Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When Directors Shit on Our Childhood Dreams

SOUNDWAVE's NOTE (2007-08-06) : Read my full review for the film here.

When George Lucas keeps revising Star Wars to continually keep up with his ever changing Original VisionTM, fans complained that he was ruining a film they enjoyed from childhood. They should count themselves lucky that they had almost 20 good years before he decided to make Greedo shoot first.

Countless childhood television shows and video games wound up in the crapper when making the transition to the big screen. Remember the He-man movie? Sadly, I do.

Unfortunately this travesty is going to be repeated with the most sacred of institutions, Transformers. The perpetrator? Michael Bay (and to a lesser extent, Steven Spielberg).

To be honest, no one that I knew was more in love with the idea of a CGI/live action movie of the Transformers than myself. Unfortunately, the more I read about this project, the more I became concerned that another wonderful idea was going in the wrong direction.

First off, here is a quote from Wikipedia regarding Michael Bay's involvement:

Michael Bay was negotiated with to direct, but turned it down as a "stupid toy movie". Realising he had been wrong as a teenager at Lucasfilm regarding Raiders of the Lost Ark' box office potential, he was put through "Transformers school", and in April 2005 he confirmed he was directing the film.

What the FUCK! Any director who has to be educated about the Transformers should not be a choice to direct! Look at Superman Returns, Spider-man, and X-men (1 and 2). These directors were HUGE fans of the original series and characters. Their movies are highly faithful to the original concepts and were well received (Spidey's organic web shooters caused issues, but I really blame Stan Lee for coming up with a stupid idea to begin with). Ghostrider's star Nicolas Cage is himself a big fan of the character and even helped write the film. This is what we need.

How about this one for Mr. Spielberg:

Spielberg himself had come to know the franchise via the toys and cartoons that his children loved.

Everyone, go call your dad and ask him who the leader of the Autobots was. Enough said.

Above all here is a fan-fucking-tastic (emphasis on fan-fucking, because that's all they're doing with this movie) expanation why the Arc was removed from the film (the Autobots space shuttle that crashed into the volcano):

In another design development Roberto Orci cut the Autobot's Ark spaceship which John Rogers originally included, saying "Why would aliens who moonlight as vehicles need other vehicles to travel inside?"

Orci, you dumb fuck, the Arc is a space vehicle, not an airplane. Everyone understands that for travel around earth, they move under their own power. How the hell is a robot the size of a car supposed to travel between solar systems?!?!?!?!? My brain is beginning to hurt.

Now lets really bring on the hurt. No one looks anything like their '80's counterpart. Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide, and Ratchet are all new vehicles (marketing tie-ins) and their robot states look like... well I think you need to see the horror for yourself. Get a tissue, or a box.

The Decepticons are even worse, Megatron looks like crap, so does Starscream. Soundwave is nowhere to be found, and the other Decepticons are all but made up.

As an additional kick in the balls regarding Megatron, Peter Cullen is reprising his role as Prime, but Frank Welker was turned down to reprise his role as Megatron in favour of Hugo Weaving. For those who don't know, Frank Welker is a voice acting god, having played thousands of cartoon voices. It would have been awesome to have the original voices AT LEAST. Monkeys at the controls I tell you, monkeys at the controls.

What is Bay's response to this criticism? 1) He wanted to make it realistic, 2) It's a reboot of the series. He looooooves to hide behind those stupid excuses.

Michael's addiction to realism is why characters like Soundwave are not in the movie and Prime's vehicle mode has changed, because he is trying to be mass constant. Great. I'm glad he's trying to be realistic about sentient, shape-shifting robots from a fictional planet. Mr. Bay, please watch Mario Bros. That is a lesson on making things "realistic". (Nintendo really should have stepped in on the scriptwriting on that one)

Secondly, reboots refer to existing franchises like James Bond and Batman that seem to be going downhill. Transformers had one cartoon movie, 20 years ago. That is not a franchise, it doesn't get REBOOTED.

