2014 Wrap-Up)

In case you missed any of the booktastic goodness, here’s a rundown of what was produced from the Bookshelf Battle Command Center in June:


Obligatory Spoiler Warning

As the Red Woman might say, Sunday nights in June were dark and full of terrors. Literally. It was quite terrifying to see some of my favorite GoT characters kick the bucket. It’s a good thing that I didn’t bet on the fight between The Red Viper and The Mountain because I chose Oberyn and would have lost a lot of money, in addition to the lunch I lost when the Mountain took advantage of the Viper’s showboating. Don’t gloat, people. No one likes a sore winner…loser? Whatever.

My predictions for Tyrion’s future weren’t all that on point either, meaning when it comes to plotting strategy, I’m about as good as Cersei. (That’s not very good!)

While some lamented that the episode did nothing to move the story along, I for one enjoyed the Attack on Castle Black as it was amazing to me to see Summer Blockbuster special effects on a television show.

On the Season 4 Finale of Game of Thrones Brienne and the Hound went head to head on Westeros’ Ultimate Fighting Championships, Arya cashed in her coin for a trip to Bravos, no one expected the Stannis Inquisition, and Tywin had the Worst Father’s Day ever, although he did achieve his wish of ending up on…a throne. That joke never gets old.


A Light Between Oceans - being guarded by Robocop

A Light Between Oceans – being guarded by Robocop

Oh right – this is a book review blog. Australian Author M.L. Stedman managed to crack my manly exterior and allow a tear or two to shake loose with her riveting yet heartbreaking page turner The Light Between Oceans. After a boat containing a dead man and a live baby washes up on their tiny island, a lighthouse keeping couple decides to toss the dead man in a ditch and raise the baby as their own. I applauded the author for her ability to display the mental gymnastics that people put themselves through in order to convince themselves what they are doing is right when in fact, it is very wrong. I feel like we can all agree that the moral of the story is – don’t trust your kids around lighthouse keepers. Or Australians.

Master Chief - standing guard over Redshirts

Master Chief – standing guard over Redshirts

After Stedman made me cry (it’s ok, it happens to the best of us now and then), I was ready to laugh so I cracked open Redshirts by Sci-Fi author John Scalzi. This Star Trek parody delivered laughs at warp speed. A group of new Redshirts – aka the intergalactic lackies who do the grunt work for a space ship’s main officers, quickly learn that their reason for existence is to take the beatings, lazer blasts, monster attacks, and other abuse so that the officers can remain unscathed.


To round out the month,I asked why the heck are those vampires so popular? Seemed like a good discussion topic since this is the final season of the HBO series True Blood. The series is based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries Series by Charlaine Harris, and my post provides a reading list of her novels in order, in case anyone is interested in reading the books that formed the basis for the Sookie-Bill-Eric love triangle. Actually, if you add Alcide, it would be a quadrangle. Wait a minute! A quadrangle? Isn’t that just a square? OK so they form a love square.

I urged readers to donate to Levar Burton/Geordi LaForge’s Kickstarter campaign to bring back Reading Rainbow. Please donate. He needs your support. Much has been said about his success as Reading Rainbow host, but people always forget that he was one of the finest engineers to ever serve Star Fleet. He rarely gave Capt. Picard any guff about fixing the star ship engines. He ran circles around Scotty. Capt. Kirk would always be like, “Scotty, we need warp speed in thirty seconds or the Klingons will kill us” and Scotty would be all like, “Damn’ it Cap’n the best I can do is get the wharp drive half-fixed by next Thursday!” Geordi, on the other hand, now there was a dude that got stuff done – even though he was blind! Well, he did have that special visor.

By the way, if you haven’t heard yet, Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame has pledged to match donations up to a million, so please get crack-a-lackin’ with the donations to this good cause. And as one of the three people who both saw AND enjoyed MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the Old West, I’d like to thank him.

