Fifth installment of Transformers is released into theaters

Amanda Kaup

Staff Writer

Transformers: The Last Knight comes out in theaters on June 23, 2017. The film is the fifth installment, and last film that Michael Bay will be directing. This movie will continue to focus on the human’s resentment towards the Transformers.

Transformers: The Last Knight is about a war between the humans and the Transformers. Optimus Prime is gone, and the key to saving the future is buried in the past and history of the Transformers. It’s up to Cade Yeager, Bumblebee, an English lord, and an Oxford professor to find the secrets of the past and the hidden history of the Transformers. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes, heroes will become villains, and only one world will survive.

The first three installments in the series, Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, were about a war between the heroic Autobots and the villainous Decticons-two species of alien robots that can disguise themselves by transforming into everyday machinery, mainly vehicles. The fourth installment to the series, Transformers: Age of Extinction, was a stand-alone sequel to the other three installments to the series; it didn’t feature the original human characters from the first three films. Instead, the movie features a new cast of human characters, and new Transformers. The film focuses on an increased resentment towards the alien robots, and how a CIA black ops division called Cemetery Wind-who believes that all Transformers including Autobots and Decepticons are a threat-hunts them down. The new film will continue to focus more on the resentment towards the robots, and history of the Autobots.

The series will rewrite the history of the Transformers. In terms of production, Bay states,“ We put together a writers’ room designed to greatly expand our mythology, integrating our films in a whole new way. Every movie will interlink.” The production worked in a large space on the Paramount lot, surrounded by many concept images from the history of the franchise, including the movies, cartoons, and comic books, and multiple props. They brought in Transformer historians from Hasbro to educate the writers on where the Transformers have been, in order to expand the mythology and history of the Transformers.

This film will be director Michael Bay’s last film in this series. Ever since the third installment, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Michael Bay has said that he was done with the Transformers series, but he has come back for the two newer installments. “With every Transformers film, I’ve said it would be my last. I see the 120 million fans around the world who see these movies, the huge theme park lines to the ride and the amazing Make-A-Wish kids who visit my sets, and it somehow keeps drawing me back. I love doing these movies. The film was especially fun to shoot. But, this time might be it. So I’m blowing this one out. It’s a final chapter and a new beginning,” Bay states on leaving the sequence. Although Bay is leaving the progression of the movies, it is not the end of the film series. There will be a Bumblebee spin-off and a sixth installment, Transformers 6, set to release on June 8, 2018, and June 28, 2019, respectively.

Although this is Michael Bay’s last movie on the series, he will be going out with a bang by rewriting the history of the Transformers. The fifth installment will be expanding the history and finding a way to stop the war between the humans and Transformers. Transformers: The Last Knight will be out in theaters on June 23, 2017.

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Nintendo releases new gaming blockbuster, Arms

By Binyamin Moryosef

Staff Writer

Nintendo will be releasing their newest video game series Arms on June 16 2017 for their new console the Nintendo Switch. Arms is a fighting game reminiscent of classic boxing games like Punch Out, but with a catch. The playable characters are equipped with extendable arms, which the player can move with the Nintendo Switch’s motion controls. This game is the first of its kind, in that it is the first new game on the switch that is not based on a previously established game series.

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Nintendo

The primary focus of Arms is on its unique fighting mechanics. Players can grip both Nintendo Switch controllers in each hand and use the motion controls of the Nintendo Switch to move the playable character’s arms around in different ways. Players can bend and weave these extendable arms in mid-flight in order to land hits on enemies. This type of fighting style gives the game a unique fighting dynamic, in which players to try to keep their distance from their enemy so they can avoid enemy hits while having enough space to maneuver their hits around enemy defenses. Players can choose from a variety of different arms to use for the two separate arms of the character, with each arm having it’s own unique traits so that players can choose which arms best suit their fighting style. Arms has elemental attributes associated to them as well, such as electricity, ice, and fire, which each has unique status effects such as stunning an enemy, freezing them, or adding extra damage to an attack. There is also a variety to the fighting style beyond the customizable arms. According to Prima Games, a game reviewing website, “Arms features a combat system designed with inspiration by the famous kid’s game—Rock, Paper, Scissors. Following the ‘rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper’ mentality, the developers have created a system of combat that revolves around knowing which attacks counter which. Blocks can be broken by grabs, grabs can be broken by punches, and so on down the line.” Arms’ fighting style is very unique to the game, and is sure to help it stand out from other fighting games on the Nintendo Switch.

