When I was browsing the toy aisles and looked at the box of Last Knight Infernocus (one of the stranger names in TF history, btw), I first read this as “George”. Why isn’t there a Transformer named George? I mean, there already is a Vehicon named “Steve”, right?
Seeing as I’ve already dealt with Revenge of the Fallen and Age of Extinction, as well as explaining why I think the original 2007 Transformers movie was pretty good and doesn’t really need to be fixed, I’ll now complete the quadrology and take a look at Dark of the Moon.
After even Michael Bay admitted that Revenge of the Fallen had quite a few problems, he promised everything would be better for Dark of the Moon. Better story, more focus on the Transformers, and absolutely no trace of the twins Mudflap and Skids, who were horrible stereotypes of – depending on who you ask – either black ghetto gangstas or white wanna-be gangstas. Bay even promised a reward to anyone who could spot them in the movie. They actually did appear, though in car form only and I don’t think Bay actually paid out said reward to anyone.
Anyway, Dark of the Moon was supposed to be better than Revenge of the Fallen in every way. As it turns out it was better in some minor ways, but overall it was still the same kind of cinematic mess Michael Bay has since become famous for. Dark of the Moon did have a plot… somewhat, and actually did have a few nice character moments that actually involved the Transformers. It also had, of course, many, many explosions, a violence level that only made it past the censors because it doesn’t involve humans but rather very human-like robots, and something we never believed possible: a female lead that was a worse actress than Megan Fox.
So here is how I would have done Dark of the Moon. Same basic premise as before: studio and Hasbro have laid down the law on which characters must appear and the basic storyline, plus we need to end up in a similar place as the original movie so as to set up Age of Extinction. Here we go.
As America celebrates the launch of Apollo 11, Sector 7 does its own moon shot with technology scavenged from Megatron. It was supposed to be a mere test, but the astronauts discover the Ark crashed on the dark side of moon. Inspecting the wreckage, they find lots of dead Transformers. Lacking cargo capacity, the astronauts only take a few samples of the tech back home with them. Sector 7 figures they’ve got a perfectly preserved piece of Cybertronian tech in Megatron, so they don’t really need to invest into recovering the Ark.
In the present Sam and Mikaela live in Washington DC. Mikaela works for Dylan Gould, managing his vast collection of cars, while Sam works for NEST as a civilian expert on the Cybertronians, being groomed to take over for Agent Simmons once he retires. The two are still going through the vast archives left behind by Sector 7, wondering whether there are other surprises waiting there (like stasis-locked Jetfire in the previous movie – my version of it). In the process they find what Sector 7 salvaged from the moon in 1969, a couple of pillars. Involving Ratchet, the Autobot identifies the technology as bearing the signatures of his old friend Que as well as Optimus’ predecessor Sentinel Prime, who were lost on the Ark ages ago. Learning that the Ark crashed on the moon, Optimus immediately wants to head there to check it out.
Taking the space craft of the recently arrived Wreckers to the moon, the Autobots discover that the Decepticons have set up a base near the crashed Ark. Autobot spy Wheelie scouts ahead and sees that three surviving Autobots have apparently been recovered from the crash, Sentinel Prime, Que, and Brains. Sneaking in, the Autobots liberate the three prisoners. Upon leaving they are discovered and a brief firefight ensues, but the Autobots get away clean, Optimus remarking that this was almost too easy. Soundwave reports to Megatron that the prisoners have escaped. Megatron nods, satisfied. Everything is proceeding according to plan.
Sentinel Prime, having been repaired by Ratchet, gives exposition. He and Que had developed a space bridge, hoping to use it to bring badly needed resources to Cybertron and revitalize the war-torn planet. Only the Ark was shot down and they crashed. When the Decepticons revived them, they wanted to force them to make the space bridge work, but the most important component was missing, the control pillar. It was among those Sector 7 took with them in 1969. Sentinel wants to recover the other pillars from the Decepticons, but the human commanders of NEST would rather see the technology destroyed than let it fall into the wrong hands. Optimus considers, while Sentinel is rather put out about how much Optimus defers to the humans.
