Back To Bay-Sick: Transformers – Rise Of The Dark Spark

By Adam Smith on February 17th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

No no no no no. No.

In order to protect my sanity, I mostly ignore the existence of the current Transformers movie franchise but today, grave news demands that I devote an iota of my attention to Bay’s bilge. The next Transformers game, Rise of the Dark Spark, will bring together the Cybertron universe and the preposterously dull and irritating bullshit of the live action films, including the upcoming Age of Exctinction. That’s something to look forward to. The first trailer is below but I didn’t learn a great deal from it, seeing as I already suspected there would be Transformers in the game. Grimlock appears, which is fun, but he’s in the game because he’s in the next film, which means he’ll probably have a giant phallus made out of an electricity pylon. Development duties have passed from High Moon to Edge of Reality.

I’ll be honest – I’ve only seen the first of Bay’s Transformers films and assorted clips from the others. The action sequences are messy and confused, the attempts at humour are as effective as a spaghetti stepladder, and it’s hard to tell which will have to take out a restraining order against Bay’s camera first – the actresses, the military hardware or the sports cars. I don’t think I need to see any more. Watching the clips in the links at the beginning of this post made me hate cinema.

The news comes via Examiner.com and they note that the DS release will be a strategic RPG rather than an action game. I’d quite like to play a Transformers RPG.

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81 Comments »

  1. brulleks says:

    I nearly left the cinema out of boredom in the first film, and managed twenty minutes of the sequel during some weird moment of masochistic curiosity (on tv, I’m not quite that stupid), right up until tiny “decepticons” started running through the Witwicky household, farting. That was quite enough, thankyou.

    I dread to think what he will do to the Dinobots, who featured in my favourite storyline of the UK comics. Michael Bay’s film making and auteur theory go hand in hand – as in, someone auteur stop him making any more films.

  2. waaaaaaaals says:

    Why does Bay have to infect the one decent series they had left?

  3. Gap Gen says:

    I dunno, I had a great summer at Michael Bay back in 2008.

    • Muzman says:

      You just think you did. Mostly all you can actually remember is being shaken up by lots of bassy vibrations, lots of noise from every direction, bright clashing colours and rapid fire imagery and swimsuit models. The rest you kind of fill in the blanks for yourself.

      Sorry, that’s the place they have raves isn’t it? I could be getting mixed up.

      • Gap Gen says:

        None of it made any sense and I left feeling physically ill, so you could be right. Doesn’t explain the American flag still etched onto my retinas, though.

  4. DigitalSignalX says:

    Bay is to film as EA is to games.

    • RedViv says:

      That would imply that Bay is a multifaceted thing that started artistic and now mostly does solid, occasionally great, and a few awfully monstrous things.

      Unless you mean the EA that Internet People seem to exclusively see, which only made Sports Game Insert Year, Dungeon Extorter, and SimCity 2013 in the last ten billion years.

      • witzkawumme (wkw) says:

        ea does the same thing as Bay: products for the mass market.
        I really like “The Rock”, also the Transformers movies are entertaining to me, although I can totally understand the disdain for it. It is just action shoved into my face. The same goes for many of the ea games.
        both of them produce “solid” products for the mass market. They are like Burger King and McDonalds, I sometimes enjoy their stuff, but I know it is mostly due to the fact that there is a lot of fat and sugar in it. I like fat and sugar (evolution!), but nearly everyone can produce a good tasting meal with loads of fat and sugar.

        • ffordesoon says:

          You’re talking about the AAA games industry as a whole, there. It’s all mass-market; some of it just happens to be good, too.

          • witzkawumme (wkw) says:

            well, I guess Valve also produces AAA games, but I wouldn’t compare than to Burger King…

            I guess my statement wasn’t fleshed out properly… I guess it is more: mass market games/products done after a “cookie cutter” principle with little or no innovation. Portal was “different”. I also think Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim are AAA, but are not “cookie cutter”, although some could argue that the amount of innovation from Morrowind to Skyrim was limited.

            hmmm I guess what I mean and it is very vague is that ea games feel more publisher driven, while Valve’s and Bethesda Games seem more developer/designer driven.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Well, we do perhaps unfairly villain-ise EA on the internet.