Along with the unique customizable fighting style of the game, there are several other interesting aspects of the game. Players can choose from a variety of different characters to fight with, each with their own unique design and abilities. There is also a variety of different stage for players to fight on, with different environmental obstacles such as pillars and trampolines. There’s also a unique manner to the progression in the game. Engadget, a tech reviewing website, says, “ Players earn a form of currency as they play, allowing them to purchase upgraded arms with different abilities.” Players can also choose to either play against computer players or fight against their friends in two-player mode, however an additional set of two switch controllers are needed in order for both players to use motion controls. If the player only has one set of controllers, or does not want to use the motion controls, they can play the game using standard gaming controls by using only one of the controllers.

Many students at Scripps Ranch High are excited for the release of Arms. Jesse Goldstein (10) says, “ I’m really excited to try out the new fighting system, it looks really fluid and fun. I always love how Nintendo tries to mix up the gameplay in it’s new releases.” Wences Banting (10) states, “ I always look forward to Nintendo’s new game series, and this one looks like it’s going to be really good. I love the new character designs and the stage designs are beautiful.” Arms has received critical praise for its new and unique fighting style, and is predicted to become a staple game of the Nintendo Switch.

Arms fully utilizes the new controls of the Nintendo Switch, mixing together the excitement and strategy of a fighting game with the fluidity and flexibility of a motion control game. Along with that, the creativity of the game’s concept and the unique style of gameplay gives the game it’s own distinct identity amongst other Nintendo series. Arms is the first new Nintendo game series on the Nintendo Switch, and will set a precedent on what future series on the system will be capable of achieving.

The King Arthur legend is retold

Kailey Williams

Staff Writer

On Friday, May 12, Warner Bros released its new film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, in theaters everywhere. Starring Charlie Hunnam, the movie tells the tale of a young man named Arthur who must face his destiny in becoming king. After young Arthur’s father is killed, his uncle Vortigern seizes the throne and abandons Arthur, leading him to grow up robbed of his birthright with no idea of who he truly is. Arthur, however, then finds his way to the sword Excalibur, whose power influences him to acknowledge his legacy once and for all.

The cast for King Arthur was chosen for their prior experience in similar films. Hunnam, who is popular among paparazzi due to his role in the show Sons of Anarchy and in movies such as Pacific Rim and a brief involvement in the Fifty Shades franchise, was chosen to play the character of Arthur after much consideration from director Guy Ritchie. Ritchie states, “I think I was slightly prejudiced against him [at first] because he was good looking. I hadn’t seen any work that he’d done, really.” Eventually though, Hunnam’s drive and charisma won him the lead role for the film. Hunnam comments, “Arthur has always been rendered as the noble man who goes on the noble journey to become the noble king. But Ritchie had another take, saying, ‘Let’s do the opposite. Let’s make him ignoble and selfish with a heart of gold, but just a bit more rough around the edges.’” Other members of the cast include Pirates of the Caribbean’s Astrid Berges-Frisbey as Mage, Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou as Bedivere, Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen as Goosefat Bill and Star Trek’s Eric Bana as Arthur’s father, King Uther Pendragon. Jude Law was chosen to play Vortigern due to he and Ritchie previously working together on the Sherlock Holmes films together.

Due to Hunnam’s prior role in Sons of Anarchy, he was nervous about taking on another film with the same type of genre. He states, “I was certainly cognizant of [the similarities] and wanted to try to distance myself. King Arthur was the first thing I did after Sons had finished, so I was eager to have sort of a departure from that and not repeat too much, but there were just inherent similarities and I realized that it would be foolish to try to fight it. It’s about loyalty to your brothers and the sort of unlikely family growing up. We all need family, so he’s developed this little family around.” Due to his experience in similar films, Hunnam was prepared to play the role of this character and did not need much training. Ritchie states, “He never seems to carry more than 6% body fat. When he first took his top off, I was horrified. Usually I have to work with actors and they take their top off and I’m horrified in the wrong way. But Charlie walked in all pleased with himself with his 26-pack ready to rumble.” With no further training necessary, the crew was able to start filming the movie in February of 2015.

The film’s release date was delayed numerous times due to reshoots and changes. Originally planned for July of 2016, the date was moved two more times before finally resting on May of 2017. Ritchie blamed the push on other films continually moving in on King Arthur’s original release date. He states, “There’s a battle of the brands out there, but in that process, we had another year to finish off some of the visual effects.” Hunnam comments, “We set out to make a different film than we ended up with. The original film would have been more somber. Guy had wanted to do something creatively that was a departure from what he’d been doing over the last few movies. But on set, everybody sort of got into the Guy Ritchie cheeky, fun mentality.” He adds, “I had to watch it a couple of times to start to appreciate what it was as opposed to what my expectation of it was going into it. It’s really fun. It delivers, I think and I hope, what people would want from a Guy Ritchie version of King Arthur.” The cast claimed to be very happy over how the film turned out and hoped that it would be a big success.

