As I'm sure most of you know, the third installment of Michael Bay's Transformers franchise, Dark of the Moon
, was released this summer and, in my opinion, has proven to be the best of the 3. But is that saying much? Having been a fan since back in the original heyday I have to take a critical look at the films overall and their impact on the Transformers universe as a whole.
I haven't exactly made a big secret of this, but I am not really a fan of the robot designs. No, I am not being a G1 purist or my disdain would extend to their vehicle forms, which I was actually OK with for the most part. The exception to this being Bumblebee, as I always associated that name with little yellow bug,
but on that I digress. VWAG is the group responsible for not allowing their beloved beetle to be used for that character as I understand it. Just the same, was it really necessary to slam a used VW bug in the 2007 movie? Among the many nods to previous incarnations of the Transformers franchise, I found that one to be rather disrespectful and childish.
I am a fan of the old Marvel comics and I do give kudos to Mr. Bay for making the first movie capture the same feeling I got reading issue 1 of the old Marvel series. In fact he worked in a lot of nods to the old G1 days very nicely. I doubt many fans who came along later in the game would even recognize some of these, but my personal favorite was the old Camaro/new Camaro Bumblebee switch, which I figured was inspired by the original Bumblebee being reformatted as Goldbug.
The thing that kills me about Bumblebee, though, is that by the end of the third film I kind of came to hate his character! Not because of any noticeable character flaws, mind you, but because of simple overexposure. I mean you had some really cool characters that really didn't serve as much other than screen fillers! Ratchet, Sideswipe, and the Wreckers come to mind. I mean I always liked a good epic Transformers story better than some cutesy reliance on annoying little characters aimed at the tween market, but maybe that's just me. Oh, and Shockwave....what was up with making him the strong silent type? Maybe I am being stubborn here but I liked him in the old comic books as the dark, evil Mr. Spock type, but I suppose they gave that honor to Sentinel Prime since he was voiced by Leonard Nimoy. Even so, I kind of wished they would have made Sentinel Prime a powerful Autobot ally instead of a defector to the Decepticons.
Another interesting point of controversy in my eyes, is the inclusion of the characters of Skids and Mudflap in Revenge of the Fallen
. Funny how people were crying about racism over them, yet they were orange and green! I always thought they represented more of a cultural stereotype than an ethnic one. Either way they were dropped by the third film and to an extent, my rule about cutesy annoying characters kind of applies to them as well.
I suppose I shouldn't knock everything. As I understand it, Michael Bay initially said he "wasn't going to do some stupid toy movie" and was promptly given a crash course in TF fandom. Considering this, I guess he did as good of a job as one could hope for. Although the most "official" buzz I've heard suggests this franchise will not be getting a movie reboot soon, I seriously hope one is on the horizon. One that features actual Transformers-looking characters as opposed to shape-shifting Bionicles.