The Transformers Franchise

We’ve just had the third of the live action Transformer movies directed by Michael Bay with Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer.

I was really excited by the news that there was going to be a live action movie of one of my favourite childhood TV shows and toys but I didn’t really follow the films progress until it was close to the release date.  Myself and a friend went to the cinema to see it and I got Goosebumps as Peter Cullen’s Optimus Prime voice came into the cinema.  Then it was an excruciating wait to see Prime in all his glory.  He steamed up to Sam and Mikaele (Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox) and went from a kick arse truck to a massive robot warrior who was the champion of honor and integrity.  Then we got some kick arse fight scenes which only improved in the 2nd and 3rd films.  As a fan I got what I needed out of these films in one respect and that is seeing the Autobots fighting the Decepticons and beating them! But as A movie fan it let me down hugely.

I am A fan of Michael Bay’s films.  Whether its Bad Boys or Pearl Harbour I enjoy his work.  I know there are many who slate him for his films but they work, but with the Transformer films, especially the 2nd, it felt like there was too much attention on the CGI of the Robots; which was required but there needed to be as much attention on the storyline of all three films. I honestly do not know what the intention of the three films was?  There is no overall story arc, no real character development over the three films and cheesy, repetitive and empty characters.  The actors were massively overshadowed by the Transformers who had much more to like about them.  Shia LaBeouf’s character of Sam Witwicky never really grew on me or grew up in the films.  He was the same as in the first film.  Megan Fox not returning as the love interest didn’t really bother me.  Mikaele Barnes was a good character, feisty and street wise but I’m here for the Transformers, but I missed her.  Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was cast as Carly Spencer who was the love interest for Sam.  The film needed an actress and not a model-turning actress.  I’m not gonna slag off her acting abilities as its her first film but the role needed someone with more presence on-screen.  On a minor note just because she’s A model does not mean she has to look it in every scene.  If Fox had been in the film where would her character and Sam’s be in their relationship? It’s a shame whatever the reasons were that she did not return could not have been sorted out as it would have been an important time for their characters and their growth into adulthood.  As for other characters why did we not see more of Lennox (Josh Duhamel)  He was someone I wanted to know more about.  Simmons (John Tuturro) was good in the first film but seemed to lose his way  a  little in the next two films.

John Malkovich has a small roll in the 3rd film and is amusing adding comic relief but he’s character like so many felt like a cliché. As in the 2nd film the third had a human government secretary who seemed to think they were God.  Both just seemed to want to throw a spanner in the works and not see the bigger picture.  At times it felt like actors were using this as A ‘Look at me’ advert.    These were funny characters but didn’t fit into the film for me.  The funniest part of the films for me were Sam’s Dad taking him to buy his first car and driving to a Porsche Dealership then saying something like ‘ no chance’ before laughing.  And also in the first film when Lennox is trying to get in touch with the Pentagon he has to go through an international call centre during a firefight and the operator not really paying attention.

The CGI of the Transformers was STUNNING! In every aspect.  The vehicles chosen to represent the various Autobots and Decepticons were for me spot on.  Optimus Prime looked every part the powerful entity that was needed (although I didn’t like him having a mouth.  Fans know what I mean) Bumblebee was a funky character who had a lot of charisma on-screen.  Megatron was as sinister as we all needed.  He appeared late in the first film but made a big entrance.  I didn’t quite believe in the 2nd film him answering to a superior, that came up in the 3rd film too and it felt like he had been diminished too much.  Megatron only answered to himself.  More should have been made of Starscream as well.  Apart from Megatron we never got to know any of the other Decepticons.

What disappointed me most of all was the lack of an overall story that tied the three films together.  Each film had a different reason for the Tranformers being on Earth.  The 1st film was the life-giving AllSpark.  The 2nd film was about a Sun Harvester and the 3rd was about opening up a Space Bridge to teleport matter.  Surely if Megatron knew of his ‘mentor’ in the first film he would have summoned all of the surviving Decepticons in the galaxy to get the AllSpark to his Mentor? Or if he knew of the crashed Autobot shuttle on the Moon then why didn’t he lead Optimus Prime to the Moon?  Also it asks the questions why the U.S, didn’t put two and two together.  In the 1st film they had Megatron frozen in the depths of Hoover damn, but the 3rd film reveals that the U.S. sent man to the Moon to find the crashed shuttle and the giant robots within it.

It is just one massive muddle these three films.  There is no continuity at all, or if there is I’ve missed it big time! Saying that though I can quite happily watch each one of these films, i tend to fast forward through the boring bits to the giant robots kicking the nuts and bolts out of each other (Bumblebee kicking Ravage’s and another Decepticons arse is a highlight of the 2nd film) And I think that is the centre of the film’s success.  Childhood foundness of Transformers made these films huge successes.  Yes, the story lines and so forth could have been better but I will tell anyone I meet that I love these films (If they ask that is) There is so much more i could say but I’m not gonna go that far.  These films are guilty pleasures.

Thank you all involved for making my favourite childhood cartoon into movies that had The Autobots kicking Decepticon Arse!!!! 🙂

8 thoughts on “The Transformers Franchise

  1. I absolutely love the Transformers movies! I think the storyline is good, but you are right, when you try to combine the three films together, it doesnt make much sense. But hey, it’s more than meets the eye O.O

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  2. Well… I think when they made the first movie back in 2007, they never expected it to be such a big hit, so it was never intended to be a trilogy. At least it’s not one of those things where they make the second and third film together and neither are good

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      • The only big problem I had with the continuity is why Bumblebee couldn’t speak in the second movie even after his voice got repaired at the end of the first. I’ve heard a few explanations like his voice got destroyed in a battle that you can see in the comic book, or it was painful for him to talk… the second movie should have had some explanation…

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        • Yeah i agree, i’d forgotten about that. There was a littke throw away line about it playing up or hurting at the beginning of the 2nd film if i remember correctly.

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  3. Holy cow Peter! I never thought I would meet another person that felt the same way about the movie progression as me. Just the other day I got into a fairly in-depth Facebook post war with a few friends. We were discussing Hollywood’s destruction of our childhood cartoons. You could not be more right about how there is no tie for the films. I expected it to be like the cartoons where it was more of a soap opera continuation for cartoon to cartoon. Instead they made it like the Batman franchise by creating different stories as if they were starting over with each film. I would also have to agree with you on the lack of human character building. They all felt forced into the movie. But just to share the consensus of worst children’s cartoon to be made into a movie from our post war was; Masters of the Universe (1987) with Dolph Lundgren.

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    • I’m not alone! That is the most frustrating thing about the Transformers movies and I thankfully have repressed the Masters of the Universe movie. G.I. Joe wasnt much cope either and I’m a little worried about the Battleships movie coming out soon.

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