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Thread: Exposing the Knighthood Theme in TF:AoE

  1. #1

    Default Exposing the Knighthood Theme in TF:AoE

    So welcome to my VERY FIRST POST here!

    I initially wrote this post for a different forum with EXTREMELY restrictive rules about discussing sex, religion, etc. So I had to be kinda vague and deferential for a few segment in the following essay but GODDAMN, I am SO looking forward to fleshing this out a bit later! In the meantime, just ignore those asides, plz. Anyway, BACK TO THE MEAT OF THE DISCUSSION.

    Literally every single time I watch this film I can't help but catch SO many subtly interwoven thematic elements the whole way through and think to myself, "WTF IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE???"

    WHY ARE WE NOT
    TALKING ABOUT THIS?!?
    o_O


    And now here's a thread SPECIFICALLY for that!

    HUZZAH!!!

    \o/

    So here we go, HAIL TO THE KING and all that.

    First and foremost, obviously, is Optimus Prime's upgrade...

    OPTIMUS KNIGHT



    Of course, his newly-revealed status as a Knight would have been even more clear if the filmmakers had followed through more fully with the "Silver Knight" concept art for Optimus Prime's "Knight Upgrade," but almost ALL of the same knight's armor design elements are still quite apparent in the film. After all, he has his sword, his neck-guards, his skirting, etc. He even gets gauntlets and a shield along with his sword!

    Which raises the question of HOW exactly he got that sword, the gauntlets, and the shield, doesn't it...???

    HE PULLED A
    SWORD FROM A STONE



    That's right, Optimus Prime basically reenacted the Arthurian myth of the Sword in the Stone!

    And what did he do next?

    Oh, yeah...

    HE FOUGHT A
    FIRE-BREATHING DRAGON


    But, naturally, any self-respecting knight needs his stallion and the glory of combat.

    So what was Prime's NEXT order of business after taming the dragon?

    CHARGING INTO BATTLE
    ON HIS VALIANT STEED


    And that same "dragon/steed" is, obviously, based on the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Latin for "Rex," of course, LITERALLY translating into "KING."

    I mean...I'm just sayin'!

    But I digress.

    Speaking of the Dinobots, the film sees them reconceptualized instead as "legendary warriors" and, presumably, Optimus Prime's fellow Knights, a notion reflected in both their character designs AND weaponry. We see them with helmets, faceplates, spiked boots, maces, flails, etc., all of distinctly medieval, "knightly" origin.

    For instance...

    A DINOBOT
    IN KNIGHT'S ARMOR


    Speaking of which...

    THE KNIGHTSHIP


    IS A CROWN

    Also, as Lockdown told Optimus, The Knightship was "built for all you knights, you great crusaders," alluding to not only the fact that Lockdown's ship (traditionally his own, personal "Nightship") was actually instead built for the Knights before being commandeered by him, but also establishing that it was SPECIFICALLY built for their "crusades," a reference to the medieval expeditions and campaigns waged by Knights.

    For instance...

    CRUSADING KNIGHTS
    IN THEIR SHIPS


    And, perhaps MOST interestingly, Lockdown mockingly welcomes a captive Optimus back to a VERY SPECIAL part of the Knightship...


    Easily the most obscure reference the film makes to the age of chivalry is its use of the word "TEMENOS," which is an ancient term for what's essentially a temple or sanctuary, meant for communing with divinity.

    Hell, even the set designers were in on the conceptual background of the Knightship's temenos! From the TF:AoE bonus features disc...


    In fact, the temenos of the Knightship seems to be in the "Supermax," converted prison/trophy-case area, where Optimus pulls the sword from the "stone" and beseeches an unseen force to "Recognize one of your knights," before being awarded his further Knight-upgrades and weaponry in response.

    Interestingly, a similar dynamic is afoot with regards to Cade's own adventures. He uses a VERY SUSPICIOUS choice of words to describe his rural Texan research lab/barn...



    In other words, it's a TEMENOS!

    XD

    Furthermore, it's ALSO the first of TWO temenos sites to which Optimus is dragged against his will, (not to mention repaired and/or upgraded) which serves as a "prime example," if you will, of the MANY recurring motifs echoing throughout the film.

    Reiterating and cleverly solidifying the film's motif of temenos sites, Cade even says a kind of prayer while he's in his makeshift lab/barn/temenos, much like Optimus himself does in his own Knightship's temenos later. After Cade extinguishes a fire in his lab, he rather poignantly exclaims as he approaches Optimus, "God! Something in here has to make this family some money. Come on, you old wreck. Judgment day."

    It's subtle and understated...but it's definitely a prayer inside a temenos!

    And, as if that prayer were answered, Cade soon discovers that the truck is in fact a Transformer, from which, one way or another, he intends to reap financial gains. Then, in the process, he revives Optimus and repairs his "spark," which Cade explains humans call a "soul."

    Keeping in mind that the fire within the barn/lab/temenos was sparked immediately following Cade's little moment to himself where he sees a shooting star and communes with his dearly departed one true love, and that the film ends with Optimus telling Cade to look to the stars and think of one of them as his "soul" while he's away, it's clearly not only another tidy little motif at work here but also yet another example of the Knighthood theme at work in the film!