Meanwhile Mikaela accidentally discovers that one of the cars in Gould’s collection is a Decepticon and wants to warn Sam and NEST, but is captured by Gould. He collaborates with the Decepticons. When Mikaela asks why, he just gets a vacant look in his eyes. Some time later Sam and NEST get a call from Mikaela, telling them about Decepticons hiding in Gould’s car park, and the Autobots mobilize. It’s a diversion, though. As most of the Autobots are away, the Decepticons attack NEST headquarters. As Ironhide tries to hold them off, Sentinel Prime reveals his true colors and shoots the Autobot in the back, killing him. He expositions that he is sorry about this, but he can’t allow Prime’s concerns for primitive lower life forms to stand in the way of revitalizing Cybertron.
As Optimus and company return to base, everything is in shambles. They quickly follow the Decepticons and Sentinel Prime to Chicago, who have set up shop in a sky scraper belonging to Dylan Gould. The Nemesis arrives from the moon, unloading Decepticon troops to secure the city. The bad guys are preparing to open a huge space bridge portal. Optimus and the Autobots fight their way through and Optimus reaches the top of the skyscraper just in time to see Sentinel activate the portal. Optimus wants to shut it off, but Sentinel tells him that Cybertron is now already in transit and would be destroyed if Optimus shuts it off. Is he willing to destroy their home world for the sake of the humans. Optimus hesitates, which gives Megatron time to arrive on the scene and shoot him in the back, sending him toppling off the skyscraper.
Cybertron arrives in the solar system through the space bridge, being positioned in the same orbit as Earth. The much larger planet’s gravity immediately starts to affect the Earth, causing all sorts of natural disasters. Sam and Mikaela watch the calamity, but Mikaela seems strangely unconcerned. When Sam questions her about her role in luring the Autobots into a distraction earlier, she knocks him unconscious.
Optimus comes back online, finding himself a prisoner of Megatron and Sentinel Prime along with Sam. Megatron gloats, explaining that Soundwave has perfected a technology called ‘Cerebro Shells’, which they have used to take over scores of human beings all over the world, including business mogul Dylan Gould and Mikaela as well now. Over the last two years huge facilities have been set up to harness the unleashed energy of having Cybertron this close to Earth. Within a few days the disasters will wipe out humanity and shortly later the planet will be torn apart. By then they will be back on Cybertron with enough energy and raw materials (the remains of the Earth) to rebuild the planet and make it the capital of a Decepticon Empire. Optimus wants to know why Sentinel is part of this, who only replies that he is loyal to Cybertron first and only and that this is the only way to save their world. If Earth has to die for it, so be it.
The Autobots are regrouping on the outskirts of Chicago, though, and a huge NEST / Autobot assault begins. Under the cover of the battle Wheelie, Que, and Brains sneak into the city. Coming across one of the human workers controlled by the Decepticons, Que figures out the functionality of the chips and constructs a disruptor. Mikaela and Dylan Gould come back to their senses. Gould snaps and starts firing ineffectively at the Decepticons with a handgun, but this serves as a distraction for Mikaela, who manages to free Optimus Prime and Sam.
Big end of movie fight ensues. Autobots and NEST battle Decepticons (led by Shockwave) in the city. Sam and Mikaela flee as the skyscraper begins to collapse. Optimus battles Megatron while at the same time trying to appeal to Sentinel, who seems torn about whom to help. Que and Brains arrive, Que pleading with Sentinel to help him reopen the space bridge to send Cybertron back. Does Sentinel really want to rebuild Cybertron at the expense of everything they used to believe in? But Sentinel snaps, attacking Que. The four larger Transformers battle back and forth, giving Brains the opportunity to access the space bridge controls. Sentinel tries to stop him, but Que manages to hold him back. Megatron tries to intervene as well, but Optimus tackles him. The space bridge opens and Cybertron is removed from the solar system again, sent back where it came from.
