Friday, 16 February 2018

Movie Developments

It has been reported on the fan sites that, following the upcoming Bumblebee movie, the Hasbro/Paramount partnership is calling time on the TransFormers series for the forseeable future... and I couldn't be happier. Not least because of the suggestion that Hasbro will be taking greater creative control of any subsequent movies... which is exactly what I wanted from the beginning. I could harp on about how irresponsible it was for them to (seemingly) let the movie studio do as they please with their toy brand (admittedly, the awesome aesthetics of the movies indirectly contributed immensely to advances in the toys themselves) but, really, all I want/need to say at this point is:
Hasbro, thank you. I don't know if you've been paying any attention to my rantings particularly, or if you've just been getting an overall impression of dissatisfaction from enough of the fandom, but I personally appreciate this news, and it gives me some hope for the future of TransFormers in cinema.
It's also been inferred from what little has been explicitly revealed of their 'plans' that Hasbro are intending to set up their own 'Cinematic Universe' along the lines of Marvel and (less successfully, thusfar) DC Comics. I'm very much in favour of this, albeit cautiously perhaps, and it's a proven formula in the comics already, so why not?

I mean, GI Joe vs. The TransFormers is a no-brainer - super high-tech, multi-faceted military outfit versus a bunch of alien robots has been a sci-fi staple almost forever, and they've already crossed over several times in the comics. Never read any myself (apart from one I got free somewhere, which was ugly as hell and, to me, seemed poorly written) but, as a cinematic property, it has a lot of potential in a rebooted franchise. Reintroduce GI Joe (perhaps with a lesser-known cast), reintroduce TransFormers separately, and focus on the robots rather than the humans... then have them go head-to-head because, let's face it, there ain't much to distinguish between the Autobots and Decepticons in the movies released so far...

Moreover, MASK can then easily be linked in - potentially a GI Joe offshoot, or a private outfit headed by an Elon Musk analogue, utilising the transforming technology of the Cybertronians (with or without their cooperation and/or consent, depending on how you want to build the Cinematic Universe) to create road vehicles with weaponised modes, or flight-capable cars, bikes, etc.

Micronauts, sharing historical ties with the toylines that evolved into TransFormers, can be worked in simply by existing in the same extraterrestrial universe as Cybertronians, GI Joe, MASK, etc. in the same way that the Guardians of the Galaxy exist in the same universe as the Avengers. Likewise ROM the Spaceknight (who has also turned up in TransFormers crossovers) and the Dire Wraiths.

I sincerely hope they don't try to drag Dungeons & Dragons into the mix - keep the sci-fi properties together, and separate from the fantasy properties (I'd be really curious to see a D&D/My Little Pony mashup, for example... as long as it's animated rather than live action). Visionaries could certainly cross over with D&D (though I'm sure the purists will hate me for merely making the suggestions), but they're also probably one of the few fantasy-style properties that could potentially cross over with TransFormers, et al, if their powers can be demonstrated to have a technological basis, in much the same way as 'magic' and 'technology' are interchangeable in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Certainly, there's mileage in a crossover between ROM, the Dire Wraiths and Visionaries.

Just to be clear, I don't dislike Michael Bay as a director, nor do I hold him responsible for the quality of the TransFormers movies so far. He's a more than competent director, given the right material. Equally, I love the designs of the robots up to the point where Optimus Prime reformatted himself in Age of Extinction, with the exception of the ridiculous, cheaply-wrought CGI of the 'metal-cloud-formers' created by Kinetic Solutions Incorporated and the equally ridiculous movie Dinobots.

I do think that the series had run its course before Age of Extinction, and that movie's 'soft reboot' - with a wholly new cast of humans - didn't go far enough to forge its own path, instead broadening the product placement and making it ever more blatant and incongruous than in almost any other movie series. I also think the much-vaunted Writers' Room was an unmitigated disaster, something that all involved should feel ashamed of.

As far as the Bumblebee standalone movie goes, I'm trying to keep my mind open and my expectations low... after that, I'd be content for TransFormers to revert back to being a range of toys with occasional TV series or comics for a few years, returning to cinema screens with a story that has as much punch as its visuals, and a renewed sense of the brand's worth in and of itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment