Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Michael Bay Strikes Again!

Is no franchise of my childhood sacred? Apparently not., because today the Hollywood Reporter featured an article announcing that Michael Bay will be directing a live action feature film of the Transformers. The movie is set up at Deamworks, and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are set to write the “script.” These were the guys who “retooled” The Island (which was originally brilliantly written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen) and I can only imagine it will take them about a whopping forty five minutes to bang out this one.

I used to watch cartoon series which ran from ’84, to ’87 and had some of the awesomical robot toys all over my bedroom floor. I forced my parents, (just as we all did) to go see Transformers: The Movie which came out in ’86 and featured many unforgettable voice talents, including those of Casey Casem, Leonard Nimoy, and of course Orson Welles. This film also had a wonderfully melodramatic and cheesy tagline.

“Beyond good. Beyond evil. Beyond your wildest imagination.”

I wonder if Bay and company will decide to keep this, or if they will attempt to “kick it up a notch.” (I can’t believe I just used Emeril slang in a post)

I would actually say that this tagline could be very apropos in describing Bay’s directorial style, all it needs it a few word substitutions.

“Beyond bad. Beyond Evil. Cheesier beyond your wildest imagination. Michael Bay’s Transformers!”

I just don’t understand. Why? My first why would be directed to Dreamworks, as in why make this movie, because I don’t think that the nostalgia factor is enough to draw in the big bucks. Also eight year olds in the 80’s played with robots and toys, and eight year olds today snort Ritalin and form video game mafias. I suppose the whole idea is to reintroduce the entire concept including the line of toys and make it a whole merchandise extravaganza, but I’m still not convinced. There is no indication whether they would be working off the plot of the ’86 animated feature, or if they would start from scratch, but with Kurtzman and Orci on board I don’t have a lot of faith in the kind of story they could come up with. They used to be writers on Alias, but left the show to do feature work. Their project slate is a virtual who’s who of blockbuster studio crap, including Mission Impossible III, and the NOT long overdue Zorro sequel. Blech.

What’s really trippy to me about this project is that Steven Spielberg is set to executive produce. This is an aspect of the project that gives it potential to be kind of cool and retro. Spielberg hasn’t really done kids fare in a while and it sort of reminds me of the days gone by in the mid 80’s when he did exec produced The Land Before Time, American Tale, Gremlins 2, and yes, even Harry and the Hendersons just to name a few. I swear that man didn’t sleep once during the 80’s, and that is why he is my hero.

But then of course there is the Michael Bay factor. This will be Bay’s first kids movie and I’m curious to see how his explosions, high speed chases, and bad musical choices are adapted for the younger set. My guess is that they won’t be.

But let’s back the truck up a little bit, shall we? Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg hanging out together in the production trailer? I’ve got be honest I don’t like it. There is something unnatural about Spielberg and Bay collaborating on a film together. You don't mix your classy pilsner with cheap malt liquor. Its just wrong. In the past, Spielberg has taken on directors to be his protégés now and again; sometimes its been more successful than others. But if Bay is a new favorite of his I think I’m going to puke. Oy Vey.


Blogger Mike said...

I have to tell you, I don't think this is such a bad choice. Now mind you, I really don't care for Michael Bay, except for The Rock, which was and will continue to be his best film (which isn't saying a lot). I don't think I will ever forgive him for that awful piece-of-crap-stinking-pile-of-poo-in-front-on-an-American-flag-shitfest that Armageddon was. But he is good for this movie.

Mind you, I had the toys as a child. I saw the animated movie. I pitted my Transformers in epic battles against GI Joes and Thundercats. Yes, I was a fan. However, I am not looking for the "thinking man's Transformers." I'm more interested in Optimus Prime's physical transformation from big ol' Mack truck to super-awesome robot than his inner transformation from self-doubt and tragedy to courage and spiritual rebirth. But that's just me.

With Michael Bay at the helm, things will blow up really big. The robots will look cool. Robots will be smashed. Honestly, is anyone really looking for something more from this film? I don't think there's really anything sacred here to ruin, like there is for Batman, Spiderman, X-Men, etc.

My biggest hope for this film is that the accompanying toys still have that black patch on their chests that changes color when you rub it.

5:09 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Well in a way I see your point, but I still disagree. The transformers appearence is a crucial element that may override their character development. But a bad story and presentation can ruin any movie, no matter how cool or mindless the source material was. Look at the Tomb Raider movies, in particular the second one. I mean my God, that movie was unwatchable, it was actually painful to watch. It wasn't that the director and writers missed deep meanings in Lara Crofts search, they just did a terrible job in presenting it.

Just because Bay is good at broad strokes and explosions, I am still convinced he will miss the point of the Transformers, just as he missed it with The island. Again this is a man who's supposedly afraid of making "geeky" films, yet look at his last two choices. He's gonna try to overcompensate have the autobots turn into bodacious babes or something. yech.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

That's a great idea! Boobybots! You're brilliant! You should be the one writing this script.

9:56 PM  

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