The Transformers saga began in 2007, started by Michael Bay: after the initial triumphs, the car briefly flooded and reinvented itself until the last Transformers: The Awakening. Let’s quickly retrace his journey over fifteen years.
The saga cinematic of Transformers characterized the history of American blockbusters in the last fifteen years: Transformers – The Awakeningwhich has just arrived in our rooms, is the seventh chapter of a series which has known glories al boxoffice but also a period of adjustment and relative difficulty. Let’s retrace its stylistic and commercial phases together.
Transformers, the period Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, the triumph of Michael Bay
The first Transformers of 2007 definitively launched among young movie stars Shia LaBeoufat the time just over twenty years old, the human protagonist of the story, alongside the supersexy Megan Fox, her age, ex-model just starting out as an actress. The light one glossy and macho erotic componenttogether with cut above the lines of baroque and thunderous action scenesbrought into the new millennium the directorial touch” à la Michael Bay“, who had already developed it since the second half of the nineties with Bad Boys. The film was a co-production Paramount e DreamWorkscon Steven Spielberg among the executive producers of the adaptation. Student Sam Witwicky discovered that an old Chevrolet Camaro, his first car, was actually Bumblebee, one of Optimus Prime’s “good faction” Transformers, the Autobotas opposed to Decepticon of Megatron. The cost of the film was close to 200 million dollars, the worldwide box office responded with 710. They arrived three Oscar nominations for visual effects, sound editing and sound mixing (plus a single weak Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actor, Jon Voight). A saga was born.
It caused a lot of irony in 2009 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, where Michael Bay’s direction according to many engulfed a rather convoluted and difficult to understand story, based on star-absorbing machines, with the return of Megatron precisely for the purpose of “revenge” against the Transformers now integrated with society (and with the army). The second thunderous Transformers got an Oscar nomination for the sound mix, but it won three Razzie Awards, for worst picture, director and screenplay. This did not prevent him, against the usual budget of 200 million, from bringing home even more than the previous one: 836,300,000.
Transformers 3 of 2011 concluded Shia LaBeouf’s permanence as the human titular of the saga: he would later progressively move away from this type of film, following his own tormented, personal and self-destructive path. Megan Fox was no longer in the game, she was reportedly fired by Spielberg after she complained about Michael Bay’s dictatorial methods comparing him to Hitler. The director replaced her with a Victoria’s Secret model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The story returned to more intelligible tracks: Optimus Prime was confronted with the memory of his predecessor Sentinel Prime, and the historical story of the 1969 moon landing was given an alternative interpretation, based on autobot technology hidden in the dark side of the satellite. The public success is frightening, at the peak: 1,124,000,000 dollars for 195 budget. Symbolically, the three Oscar nominations of the first chapter were repeated, but they were good eight Razzie nominationsalmost a ritual.
Transformers, the fall after the triumph
There was a moment when the public, almost overnight, turned their backs on the Transformers saga, at least the Michael Bay cut. This about-face is particularly noticeable if the results of the fourth and fifth acts are compared, ie Transformers 4 – Age of Extinction (2014) e Transformers – The Last Knight (2017). Same direction, same new human protagonist, that is Mark Wahlberg, here as Cade Yeager, an inventor who in Transformers 4 with his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) accidentally reactivates Optimus Prime, who became a pariah after the government decided to get rid of all Transformers, good or bad. The film convinces: it costs about the usual 210 million dollars, it takes home 1,104,000,000. The Academy snubs him completely, the Razzies don’t forgive with seven nominations and two “anti-awards”, Worst Supporting Actor (Kelsey Grammer) e worst direction. So far so normal for this series, and yet…
The wind has changed when he arrives in the hall Transformers – The Last Knight: the budget rises slightly to 250 million dollars, for a story in which Cade defends the Autobots fleeing persecution as heroes, and even discovers that the Transformers’ permanence on Earth dates back totime of the wizard Merlin. Almost foretelling the imminent #metoo, but in reality to open the saga to a wider audience, some stylistic elements falter: there are two female characters, an orphan girl (Izabella) and an energetic teacher (Laura Haddock), very different from the models of previous feature films. There is Anthony Hopkins in the guise of a “sir” out of his mind. And there’s the twist: a collection of “only” 605,400,000 dollars, almost half compared to the last two chapters. The Razzies rage with ten nominations.
The rethinking of the Transformers saga
Bumblebee of 2018 is a small now necessary revolution: the direction passes to Travis Knightauthor of stop-motion animated films like Laika, the story is a prequel of the first Transformers of 2007, and the protagonist is a girl, played by Hailee Steinfeld. The budget drops to 130 million dollars, the breathing space is more that of the tell the ETwhere instead of colossal epic battles there is a relative greater intimacy between the characters: the orphaned protagonist becomes Bumblebee’s friend, fixing what she thinks is a yellow Beetle. The atmosphere is different from that made in Michael Bay (although he remained as producer), the screenplay is signed by a woman (Christina Hodson), the public appreciates shyly from 468 million dollars, and Raiders lay down their weaponsdelivering a “Redeemer Award” to the film: redemption from a trashy past.
Per Transformers – The Awakeningnow in theaters after five years, an experience is expected which, with a budget that has grown back to around 200, intends to partially reopen the origins of the film saga: the epic battles increase, however the need for a diverse and inclusive human castingcon Anthony Ramos e Dominique Fishback. directs what Steven Caple Jr. by Creed II. However, Spielberg has never abandoned the series as executive prodicer, and Bay as producer still watches over, together with the inseparable producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
Transformers The Awakening: The Review