It’s interesting that even after a couple of years of high profile movies getting spoiled all over the internet that the big studios still haven’t figured out how to stem the tide. The thing is that the production of a big movie has so many ancillary aspects – from FX to merchandising – that it’s impossible to keep everything a secret. And then once some stuff starts leaking, like it has with The Transformers, it becomes hip to leak your own stuff.
The leaks from Transformers are getting to the point where I’m reminded of Episode I, with the sheer level of interest and also the quality and quantity of leaked material. That’s not even counting the Prime Directive script which has been making the rounds and is closer to the real film than antyone at Paramount would like you to believe. I’ve thought a couple of times that these leaks were being orchestrated from within, but after the set visit I don’t think that’s entirely the case.
The latest leak is a full body shot of Optimus Prime with his Big Fucking Gun, which comes from some clothing trade show – the sort of thing that’s impossible to keep the lid on. Now the bitching can continue in earnest – I keep meaning to write an editorial about the need to let go of your favorite franchises when they get turned into movies, especially when said franchises were originally aimed at 11 year olds with developmental disabilities. What’s weird about the vocal Transformers fanbase is that these people are actual grownups much of the time, and by weird I mean pants-fillingly terrifying.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m not that comfortable with self-proclaimed and self-policed ‘fanbases.’ Whether they be Browncoats or Trekkies or ‘Transfans’ (which sounds like they troll the t4m sections of Craigslist). There’s something about an unthinking and blind devotion to any property that’s creepy, whether it be the Bible or Lost. But it’s especially creepy when it’s about a property that wasn’t meant to be taken half as seriously as the fans take it.
The other problem with these fanbases, these Transfans who will look at this picture of Prime and weep in frustration and who are threatening to protest outside Michael Bay’s office, is that they just don’t understand the filmmaking process. They don’t understand why the original, boxy designs won’t work in a photoreal environment, or why studios don’t make 150 million dollar movies about a whole bunch of robots and without people. I’m not sure how worthwhile it is to the studio to reach out to these people (although the studio really is doing so), just because they’ll all probably see the movie anyway, and the ones who won’t wouldn’t see it unless it was a live-action recreation of that shitty animated movie that was the depressing capstone on the final, dreary years of Orson Welles.
As for me, I don’t care how Prime looks until I’ve seen him in action in a clip or a trailer. I think that Transformers is probably a perfect fit for Bay, and if he keep some of the script’s schmaltzier and more boring qualities under control we are going to see a very exciting giant robots on the rampage movie that won’t win a single non-technical award but will be a very rewarding two hours spent in a theater on a hot summer day. That’s what makes me interested in seeing things from this film, not wondering if it has enough fealty to a poorly animated 1980s cartoon.