Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

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Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby Counterpunch » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:26 am

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How do you feel about character treatment and value in the live action film franchise?

It was established early on, through the death of Jazz and many of the Decepticons in the first film that death was a real possibility for the characters.

As the films have gone on though, many deaths or disappearances have had passing, little, or no impact on the larger on going story.

Ironhide, Ratchet, the Twins, Arcee bike trio, Wheeljack, Shockwave, etc...

Does this impact your viewing/enjoyment of this particular take on Transformers?

More specifically, can you invest in or have favorite characters without viewing them as disposable?

(I'll have a follow up discussion/thought if this discussion takes off.)
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby SlyTF1 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:59 pm

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I like the feeling that any character could go at any time. But I wish they had kept characters like Starscream, Shockwave, and Sideswipe around a bit longer, just to flesh out their characters. But the fact that pretty much anyone can die (with the exception of Bumblebee) at any moment grounds the movies for me, and makes the stakes seem higher. I legitimately thought Hound was going to die during his and Bumblebee's standoff against an army of drones at the end of AOE. And I was relieved to see him make it out alive.

That's one of the many things that set these movies apart from something like Marvel's movies for me. When you see those movies, you know everyone's going to survive so they can make the next sequel.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby ScottyP » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:05 am

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It solidifies how the first four movies treat Transformers as a prop. These stories are about the human characters and treated accordingly. Outside of DotM's villain (Dylan?), that one guy in AoE that Cade killed, and comic relief guy that got vaporized in AoE I'm really struggling to think of other human death in the series related to minor-through-supporting level characters.

Compare that to the robot bloodbath and it makes me not want to get invested in the Transformers characters as anything aside from cool looking (Sometimes. Mostly?) robots. I am hopeful that TLK will start to rediscover the keys to what has made Transformers such a long lasting franchise. That key is having the robots be not just sentient, but important, relatable characters that watchers can develop some real attachment and empathy towards.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby TulioDude » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:40 pm

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I think the movies are improving the handling of these characters.

I can see where you coming from.From Revenge of The Fallen to Dark of the Moon many where character are introduced,but not carried over.

But...

From Dark of the Moon to Age of Extinction they use the changing cast to advance the movie's story.From Cemetery Wind hunting the previous Autobots causing the cureent team distrusting humans,from when Optimus see Ratchet's death he gets pissed and emotionally off-balance.

Seeing most of the cast of Age of Extinction return gives me good vibes for the future.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby WreckerJack » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:36 am

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Honestly I cannot stand the treatment of the characters in the Bay films. I can't invest in the story or have time to attach myself to the characters. They die so quickly and I feel like they aren't given a rich story. I am usually not one to get angry at fiction but some of the deaths made me rage at how they wasted characters.

I try to enjoy the films for what they are, so I have made note of some of the positives of the bay flicks:

CGI looks awesome

:michaelbay: EXPLOSIONS! :michaelbay:

It's an excuse to go to the theatre with friends

The Movie toys are cool and look realistic to real vehicles

The bay movies make money for the franchise and therefore fund the show, comics and toylines

New fans are often drawn in when there is a new flick

Old fans often return to the fandom when a new flick reminds them of their love for the series
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu May 04, 2017 3:05 am

Counterpunch wrote:Does this impact your viewing/enjoyment of this particular take on Transformers? More specifically, can you invest in or have favorite characters without viewing them as disposable?
I believe the biggest problem facing the live action movies is the lack of character development. Of the characters who survived from 2007 until the end of Age of Extinction, none of them have changed. Not even Optimus Prime, supposedly the central character, and not even Bumblebee, who is the main focus of the toy-promoting side of this form of media. From the looks of it, The Last Knight might change that with Optimus becoming corrupted, but I still have my reservations whether that actually will be the case. Nonetheless, in the 1st 4 films, character development was nonexistent for the Transformers characters, thus limiting my enjoyment of the films. I like spectacular battles and Bayhem, but it gets repetitious after a while (for me it became boring after Revenge of The Fallen, yet I still consider Dark of the Moon the best in the franchise so far, due to the story being better than the other 3, even if great characters such as Shockwave and Megatron were criminally mistreated) without a great story to give them a reason to happen. I invested in the characters in the 1st Bayverse movie, but after the 2nd, I learned to not get attached, as the characters were either totally mistreated, or killed off altogether.

