Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yes, You're Getting "Transformers 4," and Michael Bay is Giving It To You

Even Michael Bay seems to realize that Michael Bay has a Michael Bay problem: His work on the excerable "Transformers" films - which even HE doesn't seem to like - has made him a wealthy man (and has banked him considerable boxoffice clout) but it's also shifted his public image from being the crown prince of willfully-overblown "guy movie" excess to being just one more journeyman action-specialist working the branded-franchise assembly line; while upstarts like Zack Snyder, Timur Bekmambetov, Joe Carnahan and others have pushed into his territory.

For the last several years, Bay has been trying to get (his version of) a small, personal passion-project off the ground - a $25 Million (chicken feed for guys working at Bay's level) dark comedy called "Pain & Gain," based on a true story (recounted in the Miami New Times in 1999) of steroid-abusing bodybuilders who got wrapped up in a kidnapping/extortion/drugs clusterfuck. Bay returning to the bad-taste Miami-flavored sleaze of the Bad Boys movies for what sounds like "schlubs in over their heads" crime flick starring juiced-up gym rats? PERFECT combination. But he's had difficult securing a studio for the project thus far, even with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Whalberg - two actors practically factory-designed for Michael Bay movies - attached to star.

But now Paramount has apparently stepped up to do the deed, with the contingency being that Bay has to take one more slog through the world of Autobots and Decepticons. When not even Michael Bay and two of the only consistently-bankable male action leads (both of whom are taking salary cuts to help keep the budget down!) can't get a $25 Million flick made without agreeing to also do a summer-tentpole/toy-commercial; it's clear that license-mania has grown out of control.

This all got announced waaaay earlier than Paramount wanted, when infamous producer Lorenzo Di Bonnaventura got in front of an MTV mic at ToyFair and said Bay was coming back for a Transformers "reboot" - by which he (apparently) means that the robot characters will be segueing into a new storyline featuring new human characters, as none of the original (non-CGI) cast has signed on to return. That's probably why twisting Bay's arm to keep him on was so important to them - his continued presence as director will be the only thing keeping this from looking like a "B-Team" sequel.

It feels almost surreal that we'll actually be enduring another of these things, after all the build-up of #3 being the big finale. But I do really want to see "Pain & Gain."

21 comments:

O.T said...

Oh man, I know the toaster-factory line construction model of the TF movies doesn't require too many parts, but it does require all of them.

They know there magic-money making series needs someone down there with an affinity for explosions to make them.

I don't know why, but it just occurred Bay would get tired of the series. And I feel bad they have him on a leash.

Lido said...

I've always fought against the Transformers films on the grounds of adaptation rights, the idea that an adaptation can't just throw source material to the wind and should be an actual adaptation (looking at you Nolan Batman films) so when I heard 4th one it pissed me off but now with all this other crap involved it's less angry and more just, well really bizarre and almost fascinating like a car wreck

Mr Fist said...

Okey dokey. (bends over)

kevmon1116 said...

Fuuuuuuuuuck.

Well, time to officially start boycotting.

Jordan the Childish said...

Why, God? Why? What did we do to deserve this?

Nanox said...

Oh Dear,

As one of the few people who can actually find some entertainment in the Transformers films, (except #2) you would think I would be excited, or at the very least, indifferent to an announcement of this nature. And yet even I am banging my head against the wall at the announcement of "Transformers 4: Now Michael Bay isn't even pretending to give a damn". Even though Transformers 3 was loud immature nonsense, at least it was lout immature nonsense that knew it had to end. And I shudder to think what relic of the Transformers mythos will be dug up in an attempt to try to add more tension to the "plot".

Gavin McQue said...

Yeah, Pain and Gain sounds like a potentially good movie, Transformers 4, sounds even if you liked the movies to begin with, a bad one if the director REALLY doesn't give a crap.

Megabyte said...

I actually am willing to give the first one of these a lot of leeway. First, none of the old forms would make sense in a modern world.(When is the last time you saw a Mack Truck with a flat bus-like front?)

Second, the explanation for their transformations make about as much sense as the original cartoon. Think about it, how would our 1980s tech be necessarily compatible with basically robots from space? But their ship used our tech to repair them?

and finally 3rd, I just dont think the geek audience of today is willing to accept ancient robots without an explanation as would have been required if they were already here. Look at the complaints leveled at War of the Worlds.

