Transformers: Why Bayhem Isn’t That Bad | NowThis Nerd

Hello, my name is Moose, and I love the ‘Transformers’ movies Well, I love the first one, but honestly even the sequels never really offended me the way it did most Transfans, except for, you know, all the actually offensive stuff in them

What are we gonna do with this shrimp taco? We just bust a cap in his butt and throw him in the truck and nobody gonna know nothing, know what I mean? Yo, bumper cars? I'm hearing you! I'm right here and I'm hearing you! The upcoming release of ‘Bumblebee’ looks like it’s righting some of the wrongs that Michael Bay has wrought, but even with his baggage, I’ve always found the series at least watchable, so today, I’m going to plead their case, and offer a few points In Defense of Bayformers Let’s start with the MVP of the entire franchise, Peter Cullen When I first heard that Michael Bay was behind a big-budget ‘Transformers’ movie, my immediate reaction was: ‘oh god, who are they gonna get to play Prime?’ We all know that Hollywood loves paying trendy celebs way too much money to sit in a recording booth and sleepwalk their way to a big paycheck, My uncle who was a wizard gave me this place as a private study instead of hiring the pro voice actors who are busting their butts day in and day out in TV and games, and initially, I thought ‘Transformers’ would be no different I ran through all sorts of scenarios in my head: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brad Pitt, or my biggest fear: “Optimus Prime IS Justin Timberlake” Ha ha! Woah, woahhh! I mean, in a world when Joseph Gordon Levitt can play Cobra Commander, anything is possible, but some performances are so iconic, so intrinsically tied to a character, it’s inconceivable to imagine anyone else playing them, like Peter Cullen’s Prime Optimus has been played by others in the past, but no one’s even come close to Cullen’s booming baritone

I remember the time on Cybertron Save the war stories, hot shot Just remember there's a thin line between being a hero and being a memory

So you can imagine my surprise and relief when they announced that Peter would indeed reprise the role for the movie and all its sequels Coming off a 19-year absence, Cullen absolutely crushed it, and in a movie that’s such a drastic departure from the Transformers look and lore, his presence was an important link to the past for old fans My name is Optimus Prime We are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron But you can call us "autobots" for short

Autobots I wish the same could be said for Megatron, but instead of hiring living legend Frank Welker, No! I'll finish you with my bare hands! they went with Hugo Weaving instead, who brought pretty much nothing to the role and left after the third movie Thank you Michael! It was a pleasure! Enjoy yourself

What is it with Hugo Weaving and bailing on blockbuster franchises? Between the Red Skull and Megatron, the dude has some commitment issues Just take the paycheck, man! But hey, at least it gave Welker the chance to step back into Megatron’s shoes, so fans could hear he and Cullen battle it out once more We were brothers once! Once While we’re on the subject of audio, I’ve got to give a quick shout-out to The Music The original series didn’t have much going for it in the way of music, besides the iconic theme song, Transformers! More than meets the eye! and while the 1986 movie definitely had a track or two, its greatest legacy is probably giving Dirk Diggler his debut single You got the touch! You got the power! Yeah! In modern cinema, the score seems more and more like an afterthought, but I was blown away when I first experienced Steve Jablonsky's soundtrack for ‘Transformers’ To this day I still get goosebumps when the Autobots land on our planet The score has stuck with me more than any other OST in the last two decades We’ve had twenty MCU movies, and not one has a theme that slaps as hard as 'Arrival to Earth

' I may be biased, because I’m also a huge ‘Metal Gear’ fan, and the score has a lot of similarities to Jablonsky’s work on ‘Sons of Liberty,’ but either way, the soundtrack is better than it has any right to be I’ll admit that Linkin Park was kind of a weird choice to close out the movie with, But hey, with some Optimus Prime voice over it, even Carly Rae Jepsen would sound epic We are here We are waiting The movie can be crass and cheesy, but the soundtrack is nothing but class, and it helped elevate material that was Never That Highbrow to begin with

Look, you know what you’re getting when you buy a ticket to a Michael Bay movie Action, explosions, exploitation, and really good looking cars That was all I hoped for in 2007, and while I could have done with less of the whacky Witwickys, Was I mastur– No, Mom! I don't masturbate! It's not something for you to bring up it met my expectations and then some My biggest beef was the busy ‘bot designs, but I get what they were going for

