My wife and I finally decided to watch this movie. And even though we had heard nothing but terrible things about it from friends and family, we thought it would be worth a try. We need to listen to our family and friends more often. Especially in the case of Transformers 4.
But enough complaining about how bad it is. Let’s talk about how I would fix it.
I understand why the cast of the movie was changed. We need to move away from Shia La Beof and Megan Fox. Was Mark Walhburg the best choice? That is up for debate, but I had a hard time believing that he was an inventor. It just doesn’t seem to be something I can accept. He is too macho, too more a solider. (I’m not saying that macho, muscle bound guys can’t be inventors. I’m saying Walhburg doesn’t portray an inventor well.) Honestly, I think it would have been better and much more believable if Walhburg was a solider. Maybe honourably discharged so that he could take care of his daughter, because her mother was dead. Or maybe he was a mechanic for the army/navy/marines, and then it would makes sense why he would buy an old semi, and try to fix it.
That could leave Walhburg and daughter alone, astranged in, I don’t know, China. The movie ends there, why not do the whole thing there. You could have themes of isolation, wanting to go home, not fitting in. And not just for the daughter, but also for Walhburg.
This would also give audiences a chance to see more diversity in the cast. Rather than being three White people, we could just as easily have the daughter dating/in love with a Chinese guy. He could still be a racer (Tokyo Drift? I know that was Japan) and play all the tropes of a secret boyfriend. Then, if they wanted, they could push the themes of traditionally accepted norms vs. new norms, and interracial couples.
Having the film totally in China would also work with Optimus Prime in hiding. The first three films are totally in America. What better place to hide than half way around the world? This would save on jumping from place to place (and I’m sure would be much cheaper to make).
The story…oh wow, the story. There are good pieces in there, but also so much junk that you would miss it if you blinked. I would scrap 99% of the stuff with the Creators of the Transformers. All you need to do is elude to them, have them standing in the shadows. If you want to set things up for the next movie, fine, I get that. Hollywood is a business. Sequels are how you do that. But by having them, the Creators, and then the Decepticons, and then the new man-made robots, (wait…or were those Decepticons?) and then the stuff with Optimus Prime being the Last Knight? It’s too much jammed into one movie.
I think that simplifying the story would be better. Mankind has found a way to create transformers. Said transformers go evil. Autobots come out of hiding to save humanity, at the pleading of Walhburg and company. Megatron is reborn. Makes comment about Optimus Prime being the Last Knight. This can be what sends Optimus Prime off world, and set up the next movie (or movies).
The crazy effects and over the top explosions, that is what Michael Bay does. I don’t think that is ever going to change. But just a few tweaks (or one giant overhaul) and this would have been an okay movie. Not a great movie, not the next Citizen Kane. But a better movie than it was.
And that is how to fix Transformers: Age of Extinction