Despite what you think of Michael Bay's "Transformers" films, the franchise has already brought in nearly $2.7 billion just in worldwide box office sales. With a profit like that, it makes sense (or dollars and cents, right?) that Paramount isn't going to let this cash cow roam out to pasture, slowly eat itself to death, and die the painful and lonesome death that it probably deserves. This is coming from someone who enjoys the live-action films more than the average "Transformers" or movie fan. The first film is still decent, the second isn't so bad if you watch it on mute, and the third is okay if you have it playing in the background while you're trying to disarm a bomb, beef up your meth lab, or whatever it is you kids do these days to pass the time.
So when it was announced that Shia LaBeouf wouldn't be returning for a fourth installment, the entire world seemed to applaud. "Whatever shall we do without you shouting so loud and so often at unsuspecting cars in that prepubescent voice of yours, Shia?" Michael Bay then rode on LaBeouf's coattails saying that he too wouldn't be returning. Bay apparently has smaller films in mind that he wants to work on in addition to screwing up other big franchises from our childhood (since "Ninja Turtles" is on hold, maybe he can Bay-itize "ThunderCats" in the meantime or "Captain Planet"). "Transformers" fans rejoiced. Maybe someone can actually come along and give the franchise a much needed breath of fresh air. Who cares about a silly thing like money when you can get rid of Sam's stupid parents altogether, drop the stupid attempts at toilet humor, and possibly introduce something that'll appeal to both long-gestating fans of the franchise and new fans alike like Trypticon (the Transformers equivalent of Godzilla), Inferno (in the "Beast Wars" universe, Inferno is a red ant who sees Megatron as his "Queen" and is completely reckless with his arsenal), and what many fans have been clamoring for since the beginning; Unicron (and possibly Galvatron). But then "Dark of the Moon" did $50 million its opening day (on a Wednesday, no less) and Paramount let Bay do "Pain & Gain." After pulling the old bait and switch routine for something like eight months, Michael Bay decided to return to direct "Transformers 4" and the sequel is due in theaters June 27, 2014.
Bay went off and made "Pain & Gain," a smaller-scaled film (it has a $25 million budget) revolving around bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson) trying to get rich off of kidnapping the wrong man and their lives being turned upside down because of it. The film comes out April 26 of this year and it looks like Bay tapped into his "Bad Boys II" roots.
Late last year, a rumor hit the internet saying Wahlberg would be the lead in "Transformers 4" which Bay was quick to deny. But realizing that rumors are actually based on fact and that he should never argue with the internet, Bay went ahead and cast Wahlberg as the lead. About a month later, Wahlberg spoke about signing on to "Transformers 4" saying it will be "the most challenging role I've ever played" and insisted that the sequel is going to be "very different" from the first three films.
The supposed script leaked a few days later and confirmed that Unicron would be the main villain with Megatron returning as Galvatron and that the Dinobots, Primus, and Vector Prime would all appear. Bay then made a statement saying that the script had yet to be completed, was currently only 70 pages long rather than the reported 120, and that he and writer Ehren Kruger were the only people who had seen it. Wasn't that "Ninja Turtles" reboot delayed because the script leaked (even though Bay, the producer, denied it) and it was so bad that they pushed it back? It seems as though pushing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as an alien race that isn't teenage or mutant didn't exactly work out for them.
Bay also revealed that "T4" will take place in space, but will still be "grounded." The director explained that "T4" isn't a reboot, but is a continuation of the story established in the first three films only with new characters. The budget is $35 million less than it was for "Dark of the Moon," but is still $165 million. Jack Reynor was cast opposite Wahlberg while Bay announced that "T4" will take place 4 years after "Dark of the Moon" (to run with the "4" theme, presumably) and that everything will be redesigned to "broaden the franchise."
Since it's an entirely new cast and a fresh batch of characters, this would've been the perfect starting point for a new director. Bay claims that since the last film did so well, he couldn't resist returning. He's basically saying in so many words that he didn't pass the torch because he couldn't turn away from that huge paycheck, which is understandable for the casual everyday working man or woman or a struggling actor who can't always find work but is pretty dickish if you direct blockbuster movies for a living. Say Bay decides to finally leave after this installment, which is really only a pipe dream at this point. Whatever events occur in "T4" will more than likely back whoever comes in as director into a corner and won't leave them much room to explore the universe. It almost seems like Bay is trying to force whoever comes in (if he ever actually gives someone the opportunity) to follow his vision with his actions.
The character designs for these films are in dire need of a redesign. Whenever they'd fight each other in the previous films, you could usually distinguish when somebody punched or rolled over but everything else was like this giant trash heap of clustered computer generation. The transformers in general had the worst mouths that were so ridiculously tiny. It was as if Bay was illustrating how he wanted them to talk during pre-production and used his hand to mimic how (hopefully with a sock puppet of some kind) and everyone who's in charge of bringing that junk to life just ran with it.
Bay is painting this picture that no one is returning from the previous films. So are Optimus Prime and Megatron out? How in the world do you have a Transformers movie without either of those two characters? Whatever will we do if somebody isn't there to shout, "Bumblebee!" every chance that they get? Maybe they'll all be like Jazz and just have dance offs with one another. Needless to say, the inhabitants of Cybertron who now find themselves on earth are currently in the clutches of a money grubbing madman who has no intention of letting them go willingly. It seems as though nobody is ever going to give these characters a proper live-action adaptation until someone is able to finally come along and pry them out of Michael Bay's cold, dead hands.
Sources: worstpreviews.com, collider.com, screenrant.com, imdb.com, boxofficemojo.com, minitokyo.net, bestmoviesevernews.com, gossipextra.com, beyondhollywood.com, studiomadeinpb.wordpress.com, tfwiki.net