        However, as much as such things are a matter of taste, I would disagree with your assessment of mostly solid, occassionally great and few awful. And the implication that they produce a lot of iterative cash-ins (Sports Game insert year), franchise cash-ins (Dungeon Keeper) and poor quality games (Simcity 2013) being an outrageously cynical internet man view of the company is a little harsh perhaps.

        From their own site, the last year’s output:

        EA SPORTS NBA LIVE 14
        EA SPORTS FIFA 14
        FIFA 14 by EA SPORTS™ for iPad and iPhone
        EA SPORTS NHL 14
        EA SPORTS™ Madden NFL 25
        EA SPORTS Yogify
        Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 14

        The Sims 3 Into The Future
        The Sims™ 3 Movie Stuff
        The Sims 3 Island Paradise
        The Sims 3 University Life

        Battlefield 3: End Game
        Battlefield 4

        Plants vs. Zombies 2
        Plants vs. Zombies™ Adventures

        SimCity™
        Need for Speed Rivals
        Fuse
        Army of TWO: The Devil’s Cartel
        Crysis 3

        Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar for iPad and iPhone
        Tetris® Blitz for iPad and iPhone
        Real Racing 3 for iPad, iPhone and Android

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Bay is to film as Ebola is to your internal organs.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Ahahaha, no.

      Jerry Bruckheimer is to film as EA is to games. Which is to say, any EA product will have a high level of surface polish and a heavy focus on Giving The People What They Want, sometimes in defiance of logic and/or artistic integrity. Also, a resolutely teenage outlook on things, a focus on simplistic Hero’s Journey storytelling, and a need to underline every dramatic moment with a song by Currently Popular Band and/or any popular American song produced beteen 1960 and 1973.

      This approach, when balanced out by a director who can deal with Bruckheimer’s excesses, can result in a very good film. Bruckheimer is not an idiot or a bad producer, necessarily, but his approach is heavy-handed enough that there will always be a scene or two in any Bruckheimer picture where you realize, “Oh, right, this guy made Michael Bay possible.”

      Michael Bay’s closest analogue would be EA’s mobile games division, perhaps. The focus is squarely on business, there are lots of pretty lights and sounds and effects to fool you into thinking you’re playing a game rather than a cash-delivery system for EA, and you feel empty inside when it’s over.

    • Moraven says:

      I always thought Uwe Boll fit that.

      Take timeless game series and butcher it. Uwe does it in Film. EA does it for most of the IP they buy up. Bullfrog, Maxis, Popcap. The fun is to wonder what the next IP they will trash.

      They put enough time and money into their main IPs without destroying them (well I guess NBA sucks and BF4 is not getting the time and help it needs).

  5. RedViv says:

    Me BayGrimlock! Me just funny and in no way going to be insulting play on mentally challenged people!

    Low-hanging fruit that I would be surprised to not see taken advantage of.

  6. SanguineAngel says:

    I just do not understand why anyone lets Bay do anything other than film explosions.

    • meepmeep says:

      Box Office Takings:

      Transformers: $709m
      Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: $826m
      Transformers: Dark of the Moon: $1123m

      • Gap Gen says:

        And still they’re only just letting him sit in the corner and play with his toys.

      • Stardreamer says:

        Pacific Rim: $411,002,906

        SPARE ME THIS MOCKERY OF JUSTICE.

        • Jenks says:

          Pacific Rim was an incredibly stupid movie, possibly even more stupid than the second Transformers movie.

          • aldo_14 says:

            Yeah, but Pacific Rim knew it was stupid, and it was consequently free to be awesome.

