Get’s you in the mood doesn’t it? Which is good for me because I can’t think of a franchise I care less about right now than this one. I was never that invested in Transformers as a child anyhow. I know the characters and the basic story pretty well and I know the animated movie backwards but I was always more of a G.I.Joe fan.
I still have arguments to this day with Mr Jamie Williams about why the first film, which he hated, was so successful and well liked. He maintains that it was all down to nostalgia while I say that it was because it was summer entertainment that actually delivered on its promise. While Spider-man 3 failed to give us a proper Venom story, Shrek 3 failed to provide a single laugh, Fantastic Four 2 failed to provide Galactus and Pirates 3 failed to provide entertainment of any form, Transformers actually gave the audience a two and a half hour film about giant robots fighting each other. It had some laughs, it had some great action, it had scope; it was just a fun movie. I enjoyed it for what it was but will gladly admit that I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down impatiently waiting for the next instalment.
The film that Jamie saw in Transformers 1 was the film I regrettably saw in Transformers 2 (which he didn’t even see). I’m not going to dredge up all my feelings on that movie in this article. You can check out my initial review of it here. Needless to say, I found the film so incoherent, so loud, so racist, so annoying, and so cheap that it robbed any interest I had in the franchise, as well as my money. But can I afford to be so stubborn? If I reach deep into my darkened soul and ponder, is there a possible Transformers 3 out there that could bring me back to the theatre to take yet another chance on the robots in disguise? Would you be surprised if I mentioned using a certain planet eating robot voiced by Orson Welles?
Yes, I think they should bring in Unicron. Yes, that distinguishes me from about 2% of Transformers fans who haven’t suggested he be in a third film. But I’m not just saying to throw him in for the sake of it, because it’s the only way the filmmakers can top themselves in terms of scope. Unicron would be the catalyst for a plot which is the only thing I can think of that would get me vaguely interested in the next film. We need to get the Transformers off the planet Earth and onto their home planet of Cybertron.
I know the whole heart of the concept is that they are robots in disguise. They are a race of aliens who find themselves stranded in our world and the white hats take it upon themselves to defend us from the black hats; an enemy we cannot possibly defeat by ourselves. The problem with this concept is that for two films straight now, I have witnessed the might of the US military easily kill twice as many Decepticons as the Autobots have, leaving them to do nothing but stand around as window dressing. Optimus Prime makes speeches to cynical government officials about the consequences of the Autobots leaving the planet in Transformers 2, only for everything he says to be undermined by the ‘Bayhem’ which follows. I do not want to see humans fight Decepticons anymore. Frankly, it completely undermines them as a threat and there is no way you can convince me that the human race can’t hold their own.
So our story begins when Optimus Prime receives a message from the stars, from some of his fellow Autobots who were thought lost because they never made it to Earth. In fact, they stayed on Cybertron and, through some dues ex machina (does it really matter?), have been able to rebuild their homeworld. Optimus is now faced with the dilemma of what happens to his race. Given that he has charged himself with defending the Earth from the Decepticons, can the Autobots afford to leave? Would the Decepticons follow the Autobots off planet anyway and would that be the best option? Haven’t the Autobots earned the right to return home?
Before any of these questions can be answered, Optimus is forced into a decision when the planet eater Unicron appears destroys the lifeless planets in Cybertron’s surrounding solar system, edging closer and closer to obliterating the robot homeworld once and for all. Not only do the Autobots have no choice but to race for Cybertron to face off against Unicron but Optimus realises that their numbers alone will not be enough to destroy their adversary. They must put aside however many decades of conflict and form an alliance with the Decepticons to win the day. Megatron readily agrees to side with Prime and the audience is given the impression that the leader of the Decepticons has been rather humbled by his recent defeat and the death of his master The Fallen; that he might, just might, genuinely want to make peace with the Autobots as it will be a small price to pay for survival and the chance to return home. Optimus, on the other hand, cannot bring himself to trust Megatron. He launches this alliance faced with the outcome that the Transformers will either lose their planet and their lives to a seemingly unbeatable adversary or save it from Unicron only to be almost certainly betrayed by the Decepticons and see it enslaved or destroyed all over again.
In the final face off, as Cybertron is minutes away from annihilation, both Optimus and Megatron team up to head inside Unicron and destroy him from the inside. The comparisons with the animated movie are obvious but this film would have the chance to show the ending that I know a lot of fans really wanted from that show. There really isn’t a problem with Optimus heroically sacrificing himself to save everyone else. That is entirely true to his character. It just would have been better if it hadn’t happened 25 minutes into the film, leaving us stuck with a bunch of entirely new toys, sorry, characters. In this story Megatron, who has been planning to take back Cybertron for himself the entire time, realises that unless he makes that ultimate sacrifice, there won’t a Cybertron. In a moment of final clarity, Prime’s mortal enemy throws himself into Unicron’s internal defences, essentially committing suicide, all in order to buy enough time for the greatest Autobot of all to make his way to the planet eater’s core. Megatron’s act is not entirely noble though as he knows full well that Prime is going to die too, which is comfort enough to him in his final moments. And die Prime does, destroying the core and tearing Unicron apart from the inside. At this, the long end of the Cybertronian civil war, the noble acts of its two opposing leaders saves Cybertron, emphasises the pointlessness their fight was all along and ushers in a new era of peace between all of them.
You see what I’m talking about here? It’s not deep and it’s not dealing with penetrating social commentary but it does at least provide interesting moral and ethical choices for the characters to face. Most importantly, by cutting the series free of Earth, it cuts it loose of everything which has dragged it down. No more college scenes with over-acting psycho tutors. No more pot brownies and jock tackling with Mrs Whitwicky. And no wedding scene with Shia and Megan. Now I understand that those two can’t just vanish into thin air from the beginning of a third film, integral as they were to the first two. By all means, have them in the first act set on Earth and then say goodbye to them when the Transformers leave for Cybertron.
I will say though, those ‘hood-nigga’ twin characters don’t even deserve that much. I know Bay isn’t going to deliver a third film that is anything close to what I would like to see but he cannot possibly ignore the negative feedback on those characters. I can’t imagine the man has big enough balls (and a small enough brain) to develop that idea any further. Could you imagine the twins meeting up with their cousins Blingatron, Hiz-Zee and Hood and the amazing spectacle of all five robots combining to form Maximus Crib to fight Unicron in the finale? No, neither can I so just don’t even have them in a frame of this film. Don’t even explain where they’ve gone. WE WILL NOT MISS THEM. I don’t usually speak for other people but in this one instance, I think I can.
But I certainly can’t speak for you in any other capacity so let me know what you think. Is it blasphemous to conceive redemption for Megatron? Can Unicron and Cybertron be realised in live action? Have I vastly underappreciated the comic styling’s of Mrs Whitwicky? Most importantly, what do you want to see in Transformers 3? As always, I can’t thank you enough for reading.
P.S. Despite the pattern I seem to be forming with these articles, I have no plans to write pieces on Jem, Voltron, MASK, Centurions, Inhuminoids, COPS, Robotix, Visionaries or My Little Pony.