With Transformers: Dark Of The Moon released in theaters tonight, Michael Bay completes his run on the movie version of the robots in disguise – Well, unless he decides that he’s going to do another one because Paramount have begged him sufficiently. Is it time to let the robots in disguise rest for awhile, or reboot the franchise?
All complaints about the movies’ quality aside – And I liked the first, but found the second just a complete mess that didn’t make any sense – there’s no denying that Paramount has a hit franchise on its hands, and now that it’s lost the rights to distribute Marvel’s movies after Captain America, that kind of thing counts even more than before. Whatever arguments that are to be made for resting the series for awhile will have to compete with the fact that, basically, Paramount could always use the almost guaranteed money that a Transformers movie can bring.
Add to that, the fact that the franchise is one of the few that can… well, transform relatively painlessly. The three movies that have been made and released so far have only scratched the surface of the mythology of the characters and various toylines, leaving a lot of untouched areas for future moviemakers to consider: What about a movie set entirely on the Transformers’ home planet? What about a movie set in the past featuring CGI dinosaurs versus CGI Dinobots? What about a live action remake of the 1986 animated movie so we can finally see Wreck-Gar as if he were real? …Okay, maybe not that last one, but let’s face it: There’s a lot of ways in which any future movie can pretty much avoid stepping in Michael Bay’s familiar territory, if that’s the direction the studio decides to go in.
And yet… I can’t help but feel that Paramount may want to wait awhile before jumping back on the Transformers train (Rail Racer, anyone?). It’s not out of any level of respect for the Bay era – although, let’s face it, it’s unlikely that anyone would be able to out-Bay Bay, so we should probably hang our heads a little nonetheless – but I feel that returning to the franchise so quickly after the third movie may result in a similar sense of apathy that greeted the latest Pirates of The Caribbean movie, which is unlikely to be what anyone wants (The parallels are clear: Fourth movies, the first without either complete core casts from earlier movies and directors). If the third movie succeeds at the box office – and, surely, it’s going to? Isn’t this the movie that everyone expects to be a hit no matter what? – then I feel as if Paramount should take that as a win in and of itself, and quit for awhile while the going is good.
After all, it’s not as if there aren’t other toy franchises out there waiting for their moment in the spotlight (I am still somewhat stunned that JJ Abrams’ mooted Micronauts movie hasn’t been rushed into production yet), and absence could only make the Transformers fan’s heart grow fonder. Three movies feels like enough for one go – anything else feels greedy (Part of the reason, I suspect, why Pirates 4 performed as poorly as it did), and unnecessary. Once this movie is out of the way, let the franchise run quiet for a few years, and then bring it back in a blaze of glory with the Future Michael Bay of 2016 in charge, blowing things up with an older, disappointed Shia LeBoeuf and whoever was in that year’s Victoria’s Secret catalog. Instant box office gold!
…Of course, now that I’ve said that, expect an announcement of Transformers 4 before the end of this weekend.
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