Enraged beyond measure, Sentinel rips free of Que’s grip and shoots the other scientist, mortally wounding him. Aghast at his own actions, though, he can’t stop Que from firing off one final shot, destroying the space bridge control pillar. Outside the Nemesis, having been boarded by the Wreckers, begins to topple from the sky. Megatron, seeing all his plans fail, attacks again, but Prime finally defeats him for good, leaving him crippled on the floor. Megatron laughs, though, promising Prime that he will never give up, he will see this world destroyed if it’s the last thing he does. Optimus looks down on him, seeing the carnage around them, sighs heavily, and says “I believe you.” He then shoots Megatron in the head, killing him.
Outside the survivors gather, surveying the destroyed city. Most of the Decepticons have been destroyed in the crash of the Nemesis, the stragglers are being hunted down as they speak. Lennox says that he has received strict orders that, this time, they will be taking no prisoners. Too many lives have been lost, the prison (from my version of part 2) didn’t work, the only way is to make sure there are no more Decepticons left. Prime looks broken at this, but finally agrees, even as he sees a defeated Sentinel Prime being loaded onto a trailer by NEST personnel.
Closing monologue of Optimus Prime as the survivors embrace, but look forward into an uncertain future: “For a long time I wanted to see this war end. When I first took up arms against Megatron, I didn’t know whether we would prevail or be defeated. Now the war is over… and I still don’t know. Our war has rendered our own world lifeless and caused so much damage to this one. Of our race, only so few are left. We remain here on Earth, for good or ill, lacking any alternative. What the future will bring, only time will tell.”
Final scene sees the camera zooming away from Earth and across the universe to where planet Cybertron emerges from the space bridge. A strange ship (Lockdown’s vessel) passes the planet, scanning it for life signs, but finding none. The ship flies on, continuing its search.
The Transformers live-action movies directed by Michael Bay have polarized the fandom in an extreme manner. These days it seems you either consider Michael Bay the rapist of your childhood and devil incarnate or the saintly man who single-handedly resurrected a dead franchise and elevated it to stardom. And whichever side of the argument you fall on, it seems to be an all or nothing thing. Or in other words: you either love all his Transformers movies or you hate all his Transformers movies.
Here is where I out myself: I don’t like the Bay Transformers movies (hate is a bit too strong a word, as I was mostly apathetic by the time part 4 came around), except for the first one. That I still adore.
Now comes the point where people usually look at me like I’m mad. Mostly because I’ve probably just been involved in a lengthy argument or rant about how bad part 2, 3 or 4 of the TF movie saga was and apparently it is common wisdom that part 1 is guilty by association, simply because it was directed by Michael Bay and/or is part of the Transformers movie line.
Now sure thing: the 2007 movie contains a lot of the same things that we love to complain about in your typical Michael Bay movie. Things exploding often and rapidly. Porny shots of Megan Fox (or whoever else plays the hot female lead). Weird racism. Unfunny parents. Tons of product placement. Shaky cam and extreme close-ups. But you know what? While I noticed many of these things when I first watched the movie, I didn’t mind them that much. Why? Because there was actually a pretty decent movie happening on the screen.
The 2007 movie certainly isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, but it did what it set out to do: introduce the Transformers to an audience that, for the most part, had either never heard of them or just dimly remembered them as being some kind of 80s toy/cartoon thing. Sure, most of the Transformers don’t really appear until halfway through the movie, but that serves a purpose: we discover them together with audience surrogate Sam Witwicky. And even as a pretty entertaining boy-gets-his-first-car story takes place and Sam figures out that something strange is going on with said car, we have two side plots going on that subtly raise the tension. A military unit somewhere in the desert tries to escape from murderous robots, and a computer hacker at the NSA discovers a virus the Decepticons have planted to disrupt global communications.