I do believe that deaths of characters need to occur in order to drive the story and heighten the drama, but the deaths that did occur were, in my opinion, totally wasted. The only deaths (so far) that resonate with me at all are Ironhide and Ratchet, due to the circumstances. Do I not care about the others' demise because I didn't like the characters? I'm not sure. But I don't care about the Wreckers dying, or Jazz, or any of the Decepticons, even Starscream or Soundwave. I was invested in the character of Megatron, and the way he was killed at the end of the 3rd film stayed with me, but then it was made worthless, as he was brought back, sort of, in the 4th film. And now again in the 5th film. To me that diminishes the worth of a character to a specific story or movie, if he gets resurrected over and over. Especially 1 as important as Megatron. It just shows that the writers, up until now anyway, have no plans or even skills in furthering a story and making it coherent. Hopefully that changes with the new film.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby Big Grim » Tue May 09, 2017 11:52 am

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Yeah, I'm not really attached to any of the characters. None of them have been fleshed out worth a damn. I was hopeful we might see a turn around with AoE but no. It's easily as bad as RotF and as with most characters, the much touted Dinobots were barely there and now in the upcoming film, Grimlock is literally a junkyard dog. *Sighes*

I admit, Ironhide's death caught me off guard but Ratchet's did not. Hell, they showed they're happy to kill anyone not Prime or Bumblebee. Even the Mighty Megatron gets killed, comes back. Gets killed, comes back. The only redemption for that is his latest incarnation looks kinda cool. We'll see. The Last Knight is actually making me wanna go see it but I'm super cautious. AoE was an utter pile.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby shajaki » Tue May 09, 2017 12:51 pm

Motto: "A man who wants nothing is invincible."
It's hard to get attached to characters that get almost no character development. The only one I had any attachment to was Starscream, whom I felt was done a great disservice.

In the first movie, even though he only had one line, he had a terrifying presence. When Ironhide sees him in the first movie he yells "it's Starscream!!" as is this was a foe to be scared of. And rightfully so, he had some nice moves and kicked some ass. But then in ROTF when he got a little more fleshed out, they made him the sniveling little weasel he was in the cartoon. Not to mention the fact that he was killed by Sam in the following film.

But something I think everyone should heed, are the words of Kevin Smith. I don't have an exact quote, but the basis is that us nerds really need to let things go and enjoy them for what they are. He said even with terrible comic book movies like Ghost Rider, at the end of it you still got to see a live action movie with some exciting action scenes of a character you never thought you'd see when you were younger. And all the fluff in between, just laugh at. You'll find it more fulfilling to take that approach than to nitpick and get upset. So for that reason I'm still able to have fun with the Bay movies even though they aren't great.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby EvasionModeBumblebee » Tue May 09, 2017 6:06 pm

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The movies are what got me started on Transformers, and they've remained my favorite Transformers continuity. I've actually really enjoyed the characters in the films (except for the twins), particularly Bumblebee of course! :D
But I do wish we got a little more development for these characters. By DOTM there were so many Autobots that I don't think there was enough screen time for them all to get a lot of development. We had some very interesting personalities for the 'bots in DOTM, but unfortunately they were pretty much all gone in AOE. Maybe if we had stuck with those characters for a little while we could have gotten really attached to those characters.

As for character deaths, The only characters we were really with long enough to really feel were Ironhide and Ratchet. Ironhide wasn't as surprising to me (since I read the book a few days before seeing the movie for some reason), but I had actually gotten attached to Ratchet enough (combined with the sheer brutality of his death), and that death may be the hardest one for me to watch. In any movie, actually.

All said though, I really enjoy these movies, and I can't wait for TLK! :michaelbay:
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby Towline » Tue May 09, 2017 11:23 pm

I feel good and bad about the characters. The "Big Name Characters.". are spot on.
I want to shoot the tv screen "Elvis Style" with the characters of Skids, Mudflap, Wheelie.
I Like the movie designs of the live action transformers. The movie designs fit the "Alien Robot" concept
better then the cartoon, and toy designs.

The only death of the live action transformers robots who will impact me will be the possible deaths of
Optimus Prime or Bumblebee. They are my favorite transformers. The "unicron trilogy" and "kiss players" travesties from Japan have ruined my perception of transformers so bad that Micheal Bay has cleaned up the mess that the Japanese has done to the Transformers brand through the one two **** storm of "The Unicron Trilogy" and "Kiss Players".

I don't know. Watching my favorite characters despite their disposability is half the fun of live action
Transformers movies.

Those are my opinions for liking the live action films.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby BombshellDaBug » Fri May 12, 2017 7:14 am

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I think a few other people have hit it on the head when they say that the movies tend to treat the robots as being disposable. It's one of my biggest criticisms of the movies, and I'm saying that as someone who was brought into Transformers because of DotM. But what's ironic about it is that I was brought in because of how DotM treated Shockwave. I saw the movie because Shockwave showed up in every trailer and poster, and got really invested in the character after researching him. I got more involved because I wasn't satisfied with how he was treated and wanted to see more of him. So I guess in a weird sense, this sort of thing can motivate people to get involved by ironically not delivering on certain characters.

Now with all of that being said, I think that the movies really should flesh out these characters because that's supposed to be the point of the movie franchise. Get people invested by having interesting Transformers appear in Transformers movies. So I feel like they need to get way better at it, and hopefully this writer's room will do the trick.

