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Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:24 pm
by inflatable dalek
Cliffjumper wrote: Hilariously bad attempt to disguise the actress playing Tessa pegging it. Just say she's in hiding somewhere and be done with it, don't come up with some idiocy about how she's sitting down for her exams a few states over from a ****ing robot war without anyone going "hey, you know the guy we're after who'll do anything for his daughter? Why don't we, like, make some use of that?".
I was surprised to be told that was actually the actress from the last one on the phone as I'd assumed they were working around her telling them to **** off. Which means she actually beats Simmons in the phoning in her performance stakes.
EDIT: Looking at the box office it's not *that* bad, is it?
I hope the dip does make give them a kick up the arse, all the problems with this one are basically the same problems every single person pointed out with the last only turned up slightly. I quite enjoyed the film still, but there was a bit too much of a sense of them thinking they could get away with anything. Simply a tighter plot (or at least tighter editing) would make a world of difference.

Mind, I think the "AT LAST PEOPLE KNOW THEY'RE SHIT!!!" folks (which is the equivalent of, saying "The box office failure of Star Trek V proves no one ever really liked Star Trek") are going to be disappointed. If Paramount do a knee jerk reaction it's far more likely they'll make the next one more like the earlier proven Bay films--which come to think of it, the Bumblebee film probably will be but set in the 80's--than suddenly going all G1.

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:46 pm
by Red Dave Prime
I know! They should merge it with the battleship/ gi now franchises and create a Hasbro universe. That's worked wonders for the comics (firmly believe idws upcoming first strike event is the nail in the coffin for me)

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:54 pm
by Cliffjumper
Cinema in general is on a bit of a downturn and I think a lot of franchise stuff is on the cusp of if not a slump then a steady downturn. Superhero stuff for example just isn't special anymore - Homecoming took millions but I think Marvel were expecting Spidermania. This stuff just isn't *special* anymore. Regarding Transformers, a downturn was always inevitable. I'd agree Hasbro/Paramount are much more likely to look at reigning spending in (no need for Marky Mark as films with unknowns in the lead didn't do badly, calm down the plots). More than any of the others TLK wastes an ungodly amount of money on Transformers that really, really don't do anything. At the same time it might just be that this is it, the wider public have had enough of transforming robots for now. While I think the film was terrible neither that nor Bay's style had been a problem in itself before and IMO it's delusional to think a back-to-G1 "Batman Begins" approach will work because G1 simply doesn't have the following or credo Batman does.

They also need to make them shorter, really. TLK must have been three hours with trailers; lots of people will stay at home and just watch three episodes of Thrones instead. TV is probably the most serious threat to cinema it's ever been with closing production values and casting pull, the response is not to fatigue the audience. I spent about the last hour of TLK just hoping it ended soon.

If Bumblebee's been part of a clandestine Autobot organisation since at least WW2, with Hot Rod kicking around, wouldn't it have been easier to use their huge resources to recover Archibald's glasses or just have the ****ed-out old luvvie buying them rather than Batsignalling for Autobot High Command? If Bumblebee's been on Earth sixty years for the first film he's a ****wit who basically loses the Allspark; the only way the '07 film has even a strand of logic in its' set-up is if the Autobots are ignorant of Earth. This is why I hate these sort of retcons.

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:14 pm
by Red Dave Prime
I'd fully agree with the above and add in that companies should stay away from this franchise approach as a standard. I know Ive a few friends who have stopped bothering with the Marvel stuff because they cant be arsed keeping track of all the different movies. AoE really didnt need the 'to be continued...' approach and transformers is a great fit for a dumb popcorn movie - except now you need to know what came before.

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:49 pm
by Warcry
I've finally gotten around to watching this. I think it might have been the worst movie I've ever sat all the way through. Definitely significantly worse than any of the previous movies, and it's not like all of those have been amazing. The plot was an ROTF-tier nonsense mishmash, and it did nothing but repeat the exact same themes as every other TF movie. To top it off, there wasn't a single likeable or relateable person (or robot) in the cast even though there were, like, fifteen "main" characters in the thing.