  King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is said to be the first installment of a six film series. Reflecting the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table legend in a new light, the movie is growing in popularity and was a big hit in theaters. Due to the excitement surrounding the film, the overall series is projected to be a large success.

Cars 3 zooms into theaters

Nick Cassol

Staff Writer

Fans of the Cars franchise will finally have an opportunity to see the long awaited latest entry in the franchise, Cars 3, when it rolls into theaters June 16. The new film, released by Pixar Animation Studios, will be directed by Brian Fee, a departure from the last two films directed by Pixar co-founder, John Lasseter, and is about Lightning McQueen after he endures a terrible crash, raising questions as to whether he will continue his racing career.

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Pixar

Cars 3 will follow Lightning McQueen, who, after being trounced in a series of races by high-tech rookie Jackson Storm, is suspected of retirement following a terrible crash. In order to preserve his career, McQueen seeks help from race technician Cruz Ramirez to attempt a comeback in the Florida 500. Comedian Owen Wilson, who voiced the character in the previous two movies, will return again to voice McQueen. Jackson Storm, the movie’s antagonist, will be voiced by Armie Hammer, and McQueen’s friend, Cruz Ramirez, will be voiced by Cristela Alonzo.

The first teaser trailer for the film was released on November 21, 2016, in front of Disney’s Moana, stirring controversy for its depiction of McQueen’s crash, with many critics calling it too “dark” for children. However, the trailer also sets a more serious tone for the movie, a departure from the previous two, which many saw as cash-grabs, considering the series’ financial success (over a billion dollars grossed worldwide.)

Cars 3 comes six years after 2011’s Cars 2, and eleven years after the original Cars movie. Though Pixar is notable for its consistent critical acclaim, the Cars franchise has seen the least of such acclamation, with both movies holding the two lowest Rotten Tomatoes ratings of all 17 Pixar movies. 2006’s Cars garnered a 74% on the review aggregator, the first score to not attain above 90%, and Cars 2 became the first and so far only Pixar film to currently hold a “rotten” rating of 39% on the website. With such an unexceptional critical history, it will be up to the latest entry in the franchise to outdo its predecessors and be more on par with other Pixar movies.

The newest Cars picture is directed by Brian Fee, rather than Pixar cofounder John Lasseter, who was also the director of Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, and the first two Cars movies. This is Fee’s directorial debut, although he worked as a storyboard artist on the first two Cars films, as well as on Ratatouille and WALL-E. Cars 3 is said to return the series to its roots, setting aside the global scale spy thriller aspect of Cars 2 and returning to the racing aspect of the original Cars. In an interview on June 10, 2016, Lasseter teased a very emotional story more akin to the first film.

Brian Fee, the director of Cars 3, talks about some of his thoughts on the movie. “McQueen is not the young hotshot anymore, the kid he was back then in Cars 1,” says the first-time Pixar director. “He’s in the middle of his life, and as an athlete, and getting old. You have your whole life ahead of you, yet your career is starting to show its age. He’s looking in the mirror and realizing, ‘I’m 40 years old,’ and dealing with the fact that the thing that [he loves] more than anything else, [he] might not be able to do forever.” Lasseter calls Cars 3 “very emotional,” and Fee says it’s “the most human” film of the franchise, considering the inherent maturity of Lightning’s reconciliation with age in a changing world.

Cars 3, focusing again on McQueen who this time may be forced into retirement, is promised to be the most serious and emotional film of the entire franchise. Despite the series’ financial success, its critical track record is not as favorable, with many calling the first two Cars films some of Pixar’s worst. Critics of the Cars franchise can only hope that Cars 3 will answer their misgivings about the series, while fans are optimistic that the new film is the best of the trilogy, and that the most critically successful animation studio of all time makes yet another great film.

Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk adapted to big screen

Noah Lowy

Copy Editor

On July 21, 2017, Christopher Nolan’s newest film, Dunkirk, will premiere in theaters nationwide. The movie tells the remarkable true story of the pivotal World War II Battle of Dunkirk. Prominent British actors, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and pop star Harry Styles star in the epic war flick.

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Warner Bros.

