Yeah, you read that right. It’s going to suck. Hard. You can disagree with me, but you’d be wrong. There’s no way in hell this movie is going to be good. It’s going to be a giant pile of shit, and there’s nothing you can do about it. All of you die-hard Transformers fans with delusions of grandeur about seeing Optimus Prime duke it out with Megatron on the big screen in full photo-realistic glory are in for a crushing disappointment, and here’s five reasons why:
5.) Two words: Michael Bay. Hiring this guy to develop and direct a Transformers movie is like hiring Britney Spears to run a day care center. It’s just a bad fit. Bay doesn’t give a rats ass about the mythology of the Transformers, or what they mean to an entire generation. The studio simply went out and threw money at the loudest hired gun they could find, a guy who built a career out of flashy, soulless summer explosion-fests like The Rock, Pearl Harbor, and Armageddon.
4.) Casting. Yes, the robots are the true stars of this film, but you need some quality human actors to play off of them. The audience needs to see this invasion of these fantastical transforming alien machines through the eyes of an ordinary person. Bernie Mac, Shia (Indiana Jones, Jr.) LaBeouf, and Tyrese don’t exactly inspire confidence. In fact, they suck.
3.) No Soundwave. How can you have a Transformers movie without the coolest Transformer of them all? Yes, I realize that this movie is set in present day and no one uses tapes or boomboxes anymore, but you can work around that! According to what I’ve heard, the Transformers come to Earth in metal pods or something and assimilate their forms to Earth vehicles they come into contact with. So, just have Soundwave crash to Earth and come across a guy hopelessly trapped in the 80’s carrying around a big-ass boombox! You simply can’t deprive the Transformers fan base of the most awesome robotic voice in the history of robots.
2.) Character designs and choice of characters. (SPOILERS AHEAD! If you don’t want to know which Transformers are in the movie or what they look like, read no further).
From what I’ve seen in the trailer and the wealth of leaked images on the Internets, none of the robots in the film, with the exception of Optimus Prime, resemble their toy/animated counterparts. In my view, part of the charm of the Transformers and the reason kids connected emotionally to them, was the fact that most of them had human features. Prime, Soundwave, and a few others had the masked look going on, but the majority of the characters had metal eyes, noses, and mouths to express themselves through. The film versions of the Autobots and Decepticons all have faces that pretty much look like this:
Ummm…..yeah. Apparently this is Megatron, leader of the evil Decepticons. The design is pretty cool, I suppose. It’s scary, menacing, and insect-like, but it doesn’t look like a Transformer, and it certainly is going to be next to impossible to get that twisted mess of a mug to emote. If you think that’s bad, his body is even worse, and I’m afraid it doesn’t stop with Megatron. Most of the design work that I’ve seen for the Decepticons in their robot forms make them look like jumbled masses of sharp blades and H.R. Giger-esque shapes. Fine for an original production, but all wrong for the Transformers.
On the friendly Autobot side, so far only Bumblebee and Optimus have been revealed in their robot forms. If you can get past the “Fast and the Furious” style flame paint job and the fact that his vehicle form is a long-nosed truck rather a proper flat-front model, Prime is a fairly faithful representation of his toy/cartoon counterpart, especially his head and face.
Bumblebee, however, suffers the same fate as Megatron. His face isn’t as sharp and malevolent-looking, but it’s still just a mish-mash of gears and servos. Oh, and the worst part? The kind, loyal scout of the Autobots is no longer a cute lil’ VW Beetle, but a souped-up modern Camaro instead. Simply awful.
1.) Marketing. If there has been a more inept marketing campaign for a summer tentpole release in the past fifteen years, I don’t think I’ve seen it. The marketing for this film has been absolutely atrocious. Boring posters, vague trailers, a bland website, and a nonexistent presence on mainstream television entertainment shows has put this film at an early disadvantage against the other summer heavy hitters like Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, and Harry Potter. The most grievous error the marketing team has committed so far is upholding its perplexing decision to keep the appearances of the actual robots hidden from the public. So far, there have been two official trailers released and all we have seen are shadows, chop-edits, backs of robot heads, glimpses of metal limbs, and flash-cuts of the Transformers in action.
When you bury your product in marketing, it can be seen as a lack of confidence in the production. If you have nothing to hide, and you are proud of the work your special effects team has done, what’s wrong with showing the audience what they will see in the theater? The die-hard Transformers fans need to see some hope that their beloved characters translate well to live action, and casual action-movie audiences need to see some impressive shots of the robots causing mass destruction in order to get their hard-earned ten clams. I’m all for building tension and anticipation through marketing, but this is completely the wrong way to go about it.