The live-action Transformers movie has made Paramount Pictures a ton of money, both figuratively and in the literal sense. To give you a sense of how much the films make, the last movie in the first trilogy, Dark of The Moon, took in $1.1 billion dollars. That’s billion with a capital B! So, it would be safe to assume that’s because fans of the original show love it, right?
Well, you’d be wrong. Fans, including myself, hated a lot of the things Michael Bay did with the franchise. So, in lieu of Transformers: Age of Extinction’s impending release, let me list down the reason why we hate the Bayformers.
1) Too much focus on the humans
What was the main reason kids watched the Transformers? Why, was it because of Spike and Spark Plug? Well, Michael Bay and the screenwriters seem to think so since they featured them so prominently during the previous three films! Look, I get it that Bay didn’t know anything about the cartoon and he just made them because it was a job to him. But he should’ve at least gotten some adviser to tell him that we watched the cartoon because it had robots that could transform into other things fighting other robots that could transform into other things!
Instead, the Transformers trilogy of films chose to focus on “Sam” Witwickey and his trials of… being the savior of the Autobots. What the hell? We may have a soft spot for Spike in the cartoons but we were more fixated on, you know, the awesome giant robots? They elevated the human sidekick to be more important than the giant freaking robots!
They actually gave them much more screentime than the Transformers! Speaking of which…
2) The personalities of the robots are generic
One of the great things the Transformers cartoon and comic did was give every Transformer a distinct personality. We knew Optimus Prime was a charismatic leader. We could easily see how loyal Shockwave was to Megatron. We found out during the first episode that Cliffjumper was a hothead. It was very obvious Starscream wanted to backstab Megatron and take over the Decepticons. They all had some backstory to be told. And we latched onto those well developed personalities! We had our own personal favorite characters because they were just that: characters! Since we knew them so well, we all had a strong personal attachment to each of them.
I can’t say the same thing for the Bayformers. I never felt any attachment to Soundwave, my favorite character in the cartoon, I may add! I was pretty excited when they announced he was going to be in Revenge of The Fallen but he didn’t do anything important. And when they did give him screentime, there was no personality to the character! He was just an ordinary robot. Suffice to say, my disappointment was palpable.
3) The robot designs are stupid
A lot of fans new to the franchise couldn’t tell the Autobots from the Decepticons. Being a fan, I was able to decipher which belongs to what side. But, I could see why. The designs were needlessly complex. Also, they all had this little bits moving around all the time, which is very distracting! And the facial designs are really ugly! Each face had too many “lines” and creases, making them all look like monsters, adding to the confusion to who’s an Autobot and Decepticon.
And how dare they give Optimus Prime a mouth!
Speaking of Optimus Prime…
4) Optimus Prime’s vehicle mode
It may seem like a very minor thing. “Optimus Prime turns into a truck in the cartoon and he turns into a truck in the movie.” Well, it’s not the same thing! In the cartoon and the comics, Prime transforms into a Kenworth “flat nose” cab over truck, complete with trailer. In the films, he was changed into the modern looking Peterbilt “long nose” truck. Yes, they’re both trucks but it looks really weird because of the way Prime looks!
There was a simple elegance in the old cartoon look. The “glass” portion would transform into his chest, which you could open up and the grill would become part of Prime’s torso or, as we used to call it when we were younger, his abs. The movie tries to copy the look but, like I said earlier, is too complicated!
Also, where’s his trailer? In the cartoons, we had no idea what happens to it when Prime transforms into robot mode. But we didn’t care! It may seem unrealistic that it just pops in from nowhere but we loved it!
5) You can’t help but compare them to the awesome 1986 animated film
The animated film was one of the most emotional movies ever for a kid. At the start of the movie, the narrator states in the year 2005 (yes, that was the future then), the treacherous Decepticons has conquered the Autobots’ home planet of Cybertron. The Autobots are still are trying to take back the planet. But that’s not the real threat. No, the real villain of the film is Unicron, the world eater! Now, Unicron was one of those epic antagonists that seemed unstoppable!
There were also a lot of our favorite Transformers that were sent to oblivion as well! In the first 15 minutes of the film, most of the old Generation 1 Autobots were wiped out by the Decepticons! Of course, there’s also the pivotal scene where Optimus Prime fights Megatron to the death! And Prime actually died! That came as a big shock to us. There were reports wherein kids started crying in the movie theater and their parents had to bring them home! That’s how much Optimus Prime and the rest of the (robot) characters meant to us!
But the worst thing they changed…
6) The transforming sound effect
The sound effect that they used whenever the Transformers transform into their alternate forms and back was just so unique! It was incredibly alien sounding when you compared it to any other thing we’ve heard before, which made total sense since the Autobots and Decepticons are highly advanced alien robots. Whenever we played with our Transfomer toys, we all made that same sound effect with out mouths at one time or another.
Comparing it to the Bayformers sound effect, which sounds like pieces of metal gears grinding against each other played in the rhythm of dubstep, the animated transforming sound just sounds awesome beyond comparison. Once more, Michael Bay decided to mess with something that didn’t need to be changed. It didn’t need to be more realistic and identifiable! It’s really odd since he knew they needed to bring back Peter Cullen as the voice of Optimus Prime or else fans would shun the film entirely!
I know I’ve ranted a lot about this cartoon and I hope Michael Bay actually listens to the feedback of loyal fans, who should be the ones he should actually take notes from. Then again, we’ll be getting this abomination in a few months…
Please don’t make me write another list in August when this comes out, Michael Bay. It breaks my heart a little bit each time I have to.
Which was better? The Transformer cartoon or the live-action films? Leave your choice in the comments section below!