Michael Bay remodels Transformers franchise with new parts
It is a new era as director Michael Bay gives an extreme makeover to his beloved robot franchise in Transformers: Age Of Extinction
He once declared he would not direct any more Transformers movies after making 2011's Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, yet Michael Bay has done a 180, dishing out another adventure for his beloved gigantic robots-in-disguise.
Transformers: Age Of Extinction, opening here tomorrow, is the start of a brand new and most likely lucrative Transformers trilogy.
Autobots, Decepticons, a mysterious bounty hunter, even more mysterious Creators, a revamped human cast, new cities for destruction - Bay has got them all.
Here is how the Hollywood heavyweight transformed his franchise with Age Of Extinction, a big-budget sequel that is badder, bolder and has a lot more boom.
Forget skinny, whiny Shia LaBeouf. The extremely buff Mark Wahlberg is calling the shots now and you'd better not mess with him and his precious teenage daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz).
It does not matter if you are the US government, the great Optimus Prime or her race-car driver boyfriend (Jack Reynor), the protective single dad will take you down if she is in danger.
Set about five years after the events of Dark Of The Moon, which saw Chicago in ruins, the US government is out to hunt and destroy all Transformers, regardless if they are Autobots or Decepticons.
Enters Wahlberg's Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor whose life gets a drastic makeover after he discovers a dormant Optimus Prime trapped within a derelict tractor-trailer.
"Cade's a very ordinary guy who has to do extraordinary things in the face of danger to protect his family. Anyone can relate to that," Wahlberg told USA Today.
Forget the sagely, helpful Optimus Prime that we know from the previous trilogy. This Optimus (again voiced by Peter Cullen) is cynical, damaged and not human-friendly.
But when Optimus uncovers a sinister plot that will annihilate humanity, he cannot just leave Cade and his family in the lurch.
Joining the sleeker and more menacing-looking Optimus are surviving Autobots Bumblebee, Ratchet, Hound, Drift, Crosshairs and Brains, and the Dinobots.
Even though Megatron was decapitated in Dark Of The Moon, the chief Decepticon's soul lives on in Galvatron, a robot made by scientist Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) with metal recovered from the bodies of dead Transformers.
But Galvatron is not the main concern here - Bay's probably keeping him for the sequels.
There is Lockdown, a Transformer bounty hunter who is vicious and deadly. Neither a Decepticon or Autobot, he is the one behind the Autobot massacre to lure Optimus Prime out into the open.
Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger took the Prometheus (the movie) route, where they have Lockdown expounding on "Creators" who made Optimus and all his kind.
The Creators are supposedly angry with Optimus for having a soft spot for mankind, thus the need for his capture and disciplinary action.
Seed, a kind of nuclear bomb, and a transforming matter called Transformium are also introduced. Bay is again cryptic about these and probably teasing about sequels.
China is the second-biggest film market in the world and Paramount Pictures, the studio backing Bay's movie, wisely entered into a co-operation agreement with CCTV's China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises on the US$210 million ($260 million) production.
The two Chinese companies not only helped Paramount secure filming locations in China, cast local talent, assist with post-production and theatrical marketing, they also invested an undisclosed amount in the film and will receive a share of box office.
Said Rob Moore, Paramount Pictures' vice-chairman, to Variety: "As we were looking at the film and the places we've already gone - Michael's shot at the pyramids (in Egypt), in Russia and in the Middle East - the chance to shoot in China was exciting for him both as a place where he hadn't worked and in terms of how successful the franchise had been there."
Chinese actress Li Bingbing also has a small role as Su Yueming, who is basically the "CEO" of Chinese Transformers.
Who we are missing from the Transformers trilogy
1 Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky
2 Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes
3 John Turturro as Agent Simmons
7 Linkin Park theme songs
Megan Fox v Nicola Peltz
The first two Transformers flicks made Megan Fox a star, and she helped make the films massively successful. Can new girl and fellow US actress Nicola Peltz possibly compare?
POWER OF PERSONALITY
She played high school student Mikaela Banes, the object of Shia LaBeouf's sweaty dreams. A ballsy hottie with awe-inspiring cleavage, Mikaela was not much of a stretch for Fox.
That unforgettable scene where she is leaning over the car engine is burned into every man's brain for all time.
She also plays a high school girl, a blonde named Tessa Yeager. Unlike Mikaela, Tessa is kind of a nice person. She is a country girl who lives a sheltered life with her daddy (Mark Wahlberg) until Optimus Prime shows up to turn their lives upside down.
Tessa loves her dad, she loves her secret boyfriend and she looks amazing in cut-off jeans.
ROUND ONE: FOX
Peltz is a bit bland while Fox sizzles.
One of the inarguable facts of human existence is that Fox, 28, is a world-class babe. She creates lusty feelings in men that they themselves do not quite understand.
The readers of FHM magazine named her the Sexiest Woman In The World in 2008. In 2009, she came in at No. 2 on Maxim's Hot 100 list. There are of course other lists - I have them taped to my bedroom ceiling.
The first time most of us saw Peltz was in 2010's The Last Airbender when she was just a kid in a fur coat.
Suddenly, here she is in short shorts and singlets and it's, like, whoa! Give us some time to adjust, yo.
Her mum Claudia Heffner was a model, so she has great genes. At just 19, she looks fresh as a daisy.
ROUND TWO: FOX
The girl is a once-in-a-generation sex bomb.
Fox seems more into having babies with actor-hubby Brian Austin Green - they already have two sons.
She has made some pretty lame flicks like Jennifer's Body and Passion Play. Her comeback role is the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a step down from Transformers.
Her biggest credit before Transformers was The Last Airbender and a recurring role on the TV show Bates Motel.
Peltz is at the beginning of her career and there is nothing huge on the horizon as of yet.
ROUND THREE: FOX
Not a great career, but at least it is a career.
THE WINNER: FOX IN A LANDSLIDE
Love her (guys) or hate her (gals), you cannot deny that she made her mark on hollywood. she played the fame game and won big time — while it lasted.
— Jason Johnson