    Now, I don't want to get into the religious connotations here too much in deference to the forum's rules about such things (goofy though they may be when the movie itself raises the issue), so I'll just leave it at that and point out that I'm simply carefully explaining the film's symbolism in its own language here, with as much neutrality as possible, and that the symbolism in question does indeed connect DIRECTLY to the theme of KNIGHTS and their general worldview.

    After all, medieval knights were VERY MUCH concerned with such matters. Souls, honor, love and all that. I'm sure you get the point.

    But back to the Knightship for a moment, when Cade almost literally stumbles into its armory, what does he find there?

    OH, HEY, IT'S A
    ROUNDTABLE!!!


    ANOTHER REFERENCE
    TO ARTHURIAN LEGEND

    And, speaking of Arthurian legend, when we're introduced to K.S.I.'s own robot lab and "temple of technology," where Joshua Joyce has cracked the code of the Transformium genome, they use a VERY intriguing term to refer to it...



    TWICE



    Yes, the Holy Grail, the prize of Arthurian legend!

    Additionally, he later refers to that "Holy Grail" as his company's "Salvation," not to mention calling his ex-girlfriend Darcy "Princess"...albeit sarcastically, lol.

    And then there's the matter of the movie's OTHER "princess"...Cade's daughter, Tessa.

    SPECIFICALLY,
    HER CHASTITY

    I've got a whole separate thread planned around that and, again, the board's rules make it a little tricky to discuss...but I'd say it's already MORE THAN CLEAR that a good bit of this movie dwells upon Cade's overbearing protectiveness of his daughter's chastity, which was similarly of great concern to knights in medieval times and, ultimately, plays directly into the theme of knighthood which everyone is hopefully beginning to see is TRULY pervasive throughout this film.

    But MORE on that LATER!

    ;)

    In the meantime, I think I've pretty much made my point here, lol.

    HOWEVER!

    [See Following Post, lol]

  2. #2

    Default Re: Exposing the Knighthood Theme in TF:AoE

    Just to be thorough, however...


    Right off the bat, there's a particularly sly, subtle little allusion the the medieval theme which cleverly foreshadows the later revelation of Optimus Prime's Knighthood.




    And let's not forget the deck of "kill cards" Attinger uses to keep track of the Transformers he's hunting! Yep, it features an assortment of medieval symbolism itself...


    JACKS, QUEENS,
    KINGS, AND JOKERS



    On a similar note, there's the curious phrase Lockdown uses shortly after referencing Prime's knighthood...




    This AGAIN refers to a game positively STEEPED in medieval symbolism; kings, queens, bishops, pawns, rooks, castles.


    OH, AND YEAH...
    KNIGHTS



    One tiny bit that was REALLY difficult to finally catch however was THIS little detail. The ring that Savoy wears on his finger for his Cemetery Wind black ops missions (and likely in honor of his ill-fated sister as well) is a skull inscribed with the words "Memento Mori," meaning roughly, "Remember Death," or "Remember that you have to die," an ancient Latin phrase greatly in vogue during medieval times and a concept adopted by numerous orders of knights verbatim.




    And, perhaps the masterstroke here, we also have the movie's soundtrack, by a band which is actually called Imagine DRAGONS.


    But, furthermore, the song they contributed to the movie which is MOST FREQUENTLY interwoven throughout the score is THIS track...




    THE KING IS CROWNED
    IT'S DO OR DIE









    I absolutely LOVE how all these thematic elements relevant to knighthood are SO exceedingly entwined within every bit of the film, perhaps all the more because of how completely so much of it seems to have gone RIGHT over everyone's heads! A lot of it really IS pretty clever, interesting, and incredibly subtle...particularly considering how BLATANTLY the theme is presented elsewhere.


    Man, I love it and it really IS quite a feat!


    Personally, I think it's pretty cool stuff, too...most of which I've never seen mentioned anywhere.


    Especially keeping in mind what short shrift this movie often gets from critics, it seems increasingly important to bring these elements to light and to help raise the general audience's awareness that, indeed, there certainly IS a great deal more going on with this movie and its symbolism than is generally acknowledged.


    And what a shame that is!


    I honestly find the multifaceted applications of the motifs to be utterly fascinating filmmaking.


    I hope that YOU had some fun and found all this to be informative and interesting, too!


    ;)






    Oh, and one last AWESOME reference to Knighthood!





  3. #3
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    Default Re: Exposing the Knighthood Theme in TF:AoE

    Great analysis. I definitely noticed there was more to a simple knight motif throughout the film.

    My favourite part about the deeper meanings though is in the whole theme of industrialisation. There's a lot about that that can be discussed.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Exposing the Knighthood Theme in TF:AoE

    Thanks! I do try. Very glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    I'm kind of a n00b here so ANY accolades are MUCH appreciated.

    And, yeah...Cade as an inventor and his reverence for seeing the treasure in the trash vs. Joyce as a rival inventor and his crass commercialism towards seeking treasure out of trash is CERTAINLY a subject RIPE for discussion! Gotta love how much these movies play upon the concept of duality, right? Especially considering Bumblebee's rejection of and/or rivalry with Stinger, the fact that KSI moved production overseas to a Chinese factory, the downgrading of the transformation process into pixelization, and Bee's dig at "cheap knock-offs, lolololol.

    ;)

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