Sure, some of the humor falls flat and I didn’t really need to see Bumblebee pee on a guy. But then there were epic scenes like the Autobots’ arrival on Earth, Bumblebee’s discovery of the Allspark Cube, or Starscream performing jet judo on a squadron of F-22 Raptors, that totally made up for that. And even more importantly: there was a coherent story tying these scenes together. An epic, intricate and complex story? No, but a story you could easily follow without wondering what the f*** just happened or where everyone else went while stuff was happening. Sure, the Allspark Cube is a McGuffin, but it worked in the context of the movie and was a concrete goal for both good and bad guys to chase after.
Also worth mentioning: all the Transformers involved on the screen are named and distinguishable. You see all of them transforming at least once. And the human characters are (for the most part) not behaving like stupid idiots or just there for the laughs.
The 2007 movie was the introduction of the modern audience to the world of the Transformers and it worked just fine in that context. The problem with the follow-up movies was, that they didn’t really follow up, but rather just did the same thing over and over again: focus on the human characters for long stretches of the movie and barely showing the Transformers until it’s time for the big end battle. It made sense for movie one, but not for the follow-ups. Add in the fact that the sequels pretty much abandoned the idea that a coherent plot was needed and you end up with the messes that were Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon, and Age of Extinction.
So the bottom line for me: the 2007 movie was good. Not great, but good. I saw it three times in the cinema and got the DVD the day it came out. I’ve rewatched it numerous times since then. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it doesn’t require me to completely shut off my brain and pretend to be a mindless idiot in order to enjoy it.
So yes, I still love the first Transformers live-action movie. Too bad none of the others lived up to it.
After the first live-action movie featuring the Transformers performed well and got relatively positive reviews (for a summer action blockbuster), a sequel was quickly green-lit and put into production. Unfortunately said production fell right into the time of the big Hollywood writers strike and thus was born what is widely regarded as the worst of the Transformers live-action movies, Revenge of the Fallen. Sure, it made tons of money, but even the most die-hard Michael Bay fans usually admit it was a disaster. There is a brilliant article on io9 about the movie actually being an art project about the non-existence of sense and plot and how everything in the world changes and transforms without rhyme or reason.
Thing is, Revenge of the Fallen could have been great. Because despite the way the plot (what little there is of it) completely falls apart somewhere around hour six or so, Revenge of the Fallen contains – in my opinion – some of the best scenes across all four movies.
Sure, in typical Michael Bay fashion the rest of the film is filled with things exploding for no discernible reason, weird racial stereotypes shouting at you while hot babe extras are gyrating, the US military shows off its gear, and everything is tinted either orange or blue. I think, though, that with an actually finished script (and a director willing to follow it instead of looking for the next money shot), Revenge of the Fallen might well have been a good movie.
Here is what I would have done with the material:
The opening battle in Shanghai happens as before, though we actually see a battle between robot mode Sideways and Sideswipe and the Arcee triplets. Also, the Decepticons are beaten, but not executed on the spot. Instead the NEST team transports them to a specially constructed holding facility, which is already filled to the brim with Decepticons. Exposition that more and more of them seem to be arriving on Earth, apparently following the summons of Soundwave. Soundwave is on board the Nemesis in orbit, scanning the globe for signs of the Allspark. Next to him is a strange sarcophagus with the Decepticon symbol on it.
Enter Sam Witwicky, now enrolled in college, still together with Mikaela. No appearance of Sam’s parents, no hash brownies, no idiot room mates. Sam has nightmares about the final battle in Mission City and the unleashing of the Allspark energy into Megatron. Still sleeping, he doesn’t notice energy spilling from his fingertips and turning his alarm clock into a tiny Transformer, who just walks off, causing him to oversleep. Late to class, he falls asleep and, when started awake, finds he has doodled strange Cybertronian glyphs onto his notebook.
Telling Mikaela about it, the two of them head over to NEST headquarters and meet Lennox and the Autobots. Ratchet scans him and finds residual energy with a signature similar to the Allspark on Sam. They theorize that, since energy cannot be destroyed, the Allspark Cube’s energy is not gone, but rather inside Sam somehow. Unbeknownst to them, the conversation is overheard by Ravage, whom Soundwave has sent to infiltrate NEST headquarters. Soundwave mobilizes a team of Decepticons.