Transformers 4 arrived at the box office Friday and I speculated as to whether Mark Wahlberg will reprise some of his past roles in this new blockbuster in a parody trailer script.

Last but not least, after hearing the song, “Wiggle Wiggle” for the millionth time on the radio, and being left unsure whether to be disturbed because they keep playing it, or relieved because they’re finally switching it up a little bit and playing a song other than “Let it Go” or “Because I’m Happy,” I asked the question as to why I bother slaving over my writing when America is easily pleased by lyrics about butts. You know what to do with those big fat words!


With so many books engaged in fisticuffs over a coveted spot on my bookshelf, there where two things I forgot to mention:

  • 24-Live Another Day – I’m glad this show is back on the air. It’s nice to see William Devane has found something better to do than those damn daytime “Buy Gold” commercials. He’s really been stealing the show this season. Great to see Michelle Fairley back on TV as well.
  • No Lady Stoneheart – (Obligatory Spoiler Warning) – Actually, do I need to give a spoiler warning? Lady Stoneheart, a character from the Game of Thrones books, will not be in the Game of Thrones series. So, I guess if you never read the books and only watched the series, then this is not a spoiler for you since you were never going to see her on the show anyway. You can’t spoil something that won’t happen. Because if a tree was going to fall in the forest, but then it doesn’t, it doesn’t spoil. Alright, I’m going cross-eyed thinking about this. Anyway, there’s been a lot of chatter about this controversy. I do understand that TV shows can’t remain true to every little last detail in the book. Sometimes I’ll hear someone say something like, “This show stinks because on page 302 of chapter 40 book three Tyrion had on a pair of green shoes but on the show he wears blue shoes!” and I just want to yell, “Shut up, Nerd!” But I get why this makes people upset. I never read the books, but this seems like a big plot point to gloss over. A Zombie Catelyn running around Westeros exacting copious amounts of revenge? How does that not make for great television?

That does it for this month on http://www.bookshelfbattle.com – where the book reviews are always awesome, and yet, the book reviewer somehow manages to stay humble about it.

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Transformers Starring Mark Wahlberg – A Parody Trailer

NARRATOR: This Summer…coming to a theater near you…Transformers 4. We promise it will be better because we gave the kid that ruined Indiana Jones the boot and replaced him with Boston based actor Mark Wahlberg

WAHLBERG: Oh my friggin’ Gawd, dude! Did you see that? That friggin’ robot just turned into a friggin’ CAH! Johnny, Davey, Pete, Ed, all you guys get off yah bah stools, they got friggin robots turnin’ into cahs ova hea!

NARRATOR: See Mark Wahlberg in this special effects extravaganza.

WAHLBERG: Oh, hi there Optimus Prime. It’s nice to see you. Say hello to your mother for me.

NARRATOR: Transformers 4, starring Mark Wahlberg of the movie, Fear

WAHLBERG: I’ll tell the cops you hit me.

STARSCREAM: But I didn’t even touch you!

(WAHLBERG makes a crazy face and starts pounding himself over and over again in the chest.)

STARSCREAM: You’re crazy!

NARRATOR: Transformers 4, in theaters this Friday, starring Mark Wahlberg of the Oscar winning film, The Departed.

(MEGATRON opens the door to his apartment, a startled look on his face as he sees WAHLBERG waiting for him in a track suit with paper painters’ covers on his shoes, pointing a silenced pistol at him.)

MEGATRON: Can we talk about this?

(WAHLBERG shoots MEGATRON, who collapses and dies. WAHLBERG walks out. A robotic rat is seen scurrying along the window sill.)

NARRATOR: That’s Transformers 4 – starring Mark Wahlberg of Boogie Nights

WAHLBERG: I’m gonna be a star. A great big bright shining star.

OPTIMUS PRIME: Put that away!

NARRATOR: Transformers 4 – starring Mark Wahlberg. Because we need to break up the super intense special effects scenes with occasional scenes of uninteresting human dialogue to prevent you all from getting epilepsy. Coming soon!

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