Ever since the announcement a couple of years ago of a big-budget, live-action/CGI “Transformers” movie, I have been excited to see it finally come to the big screen. And with Steven Spielberg as executive producer, what could possibly go wrong? Right?

Well, Michael Bay was hired as director…that’s not a good sign.

Over the past few weeks, details about the vital Autobot character of Bumblebee have emerged. For the uninitiated, Bumblebee from the toy line, comic book, television show and the spectacular, animated “Transformers: The Movie” from 1986 always looked like a yellow VW bug in vehicle mode. However, from things I have read, VW apparently no longer wanted to be associated with a weapon of war—albeit a fictional one—and had declined to license a VW bug version of Bumblebee in recent years. This is probably the reason the movie will show Bumblebee with another vechicle mode…the upcoming version of the new Chevrolet Camaro.

Now, I guess they had to change the vehicle mode for Bumblebee, but I would still like to have seen him as a smaller car. A Cooper Mini, perhaps? But, no…Bumblebee is now a muscle car.

And here is a partially transformed Bumblebee…

But I can live with that, I guess. I just hope Optimus Prime isn’t changed from a tractor-trailer to a minivan.

Then, the “Transformers” teaser trailer was released a few days ago. And while I like the premise, it is filled with a bunch of inaccuracies. When you have so much wrong over the span of a 1 minute, 45 second teaser, it makes you wonder how much is going to be wrong with a full-length movie. Here is the “Transformers” teaser trailer from YouTube:

OK, here are the problems. First of all, the Beagle 2 probe that is mentioned in the teaser was a real-life, British-designed and constructed Mars lander that crashed on the planet’s surface. As far as I can glean from the materials I have read, it was not a rover like the American-made Spirt and Opportunity rovers that have been rolling along the Martian surface for years now. There was a “mole” component of Beagle 2 that was supposed to crawl along the Martian soil and grab samples from beneath the surface, but it wasn’t anything like a full-size rover depicted in the teaser.

Also, the “mission control” voices in the teaser are decidedly American, even though Americans had nothing to do with Beagle 2’s launch or mission. Again, this was a British program that launched from the Russian spaceport at Baikonur in Kazakhstan so the inclusion of American voices in the teaser just doesn’t make any sense.

And then there are the visuals that are supposed to appear like images from the Martian surface. The teaser producers didn’t even take the time to make the Beagle 2 footage look like it was taken on Mars. It looks they got some footage in a southwestern U.S. desert and quickly added the raw footage into the teaser.

So while I’m looking forward to seeing a live-action/CGI version of “Transformers” from a technical standpoint, I feel Michael Bay has missed the point again…all explosions, effects and action…and no story…and no logic…and no heart.

UPDATE – 7/4/06, 10:32 a.m.
Well, looking at some message boards led me to Michael Bay’s news blog, which says that none of the Beagle 2/Mars storyline will be in the movie. So that’s a good thing.

3 thoughts on “Oh, Michael Bay…please don’t screw up Transformers too much

  1. Dude. Stop being such a freak. There’s no way you can enjoy movies as much as I know you do if you’re picking nits like this. Get past the idea of whether the voices are of the correct continent and enjoy the idea of a full length live action Transformers movie. You probably are waiting for Paul Reuben’s upcoming ‘Go-Bots’ feature.

  2. You may say it’s nit-picking, but the point is the filmmakers produced a teaser based on a real-life event…and then proceeded to get 90 percent of the information about that event wrong.If they made up some stupid Mars probe, then I would be fine with it. But they decided to use a real-life event and got most of it wrong. It scares me when people who should be paying attention to details in creating the film version of a much-beloved franchise get so many of the details wrong in a clip that runs less than two minutes.And these aren’t obscure facts I’m pointing out. I remember the Beagle 2 being a British probe from the time it was launched. And I knew it wasn’t a rover.How much you want to make a bet Michael Bay had the USA turning back the Japanese in his original version of “Pearl Harbor” before somebody had to get out the hand puppets and props to explain to him that wasn’t how it went down?

  3. I didn’t know you were a TF fan. I’m looking forward to the movie, although I’m curious to see if the characters look anything like the originals (I’d say no, based on the Bumblebee photo).Take care, and have a happy birthday!– Ed

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