There are glaring other changes, such as the whole point of the trek to earth is not for energy to fuel their war, but for the ALLSPARK? What the hell is that?

Mr. Bay please let me inform you of something, regardless of what Steven tells you, these characters exist and do not need to be created or "updated". As if he knows what the fuck he's doing nowadays anyhow. Haley Joel Osment as Harry Potter? Give me a break. At least Harry Potter has JK Rowling to defend it. Transformers has no one. Only millions of fans screaming in disgust, but no one is listening.

Michael Bay, please take your seat next to Joel Schumacher in the line of "Directors whos should be banned from filming". Psst! Hollywood... I think Michael Bay is a communist! Pass it on!

Despite this harsh criticism, I am at odds as to whether or not I will see this film in theatres. One side says to protest, but the other is dying of curiosity. Its like a train wreck, you don't want to look, but you can't turn away.

I'm hoping that I didn't bring you all down too much. To make it up to you and to cheer you up, here's a gallery of Lil' Formers, really funny single-frame Transformers comics, as kids!

Actually here's the homepage for Lil' Formers: Lilformers.com

Also, check out this one:

Look closely at Wreck-Gar's gift. First one to explain the joke as a comment to this article gets a shout out on the next blog entry!

Well that's all for now. If I do watch the movie, I'll post a review. Until next time, keep having fun.

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"


RadioFreeG said...

Thanks, you may have saved me the cash of going to see this film. I must take issue with something, however. Prime does look really good. I mean REALLY good. His goodness is offset by the gigantic crap bucket that is Megatron. What the heck is he supposed to be? (He looks more like Galvatron, except he is not a big purple gun with an orange cannon. Fuck you Michael Bay!)

The only thing that can save this film is a good script, and if the people writing it care about the script as much and the people producing and designing the visuals, then all hope is lost.

As for the ALLSPARK, I believe that is from one of the TF: ENERGON, or TF: ARMADA, cartoon series. As soon as I read that word I know I heard it somewhere before.

Sal said...

I feel your pain. These guys should of hired a some 30 something director who's actually owned and PLAYED with a transformer.

This also brings another movie in to the picture, The Simpsons. I got this deep dark gut feeling it may sink as well.

Soundwave said...

To Radio Free G,

Prime looks good as a stand alone character. In fact, if this movie were about anything but Transformers, then I probably wouldn't have been negative at all.

However, they chose to call the movie Transformers, and they are not being faithful to the original series at all. Due to the mass consistency, Prime does not have a trailer for the entire movie. Just a wimpy truck cab driving around. How shit is that.

At least if Bay just came out and said "We changed the robots so we could sell toys" then I would still hate him, but just not for lying.


Yes, some children of the '80s should have been hired as consultants. I saw someone's CGI of the original Prime transforming and it looked fantastic!

I would agree with you on the Simpsons, I think it will be way too long to enjoy properly. One candy bar is great, but 5 or 6 will make you sick. Everything in moderation.

RadioFreeG said...

The Simsons movie will be great, and it will finally kill the show. You can tell they are devoting lots of resources to it already since you get a new Simpsons episode once every three weeks, if that, and you are lucky enough to see the promo for it on Sunday night right before the show airs!

South Park went through the same thing. The movie was great, and the show sufferred. It is only recently that they cut back on the episodes per year and put out some good stuff that really captured the publics' imagination. Simpsons, however, has already been on for half my life and they can't afford to take a few seasons to regroup, what with the already crappy way FOX leaks out new episodes.

Remember whaen Simpsons was all FOX had, and they put it on against the COSBY SHOW? They hyped it like no tomorrow. Cosby won in the sticks, and Simpsons won in the urban centers, but at that time the sticks were more powerful and Simpsons moved to Sunday night. Before they got NFL, MLB, NASCAR, (and even a little bit of HOCKEY!), FOX was built and saved by the Simpsons. Now the Simpsons get shit on, and it shows in the product. That it is still one of the best shows on tv is a mystery, and shame, for the rest of tv.