Set in the French port city of Dunkirk, the movie recounts the harrowing story of one of the most instrumental battles in the Second World War. The film opened in the moment when 400,000 allied soldiers were trapped between the English channel and Hitler’s 1940 Blitzkrieg army. The soldiers faced certain death or capture, until one of the most remarkable evacuations in military history occurred. Over the course of 8 days, over 800 civilian boats teamed up with the royal navy to evacuate over 340,000 allied troops across the channel, thus preserving the majority of the allied forces, and along with it, the hopes for victory. Dunkirk, aims to tell this extraordinary tale with the utmost accuracy.

However, creating a film of this magnitude was no easy undertaking. Nolan’s wife and producer, Emma Thomas, told Daily News, “Over the course of the movie we had thousands of extras; on our biggest day, we had about 1,300 on the beach, and it was absolutely massive from a logistical standpoint.” Not to mention the difficulty of filming a movie with intense battle scenes on land, air, and sea, which required the use of 54-pound IMAX cameras. Nolan described the process in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying, “The large format cameras can follow the cast anywhere. We could get on a small boat with a number of characters and just shoot IMAX as if we were shooting with a GoPro camera.” Nolan’s filming techniques promise for an intense, intimate experience for viewers.

The film’s cast is star-studded, featuring established British actors like Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Sir Kenneth Branagh. However, one cast member surprised many in the film industry: Harry Styles. The pop singer was casted by Nolan to play a minor character, a soldier named Alex. Nolan explained his decision to cast Styles in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying “When we put the cast together, we had some established names, but for the guys on the beach, we really wanted young unknowns. [Styles is] not that unknown, but he’d never done anything as an actor before. So he auditioned. I auditioned literally thousands of young men with different combinations of young men. And he had it.” Though this casting decision has caused lots of fuss in Hollywood, fellow actor Jack Lowden (who plays a character named Collin) trusts Nolan’s judgment. He told On Demand Entertainment, “I went through the same auditions as Harry, and it was a very stringent process. Chris saw something in Harry, and you’re not going to double guess Chris Nolan, are you?” Aside from some controversy surrounding Styles’ casting, a lot of information regarding the films characters and plot line has been kept secret.

Despite the fact that there are several trailers out for the film, there are still many things Nolan has kept secret; however, one thing that is certain, is that the film will be divided into three sections based on the three components of the battle: air, land, and sea. These three components to the film will be intertwined, making for what Nolan has called “a complicated structure” to a relatively simple story.

Christopher Nolan’s newest feature film ambitiously attempts to relay the true story of one of the most instrumental battles of World War II. Fans seeking an intense, true to life experience anxiously await the July 21 premiere.

Everything, Everything strives to diversify movie industry

Ashley Lo

Copy Editor

          Everything, Everything, a romance drama film, was recently released on May 19. Based on the young adult fiction novel by Nicola Yoon, the movie stars Nick Robinson from Jurassic World and Amandla Stenberg from The Hunger Games. With an African American female director and an African American lead, this romance film celebrates diversity and representation.

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Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

The movie is about an eighteen-year old girl, Madeline Whittier, who suffers from severe combined immunodeficiency, making her allergic to almost everything. Her disease confines her inside her home her whole life, and she is unable to interact with anything that has not been sanitized. Her brother and father passed away, so the only people that she talks to is her mother and nurse, Carla. A boy named Olly moves in next door, and they begin sending text messages; however, Maddy is never permitted to see him. One day, Olly sneaks into Maddy’s house, and they begin meeting regularly. When her mother discovers that Maddy has been secretly meeting with Olly, she angrily fires Carla, Maddy’s only friend, and bans her daughter from seeing Olly. Olly and Maddy continue to secretly text one another, and she decides to risk her life to run away with him to experience just one perfect day. However, along the way, Maddy discovers secrets that her mother had been keeping from her throughout her life.

