Viking Night: Michael Bay May The Final Chapter - Transformers
By Bruce Hall
May 31, 2017
Can you believe I almost went with Pearl Harbor instead? Wow.
I’ve spent an entire month writing about Michael Bay and I wasn’t going to mention Transformers. No, I was going to second attack on Pearl Harbor, that turn-of-the-century turd Bay inflicted upon humanity back in 2001. My reasoning was that my God, what is there to say about any of the Transformers movies? Giant robots fight over an obvious MacGuffin. Megan Fox leans over the radiator. Linkin Park sings about how painful something is. Sit back, relax, watch money fall from the sky onto Megan Fox. I guess what I’m trying to say is: there’s a formula for making it rain, and Michael Bay has mastered the equation.
On the other hand, we’re talking about a film franchise based on a terrible TV show from the 1980s. And, by the way, that show existed for no reason whatsoever other than to sell dumb toys to dumb kids. See? As you read that your hand instinctively reached for the phone to call Michael Bay. If you want to make a movie about a renegade cop who plays by his own rules and rocks a wicked set of sideburns, you call Clint Eastwood. If you want to make a movie about a karate master who robs banks on a jet ski, you need to involve Jason Statham. And if you want to make a $150 million movie about a low budget TV show about a shitty toy…
Right. You see where I’m going. The other problem with Transformers is that by definition, there IS no story. That may be fine for a half hour on Saturday morning, but how the hell do you stretch that into a film worth the cost of a fighter jet? Well first, go back and read the last sentence of the previous paragraph. Then, read the next one for some background on this.
I remember Transformers from when I was a kid, but I was probably outside the target demo. I was still young enough to play with action figures (dolls are for girls...duh), but too old to be interested in dumb little plastic robots that look awesome but do nothing. Or to be more precise: they were dumb little plastic robots that turned into dumb little plastic cars, or planes, and sometimes dinosaurs. It’s a neat trick the first time you see it, and then it kind of stops being interesting.
Also, adding 90 seconds of origami to the process doesn’t make a toy very easy to play with.
But hey, wasn’t Transformers a popular television show, you say? The answer is yes but again, I wasn’t the target. Even as a child I quickly cynical of what were obviously nothing but half hour toy commercials. And they ALL relied on some variation of the same boring formula. There would be a group of stupidly named heroes pitted against an equivalent number of stupidly named villains. They would all fight with similar weapons (lame), tactics (none) and costumes (flamboyantly homo-erotic, usually). Nobody was ever killed, or even seriously injured in any way. Neither side ever gained an advantage on the other, and nobody ever really “won."