The Cybertronians were designed to transform without too much “cheating,” IE Prime’s disappearing trailer and Megatron’s shrinking down to fun-size gun size, and the complex constructions were built to show off the movie’s crazy CGI It took up to 38 hours to render a single frame, but shots like the twenty-second transformation of Optimus Prime still blow me away today Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of problems with the movies, but they’re not without precedent within Transformers history

Through our nostalgia goggles, the original run was an epic, serious saga, but it’s not all “one shall stand, one shall fall,” and many of the issues people have with Bayformers were present from day one, like its focus on human characters It never bothered me, because I’m always happy to see John Turturro get a paycheck, Ha ha ha! So what do you kids know about aliens? and it’s bizarrely fascinating to hear high-fallutin’ actors like Frances McDormand and Anthony Hopkins, excuse me, SIR Anthony Hopkins, talking about Cybertron and Dinobots Bit of a shock, isn't it? Besides, the Witwicky’s are all over the original show, along with mad scientists, whiz kids, and plenty of racist stereotypes This looks like a cool place to kick it How'd he learn to talk like that? The Bay films rightfully get a lot of flack for offensive characters like the bucktoothed twins, and draping Winston Churchill’s birthplace in Nazi regalia, but G1 was pretty insensitive too, from its sole hispanic representation being an obnoxious breakdancer, to naming a fictional Arab kingdom “Carbombya,” an act so egregious that Lebanese voice actor Casey Kasem quit the show in protest

What about the Bayformers’ atrocious sense of humor? Well, the old shows never quite reached the levels of robo-testicles and golden showers, but need I remind you of the existence of Wheelie, Picture you not! No fool you not! or the time Rhinox saved the world with a devastating Energon fart? How about product placement? Yeah, the living Xboxes and Mountain Dew machines are a bit much, but come on, it’s not like this is ‘Mac and Me,’ and besides, the entire purpose of 'Transformers' is product placement, this is the same franchise that brutally killed 90% of its beloved characters in one fell swoop, just to get a some new figures on the shelf What'd he say his name was? Galvatron! You gotta pay the bills if you want to keep your franchise alive, which brings us to maybe the most important legacy of the Michael Bay films: They Saved 'Transformers' Before the movie released in 2007, ‘Transformers’ was in a bit of a rut From their debut in 1984, they never really went away, but they also never reached the same heights of popularity as the initial craze, with the exception of the amazing ‘Beast Wars,’ of course But in the run-up to the movie, the most recent Transformers media was ‘Armada,’ a so-so animated series that kicked off the very mediocre Unicron trilogy, basically just Hasbro’s shameless attempt to ride on Pokemon’s coattails Then the movies hit, and they hit big

So far the series has raked in over $4 billion, creating a ton of new fans, and bringing Transformers back into pop culture prominence Even if you can’t stand the movies, you should be glad they exist, because the newfound popularity led to awesome TV shows like ‘Transformers Animated’ and ‘Transformers Prime,’ not to mention the incredible ‘War for Cybertron’ games, comics, and, oh yeah, dozens upon dozens of amazing new toys Without the movies, ‘Transformers’ could have gone the way of ‘Masters of the Universe,’ which, despite several failed attempts, has never really had a successful comeback, at least until the recent ‘She-Ra’ show Kids today just aren’t the same as they were in the ‘80s, with their smartphones and Fortnites and Tik-Toks, and to stay relevant, a series has to evolve along with them Just look at the Ninja Turtles, a franchise that started the same year as 'Transformers,' and how they’re constantly changing their approach to stay fresh and popular thirty years after the first wave of Turtlemania

Not every incarnation will be a winner, like Bay’s own 'TMNT' movie from 2014, but honestly, I didn’t hate that one either, although the sillier sequel was superior in pretty much every way My man!!! I can’t say the same about ‘Transformers,’ though, because the franchise definitely spiralled into self-indulgent insanity after the first film But that’s why I’m really looking forward to ‘Bumblebee’ Well, that and John Cena, obviously Rumor has it that it’s going to be the last film in the Bayformers series, and if that’s true, then it looks to be going out on a good note, stripping away the excess that Bay saddled on the franchise, telling a smaller story about a kid and their car, and ditching their horrendous designs to be more in line with the boxy G1 look

I don’t know what the franchise will roll out next, but looking back on the Bay films, baffling, bloated, and bereft of logic as they may be, they’re an important part of ‘Transformers’ history Let's roll!

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