With internet rumors already running rampant for the next film in the “Transformers” franchise, many fans want many different things. Some people HATED the original trilogy of films, unfairly I think. The first was a straight-forward origin story that flowed a lot like one of the ’80′s cartoons (which is a GOOD THING!). Did it have flaws, yes, namely too many close-ups and not being able to see what is going on, but given something was being done that hadn’t been even attempted before, I can give that a pass. The second film tried to “expand” the movie universe, in both character and story, failing on both fronts, coming off as a jumbled mess. “Transformers: ROTF” had charm and tried, dear god it tried, it just didn’t work, but made over $800 million. Then the third film came out, and it was just picked and ripped apart, the plot, in essence, is DIRECTLY taken from the multi-part episode “The Ultimate Doom”…bringing the planet Cybertron to Earth. The movie was a vast improvement over the second installment and Bay seemed in his element in the mass carnage.
If you watch all 3 films consecutively, they form a constant (though very thin) narrative, and was less convoluted than the typical Transformers story. They are visually stunning and (at times) emotionally charged. Michael Bay originally said that “Dark of the Moon” would be his last Transformers film, but news has him prepping the 4th film as we speak. And I want to voice my views (as many MANY others have), on not only how make this next “Transformers” film fit into what has been laid before it, but ultimately, AWESOME!
5. Stick with the cannon that the first 3 films started (aka NO REBOOT!)
I am not saying use the EXACT same actors and the EXACT same characters (more on that later), but stick with that thin narrative and expand and strengthen it, the ground work has been laid before you Bay (Director) and Kruger (Writer, thank god he replaced Kurtzman and Orci!), you just need to blow us away with a great, updated Transformers story based in your “Movie Universe”. I would personally love to see a story where Sam and Carly were older and had a son, Daniel, and move the story on to Daniel and a new group (3-5 NO MORE of each faction) of Transformers. There are characters I would love to see return (Lennox/Epps, even Agent Simmons and his assistant, Dutch) but I get that many of the actors want to move on. The video games that have recently come out are a great prequel to the Autobots and Decepticons coming to earth, but the games have MASSIVE story holes that need fixed, but that’s a whole other list. I just don’t want to see what was built 5 years ago that was getting better and better, just simply erased.
4. If you are going to use a specific character, make it CONSISTENT with the character!
This really grinds my gears! *No pun intended* KEY EXAMPLES (And offenders, again this could be another article in and of itself): Soundwave and “Q” (aka WheelJack). Soundwave was a communications officer (somewhat consistent in “ROTF”) but in the third film, he is a loyal servant of Megatron, which was pitch perfect, but they made him a bloodthirsty killer, which wasn’t him at all, not EVEN close. And “Q”, the look didn’t bother me, I am all for liberties with characters, but as the Autobot Inventor, it’s WheelJack! If you are going to use a character’s personality, likeness is flexible, but at least call the character by his damn NAME! Now when it comes to the robots, change colors, hell change forms (as long as it’s consistent with the original i.e. Sideswipe), but make him somewhat recognizable to us fans, PLEASE!
3. NO Dinobots!!!!!
I will be the first to admit, seeing Grimlock wreck havoc, “Bay style” would be very awesome indeed! And all I have heard from the net is “If there aren’t any Dinobots, I am not watching the movie!” But the simple fact is the Dinobots’ appearance in the films would be rather ridiculous and defy any sort of logic (even for a Michael Bay/TF movie)! As I said in #4, there are ways of having the characters in there, but that is up to the filmmakers, not me.
When originally conceiving this article months ago, I had the perfect voice for Unicron, Michael Clarke Duncan, unfortunately he has passed away and I cannot think of someone to be the voice of the planet-killer. But Unicron is central to the entire Transformers Mythology and not including him in someway into the films is a crime. I am not saying centralizing him into the plot of the new trilogy, but some sort of acknowledgment of his menace would be a welcome treat for fans indeed.
1. Go off Earth (At least stay out of major cities)
And this is #1 for the simple fact that you don’t want to repeat yourself…too much. I LOVE freeway chases (especially Michael Bay freeway chases) but 2 out of the 3 films have them. 2 out of the 3 films have fights in large populated cities, not that they are not cool, you can only do them so many times. I have heard that Michael Bay wants to take this film into space, which would be a wicked 3rd act to the new film. As criticized as the second movie was, it did try something different, it took the battle out of North America and to Egypt. A clever idea, but like the movie, full of clever ideas, but not so well executed. Especially if they take a note from my #2, space is a certainty. We (the fans) want these films to be successful, but not stale.
I know he has haters all over the globe, but Michael Bay knows what the general public wants, BIG bombastic action, sprinkle some character (I prefer a little more, but I’m not most audiences), and throw in some spectacular visuals and you have a great summer film. I hope in the future, people will see these films as notable Sci-Fi works of the new millennium, but I may be hoping for too much. Maybe this new film will finally silence the haters and get Bay at least a little of the respect he deserves not as a story teller, but as a filmmaker and visual virtuoso.