That said, movie 2 sucked, destroying all potential connection to the source and I didn't even bother with 3. Not to mention the current reboot in the form of War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron seem to be not only taking care of the issue of time by starting during the war on Cybertron, but are officially canon now as Hasbro is doing their damndest to make the franchise one story instead of a shattered thing... so... you could say to the people who REALLY control it, these movies dont matter anymore.

Mark said...

Why universe hate Waspinator?

john said...

I'm never going to see this, but at least I can quietly exult in the cessation of the existence of...well, basically the entire human cast of every movie, but Sam's parents especially. I'll be spending the rest of the day imagining the various ways in which they could have met their demise in between films.

Aiddon said...

goddammit, now we gotta do this sucky dance again

Angry Man said...

Wow, that's pretty insane. I figured someone like Michael Bay could pretty much make any movie they felt like at this point. Hollywood really is messed up.

Joe said...

Dammit, Bob, now you've done the impossible! You've made me feel pathos for Michael Bay!

Steven said...

@Megabyte

Seriously? I see Cab-over-engine lorries EVERYDAY!

Second, you do know that Transformers is based on a japanese toy line so that many of the vehicle modes make no sence for a US audience

Anonymous said...

The sad part of this story is that if Michael Bay had this pet project available at the turn of the century, it wouldn't have been such an uphill struggle. Most people tend to forget that while Michael Bay has never exactly been Ingmar Bergman, his works had a genuine artistic style and vision that garnered critical respect. He squandered much of that good will with the disappointing reception of Pearl Harbor and The Island, then lost all face to critics and fanboys with the second and third Transformers films. Now, it's as Bob said: he's just another factory assembly line kept on a leash. Roger Ebert perfectly summarized the fall from grace:

"As for Michael Bay, he is only 44 and I hope he tires of this nonsense and returns to making real movies. He was only 31 when he made "Bad Boys" in 1995, and 32 when he made "The Rock." He had been in TV for years. He was a prodigy, like Steven Spielberg, But Spielberg was 47 when he directed "Schindler's List." Michael Bay seems to be evolving in the wrong direction."

Joe said...

Actually, my friend had a good point. Michael Bay has millions of dollars of his own money. He has his own production company. Couldn't he rustle up $25 million from his own pocket?

Anonymous said...

The very nature of the Hollywood studio system and their utterly arcane, impenetrable accounting system prevents any single person from throwing their own money at a pet project. If the studios are against a film enough to decline financing, the producer would have to seek distribution and promotion outside of the studio system and they'd step on a lot of toes by doing so. It's not a matter of money so much as it is a matter of business relations and public image.

RocMegamanX said...

"And I shudder to think what relic of the Transformers mythos will be dug up in an attempt to try to add more tension to the 'plot'."

One word: UNICRON.

Smashmatt202 said...

Paramount, please, just STOP!

Megabyte said...

@Steven

Why yes I am serious. I haven't seen a flat-face mack truck since I was in high school... that would put the last one square in the 90s at the latest. Where the hell do you live that they are still out there? Hell, I don't even see flat-faced SCHOOL BUSSES driving anymore.

And to your second comment, Im pretty sure when I was watching the cartoon as a child, I saw a lot of these vehicles (or something close enough for a child's mind) on the road. For the longest time, Beetles were NOT Beetles, they were Bumblebees. I mean, especially around then, there were a lot of cars that came from Japan over here... so... your point?

Oh you mean the things like space-ships and such? Not EVERYONE crash landed or they would never have been able to expand their cast to make more toys. Just the originals did. Done. Explained.

Anonymous said...

Oh, God no. I thought the horror was finally going to stop with the pointless dreck that was Transformers 3. I saw it, and spent the whole time hoping that one of the robots would step on Shea Lebouf's character and mash him to jelly. Or that the flat, talentless female lead would turn out to really be either a femmebot or some kind of superspy who was just pretending to be a bimbo with no personality.

Disclaimer: I am both Geek and Female, so the whole franchise has moments that make me physically queasy. Somehow though, I still manage to see these things, late at night on TV, or as the second part of a drive-in double feature. At least there's Peter Cullen's voice acting. And booze, lots of booze.