          • cpt_freakout says:

            @aldo
            Come on now, it’s not like Michael Bay doesn’t mess around with self-seriousness as well. Sure, we have atrociously serious shit like Pearl Harbor, but we also have atrociously self-mocking shit like Bad Boys or Pain & Gain (actually, I thought Pain & Gain wasn’t terrible). The Transformers movies are, to me, evidently taking the piss on the franchise itself, but doing so in a very idiotic way. Same goes for Pacific Rim, where the sheer stupidity and self-awareness of it doesn’t make it a cool or let alone good movie just because it knows it’s stupid. The Transformers movies know they’re stupid, and yet, they’re absolutely terrible beyond the special effects.

          • Stardreamer says:

            Pacific Rim is not a dumb film; much of it’s complexity and nuance is presented visually, rather than through dialogue. There was an awesome review that absolutely nailed this but I can’t seem to find it.

            Leaving that aside, it’s presentation of giant robots is 100 times more fun than anything Transformers has done.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            I have to admit, I was unable to watch pacific rim the whole way through. I found the dialogue deeply uncomfortable. I had no issue with the depiction giant robots though, which I deemed awesome.

            Although, I do also enjoy the spectacle of robot on robot action in the Transformers movies. It’s just that the rest of the movies are so bad. But the worst thing is the humour. Dear Lord

          • Nicodemus Rexx says:

            Ah yes, but you see, Pacific Rim is stupid in the way that children playing with their toys is stupid? The film was born of an unrequited love for giant robots and the big, rubber monster genre; a genre which is inherently a lovably stupid thing.

            On the other hand the stupidity of M. Bay’s films is born of the fact that he only cares to cynically exploit the franchise, and kinda hates the fan-base.

            This entire thing is probably better explained by Red Letter Media (the gentlemen behind the Mr. Plinkett Star Wars reviews) in their own review of Pacific Rim.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        okay that’s a fair point. But surely a lot of that was trading on the Transformers name and the (pretty great) action alone. Imagine how many profits there would be if the movies were really great!

      • Turkey says:

        All those dumb sci-fi and fantasy CGI-fests make crazy amounts of money due to the “foreign” market. Even Battleship made a profit.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Hah, of the three properties being discussed here Battleship is by far my favourite

          Edit: I mean comparatively natch

  7. Foglet says:

    You know, there WAS an obscure yet nice TF game called Transformers G1: Awakening (G1-based, no less… hence, ahem, the title and all). A mobile turn-based strategy-RPG with plot, highly akin to Fire Emblem, Advance Wars and suchlike. And it was good enough to get quite a bit of acclaim, despite being a port to Android and iOS smartphones from legacy Java phones; I remember playing and enjoying it.
    Weird thing is, now it’s unavailable from Google Play, AppStore or any other official source. I tried researching the reason behind the removal, but the only thing my Google Fu brought back is vague claims of ‘licensing issues’.

  8. Oakreef says:

    Come now! Optimus Prime’s pure psychopathy as he screamed “GIVE ME YOUR FACE” as he murdered the bad guy of the second film in about five seconds was almost worth sitting through the rest of that film.

  9. blind_boy_grunt says:

    For me Transformer movies are one the same plane of existence as the hobbit movies, while i’m watching them i’m something like entertained and after that i don’t think about them again. They are just big and dumb and loud. And sometimes that’s all i want.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      It’s not that they’re big, dumb and loud. I can do big, dumb and loud, it’s that they’re are, at times, utterly incoherent. Things just happen, apparently without cause or reason. The characters are at one location one scene, then suddenly they’re suddenly somewhere else, with no explanation as to how or why they got there.

      • blind_boy_grunt says:

        Someone in a podcast described it as “event cinema but not actual films” or something (referring to the Hobbit 2, i think)
        Basically all sound and fury, signifying nothing. Or very long trailers unburdened by the need to tell a story.

    • bill says:

      They are big and dumb, but fun????

      I don’t think any sane person could find them remotely tolerable, let alone fun.
      Hobbit movies = bug dumb fun.
      Transformers movies = useful for getting information out of enemy combatants, but probably against the geneva convention.

    • Turkey says:

      If I want dumb fun, I’ll just watch some ’80s movies. At least those guys knew that big dumb fun probably shouldn’t go over 1 and 1/2 hours.

