Michael Bay: Transformers 3 is a ‘Mystery’

— by ROB COX —

According to a recent interview in USA Today, director Michael Bay readily admits to problems with last summer’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Regarding that explosive, loud and overly-busy mess, Bay’s quoted as saying:

“I’ll take some of the criticism. It was very hard to put (the sequel) together that quickly after the writers’ strike (of 2007-08).”

“Transformers 3” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, quoted in the same on-set interview, expands on Bay’s explanation of the film’s failure:

“We tried to do too many things in the second movie, which didn’t give enough time in any one of them. We were constantly jumping to the next piece of information, the next place.”

Having seen “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” I certainly agree with di Bonaventura’s explanation, whereas Bay’s rationale — while probably at least partly valid — rings more of excuse-making than of truly accepting responsibility. Then again, one expects little else from a director with Bay’s well-documented power and over-sized ego.

Bay goes on to detail some of the measures being taken to fix the “Transformers” franchise for the third movie. For one, robots Skids and Mudflap will not return. Skids and Mudflap, you might recall, were twin robots who not only uttered wince-inducing dialogue, but who also spoke in what many considered a racially insensitive, stereotypical vernacular

For the record, though I found the characters’ dialogue to indeed be stereotypical, based on much of what comprises modern pop cinema, I don’t remember finding it particularly offensive or insensitive; then again, I’m not part of any group who was supposedly wronged. Regardless of whether Skids and Mudflap were racially insensitive, though, they were inarguably offensive; characters as poorly conceived, as juvenilely written and as teeth-grindingly stupid can’t help being offensive.

Bay states the “Transformers 3” story will revolve around the cold war and the subsequent space race between the US and the USSR. Says Bay:

“The movie is more of a mystery … It ties in what we know as history growing up as kids with what really happened.”

Doubtless, that means autobots and/or decepticons were somehow involved in the moon landings, the launch of Sputnik (if Bay follows closely to form, Sputnik will probably prove to be a decepticon) and various other aspects of the space race.

“Transformers 3” will also have no robot resurrections; in other words, “dead is dead” and there will be no coming back. Moreover, Bay admits that the villain of “T2” was pretty lame (as if I needed his confirmation) and that the villain “Transformers 3” will be the one-eyed, Cyclops-like, hyper-robotic Shockwave.

I don’t find any of these last character or story tidbits particularly compelling. With memories of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’s” lameness still vivid, reviews for the third film will need be exemplary before I’ll consider seeing it in theaters. Worse, according to Screen Rant, this film will be processed in 3D after shooting wraps. If correct, that means 3D or IMAX cameras probably won’t be used in shooting, making for a lame onscreen experience. Movie-goers who saw this year’s “Clash of the Titans” remake (sadly, I’m among them), probably had a decent preview of the rip-off “Transformers 3” 3D could potentially be. Viewers should be forewarned, then, of that aspect. Upon the film’s release, though, if the 3D proves ineffective, critics will undoubtedly take note.

None of this takes into account, either, the recent last-minute departure of Megan Fox from the project. With Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely coming aboard “Transformers 3” just this month as Shia Labeouf’s new love interest, it’s hard not to suspect furious rewrites were involved in that transition. Might those hasty rewrites be Bay’s next excuse if “Transformers 3” tanks? It’s no writers’ strike, but I’m not sure I’d want to be in the shoes of “Transformers 3” screenwriter Ehren Kruger if the movie isn’t well received.

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3 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Adam Poynter #

    Wow Rob, you really hated Revenge of the Fallen, huh? I went into it with the mindset of “I hope its a fun movie with good effects” and it proved that, although the heart of the original film was blatently missing and some of the storylines could be better I dont think people go into a film about transforming alien robot cars and expect to see Oscar material, but alas it seems as if the viewing public will never be satisfied and always wanting something else.

  2. moviefan #

    well tf2 wasnt the best film in the world. But it was a decent action/popcorn flick to go see. I am curious to see where 3rd film will go.

  3. Rob #

    Yeah, you could pretty safely say I mostly hated RoTF–an opinion that doesn’t seem to be shared with Joe Q. Movie; there was disharmony in my own home over this one. I would add, though, that I liked the first “Transformers” quite a bit and found it very entertaining. The second one, though, way too busy, way too many tangents and explosions,way too many leg-humping jokes and so forth.

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