My number one issue with the live action movies.

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Gojira Prime, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Gojira Prime

    Gojira Prime Narf

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    While the first was my gateway into the mythos, and I owe it a great deal for that, once I really became involved with the franchise, what appealed to me most was the characters. There's just something about the library of Transformers characters that I think is so rich and enjoyable. I'm not sure hwat exactly it is, weather it's Starscream's underhanded trechery, Megatron's gigantic ego, or the noble aweinspiring figurehead that is Optimus Prime. I just love 'em.

    Therein lies the true potential of the franchise for feature films, to give audiences these characters in a way that they don't expect. They expect a movie centering around giant robots to be all action, and they end up with something surprisingly... human.

    Michael Bay and company have done nothing to tap that potential. They could have given Sideswipe a great arc, along the lines of what Cheetor went through in Beast Wars. They could have had Soundwave come down to Earth. This would allow them to build a rivarly between him and Starscream. Soundwave being loyal and Starscream being the traitor. They could have taken Prime's heartless bloodthirsty attitude and made it into a maddening desperation to end the war. No, instead, they give us The Wacky Adventures of Sam Witwicky at College!

    I'm willing to cut the first film some slack, considering they needed to set up the universe, but they had no excuse for doing it in movie 2. Even if they didn't do a great job, I would have liked if they at least tried.
     
  2. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    The point is that Joebob McAveragemoviegoer who isn't a diehard Transformers fannerd couldn't care less about the portrayal of them huge robots. They're in the title, sure, but in the end, they're just robots. They're for the action scenes and may get some dialogue. But the audience mostly identifies with the human characters. And until our society gets replaced by robots, you will keep seeing human protagonists in the focus of the Transformers movies.
     
  3. Gojira Prime

    Gojira Prime Narf

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    See, I don't get that. I think if you give them enough personality, people will indentify with them. I mean, kids and adults alike will identify with animal characters in the Disney movies if they're well done. And let's not foget District 9, which proved you can portray an insectoid biped alien as a sympathetic character, more so than the main human character IMO. So why can't the Transformers do it?

    Even giving you that, I'm not saying to eliminate the human characters, just give us a balance. A 50-50 balance, not the 70-20 we've been getting. If they had done 70-20 in movie one and 50-50 in movie two, they could have hooked the Audience enough to do 40-60 in movie three. Ease the audience into it, and it will work.
     
  4. Shadow25

    Shadow25 Well-Known Member

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    You bring up some good points, but remember that there is only so much time to accomplish this all in. In two and a half hours it would be very difficult to develop all these characters while still maintaining a certain human focus. I actually think the human focus adds seriousness to the conflict, as it shows the effects that a giant robot war on a lesser world. While I agree some human stuff felt a little contrived, especially in ROTF, ultimately they have to be there. Some of the possible routes ou mentioned might take up too much time in that length when you have to get in plot, action, humor, and basic character development. I think only a few core TFs were nailed in ROTF, Prime, Megs, Starscream, BB, and Jetfire. We're surely going to get even more TFs for TF3, so I'd be perfectly happy with ROTF Starscream-level characterization for most of the core robots. At this point, such an overhaul in shifting the focus to TFs near-completely I think wouldn't be a good move but that's not saying it can't be eased into.
     
  5. Ash from Carolina

    Ash from Carolina Junior Smeghead

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    Even on the human characters it really felt like they were just spinning wheels with cut and paste characters from the big Hollywood book of characters.

    Sam does really heroic things and yet it really didn't feel like the character of Sam had advanced all that much from the last movie when he also did something brave to save Prime. Mikaela is there just to look hot again. The parents are pretty much the same wacky thing as last time. Our returning soldiers don't really do much and we aren't really introduced properly to any new soldiers.

    Perhaps you could argue that the average person going to watch a movie lacks the depth of imagination to relation to anything that is not human, but then what is the excuse for so much lacking in the human characters as well?
     
  6. figsdad

    figsdad Well-Known Member

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    i love transformers to bits but district 9 had a better story than revenge of the fallen and amazing cgi..

    but you carnt compare both films but wish we had that director who did district 9 on the next transformers film..

    would be amazing as he got the knack of bringing robots and main character together into a good story somethng transformer lack..
     
  7. Brolga01

    Brolga01 Olé

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    It's not just the director, it's also the story writers.
     
  8. figsdad

    figsdad Well-Known Member

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    well peter jackson helped him write the story but both really good guys and into video games and retro things..

    would be great to get them both on transformers...
     
  9. Khan-Gar

    Khan-Gar Banned

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    No characterization and minimal dialogue is a problem, and definetly some things could be deleted - especially Alice, Reedman, Sideways, the parent's little adventures. For the parents, I like their actors, so I won't really nail them, but we don't need to see them getting high or eating snails.

    Sideways was a waste of CGI, just like Wheelie, Scalpel, and Reedman. Alice - need I go on?
     
  10. ams

    ams Generation All Veteran

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    Sounds like you're looking for a television series.

    While I'd agree ROTF failed at character development, I doubt it's possible to get expansive insight (insight that would satisfy fans) into a dozen robot characters and a dozen human characters in the space of two hours.
     
  11. Moonhawk

    Moonhawk Well-Known Member

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    I agree OP. You dont even have to give characters big parts in movies to give them a great character.

    For example - take the movies Aliens and Alien-vs-Predator.

    In Aliens - there are some memorable characters that are only in the movie briefly before being killed (Apone, Drake etc) but you can remember their names and characteristics after the movie has ended.