Even by the remarkably low standards I have for the TF movies, this one was a real disappointment.

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:32 pm
by Clay
It's something, isn't it?

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:47 pm
by inflatable dalek
Warcry wrote:I think it might have been the worst movie I've ever sat all the way through.
I wish I lived a life where that was true for me.

[I hope you'll be listening to the Podcast Maximus episode on it now ;) ]

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:04 am
by optimusskids
Worse than Warbirds ? (B29 vs Pteradactyls)

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:40 am
by Auntie Slag
Is there an explanation how Bumblebee is blown apart and magically pulls himself together?

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:05 am
by Skyquake87
No. He's a Junkion...? (Has the speech pattern for it) Sucks any jeopardy out of the fight with Prime later in the film, though.

Posted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:45 pm
by Cliffjumper
Auntie Slag wrote:Is there an explanation how Bumblebee is blown apart and magically pulls himself together?
Is there even any sort of explanation for why anyone thought that was a good idea? Visually it looks naff and surely the film is certificated too high to make anyone fall for it even for a second?

I... can't watch it. I watched the shit out of the first three and I've probably seen 4 more times than I've watched most proper films. But I've watched TLK twice - once as a dodgy cam, once on a proper DVD. I've got a four year old and I've seen the Captain Underpants film something like 20 times now and I cannot bring myself to watch TLK again.

I think history's going to be kind to the first three, maybe four films in the same way a lot of older action films took ten years to really get their credit. But I think 5's always going to be seen as an absolute pig.

Overall though I'm just staggered at how complicated the films make things for themselves, with 5 the biggest offender. Do cinemagoers really care about Unicron and Arthurian shit? I genuinely think they'd have been happier with Megatron's Suicide Squad just trying to kill the Autobots for two hours with a bit of mild government intrigue. I know I would have been.

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:31 am
by swanisabella
Thanks for the information

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:51 am
by Hound
I still haven't seen the 5th movie. It's weird, cause I feel like I should watch it but I'm like absolutely sure I will think it's crap and I just really don't want to go to the effort or expense of getting it to watch or spend the time watching it.

I mean, I'll probably watch it at some point but it's in the queue with other movies that I'll get around to watching that I'm not that motivated to watch yet like Dark Knight Rises.

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:05 pm
by Red Dave Prime
Cliffjumper wrote: I think history's going to be kind to the first three, maybe four films in the same way a lot of older action films took ten years to really get their credit. But I think 5's always going to be seen as an absolute pig.
I certainly think the first holds up very well. Numerous great set pieces, characters are mostly well defined and the effects, I assume due to a smaller budget, are not quite as OTT as they would grow to be.

Sure, the plot is silly but it's enough to keep things running along. And yes the humour grates often. I'm not really a politically correct person but it's often racist in portrayal of Black Americans.

Overall though, the first film is a great example of a good, solid blockbuster popcorn movie.

Going through the other 4... I think 2 is dreadful and the only reason its not the worst is because 5 is so much poorer. 2 has one decent moment (yes, it's primes death) but even that is thrown away with his silly return. I've never clicked with 3 but I can see a good bit of value in it and I think it will age reasonably well. I never really feel it earns its moments but it's closest to the first in terms of quality. Number 4 I think has some strong moments and ideas but is buried under a huge amount of unnecessary junk. And as much as Sam and his crowd aren't great, the human factor in AOE is pretty dislikable.

But yeah, 5 is the absolute pits. It feels like it was scribbled today each day of shooting and then patched together. It's so lazy in ambition despite trying to lump on so many different things.

Certainly the idea of a somewhat back to basics film with Megatrons Suicide Squad going on a rampage sounds much more interesting.