On their way back home, Mikaela and Sam are ambushed. Bumblebee (their car) does his best, but can’t keep them from taking Sam. Being transported to an abandoned factory, Sam sees that the Decpticons have apparently salvaged the remains of Megatron. Soundwave has the Decepticons wire Sam into a strange contraption and even as the Autobots arrive outside to rescue Sam, the energy is transferred and Megatron is revived. In orbig aboard the Nemesis, the sarcophagus begins to subtly glow, a voice announcing that it is almost time.
Mid-Movie battle scene commences as the Autobots attack the factory to rescue Sam. The battle spills out into the nearby forest and Optimus and Megatron face off. Optimus holds his own at first, but – guided by a strange voice – the other Decepticons all converge on him with little regard for their own survival and eventually bring him down. Optimus Prime is dead. In orbit on the Nemesis, the sarcophagus shatters and The Fallen emerges, on fire, announcing that the last of the Primes is dead and he is finally returned.
As the Autobots lick their wounds and mourn their fallen leader, the Fallen single-handedly assaults the containment facility and frees all the Decepticons inside. The Autobots are shocked to see that even Megatron bows to the powerful newcomer. The Fallen announces that the war is over and it is now time for Cybertron to be reborn. The massive Decepticon force heads to Egypt and takes over the area surrounding the pyramids.
Trying to find out more about the Fallen, NEST consults with Agent Simmons, who goes through the records of Sector Seven. Signs of Cybertronian presences were found in ancient Egyptian temples, including the face of the Fallen. Apparently at some point roughly 5,000 years ago the Fallen was on Earth and some sort of battle took place. Simmons plans to consult an expert and leads the Autobots and Sam to an old Sector Seven hangar, where they have stored all sorts of artefacts and machines suspected of being of Cybertronian origin. This includes an SR-71 Blackbird jet, whom they suspected of being a Transformer, but could never figure out. Ratchet identifies the jet as a Transformer in stasis lock and repairs it. Jetfire awakens.
Jetfire gives exposition on the Fallen, his battle against the Primes, and how Egypt is the location of a machine used to syphon energy from a living star to repower the Allspark Cube. With no one left to stop him, the Fallen will do just that with Earth’s sun. Jetfire says only a Prime can defeat the Fallen, but with the last Prime dead, there is no hope. Sam wonders whether the energy of the Allspark can do for Prime what it did for Megatron.
In Egypt the Decepticons have unearthed a giant machine from inside one of the three pyramids and are busy repairing it. The Autobots and NEST carefully approach with the lifeless Optimus Prime in tow. Autobot spy Wheelie infiltrates the area and finds the syphon Soundwave used to suck the remaining Allspark energy out of Sam and there is still energy left inside it. A big assault by NEST and the Autobots provides a distraction, allowing Sam, Mikaela, and Lennox, riding the three Arcee motorcycles, to sneak in and steal the syphon.
As the battle rages, the Autobot and NEST forces are hopelessly outnumbered by the vast Decepticon army, which includes both the combining monster Devastator and the apparently all-powerful Fallen. Megatron is not happy with being relegated to second in command, though. A brief flashback shows him back on Cybertron, discovering the sarcophagus of the Fallen and promising to free him from his extra-dimensional prison in return for making him ruler of Cybertron. Now Megatron wonders if the Fallen intends to keep his promise. The Fallen suddenly stumbles, though, as he feels the power of a Prime nearby.
Optimus is brought back to life and his mere presence brings new hope to the struggling Autobot lines. Ironhide and the Arcee triples manage to bring down Devastator. Lots of things explode and we see tanks and jets and more US military porn. The Fallen orders Megatron to kill Optimus, but Megatron refuses, telling Fallen that – if he wants to be leader – he should be able to do his own killing. Big final battle Optimus against the Fallen with Optimus prevailing and killing the Fallen. With his dying breath, though, the Fallen activates the Sun Destroyer and a bright beam of energy lances into the sky.
