2017 Hot Seat: Pirates 5 vs Transformers 5

2017 Hot Seat: Pirates 5 vs Transformers 5

To this day, I still believe Michael Bay’s original Transformers movie is an amazing and fun blockbuster.  It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a decade since the Autobots destroyed downtown L.A in an all-out war against the Decepticons.  The original Transformers movie was simple.  A story about a boy and his car from outer space.  Actually that sounds dumb in written form but the film eventually focuses on The All Spark.  A source of great power in the Transformers universe.

Good vs Evil.  Likeable characters.  Tons of cool action.  What’s not to like?

Then it all went bad when Revenge of the Fallen was released two years later.  A complete and utter mess.  All of the sudden the Transformers had visited our planet for years completely reducing the ‘awe’ factor of alien discovery.  There were continuity nightmares, a horrible main villain, extra Transformers purely to sell toys and an incoherent plot with transparent ‘twists’.

I don’t care that they tried to go the fan service route with a Devastator appearance.  It doesn’t work if the story sucks.

Speaking of which, Dark of the Moon was even worse!  Crappy villain, extra Transformers to sell toys and a more forced ‘connections’ between Transformers and Earth.  I don’t even want to talk about Dark of the Moon anymore. My first impression? Way better than Fallen but after repeat viewings?  It sucks.

Then we got Age of Extinction.  A ‘reboot’ designed to reset the Transformers universe moving forward.  A film meant to set up a new series of interconnected films and spinoffs.  That movie sucked too!!!  It had a decent villain until idiot Galvatron showed up…  Oh and as for fan service?  The Dinobots were completely wasted.  A throwaway plot line and yet another forced connection between Transformers and human history.

In 2017…  Michael Bay returns for the final (?) time to direct the fifth film in this financially successful mess.  Transformers: The Last Knight.  I have to be honest, history is not on their side despite the refreshing hope that comes with every new release.  Will we finally get a good Transformers sequel?

Let’s look at the facts.  FINALLY, Optimus left Earth in search of the Creators and answers.  Presumably this will open up the Universe a great deal.  Much like Guardians of the Galaxy did for Marvel.  We are no longer restricted to Earth and all the forced connections that go along with it.

Except…  Somehow…  The Transformers were involved in the whole… King Arthur… Thing?  Come on!!!  For now I’m reserving judgment on The Last Knight.  Instead I’d like to focus on another fifth installment coming in 2017:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Right.  Let’s go back to the beginning when Jack Sparrow ruled the blockbuster landscape and Johnny Depp was the biggest movie star in the world.

Disney managed to take a theme park ride and adapt it into an amazing adventure that was funny, action packed and beyond fun.  I loved Curse of the Black Pearl, but not nearly as much as I adored the sequel, Dead Man’s Chest.

Davy Jones is one of my favorite modern day villains.  He’s a gorgeous blend of cutting edge animation and state of the art performance capture.  I thought Pirates 2 managed to expand the mythology of the series without relying too heavily on the first film beyond a few returning characters.  You could argue that another ‘cursed’ crew was a retread.  And I suppose Jack Sparrow is after a treasure like the first film…  Right…  So there’s some similarities but the story was good.  You know what, we’ll get back to that.

The franchise took a big step back in my opinion when the series seemingly ‘ended’ with At World’s End.  The film tied up many storylines and I’m willing to admit it was entertaining but I certainly wouldn’t say it’s the best Pirates movie.

Years drifted by…  Suddenly, news broke that a fourth film was coming.  On Stranger Tides.  Here’s where it all went wrong.  Jack Sparrow returns to run from another pirate that hates him while trying to find a hidden treasure to…  You get the idea.  That movie sucked.

However, like the Transformers movies, people flocked to theaters worldwide to see Jack Sparrow on the big screen again.  Much like they undoubtedly will for the upcoming fifth installment, Dead Men Tell No Tales.

In this film, Jack Sparrow returns to run from another pirate that hates him while…  Wait a minute!?  Another ghostly pirate wants revenge on Captain Jack Sparrow?  The first trailer for the film highlights Javier Bardem’s creepy villain well but is it enough?  Will this new film differentiate itself enough to rise above two mediocre sequels in a row?

2017 is around the corner and the Blockbuster season is bigger and better than ever.  In a year that features the return of the Guardians, the debut of the Justice League and more, can aging franchises like Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean stand out?

Which one of these 5-quels will succeed?  None?  One?  Both?  I hope it’s both.  I would love to revisit these franchises again without the threat of disappointment in the air.  Unfortunately, I think that’s unavoidable.  Even if these two films unleash incredible trailers and marketing campaigns, I will still have doubts until the credits roll.

The bigger question is, if these films do disappoint, will they kill any hope for future films?  At this point, there’s no sign of ‘closure’ on the horizon.  These films will definitely plant seeds for future films.  But what if, to put it bluntly, they suck?  Is 2017 the last time we will see Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean?

In my opinion, Pirates has the most to lose here.  It’s an old franchise with a star who has lost much appeal over the years.  I don’t think it’s an accident he was left out of the first teaser.  Let’s not forget there isn’t a lot of ‘spin-off’ potential in the Pirates universe.

Meanwhile, Transformers has much more room to reinvent itself with a new director moving forward.  Whether Michael Bay delivers a huge hit or another lackluster blockbuster, we will still get a Transformers 6.

What do you think?  Will Pirates 5/Transformers 5 rejuvenate their respective franchises or kill them?

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