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:48 pm
by Warcry
Cliffjumper wrote:I think history's going to be kind to the first three, maybe four films in the same way a lot of older action films took ten years to really get their credit. But I think 5's always going to be seen as an absolute pig.
It's crazy to think, but it's already been eleven years since the first movie and nine since ROTF. I don't think opinions have changed all that much, though.

Red Dave Prime and I may actually be the same person because his thoughts on all five movies are basically identical to mine. The first one was very enjoyable for what it was, aside from a few black characters who felt like they walked out of a minstrel show (and I don't have a problem with stereotypes being played for laughs, but it has to actually be funny and this just wasn't). And I think the reception of that one has always been fairly good as far as silly comedic action movies go. More than anything it seems to attract flak from TF fans who are still mad at it for not being an adaptation of the 80s show. And I think he's right that the lower budget is a big part of the reason why, because they had to choose their spots instead of making it wall-to-wall Bayhem and it made the Transformers seem so much more amazing and special.

ROTF was a car crash, not a surprise what with starting filming before they had a script. It had a few good moments but nothing to tie them together, and I think it's best-enjoyed by spending twenty minutes watching YouTube clips of the good action scenes. DOTM is alright, easily the second best of the bunch, but I really feel like it lost a ton of its potential impact by replacing Mikaela with some other random girl. AoE had enough plot for three movies, and really undid itself by trying to do too much (plus Walburg just isn't very likeable).

TLK was just so much worse than any of them, though. I only sat the whole way through it the first time because it was a Christmas gift from my wife, and I don't think I could bring myself to do that a second time. I can't even think of any action sequences I'd want to see again.

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:04 pm
by Cliffjumper
Seriously good read Denyer put my way - ... RZSXc/edit

Little bit mad in places but some serious food for thought.

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:13 pm
by Cliffjumper
I'd say film-by-film those are a fair analysis from both, though I think 1 takes far, far too long to get going. Really the first three needed a good edit and would be passable; mileage varies as to how much you can ignore the bad bits or let them spoil things I suppose. 4 felt like it made far too many of the same mistakes given the clean break it could have been, and 5 is a genuine disaster - as Warcry says there aren't even any good bits to savour; ROTF's saving grace for me is that the world would be a poorer place without the night-time Shanghai battle, the forest fight and Jetfire - there's nothing like that in TLK.

I just cannot figure out this incessant need of Bay/Paramount/whoever to consistently over-complicate these films with Arthurian guff, dinosaur rubbish, secret history and so on - is Bumblebee as a WW2 armoured car something a casual audience was after, is it the difference between someone buying a ticket or not? I'm honestly thinking not. The whole archaeology thread in 4 seemed like he just wanted to do something with dinosaurs as it serves no plot purpose other than to make people think they could see the Dinobots coming before they come from somewhere else...

The last two especially have suffered from this excess of money; has Bay been inserting these things as requisites for returning? Surely not? The idea that he's some sort of subversive auteur ****ing with Paramount and even the audience actually makes more sense than anything else.

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:46 pm
by Red Dave Prime
Looking back on the 5 films, whats disappointing is that there are some very good high points. All they really needed was some restraint really. They could have made the same bags of money and spent less. Would a better director kept things in check and produced films that not only made hugh box office but would be well received.

I will give them a thumbs up for the designs of the bay formers as well. I hated the original reveals but the style and execution has won me over. They'll never beat the G1 iconic originals but they deserve to be respected.

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:51 pm
by inflatable dalek
Whilst I agree with Cliffy the films have become blatantly over complicated in a needless way, I think the Arthurian opening was a highlight. I think the real problem is you don't need that and the World War II stuff filling the "History of the Transformers flashback" part of the film. Or at least not with no obvious throughline between the two (but then, it's not as if Nazi's are famous for being obsessed with mythological artefacts of great power is it?).