Megatron calls for the Decepticons to retreat to the Nemesis, as the sun will soon explode. Optimus has Ratchet analyze the machine, who finds out that this is but a relay, the actual Sun Destroyer is in orbit around the sun, far out of their reach. Until, that is, Jetfire uses the last remnants of the Allspark energy and forges a combination between himself and Optimus. Now powered-up, Optimus launches into flight and jets towards the sun, destroying the Sun Destroyer before the sun takes lasting damage.
The epilogue has Ratchet scanning everything for remnants of the Allspark energy, but it seems to be all gone from both Sam and Optimus. Sam and Mikaela embrace in front of the setting sun. On board the Nemesis Megatron and Soundwave ponder what to do now, with the Fallen destroyed and the Allspark lost forever. Megatron says there are already contingencies in place and more than one way to revitalize Cybertron. The Nemesis sets course for the dark side of the moon.
First off, let us not start into another discussion on Michael Bay and whether or not he raped our childhood or saved the Transformers or is the devil incarnate or whatever. Personally I am not a big fan of Transformers live-action movies except for the first one, but that is another discussion entirely. Here and now I want to tackle the following premise: I’m the writer of the Age of Extinction story. The studio has laid down on the law on which characters to include and some plot elements that need to be put in place for movie 5. Same actors, same characters, we’re starting after the events of Dark of the Moon and need to end in a similar place with Optimus heading off into space to find the creators. But between those two points, I want to write a good, entertaining story without legal loopholes for statuatory rape and pretty much everyone behaving like idiots.
Here we go!
Prelude: in the distant past we see a fleet of alien ships above a barren world. An alien hand presses a button and a cube-shaped object crashes to the surface. It’s the AllSpark Cube and moments later the energy surges and the first robotic life forms rise from the surface. Cybertron is born.
The present: A television broadcast announces the status quo. Ten years have passed since the Battle of Chicago and the defeat of the Decepticons. All is not well, though, as large portions of the public are suspicious of the Autobots as well and consider them dangerous by their very presence. All Autobots on Earth currently live in Autobot City, a cordoned-off “reservation”. Neither humans nor Cybertronians are all that happy with this state of affairs, but the Autobots have nowhere else to go now that Cybertron has been destroyed. Liasion between Autobots and the United Nations is Harold Attinger, who has no particular love for the Transformers and is also busy with a secret project that, should it become necessary, will solve the Transformers problem once and for all.
Enter Cade Yeager, a former citizen of Chicago, now living in Texas with his daughter Tessa. Cade lost his wife in the Battle of Chicago and holds a big grudge against the alien robots. His daughter Tessa has her own problems: she wants to head off to university and, seeing as her father has little money, earns extra money through illegal street racing. Unfortunately her car has crapped out on her last race and she neeeds a new one without letting her father in on her activities.
Enter a blue Bugatti car found abandoned and damaged on the side of the road. Tessa convinces her father to bring it in and together they repair it. In the process they discover that the car is not a normal car, though. Before they can decide what to do, the car transforms and a Decepticon symbol becomes visible. The two of them panic, but the robot introduces himself as Drift. He means them no harm and he needs their help: he needs to get in contact with Optimus Prime, because a greater threat is on its way to Earth right now.
We start with a flashback and see Drift and some other generic Decepticons on an alien world, fighting an elite Autobot unit: the Dinobots. Before the battle can truly commence, though, a vast space ship appears overhead and a horde of drones take down the fighting Transformers. As Drift awakens, he sees the leader of the third party: Lockdown. His ship is filled with captured Transformers, Autobots and Decepticons alike. Lockdown tells his crew they’ve got one more stop to make, then their mission is complete.
