Sunday, June 26, 2011

Director writes sappy goodbye, Fandom fawns some more.

There is no room for partiality on this blog post. If you don't want to read my hyperbolic rant, or if you absolutely love the live action Transformers films, I suggest you bugger off and quit reading right now. I realize that what I'm doing here is going to seem petty, or even insecure. That may be, but It's also a visceral gut reaction to something I've been angry about for the last 5 years and I desperately need to get it off my chest.

Micheal Bay is apparently heartbroken that he won't be doing any more Transformer films.

All the news groups that are running this story are crediting him with "Bringing back" the transformers or "Saving the brand". He did no such thing. Kenner's Beast Wars brought back the Transformers, Mainframe's Beast Wars brought back the Transformers. Brought them back strong enough so that they have never gone away again.

Though, an individual from Europe or Japan could argue that they never actually went away at all, but simply waned in popularity. But of course, none of the fans of the movies would know this, since most of them are only fans of the Transformers BECAUSE OF THE MOVIES. They have no vested interest in the history or characters, they only like it because its popular. It's exactly the same thing that happened in 2000 when the first Autobot and Decepticon logo T-shirts started being sold at mall stores. Everyone suddenly thought they were a Transformers fan because they owned the shirt. This is the same thing but Magnified 100,000x. Now they are fans simply because they plonked down 10$ to see a movie.

This of course has lead to further fractures between the Transformers fandom. Those who love his movies and don't want him to leave.. and those of us who are Right, and can't wait for him to get his mitts off the franchise.

Transformers under Michael Bay has been turned into Twilight and Pokemon. It's Popular because it's popular because it's popular. It's circular logic and eventually will spiral into a singularity and fall out of favor. When asked to explain why they like it, "Because its awesome!" is the most likely response. They don't know why they like it. They are just following the crowd. This is, the same way of looking at Conan that I frequent come across. They don't know anything about the character, the writer, the stories. All they know is "What is best in life?" and Camel Punching. I imagine the Marvel and DC fans feel exactly the same way, and as much as I love the bulk of these comic book movies, I'd never dare to assume I know as much about the characters as they do.

Since I'm not allowed to comment as I want on the Transformer forum this came from.. lest I risk offending these delicate flowers who love Micheal bay so much.. I'm going to do it here.

ok you people are pathetic, this man brought transformers to a point of unbelieveable[sic] popularity, who's movies have made hasbro TONS of money to make the toys you want and all you guys can do is go "GOOD NEWS!" and "GLAD TO SEE HIM LEAVE!"

you guys make me sick

Micheal Bay, thank you for all the time and hard work you put into making transformers stronger than ever before, we can never express enough thanks for what you have done for this franchise. You will forever be welcomed by this fan

I hope you choke on it.

Though the cynical part of me says there is no way in hell he will leave a franchise thats pulled in this much money, I figure I can conjecture the reason. That is that his contract for 3 movies is up, and he, like any reasonable entrepreneur who's got serious marketable clout, will want so much money for another contract that neither Paramount nor Hasbro will be willing to pony up to meet his demands. Maybe I'm completely off base, but I figure the only part of him thats going to be heartbroken about his leaving will be his bank account.

Michael Bay's letter, based on previous statements is not. However, I say that with the caveat that I have not yet seen the newest film. I could be wrong, no I hope I'm wrong. That after three films, one of them middling and the other a midterm abortion plastered on the inside of a wet/dry vac, that he's finally figured out the scope and depth of the mythology he has to work with. And will use that to give the world a quality film.

None of the previous iterations or reboots or micro-franchises produced have sought to replace the original in the popular imagination the same way that these films has. Nor have their fans been so obnoxiously divisive. The fans produced by such fare as Robots In Disguise, Armada, Energon, or Cybertron did not seek to supplant the originals by categorically stating that just because it was old it was no good. They sought out information, they joined in the larger discussion and for the most part despite largely being younger, integrated into the existing fandom. They recognized self evident truths about the franchise and moved on with talking about what they liked and disliked about the various incarnations.

The bulk of the fans brought in by the first Michael Bay movie have done none of that. There responses to the fans of the originals are nearly always vitriolic and hateful. Nearly always ill-informed, and nearly always reeking of the kind of dogmatic certainty only known to suicide bombers.

I'd be perfectly content for the franchise to dwindle to nothing at this point. All the stories that count were published in the 80's, All the characters who matter were produced in the 80's. None of the stuff for the last 20 years even impacts my enjoyment of the Transformers, and as such I'd shed no tears for the brand to die of heat death following the big crunch of popularity once it falls out of favor. Exactly the same way it did in 1991.

I survived it once. I was heartbroken. At age five I wrote letters to Hasbro asking why, My favorite toy line was no longer on store shelves, and they politely responded by sending me a very kind gift of some promotional artwork and thanking me for my letter. That is dedication. That is taking care of your fans. That is sincerity.

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