By Rory Cooper
A couple of weeks ago, Michael Bay caused the internet to erupt (again) in clammy nerd rage (again) with his choice of words regarding the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie his company, Platinum Dunes, is making.
For me, the Transformers films turned my favourite 80s toy advert into a messy, badly told joke of which the punch line seemed to be: screw you, fans! And now Mr Bay seemed to be turning his personal vendetta against my childhood to my beloved pizza obsessed amphibians. I don’t remember killing any members of his family, so why was he doing this to me?
So, to show my affection for Mr Bay, I decided to put together a list of 80s cartoon series that I would be happy – nay, excited - for him to bring to the big screen.
DINO-RIDERS | Using their Space Time Energy Projector (S.T.E.P. for short), they tore a hole in the fabric of space-time, crash-landed on prehistoric Earth, and with no thought for causality, started chasing dinosaurs around. Unknown to our heroes the Rulons were also sucked through the tear and immediately began capturing dinosaurs themselves. What followed was a good versus evil tale of opposing sides fighting each other, while riding armoured dinosaurs with weapons lashed to them.
Unfortunately, the actual series wasn’t as awesome as that preceding sentence.
It goes without saying that Mr Bay could make this great. People riding CGI dinosaurs covered with armour and lasers fighting each other, the script could be mostly growls and explosions and it would still be amazing. He could probably knock it out during his lunch breaks on Transformers 4, too.
BATTLE OF THE PLANETS | Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop and Tiny all had superhuman powers due to ‘cerebonic’ enhancements. They defended the Earth from evil aliens of the planet Spectra, using the Phoenix, their bird-shaped spaceship, and the weaponized vehicles it housed…
Say what you like about Michael Bay, then, but he knows how to simplify a story. A lot. If memory serves, the Transformers origin was broken down into ‘something, glasses, something, magic cube, something, giant robots smashing each other up.’ If a movie about superhero bird teenagers in spaceships needs anything it needs a clear and simplified plot… and explosions.
JAYCE AND THE WHEELED WARRIORS | Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors had, well, everything. An ongoing saga of good vs. evil, science, magic, annoying robots, a teenage hero, armed vehicles, things transforming into other things, plant based mutants, and, of course, a botanist...
…who better for the job than Michael Bay? Things transform in it, for starters. Then just imagine the huge beautifully rendered CGI battles that a Bay-helmed Wheeled Warriors film would provide. It’s enough to make you well up just thinking about it.
SILVERHAWKS | …Michael Bay can direct action with the best of them, and a super-heroic shiny bird costumed super team fighting a group of heavily armed animal space gangsters would need every ounce of his special talents if it was to look anything but utterly ridiculous. What could go wrong?
M.A.S.K. | While the cartoons will never go down in history for their stories, they were exciting enough, and featured colourful characters in transforming vehicles trying to blow each other up, which is all you needed as a child of the 80s.
Bay could clearly run with this concept, get rid of V.E.N.O.M. or at least give them an actual goal, make it grittier and more realistic, a nice mix of CGI and practical effects, lots of car chases and of course explosions. How could Bay not make that great? How? How?