From losing writers Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman as well as franchise poster girl Megan Fox, to losing appreciation from fans and critics alike with the sequel, Revenge of the Fallen, director Michael Bay has a lot to overcome to make a positive impression with Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
The first step is acceptance and many of the cast of the previous film admit that their second Transformers outing wasn't very good. Now, director Michael Bay is also continuing to play up the fact that mistakes were made with the last movie and that it was rushed. His goal however, is to make up for all of that with the third chapter in the live-action adaptations of the successful Hasbro toy franchise.
In speaking with LA Times' Hero Complex, Bay opened up about the Transformers franchise, admitting the failings of his last film, but promising light at the end of the tunnel.
“It was kind of a mess, wasn’t it?... Look, the movie had some good things in it and it was entertaining and it did very well, but it also failed in some key ways. I learned from it. And now with this third movie we’re going back to basics and I absolutely believe this is going to be a much better film than the second one.”
Outside of Optimus Prime getting plenty of screen time to showcase his increased ability to be a robotic bad-ass, there wasn't much good for me in Revenge of the Fallen. It took the weak and problematic elements of the first Transformers and extended them all, instead of removing them or improving them.
A big part of the reason for the failings of the story and visual effects of Revenge of the Fallen had to do with the writer's strike and strict deadlines to meet Paramount Pictures' release date. That's less of an issue with Dark of the Moon and Michael Bay hopes to capitalize on the opportunity.
“I’m still having fun and especially with this movie. Look, we got burned on the last movie. The big thing was the writers strike, it hurt the film and it made it hard on everybody. We had three weeks to get our story and, really, we were going into the movie without a script. It’s tough to do that. It was too big of a movie. There were too many endings or too many things that felt like endings. There was so much animation [in the visual effects postproduction work], too, and we ran out of time. We used the schedule of the first movie for the second movie but on the second one way more labor was needed for the animation. And then it felt like we were writing the script in the edit room, trying to put together a story.”
There were obvious incomplete special effects and in a movie as big as this, based almost solely on the visual spectacle, if they can't do it right, why bother forcing an early release? Unfortunately, even though the film was far too rushed, with an problematic story and rough special effects, the film (arguably undeservedly) banked over $800 million worldwide at the box office and sold an incredible amount of merchandise for Hasbro.
I don't like seeing precedents like that set, when it involves a low quality product earning high profit, but we do have something to look forward to with Bay's third attempt working with the Cybertronian cast.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the last Transformers movie that Michael Bay will be working on, and same goes for its star Shia LaBeouf. Because of that, Bay seems determined to turn the series around and end the trilogy with something fans can be happy about and something that won't detract from moviegoers thinking about seeing Bay's next movie in a few years time.
Steven Spielberg, a producer on the Transformers movies who chose Michael Bay to direct sheds some light on Bay's motivation and positive attitude in working on Dark of the Moon:
"As the plot thickens in the third installment of ‘Transformers,’ Michael’s work on it feels fresh and energized … with lots of new and inventive ways of turning a page on this franchise."
I want to believe this but when I think of Spielberg talking Transformers and Michael Bay, I get confusing flashbacks about Bay revealing that Spielberg told him Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was "awesome," referring to it as his best work yet. I get that critics often don't side with Bay's summer popcorn affairs, but Transformers 2 is sitting with a 5.9/10 on IMDB with over 100,000 votes and a nasty 20% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 3.9/10.
We've heard it all before. Spielberg and Bay are saying Dark of the Moon will simply be the best thing since sliced bread, and star Shia LaBeouf is promising that this movie will actually be "good." But we all have learned and should all know better. This all means nothing until we see otherwise with the final product.
The good news is that the first official teaser trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon was actually very cool, but it didn't show any real footage of the main characters or Autobots/Decepticons. Let's hope the next theatrical trailer shows us something to excited about.
Ever since the first Transformers, which I actually enjoyed, I've been waiting for them to take that formula and knock out the bad parts to bring audiences something special. For everyone's sake, I hope Bay delivers one of the best films of the summer.
Transformers 3 hits theaters July 1st, 2011.
Source: LA Times
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