Monday, June 26, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight, Or Franchise Peak Stupidity

A few minutes ago, my friend Loren Collins shared this article on the new Michael Bay Transformers film Transformers: The Last Knight. I looked it over and quickly shared with my friend Nick, who is no fan of Michael Bay, and told him that it looked like the franchise had reached "peak stupidity."

Let the record state that I saw the first three Michael Bay Transformers adaptations. I enjoyed the first one, which I own on Blu-Ray. The second one Revenge of the Fallen had a good concept, but a rather mediocre execution. It bothered me so much that I wrote my own version of it on

The third movie Dark of the Moon I saw in theaters and didn't particularly like it. Part of it was because they not only ditched Megan Fox but also the character Mikaela Banes and replaced her with the much less interesting Carly, but also, well, for a whole bunch of reasons. Here's my review; beware spoilers.

I skipped the fourth movie Age of Extinction altogether and based on the film's poor Rotten Tomatoes score and the sheer ludicrosity of what the Io9 article and the film's Wikipedia page described, I'm probably going to skip this one two. Seriously, an ancient order consisting of various famous people descended from Merlin called "the Witwiccans"? As, the origin of the name "Witwicky"? That's ridiculous. And the Transformers having been on Earth for generations? Bumblebee fighting the Nazis I could understand (he was on Earth before the Autobots began arriving en masse in the first movie), but a "secret history" of Cybertronian involvement on Earth dating back to King Arthur? Overkill and a continuity problem.

I wish I were part of Michael Bay's writer mafia. The first one was generally good and could have been better (some of the humor was really infantile, like Bumblebee "urinating" on Simmons), while the second one could have explored the Cybertronians in more detail (I kept the backstory of Starscream and Jetfire from the animated series, for example) and could have had a more cohesive storyline as well as Michael Bay's glorious explosions.

And here's how a Matthew W. Quinn version of Dark of the Moon would have looked like. It'd draw heavily on the 1986 Transformers animated film (complete with Unicron, Galvatron, and a child-traumatizing massacre of most of the well-known Autobots) but would have the characters from the first two films and a bit of a "next generation" thing going with Daniel being the son of Sam and Mikaela, Simmons (and his apprentice Leo) and Lennox being high-up intelligence and military guys, etc. And no chucking Sam and Mikaela either--since it's 20 years later, just recast them if they're no longer interested in being in the franchise (Shia) or they do something that annoys the boss too much (like Megan Fox did).

(Not sure how I would have done #4 and #5. Perhaps stuff based on the animated series material that took place after the movie, like Starscream trying to get a new body, the Quintessons, etc.)

Instead we got a series of films so firmly enmeshed into what TVTropes calls Status Quo is God that the Io9 author makes a good case that Michael Bay has issues with "object permanence."


  1. Honestly, we should have left you in charge of the Transformers films, Matt. :-) They'd be in far better hands than Bay and his posse.

    1. Thanks for the endorsement. Although I have great confidence in my abilities as a writer, I have much less in my abilities as a director.

      If I wrote the script and Bay directed it, that might produce something beautiful.