Whether you're eagerly anticipating or dreading the upcoming Transformers: Age of Extinction - the fourth flick in Michael Bay's franchise - you no doubt were hit with a heavy wave of nostalgia when Grimlock the Dinobot made his debut in the film's Super Bowl spot.
Of course, the Transformers series has always banked on longtime fans yearning to revisit their youth, but this time around, Transformers 4 appears to be making that its primary audience. Over a year ago, not long after it was confirmed Bay would return for the fourth film, the director promised it would completely redesign the franchise, and he wasn't just talking about the robots. Transformers 4 also features an all-new cast, is set four years after the third film, and - according to actor Titus Welliver (the Man in Black on Lost) - it will have a darker, more mature tone.
Speaking with Nerdist, Welliver made it clear that he doesn't consider Transformers 4 to be a children's movie:
“It’s a bit more of a darker vision of the 'Transformers' world… It’s not a kids' movie, I’ll tell you that much.”
In the four years since Transformers 3, humans have no doubts about the Transformers' existence, and it's likely we as a species have come to consider both the Autobots and Decepticons threats. This increased paranoia about the Transformers might play into why Age of Extinction would be a darker addition to the series. The battles won't just be between giant robots, but also over people's fears.
[Update: Titus Welliver clarified his statement in an official update as to not exclude younger audiences who the film will undoubtedly appeal to.]
"I misspoke in my last interview when I said that Transformers 4 was not a kids movie… what I meant was that this film, will in fact expand their target audience and bring in a bigger fan base. Following the huge success of Transformers and their toy line, it is certainly a kids movie and with the addition of Mark Wahlberg, Transformers 4 will be the coolest in the franchise."
[The point Welliver is making, we believe, is that there will be a little less over-the-top childish humor that didn't quite work for all audiences in the original trilogy, the first two films in particular.]
If this is the case, then Kelsey Grammer's "counter intelligence" agent fits right in. Cybertronian technology would be a massive asset for any world power, making the Autobots not only targets of enemy attacks but possible abuse from their supposed allies. This kind of political edge could be the "darker vision" Welliver is alluding to. Plus, this new level of secrecy would make it necessary for the Autobots to really be robots in disguise and would explain the redesigns.
Then again, turning Transformers 4 into less of a smash 'n' bash, popcorn flick and more of a dark political thriller doesn't seem to add up with what we know of Age of Extinction's plot. (There's nothing sophisticated or mature about the Dinobots, no matter how badass they look.) But Bay has continued to hammer home the point that "there won't be any goofiness" in Transformers 4, so does that mean it'll be a totally humorless entry catering to a more adult audience? Probably not.
What do you make of Welliver's comments that Transformers 4 isn't "a kids' movie"? Would making the film more mature be the right direction for the franchise? Let us know your thoughts below!
Transformers: Age of Extinction rolls into theaters June 27th, 2014.
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