  10. Bluerps says:

    I haven’t seen any of the movies, but a friend of mine saw the first. He then invented a rating system for movies, in which the quality of a movie was measured in “Transformers”: The quality of a movie is x Transformers when it is x times better than Transformers. Most movies have a quality of several thousand Transformers, and only very few, very bad movies have a two-digit rating. No movie has a rating below one Transformers.

  11. Spacewalk says:

    Me Grimlock say this franchise full of cesium salami.

  12. MeestaNob says:

    Optimus Prime is the robot equivalent of Morgan Freeman: you look forward to everything he’s in, you find his voice endlessly reassuring, yet he’s very capable of appearing in a complete piece of shit movie with astonishing regularity.

    • bill says:

      He and his voice are the ONLY redeeming feature about those movies. But you just spend the whole movie cringing about how they are treating him and feeling embarrassed for him.

      It’s like watching De Niro in a really crappy comedy.

  13. Kollega says:

    I feel that everyone is overlooking the REAL issue here: Edge of Reality are the ones responsible for making Loadout, and Loadout is a good game – but more than a bit too small. And if they’ll be distracted with making a Michael Bayformers game, it will probably mean less resources for Loadout. Boo! Hiss!

  14. Volcanu says:

    Oh wont someone please make a cel shaded Transformers game that looks like the 80s cartoon, complete with slighlty camp Starscream.

    Or an Xcom style game where you have to constantly respond to the decepticons latest shenanigans, and with a memorial wall to rival the body count of the cartoon series.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Great ideas. :)

      I’d pretty much sell the entire Earth to an Alien species to see a well done tribute game of the original animated film. Being able to participate in the Battle of Autobot City would be, for me, a peak life experience.

      “Let the slaughter begin!”

  15. SuicideKing says:

    I’ll be honest – I’ve only seen the first of Bay’s Transformers films and assorted clips from the others.

    Now that i’ve seen those ” No no no” links at the start, this statement is true for me too.

  16. TWChristine says:

    I guess I’m in the minority in that I actually liked the first one. Part way through the second I decided that while the first was decent, this one was idiotic. I then didn’t even want to see the third because I honestly didn’t care to see how they were going to one-up the wrecking ball scene. Unfortunately, my spouse pressured me into going which resulted in me losing an incredible amount of brain cells. But yea, Adam is probably right in that the giant phallus is the next step.

    • Gap Gen says:

      When I first saw that trailer I was like “yes! they’re making a sci-fi film about a moon mission! ooh, alien artefacts on the moon! wait, is that… no, no no, no” *Transformers logo comes up* “nooooooo!”

    • Stardreamer says:

      Transformers is the first film I’ve ever considered walking out of half-way through. My mate and I went to a pub afterwards to drown our collective sorrows. They’re the only films I can think of that can be called “Abominations”.without opening myself to accusations of runaway melodrama.

    • Low Life says:

      I also thought the first one was fine. As for the second one, the only thing I remember from it (apart from the awful attempts at humor) is this battle scene, which was quite nice except for the bits with the Shia dude.

      • Gap Gen says:

        My favourite part of the recent Shia thing is how he blew off the media for harassing him by stealing a quote from Eric Cantona.

    • Nicodemus Rexx says:

      I actually agree; as much as I’ve come to dislike the movie wing of the franchise, I enjoyed the first and was willing to give the first a lot of leeway since it was an introductory episode; something to ground people who, shortly before probably didn’t give a flip about giant robots from space.

      But my enthusiasm hinged heavily on what they would do with the sequel, and how they would build from there. SInce the series went down hill by most standards, the first just isn’t quite good enough to be satisfying as the “only good one”.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      I liked the first one as well. In fact, it may be the only Bay film that I like.

      The first one had decent characters with relatable problems, memorable action scenes, and, while the Transformers were not the main stars, they were at least integral to the film. The sequels (which I only saw because of the good will that the first bought) had characters that were all eminently hatable, action scenes that were incoherent and which went on forever, and there were so many similar looking Transformers that got five seconds of screentime that I couldn’t tell any of them apart.

