It’s been 5 years since Michael Bay had stunned the world by giving a seemingly nonsensical 80’s sci-fi cartoon the big screen treatment, with Transformers. Even though the sequel was a mess (presumably due to the writer’s strike that happened during production) he managed to make a slight comeback with the third movie, Dark of the Moon. That was supposed to be the last we saw of Michael Bay’s vision of the eternal struggle between the Autobots and the Decepticons, but whether you wanted it or not, you are getting more. This time though, Bay will be taking his mix of explosions, and incomprehensible giant robot CG fight scenes into the future.
At the recent opening of the Transformers ride in Universal’s Hollywood Studios theme park, Bay admitted that it was time for a change of direction in the series.
It’s kind of daunting and scary — you want to try to keep it going, to match what’s come before. We’ve accomplished a lot but that doesn’t mean you get anything handed to you or that you’ve got everything figured out.
Sorry Shia Labeouf fans, the saga of Sam Whitwicky is over. Bay has said that Transformers 4 is going to have an all new cast and has even decided to change the designs for the bots themselves, but with all these changes he insists that the film will not be a reboot.
It’s not a reboot, that’s maybe the wrong word. I don’t want to say reboot because then people will think we’re doing a Spider-Man and starting from the beginning. We’re not. We’re taking the story that you’ve seen — the story we’ve told in three movies already — and we’re taking it in a new direction. But we’re leaving those three as the history. It all still counts. I met with the writer before I went off to do ‘Pain and Gain’ and we talked about a bunch of ideas. We let that simmer for a bit. He’s been thinking about stuff and now we’re getting back together next week to see what we’ve got and to see if it gels.
While the movies have not generally faired well among the critics, the same cannot be said for the recent videogame incarnation of Transformers, The War For Cybertron. Set entirely on the war torn world of Cybertron with nary a teenage boy in sight, the game was a darling of critics and fanboys alike and is even spawning a much anticipated sequel, Fall of Cybertron, and a toyline based on the games set to release later this year, it seems that giant super powerful robots blowing each other apart and space are a natural fit, and Michael Bay may agree. When asked by Hero Complex if he thought he would take the next movie off of planet Earth, Bay replied…
I think so, yeah, a little. That feels like the way to go, doesn’t it? I want to go alittle off but I don’t want to go too sci-fi. I still want to keep it grounded. That’s what works in these movies, that’s what makes it accessible.
So there you have it, whether the next Tansformers movie ends up being a mess like Revenge of the Fallen or ends up being the best in the series, it will definitely be a departure from the earlier ones. Now the question remains, what did Michael Bay think made the last 3 movies grounded and accessible?
If you are looking for a taste of what the movie version of the Transformers would be like in a more sci-fi setting, check out the book prequel to the first movie Ghosts of Yesterday by Alan Dean Foster. While there were inconsistencies between the book and the movie, it told an interesting tale of a shadow government space program that was built with Cybertronian tech in the 1960’s.