10 Things Michael Bay Can Do To Make Transformers 5… Good?
10. No more human villains
I’ve had it with humans siding with Decepticons. Every movie has an idiot willing to sacrifice the extinction of the human race for their own survival! We don’t need human obstacles anymore it’s been done! All right!? Quit it!
… Okay good chat see you out there.
9. Transformers are characters too!
I’ll never understand why Ironhide and Ratchet were ignored in Revenge of the Fallen in favor of the… Twins. The stupid, STUPID Twins. I get that you need to introduce new characters in sequels for, ahem, toy profits but come on! Give us a team of Autobots and Decepticons we can enjoy watching and LEAVE them on the screen! Develop them as characters. Too many characters kills any chance of a focused story that builds momentum. (They already wasted the Dinobots)
AND for the love of God fix Megatron! He sucks.
8. Story vs toys and product placement
Thank you for pausing the story to show us transforming 7-Up vending machines and Xbox 360s. That really helped elevate the storytelling… I get it. You’ve got to pay the bills but taking time out of your story in order to facilitate product placements in irresponsible and lazy. You want products in? Be creative.
The same is true for the number of characters and toys. If you need new toys at least make the characters important to the story. It shouldn’t be the other way around.
7. Who Is Fighting Who?
Some of the best shots of the series are the wide shots during the action. I don’t know enough about render time but too many fights are shown close up. It’s often difficult to tell which Transformer is which. Especially with so many gadgets and gears animated on screen.
Slow things down. I’d trade frantic action for epic battles any day. The forest battle in Revenge of the Fallen is a perfect example of a beautiful Transformers fight. Lots of wide shots and high stakes. The emotional impact of that fight was wasted later in the film but we all knew that ‘twist’ was coming am I right?
This was set up in Age of Extinction. Optimus Prime is off in space searching for answers. Those answers will no doubt prove to be the catalyst for T5’s story. But that doesn’t mean I want Optimus back on Earth by the end of the prologue. Space is a crucial part of the story moving forward. Have Optimus find something so terrifying that 50-60% of the story takes place in space. If you need human characters bring them along. Part of the fun of the first movie was following Sam as he discovers what Transformers are. That same opportunity exists with space exploration. We can explore new worlds through the eyes of Mark Walberg. (That sounds kind of dumb but I mean that in a genuine optimistic way)
5. Design changes for major characters
Change things up! These characters are Transformers after all. It’s time to refresh the main characters. I’ve already requested space but what if a group of Transformers back on Earth went down the ‘organic’ road. That’s right! I’m suggesting Beast Wars but only the seed of Beast Wars. A tiny hint. No rush. But this is a shared universe after all.
I’m obviously getting ahead of myself but let’s assume they go into space for the majority of the film. Optimus Prime as a transport truck doesn’t work in space. Switch things up!
4. A mind blowing twist
The Sentinel Prime ‘twist’ is about as close as they’ve come to a ‘whoa’ moment. What if Transformers 5 featured an insane twist that wowed audiences? It’s a shame that it’s come to this but I think it’s necessary. If you’re trying to reset the franchise in order to facilitate a shared universe of films a twist is inevitable. But it must be dealt with carefully. Perhaps you could establish a ‘Palpatine-like’ puppet master? A ‘Thanos-y’ type? The ultimate evil? Kill off a character we care about? Reveal information that changes everything? Whatever the twist may be, they have an opportunity to tell an amazing story. It’s Transformers! Forgive the pun but enough with the stories in disguise!
3. Establish a clear and unique universe/mythology
This is the one thing I find most encouraging about the prospect of a fifth Transformers movie. For the first time, there is a dedicated group of storytellers responsible for a planned shared universe. You may criticize the Marvel machine but they certainly set the bar high for blockbuster storytelling. You have to assume this team has taken everything wrong with Transformers out of the equation in order to build something new and unique.
Let’s be honest. The mythology and the timeline is a mess. Every film includes a forced reference to Transformers who were ‘already’ on Earth. In Revenge of the Fallen, they built the pyramids. In Dark of the Moon they were on the moon all along. In Age of Extinction the Dinobots just happened to be on Earth ready to… not do much.
Just make Earth a massive resource of Energon to explain their interest and then reset the damn system!
2. Plant high quality seeds for the next director
With a team of storytellers charged with the integrity of the franchise, it’s time to bring in a visionary new director to take the series forward. Michael Bay has already stated this will be his last Transformers movie. His exit means nothing if he leaves a mess behind. It took the X-Men franchise TWO films to successfully erase Brett Ratner’s dreadful X-Men: The Last Stand.
Leave the world and it’s characters in a good place when the credits roll. The next generation of Transformers films depends on it.
I can’t speak for everyone but I’m excited to see every new Transformers movie because of what it might be. Each new entry in the franchise brings renewed hope but I’ve been disappointed since Devastator’s balls clanged against a pyramid in 2009.
What made the first Transformers movie so good was simplicity. The story focused on a boy and his car and gradually expanded organically. Characters made sense. The stakes were clear. Since then they’ve introduced WAY too many characters and coincidental plot devices.
Dark of the Moon was a slight step in the right direction but it all fell apart in Transformers: Age of Extinction. Bring back simple classic storytelling with a family of Autobots we can invest in before they are carelessly replaced. Give us villains with a purpose that’s truly threatening. Restore our faith in the franchise before you let it go!