With the exception of the The Last Knight, the Michael Bay directed Transformers franchise earned over $4 billion in box office takings. Yet, with the release of each installment Transformer fans and general audiences slated the movies, terming them the Bayformers. Considering the target audience of the movies it is initially somewhat surprising that the fanbase reacted in such a way to Bays big screen adaptations of Transformers. Each of the movies was inundated with glamorous cars, heart-pounding action, a healthy dose of comedy, and leading-edge visual effects. Bay delivered, in plentiful supply what he believed the Transformers fans wanted from a live-action rendition of their favorite childhood Saturday morning cartoon yet somehow found himself berated and mocked for his efforts. What Bay didn't realize was that his movies missed two key ingredients that made the Transformers cartoon and toy-line so successful - heartfelt storylines and a deep mythology.
Even the harshest of critics will admit that the first Bayformers movie did have a (somewhat) heartfelt core, but sadly this was diluted with each subsequent installment. The same can also be said for the mythology of the franchise - while all of the major beats were there, they too were diluted beneath the gloss and shine of the action and the visual effects. One key criticism that ran throughout the Bayformers franchise was the transformations of the Autobot and Decepticon characters. Technically and visually the transformations were amazing, but they were overwhelming, and in most cases bore little resemblance to the characters they were meant to be depicting. A chief example of this the Decepticon Starscream, whose "form" and transformation in the original cartoon series and toy-line became somewhat iconic (compare generation 1 Starscream to Robotech, for example), yet in the Bayformers franchise the character was virtually unrecognizable, save for his slimy cowardice.
However, it seems there may be hope on the horizon. This December will see the release of Bumblebee, a prequel movie to the Bayformers franchise. Although Bay is attached as the producer of the movie the movie is being directed by Travis Knight, making this the first live action Transformers movie not directed by Bay. But don't let Bay's producorial role worry you, as it seems from the teaser trailer above which was recently released that Paramount Pictures has finally listened to audiences with what looks to be a more heartfelt movie that pays homage to the actual property it is adapting. Evidence of this can not only be seen throughout the teaser with Bumblebees appearance but also at time mark 1:48, in which Starscream is featured, in which both characters forms and transformations echo those of the original cartoon/toy-line.
Is this a step in the right direction? Will the classically inspired feel of the characters win over the critics? We can only hope so!
More about Transformers: The Last Knight (movie)
The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock).
There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours.
Directed by Michael Bay, Transformers: The Last Knight's release date is June 23rd, 2017.
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