So for the last week i have been trying to write this post. It’s not been easy for me because their are so many things i want to touch on about the Transformers movie, but at the same time i don’t want to boar everyone to death about it.
Originally this post started off as a letter to Micheal Bay (the director of the Transformers movie) pointing out some basic time and money saving things he could have done. But as you will read you will see that Micheal Bay’s own personal two year vision of the Transformers is what he wanted to make. Not the already existing and well known 20 year old mythology of the story.
I have been an avid fan of the Transformers most of my life. I feel that this makes me some what of an authority on the subject. I have seen all the Transformers cartoons and I have read all the Transformers comic books. I remember growing up and my older brother coming home from college on the weekends and bringing me a new Transformers toy just about every time that he visited. When I was a teenager, I remember saving my allowance for months sometimes, just to buy Transformers comic books I could find from local comic book shops. I have so many memories, wonderful memories around these robots and their adventures. I have waited my whole life for a live action Transformers movie – and on July 3rd, 2007, in Juneau Alaska, I was the first person in line for the first showing to see that movie.
The movie that Micheal Bay has made is fantastically inaccurate and was very disappointing to me, personally. I think that he has made one of the best movies of the year, if not the best movie of the year. It is a visual symphony of special effects, acting talent and some of the best directing I have ever seen. The film that was made, however, is not representative of The Transformers.
Micheal Bay mentioned in a blog post that I read before it was taken down, “I cut my fee 30% so I could make this at home.” I think that is very amazing and I don’t think an act like that should go unacknowledged. As a Transformers fan I have so much respect for him because of that single act.
In the same breath, I want to tell Micheal Bay how I think he could have only cut his fee by 20% instead of 30%. I don’t know very much about the movie making business. But, I do think he could have saved a lot of money with the writing. The script for Transformers film had already been written for him. In September of 1984, Marvel Comics released “The Transformers” ( http://www.thetransformers.net/review.asp?MenuID=207 ). Looking at this, he would have already had a completed written script. Granted, you might have had to hire a writer to update a few things‚ so that it would be current for 2007. This solution, to me, sounds much cheaper than hiring 2 writers to create a whole new Transformers story. But again, I don’t know much about how to make a movie … it just seems that he could have saved some money by doing this. Micheal Bay also would not have upset numerous Transformers fans like me, because the story would essentially be correct.
To quote Micheal Bay again from his blog post, “Tom had one creative meeting with me for one hour and ten minutes to be exact about a year ago. He told he was the uber fan boy and was going to protect me from the minefields. The type of minefields on the Net like‚ “Damn you Michael Bay‚” ‚”You wrecked my childhood Michael Bay‚” and other various web death threats I received. Tom proceeded to tell me how much he had problems with the robot designs and script issues. I realized he was worlds apart in my vision.”
This, I think, was his biggest mistake. The Transformers rejuvenation in recent years has not been a result of his vision of how they should be. Fans are not walking around talking to each other thinking “Wouldn’t Prime look so much better as a long nose truck?” The return of interest in the Transformers has been because of the iconic characters and the classic story line of good vs evil.
Micheal Bay has stated in past interviews that he is not a fan of the “blocky” shapes of the original G1 Transformers, so he decided to have them changed. To me, that is like saying Superman has been wearing his red cape for too long. Maybe it should be green, and perhaps shorter. Or, maybe just remove it altogether. Changes like this do not make sense to me. Later, he stated that Industrial Light & Magic would not be able to make the blocky G1 style of the original Transformers work. The arms and legs would not be able to move in all the ways that would be required by the movie. I can understand making minor modifications to the G1 style of characters so that they could physically move the way you would need them to. But to flat out say that ILM could not make it work is something I have a hard time swallowing. ILM is the world’s best at special effects. If they would not be able to get G1 Transformers to work, then I think their work as special effects artists does not deserve the credit that it has been so highly given.
“I never spoke creatively with Don. I read his notes kind of trashing the script and making me and the writers feel like a big shit pile.”
It sounds to me as if two people that Micheal Bay worked with knew more about the Transformers mythology than he did. They tried to correct the mistakes in the script that he was working from. Perhaps, he should correct his two year vision of the Transformers to be more accurate with the twenty year-old mythology that Transformers fans are familiar with.
Waiting as long as I have for this movie to be made, only to be disappointed with the results, is very depressing. I can only hope that with time someone will remake this movie to more accurately represent the Transformers as loyal fans have come to know and love them. They are already doing this with other franchises like Batman and Superman. I really wish I could get a refund for my ticket.