Tag Archives: Transformers

“Y – The Last Man” – new director, no Shia, all good

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What a difference a couple of years makes.

When the film adaptation was last discussed, the movie version was heading directly towards mediocre town, helmed as it was due to be by D.J. Caruso and starring his “Disturbia“/”Eagle Eye” star, Shia LaBeouf.

This entirely unsatisfactory state of affairs was barely improved by LaBeouf’s words on leaving the film, in which he cited too many parallels between his character in “Y: The Last Man“, Yorick, and his “Transformersaction figure lead role, Sam Witwicky.

Having not read the screenplay for “Y” which LeBeouf was referring to, I can’t speak to the veracity of his opinion, but the very idea that any kind of line could be drawn twixt the two properties defies belief, frankly.   Where “Y: The Last Man” is a provocative post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale with fascinating characters, science run amok and smart things to say about gender in society, Michael Bay‘s “Transformers” flicks are essentially giant robot fetishism with explosions punctuating the minutes in the film not devoted to leering close-ups on some poor starlet’s aerobicised caboose.

The two projects are, I would submit to you, not exactly related in tone.

So, it’s bloody good news that Dan Trachtenberg, helmer of the superb “Portal” fan flick “No Escape” and former co-host of the late and lamented “Totally Rad Show” podcast, has signed up to spearhead a new take on the film.  Whilst Trachtenberg’s involvement hardly guarantees that the film will be made, it’s a real step in the right direction and perhaps acknowledges that people who like the material and don’t think that they’re making a rock-em, sock-em summer action flick are a good fit to direct something as good as “Y: The Last Man” is.

Something approaching common sense in Hollywood?  Clearly, normal service will be resumed shortly…

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From VFX to No FX? The near-death and resurrection of Digital Domain…

 

Formerly an industry leader, now just about hanging on – Digital Domain, James Cameron‘s VFX house this week staved off bankruptcy…

It’s something of a conundrum – visual effects work is the life-blood of summer blockbusters, tv shows, music videos and commercials, but the business behind it is utterly cut-throat and increasingly parlous – witness this week’s near-bankrupt Digital Domain.

Once the brainchild of Billion Dollar King of the World, James Cameron, and the late, lamented Stan Winston, the latter-day Digital Domain expanded from its core effects business to producing  a now on-hold animated feature, “The Legend of Tembo”  and just this week avoided going to the wall entirely – and it’s by no means alone.

Chances are that you’ve seen D.D.s  contributions to Cameron’s Titanic, , the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek”, the “Transformers” series, Fincher‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button & The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or “Thor”.

An excellent story by Bill Desowitz, over at the always illuminating Thompson on Hollywood, relates just how tough it is to keep your head above water in the business of painting digital dreams…

 

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“Transformers 4” in 2014 – now with terrible lizards?

 

Concept art from High Moon Studios’ “Transformers: Fall of Cybertron”

If memory serves, I’ve spoken before on the blog about my love-hate issues with the Michael Bay-directed “Transformers” series of live action toy commercialssummer blockbusters.

The progression over time goes something like this – loved the first one, wanted the burn the second one with fire, kind of grudgingly enjoyed the third one despite an array of dubious shenanigans (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley‘s insultingly written role, reusing old The Island footage, Buzz Aldrin‘s embarrassing cameo).   It’s probably fair to say that the only people really jonesing for another Baysplosion Rock-Em-Shock-Em fest are the accountants at Hasbro and Paramount.

To which end, Empire Online today has a story about the plans for the fourth movie, which aims to reboot the series and introduce new characters.  Or, to lead the elephant directly into the room, introduce new Autobots and Decepticons so that Hasbro can flog a whole bunch of toys and spin-off merch to kids and their long-suffering parents.

As illustrated in the featured image on this post, many fans are already jumping to the conclusion that now would be a great time for Paramount and Bay to introduce Dinobots into the mix and you have to say that they may well have a point there.   If we were going to see the series recalibrated to appeal to the eternal 10-year-old geeks who are arguably the lifeblood of this enduring property, what better way to do that than to blend every youthful nerd’s favourite stuff – sci-fi, transforming robots, mind-boggling action and awesome dinosaurs running amok – into a heady, pop-cultural mix?

And whilst we’re at it, could we jettison the sad misogyny, racist stereotypes and rabid gun worship whilst we’re at it? I know, I know – but it doesn’t hurt to ask, does it?

As Empire’s story suggests, an as-yet-undetermined 2014 release date is planned – and who knows, perhaps we’ll  get the awesome, undeniably entertaining “TF” movie we deserve and that the first film promised to deliver.

 

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“G.I. Joe – Retaliation” gets new trailer, destroys the Big Smoke…

What is it with Hollywood and destroying London?

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No sooner had I put my feet up and begun to enjoy the latest trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation than I was confronted with merry old London town biting the big one again, via the intercession of some sketchy space missile thingy.  Not that I’m the biggest fan of our capital city – I only visit if I absolutely have to – but it would be nice for an American film to grasp the complex reality that there are other cities in the UK.