    Alien-v-Pred - I couldnt even tell you the name of the heroine - let alone any of the more minor characters.

    Thats the difference between great writing/characterisation - and cashing in on a franchise.
     
  12. NGW

    NGW Rawr

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    I'd rather take the mindless action Bay has given us than someone trying to turn a 2 hour toy commercial into fucking Shakespeare (so to speak).
     
  13. Gojira Prime

    Gojira Prime Narf

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    I'm not in any wat advocating we turn Transformers into all talky talky. And no one is saying we want them to attempt brilliant science fiction, I'd just like them to do something more along the lines of what IDW did at the beginning of thier run. And I stess beginning. We don't want them to set up thier own continuity then contradict it constantly.
     
  14. Lord Of Tetris

    Lord Of Tetris Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the OP, but I also see no easy solution to the problem. Nevermore's statement seemed to be aimed at the reality of the situation, and I agree with his assessment. You, me, and a hundred other TF fans want to see the TF's actually become characters. For every one of us, there are ten more children and parents who think of it as: "The Shia Labeouf comedy movie that has lots of explosions...wait...you mean this was an obscure cartoon, too? Yeah, whatever."

    I don't think we'll ever get away from a 70/30 balance between humans and TF's in the movies. I do have a legitimate complaint, which I'm rather stubborn about: the type of portrayal of the humans and TFs. I'm aware that it costs zillions of dollars to have Optimus Prime punch Megatron, and you can film Shia and Megan for hours and hours and hours and not fry your computers or drive ILM insane. I get that.

    What I believe I share with the OP is that the human scenes feel like a waste of time, and the TF scenes don't live up to their potential. Instead of Shia's stupid roommate adventures, I would have preferred scenes where he perhaps sneaks out at night to hang out with his pal Bumblebee, even if BB is just in car mode. Perhaps the script could have written Sam like John Connor in T2, where he knows this big huge secret about a robot war but he can't tell anyone, and nobody would believe him. It's simply unfortunate that the writers were more interested in showing us Leo Spitz convulse from tasing himself than in making Sam's predicament something we could enjoy.

    I was also disappointed that Lennox and Epps have less to do in ROTF than in TF1. Lennox and Epps were my favorite humans in TF1, and their role in TF2 has them working with the TFs. Perfect! I loved the scene where Epps said something like, "We've shed a lot of blood and metal together." I wished the movie had contained more of that and less of Ron and Judy getting high. If we had more scenes of them vouching for the TF's to the government, and less scenes with Agent Simmons charming his way through Egyptian customs, it would make all the difference in the world without the need for a single frame of CGI.

    With the robots, you can make them compelling characters without increasing their screen time. I don't think any of us have any complaints about Prime's characterization. If Bumblebee could speak, he and Sam could have conversations while BB is in car mode. No CGI needed, and you get a lot more growth in BB's character.

    Instead of Jetfire teleporting the humans to Egypt, perhaps Jetfire could have flown them there, and during the trip Jetfire could have given them his monologue. I'm sure faking a SR-71 set wouldn't be more costly than animating Jetfire's 10-minute speech about the Fallen, and we would have gotten the same story with a lot more heart.

    Instead of having the Autobots transform into car mode and be put under a tarp (???) in the transport plane, why not have the Autobots converse with each other while being transported, maybe have them joke around like the Colonial Marines in Aliens? Good writing can make the briefest performance memorable; bad writing can make even hours of screen time a waste. Take Moonhawk's example and we'll talk about Aliens. Hicks, Hudson, and Ripley were the main characters, but even characters like Apone and Drake were pretty memorable. They had, like, 3 scenes each, but they were written so well, you actually remember them. The only character I remember in Aliens vs Predator is Lance Henrikson, and that's only because his character is linked (only barely) to a character in Aliens. The stars of AVP had dozens more minutes of screentime than Sgt. Apone in Aliens, but bad writing made them bland.
     
  15. Gojira Prime

    Gojira Prime Narf

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    Take proverbial +1 for this post. And a huge thanks to everyone, this is turning out to be a really thoughtful discussion.

    The note about "why not have them talk in alt mode" was brought up by some online critics I think. Spill.com I believe. And it really seems obvious.

    It just peeves me so much, here you have this rich library of characters avaiable for the films you're making, and you don't even try to do anything with them? That makes no sense.
     
  16. Ash from Carolina

    Ash from Carolina Junior Smeghead

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    Hollywood has been making movies for a long time and they have developed a lot of tricks to adding character in a very short time. Even in a war movie with lots of characters they still put in something you can relate to so it stings even when the guy with three lines gets killed.

    Just something like Lennox or Epps asking one of the Autobots if they ever lost anyone could have added a lot of character to the robots. Maybe the Autobots are just machines to the general public but it would be hard not to relate to one of them if they lost everyone they knew somewhere. For all our faults humans have an amazing ability to show empathy for living things that aren't human.
     
  17. Gojira Prime

    Gojira Prime Narf

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    ^ Fo Shizzle.
     
  18. Chaos Prime

    Chaos Prime Combaticon

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    I'd have to agree with you in this. I mean if an audience can identify with R2-D2 (who's little more than a beeping trash can) then audiences should have been able to identify with some of the Transformers.
     
  19. Nachtsider

    Nachtsider Banned

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    [​IMG]

    :confused: 
     
  20. Gojira Prime

    Gojira Prime Narf

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    Good point.
     

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