Man, I love Transformers. Naturally I’m referring here to the 1986 animated feature: I remember my dad getting a copy on Betamax back in the late 80s and it has remained pretty much undiminished in my affections ever since.
Then in 2007 Michael Bay launched his live-action bot-fest. As a fan of Bad Boys and The Rock I was psyched, and to be honest fairly satisfied with the result. I saw it with my folks, so it kind of acted as a neat little internal bookend for me against the animated original.
However since ’07 Bay’s baby has chuntered along with a decade of sequels which are… of questionable quality. The latest, Transformers: The Last Knight, opened this week and already the reviews have been mixed, with critics labelling it everything from brain-chewing robo-poop through to the minority who still fly a flag for the franchise (Robbie Collin of The Telegraph, I’m looking at you sir).
As Bay has (not for the first time) said that this ‘Formers film will be his last, here are 5 directors I’d like to see reboot the series.
1. Neill Blomkamp
We all wept bitter acid tears when it was confirmed earlier this year that Blomkamp’s long cherished reboot of the Aliens films had been nuked from orbit. So what better than for him to reboot another ailing sci-fi franchise? He has form with alt-future grit, specifically ideas around the intersection between bots and humans. Hell, we could even have a cameo from Chappie. No? Ok scratch that last bit. But imagine his District 9 aesthetic applied to Optimus Prime fighting for racial equality in downtown Jo’burg, and don’t tell me that wouldn’t be sweet.
The godfather for body-horror, I’d love to see Cronenberg take a Lovecraftian swing at the ‘Former-verse. Ideas about human bodies transforming are central to his oeuvre (The Fly, Rabid, Videodrome) so why not extend this to bots, or more teasingly the invasion of bots into bodies. Imagine: a Cybertronian virus causes microbots to infect humans, turning them into cybernetic organisms controlled by Megatron. Sure, we’d have to go R rated and lose the core audience of 12 year boys, but the results could be superb. Long live the new flesh!
3. James Cameron
I know, I know: Cameron is tied up making Avatar sequels for the next begillion years. And if he were to return to any franchise he should probably focus on pulling The Terminator out of the cinematic dumpster. But Cameron is unparalleled in delivering grade-A big budget spectacle. With the two most (financially) successful films of all-time under his belt it would be a guaranteed paycheck for the studios whilst also being, you know, good. A 100-foot tall T100 slugging it out with Bumblebee? Sign me up.
4.Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Slight change of tact, but this team behind crowd pleasers like The Lego Movie could bring some much needed levity to the franchise. The “humour” in Bay’s movies has generally ranged from the crass to downright misogynistic and racist, so having this duo revitalise the films with a propulsive sense of innocent fun could be just the ticket. Plus I hear they are free at the moment.
Back in 1997 Joel Schumacher destroyed a successful series with Batman and Robin, but Nolan was the man who made the dark knight rise again with Batman Begins. Bringing a literary sensibility and unapologetic smarts to a pop culture icon, he delivered an impressive trilogy and arguable two of the greatest super hero movies of all time. Given that Transformer lore is replete with big themes (Genocide! Guilt! Redemption!) it would be incredible to see a master filmmaker like Nolan draw these out whilst also delivering action set pieces like the opening bank job in The Dark Knight. It could be the film we need right now.
What are your thoughts? Any film-makers you’d like to see take the reigns after Bay?
Transformers: The Last Knight is out now