      Also, while the military obviously had a hand in the first film, the sequels had a political distastefulness that was capped off by Optimus ripping Megatron’s head and spine out of his body Mortal Kombat style, and then shooting the other bot, who was already defeated, in the back of the head, execution style.

  17. Gap Gen says:

    Also, people, it’s OK: any game called “Dark Spark” is already irredeemably stupid. It’s fine.

    • phelix says:

      Don’t forget the ‘Rise Of The’ prefix that, in my humble opinion, deserves to die in a vat of FEV boiling sulphuric acid.

  18. strangeloup says:

    It looks basically like the Cybertron games, which is good!
    But it incorporates the stupid awful designs and probably other elements from the movies, which is bad!
    This probably means it’ll turn out… average?

    I’m going to call this “Dork Spork” if that’s okay with you.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Looking like them is one thing. Let’s hope they can improve on the Cybertron series’ rather limited gameplay.

      Having said that, Licensed Toy Film Tie-in Game? I’m not holding my breath.

  19. NewlandArcher says:

    That steadily vanishing studio is High Moon, not Half Moon….

  20. The Random One says:

    I’m very happy that I never liked Transformers as a child. I look at these movies and just shrug with a mischievous grin on my face.

  21. Hensler says:

    The last Cybertron game from High Moon was great – I’m really disappointed to see they aren’t making this one. They really seemed to enjoy and understand the franchise. I wonder if that mediocre Deadpool game doomed things for them?

  22. HumpX says:

    I never understood the heavy nostalgia for this IP.

    Even as a kid when the original series ran, it was glaringly obvious to my pea-brain that the shows were half-hour toy commercials. There was nothing about the writing and presentation that deserved the attention it gets all these years later (IMO).

    Maybe Im just old….

    • Stardreamer says:

      I guess it fired other imaginations than yours? Robots that change into vehicles is one of the all-time great toy concepts, after all. The cartoon was clearly made to sell toys but despite it’s quality the underlying concept shines like a small star.

      But as a UK resident I do often wonder how the cartoon alone managed to to create fans; there are people who claim that as their sole inspiration. It had some cool episodes but there was a LOT of dross. Luckily, we Brits had the far superior version of the comic to give the characters some real character and depth.

  23. HisDivineOrder says:

    I’m sure it seemed like a “cool idea” to them to do a crossover, but in reality it’s just annoying. I wish they’d have the ___ for Cybertron universe just wipe out the Michael Bay movie universe entirely. I mean, like the real Megatron and Optimus Prime look across a portal into the Michael Bay universe where Megatron sounds like Agent Smith with a voice modulator. They exchange looks and shake their heads.

    Then they throw a dark energon bomb made from Unicron’s balls. The Michael Bay universe transformers are so bedazzled by the dingle-dangling balls of boom they don’t disarm them. True, Bumblebee tries to do movie and TV quotes at them, but as usual everyone acts like they understand him though they really don’t.

    The last thing they see through the portal is Shia screaming, “BEEEEEE!”

    Then that horrible Michael Bay universe is gone. Forever.

    Optimus and Megatron share a glass of cool, refreshing energon.

    “Prime, you know I should try and kill you now.”

    “Why?”

    “I AM MEGATRON!”

    “True. One shall rise. One shall fall.”

    “Hmmm… why throw away a perfectly good energon martini so recklessly?”

    “That’s a question you should ask yourself, Megatron.”

    “Eh. I’m gonna chill in the energon jacuzzi a while longer. I can kill you tomorrow.”

  24. Chizu says:

    I don’t understand. Why are they leashing it to the god awful movies?
    The Cybertron games were supposed to be canonical to the Transformers: Prime universe, not the movies. The show was actually okay.
    This betrayal saddens me Hasbro.
    I’ve got zero faith in this game being anything but cash-in rubbish. Such a sad state of affairs after High Moon finally gave us Transformers games worth playing.

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