EDITORIAL: Michael Bay Is The Only Person Who Can Save TRANSFORMERS
Any film that rakes in $100 million in three days is a successful film, regardless of whether or not critics, or fans, actually liked it. It’s also almost a guarantee that another film is coming. However, with Transformers: Age of Extinction, we already knew a fifth film was on it’s way and likely to hit theaters some time in 2016, possibly 2017. But, there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the next film in the franchise, with the biggest one being whether or not Michael Bay would be returning to direct the sequel. And herein lies the problem: Michael Bay is the one person who can save this franchise. How, you ask? By leaving it behind him. But more on that in a bit. Let’s first take a look at the previous four films before we dive into the fifth.
Way back in 2007, when the first Transformers film hit theaters, many folks were excited by the prospect of seeing these giant robots battle it out on the big screen, with the fate of humans and robots alike in the hands of Optimus Prime and his group of butt-kicking Autobots. I’m sure i”m not alone when I say that the first time I saw Prime transform in that alleyway, I was giddy with delight. And then came the battles scenes, where we saw the robot’s taking to the streets and beating the crap out of each other. If nothing else, Michael Bay gave us some great action scenes and decent humor in the first film, without it being too in your face and pushing the boundaries of silly. Overall, the film is nothing more than you’d expect from a Michael Bay movie: explosions, humor and action.
Let’s fast-forward to 2009 with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Early on, this sequel had loads of potential. We learned that the popular Constructicons would be included and that Megatron was returning with the backing of an even bigger threat. However, things turned sour fairly quickly, as the script, put together Ehren Kruker and Hollywood script royalty Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, was a disaster, filled with silly humor, terrible dialogue and a rather dull plot. At times, it felt like you were watching a film that was written by a 12 year old boy trying to makes his friends laugh. I don’t think I need to mention that “out of body” experience, so I? Let alone on the racist undertones with several of the characters. With the exception of the final battle in which Optimus added some rather ridiculous accessories, the other fight scenes in the movie were pretty good. Overall, however, this film was a step back in quality.
With Dark of the Moon, Bay changed the game once again, but bringing in Sentinel Prime and adding a twist to the story, as well as some rather emotional scenes and losses. Megan Fox was given the boot before production even began on this film, for some rather degrading comments towards Bay. She was replaced by a carp in a pant suit that had even less screen presence than her predecessor. But that certainly is not why Bay hired her. The threat was much bigger and the action scenes were back on par. The script took a more adult approach as well, dropping the childish humor and going for more expected dialogue. We finally get to see the happenings on Cybertron, but not nearly enough and many had hoped. Hopefully, with future films, this is something they can explore. This installment was a step in the right direction and a great opportunity for Michael Bay to turn things around.
Which brings me to Age of Extinction. We have a new set of humans to follow, led by Mark Wahlberg, as well as a new group of Autobots who have had just about enough of humans. It’s up to Wahlberg’s character, Cade Yaeger, to change their mind. Overall, the film was just OK. Not as good as the first, but not as bad as Revenge of the Fallen. Once again, the blame falls to a rather lack-luster script and a story that just isn’t that interesting, leaving viewers asking more questions than they went into the film asking. While the new Autobots are cool, they don’t hold a candle to Ratchet, Ironhide and Sideswipe. But, then there’s the Dinobots, who were certainly one of the highlights of the film. I’m hoping that wasn’t just a one-time gig for them.
So where do we go from here? Like I stated earlier, it all falls to Michael Bay and his decision of whether he will return for more. After the release of Dark of the Moon, Bay stated repeatedly that he would not be returning for the fourth film. However, he did and in doing so, he wanted to start things new and set up a new trilogy for a new director to work with. Now, he’s saying he’s done and is ready to move on. In order to save this franchise from going down a road that it will never return from, I think it’s time for Bay, and his writers, to move on. It’s time for a new director to take the wheel and see what they can do. This is how Michael Bay can be the savior of this franchise and it desperately needs saving. Step aside and make room for some new blood. It is honestly a shame he didn’t do this with the fourth film and I hope he realizes that.
What I’d like to see happen is someone that is more of a storyteller take over the project, someone who can take an entirely new and unexpected approach to the characters. Duncan Jones comes to mind. I know he’s busy with the Warcraft film, so that’s pretty much out, but it at least gets the wheels spinning as to the potential that Transformers has and the incredible stories that could be told. Especially if they expand on Galvatron, who was severely under-used in Age of Extinction. Not to mention the possibility of Unicron. What say you fans? Is it time for Michael Bay to step away? Who would you like to see take the reigns on the project? Sound off below!
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