Like most of America, I tuned-in, if only partially, to watch the Super Bowl last night. I happened to catch the teaser for “Transformers 4”, and did a little squeal of delight with the final shot of the teaser, featuring the dragon-like Dinobot, Grimlock. I thought it looked pretty awesome.
A short while later, Newsarama and other geeky sites were posting it on Facebook, inviting discussions from fans. Naturally, I read through the posts, wanting to see if I was going to find what I expected. Sure enough, I did: the fanboys were up in arms.
“Grimlock is a T-Rex, not a dragon!” “Michael Bay is raping my childhood again!” “This is going to bomb worse than the first three!”
Given that the first three movies have combined to earn over 2.6 billion dollars worldwide, we might need to work on redefining what it means to be a movie that “bombs”. That’s a whole different discussion, though.
Fanboy hatred towards these movies really irritates me. I grew up with the Transformers cartoons in the 80’s, and watching them now, I have to say…they’re pretty bad. There weren’t all these deep “plots” that fanboys rave about. Giant, sentient alien robots fighting each other. That pretty much sums up the series. What are the movies about? Giant, sentient alien robots fighting each other, with help from humans.
Not really seeing the difference.
I will give you this: the potty humor in the movies needs to stop. Seeing a robot hump a girl’s leg, seeing giant wrecking balls looking like dangling testicles….these things are not funny. They’re really not. The movies had plenty of humor without these.
I know fanboys will disagree, but here’s all you have to know. The audiences were full of people who had never watched the cartoons, like my wife, and they really enjoyed the movies. Yes, I had goosebumps the first time Optimus transformed in the movie, but that’s because he was a huge part of my childhood. My wife didn’t watch the cartoons, so she had a different reaction, which was, “Awesome!” Movies like these are not made just to get the fans of the source material into the theater; they’re made to bring in new fans, leading to more money.
Let’s look at “Star Trek”, for example. One of the oldest and most popular science-fiction franchises around, wouldn’t you say? The new movies have been successful, yet I hear a lot of whining from fanboys about them. “Time travel is a weak way to reboot a franchise.” “Spock isn’t supposed to have feelings.” “I hate the lens flares.” “I just pretend it’s not Star Trek, and then I can watch it.”
And on, and on, and on….
I have several friends-again, including my spouse-who had never watched the original Star Trek series. (I know: it shocked me, too!) They had no emotional connection whatsoever to the characters. Now, however, they do. While watching “Into Darkness”, I was sitting there, pretty much having figured out the plot, since I’d watched the old movies, just wanting to see how they were going to spin it. My wife was literally on the edge of her seat for large parts of the film. She was really into it, laughing and cheering and clapping along with the rest of us. These movies have made her interested in Star Trek…and isn’t that a GOOD thing? Don’t we want more fans? I know people who love the George Reeves Superman. I’m a Superman fanatic, but I didn’t care for his portrayal. I don’t begrudge them that, though. We’re all Superman fans! If it gets more people to like the Last Son of Krypton, bring it on!
Here’s what it all boils down to for me. It’s one thing to dislike an adaptation of something, or refuse to watch it. That’s fine. Everybody had the right to their opinion. If you don’t like the way a movie looks, don’t watch it. Nobody is stopping you. It’s just absolutely ludicrous to blast others for liking things you don’t. Times change. Characters change. We can’t just hold on to what was, but have to embrace what could be, by allowing a new take on the characters we love.
If nothing else, we at least have our own personal favorite incarnations to keep us happy. Just stop lambasting others because they happen to really enjoy a different incarnation of something than you do.