As for the character deaths, I think it certainly raises the stakes. I certainly wasn't expecting Jazz or Ironhide to die in previous movies, especially since they were big name characters. But it does show that no one is safe (unless you're Optimus or Megatron). In fact, this is the reason I'm worried that Grimlock and the Dinobots might be killed off, especially since the trailers only have Grimlock in two scenes (please let him live).
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby william-james88 » Tue May 16, 2017 1:16 pm

I would invest in the characters if they had anything worth investing in but none before AOE had any interesting character traits aside from BB and Optimus. Whether the others died or not doesnt really matter much to me since they feel replaceable.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby Rodimus Prime » Tue May 16, 2017 8:29 pm

BombshellDaBug wrote:I think a few other people have hit it on the head when they say that the movies tend to treat the robots as being disposable. It's one of my biggest criticisms of the movies, and I'm saying that as someone who was brought into Transformers because of DotM. But what's ironic about it is that I was brought in because of how DotM treated Shockwave. I saw the movie because Shockwave showed up in every trailer and poster, and got really invested in the character after researching him. I got more involved because I wasn't satisfied with how he was treated and wanted to see more of him. So I guess in a weird sense, this sort of thing can motivate people to get involved by ironically not delivering on certain characters.
I think the treatment of Shockwave might be the biggest disappointment for me in the franchise so far, considering what an important character he is in every other continuity, especially in the G1 comics. I think that's the best development of the character, even though IDW did a fairly good job with him in their comics as well, until they actually killed him off, which kind of pissed me off. Shockwave has nearly limitless potential as far as being a villain. He's highly intelligent, ruthless, and powerful. He has almost no flaws, other than perhaps his inability/refusal to deviate from his plans, no matter the cost. He's definitely a better overall leader than Megatron. Honestly, I still think his character can be brought back in Bayverse, by simply stating that the Shockwave we saw in Dark of The Moon was a highly advanced clone. Shockwave is a scientist after all. For him that wouldn't be a stretch.
In fact, this is the reason I'm worried that Grimlock and the Dinobots might be killed off, especially since the trailers only have Grimlock in two scenes (please let him live).
The trailers show Grimlock getting attacked and blown away, don't they? So it's safe to say he's probably going to die, as will the other Dinobots. I did find a deluxe class toy for 1 of the characters, but that doesn't mean he'll survive. Bay himself did state previously that he hated the characters of the Dinobots and he would never put them on screen. I guess he was overruled on that one, but I think he will do as little as possible with them and will enjoy killing them on screen. Supposedly there will be mini Dinobots in TLK, so we'll see what that's about. Maybe they actually survive as smaller versions of themselves? A tiny Grimlock would be really cool, especially considering his character in G1.
EMB wrote:As for character deaths, The only characters we were really with long enough to really feel were Ironhide and Ratchet. Ironhide wasn't as surprising to me (since I read the book a few days before seeing the movie for some reason), but I had actually gotten attached to Ratchet enough (combined with the sheer brutality of his death), and that death may be the hardest one for me to watch. In any movie, actually.
That scene got to me as well. The 1st time I saw it, I actually had a lump in my throat, I won't lie. Ironhide had the same effect on me, even though I did the same as you and read the book in advance. Even now, any time I watch Age of Extinction I skip the scene with Ratchet's death. But, I keep asking myself: is he really dead? Lockdown ripped out his spark, but didn't destroy it. Just stored it. Right? Or did he "assimilate" Ratchet's life force into his own, making himself stronger and killing Ratchet in the process? I think that could be an opening to bringing that character back. Of course, the marketing side of these movies thrives on newer characters to sell toys, so I doubt that will happen.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby TulioDude » Sat May 20, 2017 12:40 pm

Motto: "Never doubt the awesomess."
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After knowing that Barricade will return,it opens the doors to many possibilities,where anyone can come back.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby Tyrannacon » Sun May 28, 2017 11:38 am

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I guess one of my biggest issues with the live-action series is the focal point of humans in the whole thing. I can understand why in a lot of respects from budgetary reasons for making the film on down to it being Earth they are fighting on so it would impact us the most when it comes to the story reasons.

The problem is the live-action, while being so pressed to show favorites, doesn't take a lot of time to get characterization down nor a lot of helpful exposition. I do feel because Bay is more an action director than a character director. So that's why the characterizations are minimal to none. That and the idea of incorporating so many characters at once. It's not to say it's completely terrible, I do enjoy the live action films as they are, but the end of the day is I would love for something Cybertronian specific with lots of exposition and time placed into characterization, a healthy amount of action to accompany it, and little to no human involvement whatsoever.

I doubt that will happen and frankly I can still enjoy the films as decent action flicks even though due to the fact it probably won't happen.
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Re: Character Study: A question for live action film fans (Part 1)

Postby MGrotusque » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:48 pm

The handling of the character development towards the Transformers themselves is what has completely ruined the movies for me. There are such rich back stories to TF characters that its an injustice to just have them feel like cannon fodder like the movies portray them. Their existence seem to have zero value or impact.

It's a shame. That's why the movies are vapid nonsense to me.
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