12 July 2011

Because it's Sort of Relevant: The Case for a Beast Wars Movie

Before we get too marred in Harry Potter Mania with the Grand Finale coming this weekend, I want to spend one more post rambling about Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). I will defend this movie forever actually, my integrity is that low. There is no other film that cranks up the Awesome like this one has nor one that has simultaneously cast such a sense of dread over its entire world. It's a very effective film, and I will yet refuse to acknowledge the acting and script problems or a beginning two-thirds that is at times boring, awkward and full of young adult coming of age themes kind-of that have nothing at all to do with giant Robots Smashing Each Other. See, Dark of the Moon is actually not one, but a hodge podge of movies all crammed together. It's a political conspiracy drama, giant robot action film, teen comedy-drama and Ancient Mythological Battle all rolled into one. See? We're finally getting our $15 worth, despite an absence of Hot Rod.

But that's all I'm going to say about the Summer's Most Explosion-y film. I'm here today to talk about the future of this Franchise. Mike and Shia both claim to be done with the Autobots and Decepticons but I believe it's time for them to turn to the Maximals and Predacons.

Let the fur fly!

Fuck yeah.

I was actually a bit too young for Transformers. I had some toys of course, I think I was stuck with a Ramjet for a while and everyone knows Megatron and Optimus. But the show was at its peak about two years before I was born. I never got into the mythology, I just kind of made up my own as I smashed trucks and planes together on my living room floor.

I was the prime age for Beast Wars, though. I watched every episode, had tons of the toys, I was obsessed, man. I would wake up at 7:00 AM on Saturdays just to watch the damn thing on Fox Kids. It really wasn't that great of a show actually. The mythology was very muddled, the scripts were thin and I'm pretty sure Silverbolt banged Blackarachnia. She's basically the Mystique of the Beast Wars Universe. Still, it was probably at least on par with Transformers and could equally be a fine basis for a live action feature film. Listen, the remainder of this post needs to be pretty tongue in cheek, so bare with me here:

Michael Bay needs to direct, obviously. Beast Wars will be slated for a 2014 release, with of course Beast Wars: Revenge of Reptar (2016) and Beast Wars: Dark of Optimus Primal's Moon (2018) to follow. Brilliant jokes already, guys. The tricky thing about Beast Wars is that in the original show there weren't any humans (there might have been one caveman or something). So a feature length live action film could evolve in two possible ways:

1) A Simple Update of the TV show. In the show the descendents of the Autobots and Decepticons now known as Maximals and Predacons travel through a time warp thingie and land on a Prehistoric Earth with overloads of Energon, forcing them to use Organic Sources for their Alternative Modes. This actually explains the whole shebang quite nicely. This is about as close as you can get to reasoning why Flesh and Metal have united here, and it's a pretty cool idea. It also allows for a Beast-Only cast with no humans, and honestly, who saw any Transformers Movie for a human who wasn't named Megan or Rosie?

2) The second option is trickier and it would involve the Beast Wars spilling over into the present day. The Autobots would land in...I don't know, a Zoo or something and get the animals from there. The Decepticons would land in...Jurassic Park or something and get their alt forms that way. Either that or go with Crocodile Megatron. Anyway, the story could evolve something like Transformers (2007), Sam Witwicky turns 16 and wants his first...Cheetah and the story just plays out naturally and logically from there. I really like this idea.

3) The third option of course is just how I always played Beast Wars on my living room floor, two big groups of Maximals and Predacons see each other and start fighting for no reason. Possibly all on a beige carpet.

Airazor's a total babe, obviously
So now that we have the airtight plot out of the way, what characters to use? As I was thinking about it, I realised that the show actually did use some of the best Maximals, they all had very nicely fleshed out characters, even romances between them, the main core of these dudes (and one chick) to my left (your right...I'm a computer!) would suffice. I do have personal favourites like Cybershark, Polar Claw, K-9 and Bonecrusher I'd love to add though. C'mon it's not like Sideswipe or Jolt got any screentime for character development. With a Beasts-Only Cast there might actually be some room to treat this team like real people and give them the development and dignity they deserve.

A lot of these were pretty analogous, Rhinox I think was supposed to be Ironhide or Ratchet, Cheetor is Bumblebee, Optimus Primal is well, Optimus. Dinbot the Predacon Defector could be seen as a younger Jetfire from Revenge of the Fallen (2009). Well, not really. There were a shitload more but we can skip the Fuzor and Transmetal bullshit for now. As for the Predacons, you've got to have Megatron as Megatron and Terrorsaur as Starscream but I'm not really attached to much else.

Megatron the Friendly Dragon, lives by the sea
See, the Maximals were always this tight, unified family-like group. The Predacons however, were typically full of retards, mental defectives, insane maniacs and more retards. It's pretty rough. It's a lot different from the Transformers Franchise that has tons of really cool Decepticons like Devastator and Shockwave, dudes who turn into badass F-22s and giant monsters while all the Autobots have are GMC Pick-Up trucks and various sports cars. The Maximals defintely got the cooler animal group. The Predacons are filled with bees and crabs (what the hell use is a 6-Foot Wasp Disguise anyway?) yet also with the occasional Dinosaur thrown in there. It's tough to have a casting call for these guys that in any way could resemble an effective team, or even some worthwhile characters. Only to avoid Fuzors and Transmetals I might go...Spittor and Retrax? Yeesh. I really want the comic that pits a Poison Dart Frog against a Fucking Polar Bear in the Arctic. As long as we can avoid Transquito. C'mon you've got all the Dinosaurs and Reptiles to choose from and they come out with line-up after line-up of Insects? This is terrible.

Points for naming....any of these

So obviously this is a huge cash cow and the Legacy of Transformers needs to live on. There's nothing better to keep the frantic energy of the Transformers Trilogy going than a Beast Wars Trilogy. Flesh and Metal baby, claw on steel on hoof on pincher-mouth. This is compelling stuff, folks. There's no doubt that the Box Office Gross for a Live Action Beast Wars Movie could be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

I'd see it.

And then go back to my living room floor.

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