As I've been listening to the (really good!) Die Another Day extended soundtrack, it occured to me it and Last Knight have a lot in common. Like Goldeneye the '07 film basically reinvented the genre in which it was in (even if Bay gets no credit for creating a lot of the Marvel film staples), but by the 4th/5th film in the series, the freshness is gone and attempts to top themselves are getting increasingly desperate. Especially as the Marvel films have been trying and mostly succeeding to push the envelope in new ways this last year beyond just finding new ways to put bigger explosions into the same old action scenes (though, for all it showed that just thinking a little outside the accepted box can pay great dividends with audiences, I did think the final act CGI in Black Panther was awful).

So what the series needs is a Casino Royale, not in style or tone but in terms of bringing the style of the series up to date now the old is fraying at the edges. Which makes it a shame perhaps we've got to get through the already seemingly disowned by Paramount Bumblebee first.

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:45 pm
by Cliffjumper
I think you've hit on something there; basically in terms of a purely cinematic endeavour the films peak early. TF1 is about holy **** actual cars turning into actual ****ing real looking robots and fighting. You can maybe get one sequel out of not having to introduce them and having bigger fights with more robots. So there's limited scope of where to take the spectacular angle, and I think that's where the random different spectacle (Pyramids! Moon! Dinosaurs! Dragons!) comes in. Scaling back is an obvious answer but it's a risky strategy; we already know through simple ticket sales that Big Big Action is what made the films successful.

That said I think it was the *only* way to do it as a film franchise. It's Transformers' USP. I mean, if you name the best Transformers stories how many of them actually feature a huge amount of transforming, especially with the wow factor of real life present day vehicles rather than abstract 'Cybertronian' vehicles? Last Stand, for example - how many transformations are seen and how many that couldn't be written around if someone was to say "these characters can't transform"? Legacy, Target, even G2. As fans we consume these stories knowing their Transformers (with all that entails as a species) and that's good enough for us but really if the universe required it Impactor could just pick up a huge ****ing gun (instead of turning into a set of blocks we only recognise as a Cybertronian tank because we've had years of characters turning into Cybertronian tanks because the engineers got ****ing lazy) to shoot Overlord and the narrative would be unchanged. Transformers hasn't really done Transformers stories about how cool transforming is, not since G1 S1 and maybe the opening comic limited series. For most of the franchise's history after that when someone transforms it's largely to make travelling somewhere else slightly more convenient.

Marvel have somewhere to go in that they can do a solo film for someone and then just drop them in with the sketchiest characterisation to another film and remix things. This doesn't work with Drift or Hot Rod or Sideswipe because people don't care. But the Marvel films on a wider scale seem to be eating themselves; the big trick is increasingly towards team-ups, and the more you team people up the less room there is for characterisation. But it doesn't matter because Iron Man's had attention in three other films, so he can turn up in Civil War, Homecoming and Infinity Wars as a quipping shithead and that flies. Really this is the advantage of having five, ten properties on tap that are genuine pop culture shorthand and the Fox thing means they've got the X-Men, who are probably bigger than any of their current ones bar Spider-Man, coming in to take over the baton after the Infinity cull.

Regarding Bay himself I've still yet to hear a viable alternative who'd have taken the gamble in 2007, let alone someone who'd take over. A different director would have been on my wishlist for 4 but the relationship is a lot more symbiotic than many fans seem to think. Would Paramount have basically stumped up money for him to make a whole other film as a bribe if there had been capable replacements queuing up. The homogenous mess of the GI Joe films shows what could have happened; at least the TF films have some sort of coherent linking identity and a director who pushed back against studios and corporate sponsors. And from Hasbro & Paramount's point of view I think they got three or four more films out of the thing than they expected to, which isn't bad for something they farmed out to a junior partner a decade before because they were done with it.

Copy & paste from a blog article I wrote around the release of 5: -
Six Reasons You Will Never Get The Transformers Film You Want

Initial box office figures for the fifth Transformers film, The Last Knight, have been underwhelming while the reviews have been the usual lazy hackwork, though this time it seems that even fans of Michael Bay's envisioning have been left unimpressed. I've yet to see it so I'm reserving personal judgement but as usual it's taken fandom little time to crack out the knives, further fuelled by the apparent exit of Bay from the franchise. Putting aside that it seems to be a familiar pattern slash negotiating tactic from Bay (who only took the assignment on Age of Extinction as leverage to raise money for Pain & Gain) many seem to be heralding this as an end to his style of Transformers films and the chance for something more cerebral. It won't be, and here's why.


