Reviews with Pizzazz: Transformers: the Last Knight

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Transformers the Last Knight Review, by Boss-Bot

To be fair, this movie needs to be seen multiple times.  It’s a ride the first showing, but as you see it more it improves like a fine wine.  It’s not the best Transformers movie, but it’s far from the worst.  It’s actually pretty similar to Revenge of the Fallen in plot, but done a lot better.  It’d rank behind Age of Extinction for me, right in front of the original.  At the first showing, I ranked it behind the first, but upon later viewings I really have grown to appreciate all that this fifth installment does, whether it succeeds or not.  As a fan of the series, it mostly succeeds.

The Good:

As usual, the visual effects are stunning.  To me, the best looking Transformer is actually the newest: Sqweeks.  He’s a cute competition to BB8 and the cool part is that he actually had a practical stand in on set, unlike the other larger robots.  The planet Cybertron scenes are also pretty cool, the vine structures are something we haven’t seen before.  The underwater portion was also visually good, the only other underwater scene we’ve seen being Megtron’s revival in Revenge of the Fallen.  The characters in this film are actually great, too.  The female characters, Izzy and Vivian, do a lot in the film.  Izzy is actually crucial since Sqweeks ends up saving the day.  Vivian is actually just as important as Cade, if not more crucial to the plot.  Since she is the only one who can take the staff from Quintessa, Cybertron would have destroyed the planet without her.  Cade’s character is a good jump off point from the last movie.  The Tessa phone call showed the more emotional side to his character, which isn’t fully developed.  To be fair, he’s written as more of a tough guy in this movie, so it makes sense that he hides his feelings around the newer characters.  Wahlberg’s acting is actually a step up from the last movie.  Jimmy J is actually a fun character and his comic relief tends to feel organic.  He’s not useless and is genuinely funny.  The robots’ characters and the robots’ character designs are very cool as well.  Megatron looks terrifyingly badass.  The new Decepticons are really fun and it’s a shame that they don’t have much screen time.  Hot Rod is a really fun new character.  Grimlock is comic relief, but he feels like his character.  It’s fun seeing Wheelie again. The plot is pretty interesting and while it’s complex, it feels like a lot more work is put into it than the past sequels.  They really do their best to tie everything together and for the most part it works.  Is it goofy that Harriet Tubman could have been friends with Jazz?  Sure, but remember you’re seeing a movie about alien robot that turn into cars, planes, and vending machines.  The fifth movie about alien robots that turn into cars, planes, and vending machines.  So don’t go in expecting something that will defy what the franchise has already made.  Not to mention, the use of lore is incredible.  Considering the franchise typically references characters rather than borrowing anything directly from other incarnations, this movie does defy that expectation.  We finally get Unicron in a really cool way; they follow his character from Transformers Prime.  Rather than being a planet eater, Unicron is Earth.  A cool twist a lot of critics have been claiming Bay has changed Unicron, but in reality not being aware that Unicron was Earth way before this movie.  We see a version of Primus vs. Unicron and a Quintesson.  The junkyard hideout is definitely based off of the newest show, Robots in Disguise.  Finally, the best part of the movie are two of the new characters: Sir Edmond Burton and Cogman.  Burton, played by Anthony Hopkins, is nothing short of the single best human character in the franchise.  Hopkins nails the dialogue, which can be iffy, but he pulls it off.  The humor he brings into the movie feels funny.  It’s not forced like some of the other characters make it out to be.  Hopkins has some of the best lines in the movie and you do feel bad for the guy when Megatron kills him.  Despite his quirky personality, he’s completing something that his entire life has led up to and on the submarine when he mentions his, you can tell that he is quite emotional.  His butler, Cogman, is also hysterical.  Cogman brings a lot of humor into the film as well, despite his dialogue feeling more forced at points.  But overall, when they are together they truly make the movie.  Not to mention, Stanley Tucci as Merlin is just great.

The Cons:

Get it.  Cons.  Decepticons? Anways, here’s what I would improve.  The editing is my major complaint.  A few weeks before release a rumor stating the movie was three hours and ten minutes spread around.  This generated both positive and negative reactions, but soon Bay dismissed this rumor and the movie was confirmed to be two and a half hours.  Now rumors are surfacing that the DVD release will feature an extended cut and scenes from it will be shown at HasCon.  My guess is that it could have went a few different ways.  A: The movie was planned to be three hours, but the negative feedback worried the studio so they trimmed it down to be the shortest sequel in the series.  B: They’re pulling WB and making an extended cut which could either be planned in advance to be DVD only.  This would mean higher DVD sales since it would offer exclusive content, a la Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad.  This would make sense considering how it would be difficult to edit half an hour from a movie in such a short distance before its release.  C: There is no three hour ten minute cut and it’s nothing more than a rumor.  I hope we get an extended cut and it would explain the choppy editing.  It would also hopefully fix some loose ends, including how Megatron became Megatron after being Galvatron, how Bumblebee became magnetic, and other things.  The dialogue is a hit or miss and while a lot of the jokes land, some don’t.  There were complaints that the Decepticons are racist, which I don’t see at all, so not a negative for me.  The only other thing is that the film is a blur.  It moves fast, and then slow, and fast again.  Multiple showings really improve it.  If you’ve only seen it once and either didn’t like it or you’re on the fence, see it again.