Drift manages to escape from his cell and accesses the navigation data. They are heading to Earth and apparently Lockdown hopes to find Optimus Prime and Megatron there. Being discovered, Drift escapes from the ship in his protoform mode and streaks ahead, but is fired upon and damaged. Arriving on Earth ahead of the ship, he crashes and manages to scan a passing car for disguise before going offline due to damages.
Back in the present Cade reluctantly makes a call to the Pentagon and, after getting a bit of a run-around, is finally connected to Attinger. Attinger contacts Optimus Prime in Autobot City and a few hours later a military transport touches down near the Yeager’s farm, containing Optimus, Attinger, Bumblebee, and Sideswipe. At first no one trusts the story of the Decepticon, but Optimus has heard of Lockdown before. Before they can deliberate further, though, they receive an SOS from Autobot City.
Lockdown’s ship has appeared over Autobot City and attacks, quickly overruning and rounding up the Autobots present. Ratchet, left in command, fights to the last, but is taken down by Lockdown. Lockdown then delivers an ultimatum to planet Earth: either give him the remaining Autobots, including Optimus Prime, or he will lay waste to the planet. Attinger calls his superiors and Optimus Prime agrees that, for the moment, they have no choice but to agree to Lockdown’s demands.
A meeting takes place and Optimus, Sideswipe, and Bumblebee agree to surrender. Lockdown is happy, saying that the playing field is now swept clean. Once Optimus and the Bots are restrained, though, he orders his drones to kill the humans (Attinger, Cade, Tessa, assorted Attinger underlings). Optimus, having suspected something like that, orders Drift to open fire, releasing him, Sideswipe, and BB from their restraints. We now have the mid-movie battle scene where Optimus fights Lockdown while BB and Drift are to bring the humans to safety. The battle ends with Lockdown subduing Prime and killing Sideswipe. Bumblebee and Drift escape with the humans.
Optimus is brought to Lockdown’s ship, now landed near the remains of Autobot City, and thrown into Lockdown’s cells. Here he encounters a host of old friends such as Hound, but also quite a few old enemies. Plus the Dinobots, with Grimlock immediately challenging Optimus Prime for leadership of the prisoner group. Optimus wins, though, and quickly unites the various factions against Lockdown. At first opportunity, they will fight.
Back on the planet. Bumblebee, Drift, and Attinger debate what to do now, while Cade just wants to leave. Tessa is thankful to Drift for saving her life, though, and wants to help. Another broadcast from Lockdown tells the world that they have 12 hours to surrender the final three remaining Transformers. Drift and Bumblebee wonder who number 3 is. Attinger plans to release Project Centurion, a batallion of warrior robots built from the remains of the Decepticons and controled by human drivers. Meanwhile Drift wants to sneak back aboard the ship and free the prisoners, but he fears the internal sensors will immediately detect him. Tessa wonders whether they’ll detect humans.
Drift smuggles Tessa and Cade (who has unsuccessfully tried to stop Tessa from his foolishness) unto the ship and like they figured, the sensors don’t detect them. While Drift plays diversion, the two humans manage to find the prisoners and free them. Drift signals Attinger, who launches the attack of the Centurion squadron.
Big end-of-movie battle scene. Drift sacrifices himself to save Tessa’s life, with his last breath saying he always wondered whether he’d make a good Autobot. Most of the Centurion drones are destroyed, but give a good showing of themselves, destroying most of Lockdown’s army. Optimus and Grimlock fight together and defeat Lockdown, learning that he was working for the Transformers’ creators, who “want their toys back”.
Movie ends with Optimus and most of the Transformers preparing to launch into space on Lockdown’s ship, looking for the creators. Only a small force led by Bumblebee will remain on Earth, just in case there are further threats to Earth out there and to look for the mystery Transformer Lockdown’s scans have detected. As the ship launches and the humans wave goodbye, a clean-up crew load the remaining Centurion robots onto transports. As they do so, the eyes of a particularly big Centurion robot briefly glow and a voice growls “I still function”, but nobody notices.