The talk of Bay stepping down has led to the usual unimaginative genre-familiar suggestions from social media critics - JJ Abrams, Christopher Nolan, Joss Whedon, Zach Snyder. These people will not get involved in something like Transformers. However good some Transformers media has been over the past thirty-plus years Transformers exists to sell plastic toys to children; any artistic merit is a mere by-product. Film directors do not know the ins and outs of the franchise and see it as such, without even the cultural kudos of Lego. They are after prestige from their peers and critics and creative control; helming a multi-million movie where the demands of a toy company, a studio trying to hang on to heavy hitters in the face of the superhero onslaught and secondary licensees such as car manufacturers ticks neither of those boxes.

To even risk relinquishing either is a major risk for a serious director; the Nolans would see even their acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy as something like corporate whoreage. Most of the names mentioned have already 'done' franchises and are firmly looking to get back to doing their own ideas. There's a chance that the approach taken by Marvel, where the films are given an overall house style under Kevin Feige and given to jobbing safe hands, some of whom stand out (e.g. the Russo brothers) and add something but really even with a possible Bumblebee series Paramount have less chance to unearth one.

It's more likely that if Bay goes we will get an unabashed franchise whore who is likely to ape the style already in place - someone like McG, Jon M Chu or Jonathan Liebesman. While few would admit it, Transformers in 2007 was lucky to land Michael Bay, a largely successful action film director with box office clout and a filming style that connected with the audience. Since then he's claimed to be leaving a couple of times and been begged back with greater financial incentives; would Paramount really do that if they had a queue of more credible directors begging to take over the films?


The complaints about the time given to human characters started in 2007 and haven't stopped since. But get used to them because as long as there are live action Transformers films there are going to be major roles for humans in them. And why? Because people like them. Not necessarily the fans, but the hundreds of thousands of people who go to see them and don't buy IDW comics. However their careers have turned out since Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox were a big reason a lot of people went to see Revenge of the Fallen; Sideswipe and Arcee not so much. Later, the established built-in following Mark Wahlberg has which has propped up films before Transformers and will likely continue to do so later was a big factor in the box office success of Age of Extinction. And the comedy characters - Simmons, Lucas, the Indian call centre guy, Judy Witwicky - normal people love them. Cinema audiences have little tolerance for relentlessly serious films, which is why no-one in Marvel films can shut up. So there will always be funny characters you think are detracting from the serious business of cars turning into robots who hit other robots and for simple connection they are most likely to be human.

The other major factor is budget. Age of Extinction cost $210m, with the vast majority of it filmed on real locations or constructed sets plus considerable stretches where there were no visual effects on screen. Ramping down the Earth/human focus would cost an extortionate amount of money; to film something like - for the sake of argument - Last Stand of the Wreckers would involve sets being built for everything - not just spaceship interiors but alien planets - plus robots being animated for the entire length of the film. Budgets for summer blockbusters are high but not that high, hence you are always going to have a fair percentage of screen-time featuring no robots. Not to mention that once you eliminate humans and Earth settings you might as well just do the thing with cel animation and save a fortune anyway.


It's early days for The Last Knight's box office of course, and there's a difference between being a flop and just not a runaway success. If the take is disappointing it might well be fatigue to Bay's style, sure, but then the bubble was always likely to burst one day and for the taking to go up a fifth successive time would perhaps have been a big ask. However, it's worth remembering that the last three featured all of Bay's excesses and were slaughtered by both the critics and the bulk of fandom, none of which seemed to put off audiences - as well as the box office, exit polling for all of them has been a lot more positive as have DVD sales (both of which would be poor if cinema goers had been hoodwinked by fancy trailers and hated Bay's style). It would seem that among the deluge of franchises, remakes and reboots the public have found a place to fit a single film about transforming robots; the franchise's USP. There's no Star Trek to their Star Wars, not any more.

