After the recent news that explosion fanatic director Michael Bay may be finally letting go of the reins of the Transformers film franchise, many fans began to whoop louder than a group of juggalos (at least I know I did). Maybe now we could get the giant-talking-robot movie we’ve been waiting for, bereft of the Shia LeBoufs, Megan Foxes, and racial-stereotyped characters that have marred the original films (not to mention the blasphemy that is Optimus Prime’s lips).
Even though Age of Extinction was one of the most successful movies of 2014, it wasn’t much of a departure from Bay’s previous explosion orgies. Sure, the franchise is known for its stunning visual effects, but that hardly makes up for the nonsensical plot and complete lack of character depth. No, if we want a Transformers movie that can stand beside The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and hopefully the upcoming Batman v. Superman, we’re going to need a regime change. We’re going to need someone like:
1. J.J. Abrams
Known For: Star Trek, Lost, Fringe, Super 8, Cloverfield, Star Wars Episode 7
Why Him: Now if that above line isn’t one helluva geekworthy resume, I don’t know what is. This is the man who did so well with the Star Trek reboot that they gave him the keys to a “galaxy far, far away.” Sure, all of his movies haven’t been blockbusters and sometimes his endings are a little on the weak side (here’s looking at you Lost), but if there’s one thing J.J.’s proven he’s capable of; it’s making science fiction movies that are both dramatic and entertaining.
Why Not Him: Like I said before, J.J. has been known to struggle when it comes to wrapping up his projects. To say that some of his films/shows have ended anti-climatically is an understatement. He’s also shown that he’s not afraid of murdering sacred cows just to turn things up a notch (like blowing up Vulcan in Star Trek). Basically, if they plan on making another Transformers trilogy, I’d give J.J. the middle movie.
2. Joss Whedon
Known For: The Avengers, Firefly/Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel
Why Him: Known more for his television shows, Joss Whedon showed the world how to make a proper superhero team-up movie with 2012’s Avengers. He successfully merged action, comedy, drama, and social commentary into a movie that featured 2 gods and a Hulk. The things this man could do with the Autobots and Decepticons gives me multiple nerdgasms (sorry TMI).
Why Not Him: Aside from the fact that Joss has yet to prove he can carry a franchise to the bitter end (rumors are already circulating that he won’t be directing Avengers 3), Mr. Whedon is also notorious for being a bit of a hothead when it comes to movie execs telling him what to do. If he thinks Marvel Studios are bossy, wait until he meets the suits over at Dreamworks/Paramount.
3. Zack Snyder
Known For: 300, Watchmen, Man of Steel, Sucker Punch, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Why Him: If you think Michael Bay’s visual effects were stunning, wait until Zack Snyder gets his hands on the franchise. And, given Age of Extinction‘s somewhat grittier feel, Zack would be perfect for giving the Transformers their edge back. He’s proven himself time and again to be the master of dark and moody, and I for one would love to see a little darkness injected into the Transformers’ fuel tanks (especially Starscream).
Why Not Him: Much like Mr. Bay himself, Snyder has a tendency to lose himself in the look and feel of a movie and the story usually suffers. Both Man of Steel and 300 are some of the most gorgeous films of the past decade, but both are more chock full of plotholes than your typical Jason Statham movie. As much as I would love to see Zack’s gritty take on the ‘Bots and the ‘Cons, the films have suffered long enough in the “why would you even show that” department.
4. James Cameron
Known For: Alien franchise, Terminator franchise, Avatar, Titanic, Dark Angel
Why Him: James Cameron is the elder statesman of the sci-fi genre. Many of his biggest films came out in the 80s and 90s, but most of those films still hold up today. In fact, the Alien and Terminator franchises are just as relevant today as they were when they came out. Not to mention that he proved that he hasn’t lost his touch with the insanely successful Avatar. When James Cameron creates a sci-fi epic, he James Camerons the f#$k out of it!
Why Not Him: Aside from the fact that he just turned 60, Cameron has been accused of being out of touch with current film trends and the tastes of younger audiences. And while he’s content to sit at home and polish his Oscars, the lackluster performances of Prometheus and Terminator: Salvation tend to work against his chances of taking Bay’s place at the helm of a franchise that makes its “bread and butter” from a demographic that doesn’t even know who James Cameron is.
5. Steven Spielberg
Known For: Jaws, E.T., Real Steel, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Men In Black, etc., etc. etc.
Why Him: Well for one, he is one of (if not the) greatest directors in the history of film. His name is easily mentioned beside the likes of Hitchcock, Coppola, and Kubrick in the annals of celluloid history. He is at least partly responsible for almost every great movie from our childhoods, and he shows absolutely no signs of stopping. Combine that with that fact that he’s been a consultant on almost every Transformers movie to date, and you couldn’t find a better replacement for Michael Bay even if you went to Cybertron.
Why Not Him: Honestly, I got nothing. I even spoken to several serious Transformers fans, and this was their number one pick. He’s made us fear sharks and dinosaurs, think fedoras were cool, and created more catchphrases than Mr. T and The Rock together. If anyone could make the Transformers movie we deserve, it’s the ‘Berg.
Alright kiddos, that’s my list. Agree, disagree, or suggest your own in the comments below. I don’t care what you say, as long as you say it. Also don’t forget to give both UTF and myself some social media love on Facebook and Twitter. Until we meet again, I leave you with the wise words of comedian Dave Chapelle: “I’m back, b#tches!”