The marketing materials for December's Bumblebee make the origin story look like something different from what the franchise has delivered in the past... and that might be great news.
Our world will be changed on July 4 when aliens make Earth their final battleground in “TRANSFORMERS.” As the forces of evil seek the key to ultimate power, our last chance for survival rests in the hands of young Sam Witwicky
Pulped by Stuart Wood
Any man who grew up in the 80s was a Transformers fan. They were the biggest toy line of the 80s and spawned one of the most successful and memorable cartoon series of that era. So successful in fact that it already has one animated feature movie under it's belt. Of course there was always some spotty kid in the corner who would try and insist that Go-Bots were superior, but those people probably grew up to enjoy things such as colonic irrigation and Ricki Lake and were probably that generation's equivalent of Silent Hill fans.
During the height of their original popularity and in spite the greatness of the animated movie there was always one ultimate but unattainable dream for young 80s spuds like myself; the live-action feature. In retrospect that was no bad thing, extrapolating late 80s special effects into giant freakin' robots would probably have resulted in horrible man-in-suit or stop motion results and an embarassing mess all round. But now it's the 21st century and the age of hi-def CGI effects mean the childhood dreams of giant robots ripping it up in a downtown city area can now be realised.
Sadly in recent years the good name of Transformers has been tarnished by increasingly crappy remakes tailored especially for the Yu-Gi-Oh generation. Left in the hands of the likes of Saban, Cartoon Network and Fox Kids, the robots in disguise, which once had the hand of Marvel helping to guide them and which we all knew and loved, are now insipid caricatures of their once great selves. So when Dreamworks announced they were going to make a live-action Transformers, original fans treated it with some sketicism until two things happened...
First, producer Tom DeSanto categorically stated that the movie would be based on the ORIGINAL Transformers characters and mythology, not the new and inferior remakes. Secondly, the greatest man in Hollywood, Steven Spielberg, would be executive producing in an active role overseeing the project, rather than just lending his name and a wedge of budget to the production team. As you might remember, the difference Spielbergs input on a project can make is the difference between Star Wars: Episodes I/II and Star Wars: Episode III.
In a further shrewd move, the producers hired Michael Bay to direct. While originally a little hesitant about this news someone pointed out the obvious fact to me; When you need someone to do MASSIVE, EPIC action set pieces on a scale needed for a movie like this and you can't coax James Cameron out of his submarine, only Michael Bay has the pedigree behind him to pull it off. And with Spielberg on hand to guide him, imagine the possibilities.
The final piece of geekworthy news at time of writing is that Bay intends to audition the original actors who lent their voices to the main characters. While they are not guaranteed the jobs as Bay understandably wants to make sure their voices are still of credible quality for the characters 20 years on, the prospect of seeing characters like Optimus Prime AND hearing them just as they were in the original cartoon is almost too much for a fast regressing childhood fan to bear.
Transform and roll out!