OK, so, we’ve spoken at length about the Bayverse, its effect on the franchise, what the films will look like moving forward, etc. But let’s look back today to the film that started it all: TRANSFORMERS (2007). While CITIZEN KANE (1941) this ain’t, it’s arguably head and shoulders above its successors, particularly the last two. Today, we’re going to walk down memory lane to 12 years ago, and see why this first entry into the franchise had a lot of promise.
FIRST LIVE ACTION – STILL UNDERSTANDABLE
While some criticized the fast-paced action and telephoto shots at the time, the first live-action film in the TRANSFORMERS franchise had a lot going for it in terms of what was going on on-screen. For starters, as someone who grew up watching the cartoons on Saturday mornings, I could have bet all of my lvbet bonus code that we were not going to see a big-budget live-action TRANSFORMERS film to begin with. The X-MEN and SPIDERMAN franchises showed that there was promise in seemingly-forgotten franchises, but it wasn’t until IRON MAN (2008) that Marvel would cement the success of what I’d call “nostalgia intellectual property”. Add to that the fact that, while it was fast-paced, it’s a slow-burn compared to subsequent films. You can actually tell what’s going on, even in most action scenes, and the transformations look amazing (at least to me). When you compare the action shots between those in the first film and those in THE LAST KNIGHT (2017), you appreciate the huge difference in pacing, framing and speed.
IT WASN’T (THAT) RACIST
Sure, you still had Ironhide and Jazz questionable choice of line delivery, and hell, we’ve spoken at length recently about that whole “Megan Fox washing a car during casting” thing, but at least we didn’t have to put up with The Twins from REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (2009). Skids and Mudflap sure opened up the discussion about perpetuating stereotypes in non-human characters in Hollywood, but dang, it wasn’t pretty to watch that whole debacle on screen. But in 2007, it’d be two whole years before we were subjected to that, and then-22-year-old me was actually not that bothered by the representation of minorities in the film. Of course, it’s far from perfect, but it sure is better than what came after.
IT BROUGHT US THE CINEMATIC UNIVERSE (for better or worse)
Regardless of whether you like the live-action films or not, it all started with this first one. It was a big gamble by Hasbro and Paramount, and it paid off at the box office. It’d be over a decade before we got the first widely-fan-revered film in 2018’s BUMBLEBEE, but throughout the years since the first movie came out, TRANSFORMERS has been a relevant franchise once more, and perhaps in ways that it had never been before. More toys, more games, more films, more everything. And while not all of it is up to snuff, I personally think there’s something in there for everyone. And none of it would have happened without this first spark (pun intended).
These are only three of the reasons why I personally think the first live action film in the Bayverse is the best. There are more, of course, and you might agree with some and disagree with others. Heck, you might not even like this film at all! But the truth is that, for better or worse, our fandom has stayed relevant for over a decade thanks to these films. I would love to hear which film is your favorite, and if you agree (or disagree) with me on why I think this is the best of the Bay bunch. For everything TRANSFORMERS, stay tuned to Auto Assembly (wink wink).