This movie has gained praise for the casting director’s choice of placing an African American young woman in the main role, which is uncommon for typical romance films. In an interview with Teen Vogue, actress Stenberg states, “I was really drawn to [the film] because it was the first time I had seen a project like that that wanted to cast me as the lead. I think it’s important to have an accurate representation of what young people are like today. It’s a changing world, and interracial couples exist. I also think it’s important that we have representation by having a black girl as the lead.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Stenberg revealed, “Diversity is something that people desperately want. I’m lucky enough to be here and see what’s happening and take those roles when they do appear. I’m very aware of how special it is that I get to have this experience of creating representation in a time where people really, really want to see black girls as leads in movies.” Casting Stenberg as the lead proved to be the right to choice to author of the novel, Nicola Yoon, and director of the movie, Stella Meghie. In the interview, Stenberg revealed that they all wanted to make Maddy’s character as naturalistic as possible, and to make Maddy seem like a real teenager who is accessible. Yoon was eager to have an African American girl play the lead role, as she is African American as well. In an interview with Teen Vogue , she revealed, “Increasing diversity across all aspects of media is very important to me.” Therefore, she also made an effort to hire a female director. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Yoon explained, “Amandla has a real strength, and she’s really optimistic and positive. That’s something Maddy is. Maddy is in this terrible situation, but she believes what she believes, makes the best of it, and has a core, a center that’s really strong. Amandla also has an innocence about her.” Yoon acknowledged the importance of letting teenagers relate with the characters that they watch on a screen.

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Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

Yoon intended for her novel to be a statement about the love that parents have for their children, and the storyline was inspired by her daughter. In an interview with the WHSmith Blog, she explained, “ I felt very protective of [my daughter]. That feeling led me to wonder what life would be like for a girl who always needed protecting in the same way that you protect an infant. What would a life spent indoors, under constant monitoring and protection, do to her psyche? What would happen if she ever fell in love? What risks would she be willing to take for love?” Through the interview with Teen Vogue, she said, “One of the things I wanted to do in both the book and the film was show a relationship between the kids and the parents, because I think a lot of the times in young adult books, the parents are missing. But actually the parents are the biggest influence on kids. They shape their entire world…I wanted to show teenagers that their parents are real people and they make mistakes too.” The novel and movie highlight the natural instincts of parents to protect their children in whatever way possible.

           Everything, Everything is a young adult romance film based off of a popular novel. The movie brings diversity and representation of minorities in media, and allows teenagers to connect with the characters in their struggle towards independence.

SRHS music presents end of year concert

Sadiea Akbar

Photojournalist

On June 9, the Scripps Ranch High School band, orchestra, and choir will hold their end of year concert. This year, the theme of the concert will be animation, cartoons, and graphics. Seniors will also be performing their last concert, ending the year with memories that started when they first joined the SRHS band.

Since coming back from their Northwest tour, the band started preparing for the school year’s finale. In early April, they all decided which pieces will be played from a list made by their teacher Mr. Shedd. After sightreading the music, the members rate the pieces from one to ten; only highly rated pieces are played in the concert. Some pieces they will be performing are “Night on Bald Mountain”, “Tchaikovsky’s Dance No.5” and other works from animated films. Hannah Do (12), Metta Nicholson (12), and Belle Phommavong (12) said, “[Our] favorite piece that we will be playing is ‘The Sleeping Beauty Waltz’”. The members find the music to be fun and exciting, and hopes that their family and friends who attend will enjoy it as well.

This concert will be the last one for many seniors in the band. Most of them have been playing for the school since their freshman year, developing a community for music enthusiasts. Nicholson, who has been playing the violin for nine years, said, “This concert is the culmination of my high school orchestra career, since it is my final concert with the SRHS orchestra. It is the last time I will be playing with my friends I have formed during my four years of high school.” Viola player Do commented, “Almost all of my friends are from band, orchestra and choir, so it’s a very familylike department. I’m very thankful for how much we all care for each other in the program and how passionate everyone is about music.” Phommavong remarked, “I have grown a sense of responsibility to the program as I have become orchestra librarian, council member, and chamber member. I have become more dedicated to the program and have actively tried to improve since I joined orchestra. It has given me a cause that I can actively enjoy and look forward to each day.” Nicholson, Do, and Phommavong appreciate and value different aspects of orchestra, yet they all share the passion and love for playing music.

The future holds different plans for each graduating band member. Nicholson said, “I plan to continue playing violin in college and wish to pursue a minor in music.” Others find their options to be more limited. Violinist Sabrina Tuy (12) commented, “I will be going to Point Loma Nazarene University and they do not have an orchestra, but they do have instrumental clubs.” Similarly, Do said, “I won’t be in orchestra for the first time in my school career when I start college, which will feel very weird.” Phommavong added, “I do not have any current plans of continuing because I probably won’t have time to. However, I will if I do find some small and casual group interested in playing music for fun.” For most of the members, graduating high school will become a turning point for their music career. Some do plan to pursue a major or minor in college, while others prefer to join clubs which are not as intensive.

The end of the year concert invites every student in SRHS to attend with family and friends and enjoy the music played by hard working students. This concert is especially important to seniors, as it concludes their journey of playing music with students who they have known for years.