The Madness That Will Be Watching All the Transformers Films. All of Them.

The Age of Extinction is coming, and to prepare myself, I will be undertaking a task that will require the steadiest of nerves, and the greatest amount of alcohol.

There is no denying that the Transformers film franchise is not known for its cinematic auteurism. Michael Bay’s body of work is loud, and explosive, and after one gets off the roller coaster ride, you tend to wonder what the f**k just happened.
Shee shee le pew had more lines in one film than all the robots had across three.
Shee shee le pew had more lines in one film than all the robots had across three.

When looking for quality Transformers fiction, one would be quick to point to the television series (specifically 1996-1999’s Transformers: Beast Wars and 2010-2013’s Transformers: Prime) and the comic books (specifically: Marvel’s Transformers by Furman/Wildman/Senior and IDW’s Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye by Roberts/Milne). One would be hard pressed to look to Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg’s live-action movies for anything resembling a mythology for the robots in disguise. But Bay has promised that this film is in many ways a reboot, which includes changing the methodology for how his films approach the robots themselves. With a more respectable main cast, an apparent plot that requires more than explosions, and a focus on the actual Transformers themselves (also: DINOBOTS), this go around might be worth taking in, and will hopefully ease the fears that this will be just the same old nonsense, with the title characters fighting in the background while the U.S. military does all the work.

 Of course, there are many rumors circling the plot of this film. And if there are as many roots to the past as I believe there will be, then it is important to start off with the first (and arguably the best) Transformers movie to hit the big screen: 1986’s Transformers: The Movie. 

ONE SHALL STAND, ONE SHALL FALL FOUR STORIES, AND THEN THE OTHER ONE FALLS TOO
One shall stand, one shall fall, and then the other one falls too. So I guess he should have said ‘none shall stand, both shall fall’.

I don’t need to re-watch it, to be honest. I have the entire film memorized. I have the entire score and soundtrack memorized. I can recite every note and would probably recognize the slightest change in a cel of the film if there was any alteration to it. But this film featured Galvatron (who will be in Age of Extinction), an alien race that has its foundations in Cybertron’s origins (who Lockdown may or may not be working for), and the casual deaths of our favorite Autobots (Ratchet can never catch a break). It is a natural to bookend the Transformers rewatching experience. And to be honest, I wanted another excuse to watch this film. When I am on my deathbed, I will ask my great great great grandchildren (I plan to live to be 300) to put this on. And I will die happy.

But let’s be honest. Transformers: The Movie is not a great film. It is essentially the live action films’ tropes (minus the racism) in animated form. The horrible rock music (f**king Stan Bush). The explosions. The starring female in a support role to the male protagonist with one brief badass moment. And epic speeches by Peter Cullen’s incomparable Optimus Prime. The ingredients for what would twenty-plus years later become the ingredients for a billion dollar franchise were all there, as were the poor critical reception.

As for the rest of the films… they will require many breaks so my brain can readjust itself after being delivered a package of eye-melting, stomach-churning, yet shockingly beautiful cinematography.

Here is my watch list for the week:

Tuesday, June 17
Transformers: The Movie

Wednesday, June 18
Transformers

Friday, June 20 
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
I have to watch this fucking asshole again. Fuck.
I have to see this fucking asshole again. Fuck.

Before we go any further, I just want to be clear how much I am not looking forward to rewatching this film. Revenge of the Fallen was an abomination in every sense of the word. The opening scene in Shanghai and the forest fight are the only redeeming features of this film, but the fact that it was filmed with no script in the midst of a writer’s strike meant this film had only one purpose: to make the studio money. The fact that this movie made a ridiculous amount of money while being an assault to the senses ended up infecting the entire idea of Transformers as a serious franchise. The super racism, the poor attempts at comedy, pretty much everything that happens after Optimus Prime dies–there is no forgiving it. There is no excusing it. But to keep my integrity intact, and to save the fate of the entire universe, I must watch it.

And then I will need the weekend plus Monday to recover from it.

Tuesday, June 24
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Thursday, June 26
Transformers: Age of Extinction

If all goes well, Age of Extinction will be the Transformers film fans have been waiting 30 years for. It would be poetic that with 2014 being the franchise’s 30th anniversary, we are treated to a live-action movie experience that celebrates the reasons why we love the struggles between alien robots that turn into cars and other things so damn much. If AOE stinks, well, at least we will have 20-30 minutes of cool looking fight sequences to enjoy, and it will make enough money to fund more quality action figures and storytelling in cartoon and comic form for the next two-three years until the next billion dollar hit.

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