Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I actually didn’t see Transformers: Dark of the Moon in theaters. A mistake on my part, I realize that now. I saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and it was decent, but it just wasn’t enough of what I wanted. I was so psyched that the Constructicons were going to be in the movie. And yet, the events of that movie just seemed like such a tangled blur to me that it was hard to appreciate.

Mostly, I think Michael Bay has done right by Transformers; seriously. I think he hits some high notes. I like for example how much Bay emphasizes the war aspect of the whole thing by linking the events very closely with experiences of human beings in the military. Because it invokes the kind of tension that you feel when you’re in the military (I would assume, anyway). It takes guts to put your life on the line. And that’s the thing--the Transformers are ALIVE. By emphasizing that this is war and they could, in fact, be killed you get the sense that they are living.

But you know me, I’m a fanboy through and through. Of course I’m hoping it’s all going to be like G1 and all that. And at times it does seem like it’s a movie that sort of resembles Transformers more than being true to the original cartoon series. G.I. Joe takes this to another level; it seems, to me, to be two movies with characters who are reminiscent of the characters of G.I. Joe only, but aren’t quite them.

So I let Transformers: Dark of the Moon go. And when I finally got around to watching it, I could see that it’s the most intense, the most gripping and even the most like the cartoon (that whole thing with calling Cybertron to Earth was in the show). I remember hearing that there would be a fourth film. And that it would be a reboot of sorts. Based on what I’ve seen in the trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction, I’m not getting the reboot bit at all.

In fact, it almost seems to me that the trailer is advertising the very thing that people have come to sort of half mock/half love about the movies. All this over-the-top slow running and crazy explosions? Bay’s Transformer movies, they’re like William Shatner, you know? I mean, I actually love Shatner. And I don’t even mean since he got all ironic. I love him as Kirk. He was the man, but people started to make fun of him. And then he did this weird thing where he almost sort of became the thing that people were making fun of. Like he perfected it, intentionally. And then people loved him again!

I sort of keep thinking of this trailer like that. I’ve heard so many jokes about Michael Bay movies and yet this T4 trailer just seems to wildly embrace all of the things that people have been hard on it about. But I’m not quite seeing what's going to be new here. And let me say this on the subject of Dinobots: If that is in fact Grimlock we see in the trailer, Optimus Prime is RIDING on top of Grimlock. WHAT IS HAPPENING THERE?!

I haven’t even kept up with what species of dinosaurs from my own childhood are still intact and which ones they’ve actually changed the names and features of. And maybe that’s problematic for including the Dinobots. But it seems to me that these guys should have been around LONG before the fourth film. When you put Devastator into a movie, doesn’t it just follow that the Autobots are going to whip out their own secret weapon and you’re going to see a bunch of robot Dino’s tangle with one mammoth Decepticon?

And then there’s the Wreckers in the third movie. The Wreckers have become this really, really important piece of fan fiction, I guess, that the Transformers fanbase are really into. Or maybe it got started in the British version of the Transformers comic book, I’m not sure? Mostly, the Wreckers seem associated with a host of minor, but fan loved, Transformers and a few major ones (Springer, for example, has sometimes been showcased as one of the Wreckers' leaders) and have featured prominently in more recent Transformers comic books. But doesn’t it seem like the Dinobots should have been the Autobot strike force in that third film rather than a bunch of Nascar no-names? I mean, when the Wreckers are introduced, a character comments on how hardcore they are but then mentions that ‘they’re #$%holes’. I mean doesn’t that say it all?

At this point I would be more on board with a total revamp, even from Bay, than just more of the same. Because it just seems to me like we could be facing another kind of scattershot gathering of sort of random elements from the show. I mean, why Dinobots now? What’s the purpose or the focus? And for God’s sake, when did Prime ever RIDE GRIMLOCK LIKE A BULL?! But Transformers: Dark of the Moon really sold it to me. I’m not saying they can’t do that again. And I think Mark Wahlberg is the man. I’m just surprised at how much Transformers: Age of Extinction seems to aim to promise more of the same of what you’ve already seen, so far.