Overall, Transformers the Last Knight is just a fun movie.  Go with an open mind.  I give it a solid 4/5.  Definitely see it multiple times and don’t forget to stay after the credits!!

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Crafts with Pizzazz: Costumes: Bumblebee!

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Hello from Bee!

So sorry for not posting last week; this month is proving to be quite a busy one for me! I am, however, going to try to maintain our regular posting schedule, so please bear with us!

Speaking of months…as you are well aware, it is now October, which means fall, which means Halloween, which means plenty of crafting opportunities! As such, I would like to kick off a series of posts dedicated to geeky Halloween fun!

For me, the absolute best part of Halloween is dressing up in costumes. When I was little, I always looked forward to that fall weekend where I would get to pick out my Halloween costume from the local party store (and subsequently model it at home on the days leading up to the big night of Trick or Treating!). My favorite was a pirate costume that I actually wore for several Halloweens, especially after Captain Jack Sparrow made his silver screen debut.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve really developed a love and appreciation for homemade costumes. It feels so great to wear something that I created myself (not to mention that so many store-bought costumes nowadays are expensive and inappropriate, to say the least).

Therefore, for the past several years, I’ve been happily crafting and wearing my own costumes. Of course, as with most people, I am on a rather tight budget; I do not have a sewing machine, nor do I have the funds to buy tons of materials and make absolutely everything from scratch. As such, I always start by going through my wardrobe to see which pieces of a costume I already have, and then proceed to fill in the gaps with converted articles from discount or thrift stores. You’d be surprised to see how many great costumes can be semi-homemade!

As an example of what one can look like, I present my Bumblebee convention costume! This costume actually came about because my original costume idea fell apart at the last minute (literally – the glue wasn’t holding 😉 ). I quickly reevaluated and, with Boss-Bot dressing up as Optimus Prime, I decided to complement him and go as Bumblebee.

I already had a yellow shirt, black capris, and yellow crocs for the basis of the costume. Boss-Bot found me a leftover cardboard box from his own costume-building and helped me cut out the holes for my head and arms. (I eventually put felt over these holes so the cardboard wouldn’t scratch me.) We spray-painted the entire box with a base coat of black, over which I glued yellow construction paper, gold and silver glitter, and some spray-painted paper-plate wheels. (The other two wheels I tied around my ankles with felt and embroidery thread.)

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The hat was a basic black and yellow “snapback” cap I bought and completely felted over to look like Bumblebee. I also bought a pair of plain black costume gloves – those have actually proven quite versatile and have been used with several other costumes.

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All in all, I did not have to do much spending to make this costume, and while it did take a good solid week of work, it came together very nicely and got me a great deal of compliments at the convention! 🙂

Are you a fan of homemade costumes? Have you created one of which you’re super proud? Please comment below and share your techniques and photos!

Review with Pizzazz: Transformation Tuesday

Review with Pizzazz: Transformation Tuesday

Boss Bot here again, with another quick review.  Today we’ll be looking at one of the Wave II Deluxe figures, Offroad.

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Offroad is the oddball-out of his Stunticon comrades. Offroad is a totally new character, with paint resemblance to a G1 Stunticon. Offroad is a pretty cool design on his own and works fairly well as a limb (either arm or leg). He’ll set you back anywhere from $14-$20 (here’s looking at you, Toys ‘R’ Us). Is he worth the money? Here’s my two cents:

Pros:

  • Fun Transformation- It’s relatively simple (which is a con for some), but gets the job done and does it well
  • Good Design- Again, he’s fairly simple (which is something I enjoy), has good articulation, and I love his head sculpt. In my opinion, it’s a good mold all around.

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  • New Character- For reasons I don’t understand, people are actually upset we have a new character. Rather than getting constant updates of 30+ year old G1 figures, we finally get something new and cool. I certainly give Hasbro props for finally trying to change things up in Generations (still waiting for Beast Wars Anniversary toys…).

Cons:

  • Backpack- The backpack/front of the truck can get in the way a bit in robot mode and is fairly chunky
  • Legs- The way his legs transform/are designed is a bit odd to me. The knees don’t always stay tabbed in with the lower leg and it can be a bit frustrating at times, when posing.

Overall, Offroad is pretty fun and for me, definitely worth it. Wouldn’t pay the $20 that Toy ‘R’ Us is charging for him, but anything lower is definitely reasonable. His backpack and legs are the only big negatives I can think of, but the good outweighs the bad. He’s a solid toy overall. Despite angering “Geewunners” (not G1 fans, but simply the ones who can’t accept the existence of a new character), he’s fun. Not perfect by any means, but a fun, solid toy.

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