However, if this little arrangement with ticket buyers has ended it is unlikely to be because of anything in particular Bay's done - they've been happy enough with the past four films, why would toilet humour, overcomplicated plotting, skeletal robot designs, arbitrary name reuse, explosions, creeper shots and militaristic Autobots suddenly be a turn-off? If audiences have had enough it is more likely to be that they're no longer wowed by transforming robots themselves than the style in which the films have been made. There might not even be a Transformers 6, or it might not be any time soon - Sony didn't keep slinging out Spider-Man films until they lost $100m, they took a downturn in takings as a sign to step back and see what would happen; Paramount are as likely to take a break or quit altogether as to radically retool the series.


The five films have appeared over a decade, meaning the Movieverse has lasted longer than the original Generation One. Naturally there have been years without movies or even much in the way of new related figures but DVD releases, streaming services and the like keep them in the public eye. And it is the public eye now; we've all had to explain to friends and family that Transformers didn't blink out of existence in 1987 and reappear 20 years later but that you have to explain about Beast Wars and the Dreamwave sales and how Cybertron was running right before the first film came out says it all for the actual cultural footprint Transformers made between 1986 and 2006. The likes of Armada were successes on their own terms but there's a difference between being a solid but unremarkable hit with the target demographic of children aged 6-10; the 2007 film and its' associated line turned the franchise back into a smash.

It's not just the profile either; Animated, Prime and Robots in Disguise have done much the same rough level of business as their predecessors - decent figures with kids and fans but the people seeing the films have gone home from the threatres and watched Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, not Prime. Bay's version is Transformers still to the casual audience and his versions of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee have transcended to well-known genuine household character names like Captain Jack Sparrow or Elsa; they're features at Universal Studios, you can get Halloween costumes of them. They've built up their own following that dwarfs the fandom and are likely to be a prerequisite for any film continuation in much the same form as they are now, the cool truck guy with the guns and blades and the cute yellow one who talks through his radio.


This one shouldn't really need explaining. But it does. That clumsy term G1 has many applications; against all logic the most common definition is up to about the original 1986 film, which was thirty years ago. There has, of course, been a steady stream of 'G1' media from comic publishers and figures from Hasbro via the Classics sub-series and these have drummed up some new fans who believe the original is the best. But for most G1 fans here is the hard truth - if you are old enough to remember G1 these films are not for you. You're welcome to like them of course - but your satisfaction is not the reason they exist. You're in your mid-thirties, forties, whatever.

Hollywood does not give a shit what you think. They're more interested in the 16-30 demographic because that's where the biggest chunk of disposable income is - with people who don't have families, cars and mortgages eating into the budget. Even if you take your family they won't cater for you, they'll be catering for your kids. Let it go.


Studios love Michael Bay. He brings in films within budget and on time which then go on to do excellent box office. Good reviews would be nice but bad ones have yet to harm the bottom line; Paramount and Hasbro have been in the business long enough to know critical scorn is no obstacle to commercial success. Hasbro are in the same boat; with toy sales shrinking the Rhode Island giant are viewing Transformers more and more as a multimedia property. Numbers are of course impossible to quantify but the ever-downscaling tie-in lines for the films suggest that Hasbro are making enough from whatever chunk of the box office gross goes their way for it to be worth their while.

Both will be happy with a continuation of this arrangement. Paramount have other films that win awards; while a Best Picture Oscar for Transformers 6 would be great they know it's never going to happen, regardless of quality, and that critics are unlikely to seriously praise a film based on a toyline out of pure disdain for such commercialism. So they'll take the box office, while Hasbro have even less artistic pretension. This means either Bay or his replacement will be issued with a remit to keep things much the same regardless of whether the next film is a straight sequel or a reboot.