Yep, that's going to give Boris a few sleepless nights...

Is it too much to hope for a major Hollywood blockbuster to pick on Birmingham or Manchester for a change?  Surely Leeds needs to be rendered into ashes by a stray super missile?  Mindless destruction equality now!  Blow up some different places for a change!

But, I digress…

There’s a new trailer for this deliciously silly looking comic book action fest, which seems to be marking out its place on the calendar as an unpretentious and marked improvement on the unwatchable original entry in the series – I don’t have any history with the action figures, but this could be the daft action extravaganza which manages to erase the bad taste that the increasingly horrible Transformers films left in my mouth as that series veered ever deeper into the darker recesses of Michael Bay‘s ID.

It’s nearly the summer, I’m really going to want to escape the ad nauseam Olympics hype in the UK – what better way to do it than watch professional actors portray action figures and run away from cgi explosions?

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day – here’s “Transformers 4” for you.

If you’re celebrating the Hallmark company’s favourite holiday of the year, I hope that it’s brought all of the joy and loveliness that you might reasonably hope for.

"So, Mike, you're sure Devastator's Junk is crucial to the scene, right?"

For me, it’s brought the not exactly welcome news that Michael Bay is going to direct another “Transformers” film, due for release in the summer of 2014.

And – intriguingly – it’s described as something of a reboot for the series, which presents the decidedly odd prospect of Bay going back to code and making a new start with a franchise he’s been already been instrumental in bringing to the screen (whatever you think of them, the film versions of the Transformers characters are absolutely torn from Bay’s id and his visual stamp is all over the movies).

So, is this a tacit admission that the movies have become more unwieldy, noisy and adolescent as they’ve gone along or just Bay getting to jettison any notion of subtlety, tact or taste and spraying the screen with as many explosions, models in cut-off shorts and urination gags as his highly paid writers can dream up (for shame, Ehren Kruger, for shame…)?

Whatever the case, before the entirely irresistable “T4” starts shooting, Bay will make his long-cherished black comedy, “Pain & Gain”, which is currently headlined by Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg and relates the no doubt delightful real-life tale of kidnap, torture and mayhem down Miami way, carried out in the oily and steroid-drenched world of body building.

And yet, no role for Dame Judi Dench in that film – who’d have thunk?

 

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“Transformers 4”, Latvian art house cinema nil.

Another day at the office...

In news calculated to cheer the hearts of every salesman in every Ferrari dealership in California, “Transformers” director Michael Bay is close to signing on to direct a fourth movie in the franchise for Paramount.

Fans of tight close-ups on Supermodel butts and respected character actors turning up and cashing their cheques will be delighted to know that work on the film is intended to start towards the end of 2012, after Bay completes work on his long-gestating, bloody true crime pic “Pain & Gain” – which now stars Dwayne Johnson, per Empire’s story on the matter.

The idea of Bay working on a small-scale is interesting – he’s now synonymous with the kind of summer movies which routinely cost $200 million and change – but I don’t see him staying away from the popcorn fare which has made his name for too long.

Another “Transformers” movie isn’t exactly what I need to be seeing any time soon – would it be too much to hope that Shia LaBeouf has decided that it’s time to move on, even if his director hasn’t?

 

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“Transformers: Fall of Cybertron” trailer gets teased…

This summer, a paternal robot truck will rise...

Topless Robot has a wee hint of a teaser trailer for the next Transformers game from High Moon, “Fall of Cybertron” today and it got me thinking.

Do we really need teasers for trailers?

This seems to be a weird and growing phenomenon in the Nerd sphere – are we now deemed such inveterate fanboys and fangirls that we’ll keep F5-ing sites, Facebook ‘liking’ and generally chasing around the interwebs until we get a look at a trailer for a movie/game/tv show which we’re waiting for?   If this is the case, I don’t know if it constitutes hardcore fan service or some kind of ‘Dance, monkey boy, dance!’-style condescension.

Social media only seems to be making things better/worse, depending on how you look at it.

It’s now quite the thing for one of your favourite video games blogs to report on the latest mysterious countdown clock to surface on a developer website or publisher site, with cryptic hints and Facebook/Twitter pimping being used to build up the anticipation for the early release of a game trailer.

A trailer, as in ‘free advertising’, the last time that I looked.

I suppose that for the PR department of a publisher, this is one way of gathering user metrics and getting a sense of just how big the anticipation for your product is.  Not that this guarantees anything – witness the quiet retreat of the Hollywood studios from San Diego Comic Con after the hyped-to-the-gills films like “Watchmen” and “Scott Pilgrim” failed to cross-over beyond the Hall H crowd to the elusive mainstream audience.

It’s not hard to see the uber-publishers like Activision, EA and Ubisoft taking a similar tack when their first trailer for a game doesn’t ignite the Twit-verse with eager chatter and set games blogs alight with hype.  Does your marketing budget drift south if you’re not trending, having new threads made on NeoGaf or getting 80 plus MetaCritic rankings?

Countdowns for teasers for trailers – innovative way to drive enthusiastic community interest in your product or the latest example of the games space chasing its own backside?

 

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