how Transformers CGI should have looked in the movie, pt. 2

I just updated “how Transformers CGI should have looked in the movie” because the video link had changed.  It’s been a popular post, with over 1,000 pageviews.  I also added a remixed version of the video to it, featuring music from the original series, which makes it even better.

Who is this?

While finding the video, I found a fan-made video of Generation 1 (G1) Transformers using CGI that was well done.  It’s not movie-quality, because I’m sure he didn’t have a $200 million budget.  But it gives an idea how the characters could have looked in CGI while still resembling their original design.  (Why does that matter?  You should be able to easily tell who is who.  Not only did Michael Bay remove most of their personalities, but he removed most of their unique external features, too.  They look very similar in the movies, which should not be.)  FYI, consider the video rated PG because of a couple of words and some stuff gets blown up.

I had hoped that the fourth Transformer movie would be rebooted with the new director, to have more story along with the action, but it appears that won’t happen.  Sure, the first 3 movies did well financially, but they could be so much better if the story of the Transformers was actually told instead of it being about mankind versus an alien invasion (which has been done so many times).

Let's hope not!

The Autobots and Decepticons are in a civil war, and there’s a deep story behind that which is being ignored in the movies.  The movies can (and should) keep the action sequences and big explosions, but let’s hear the story with real character development.

The reason Transformers are still around is because it has a great story with great characters.  That’s why the franchise is still going strong and we’re not getting movies about GoBots (which had some cool toys, but no story).  Some of you may not remember this, but when Optimus Prime was killed in the original cartoon movie, there was a huge outcry from fans.  (The company executives didn’t get it then, either.)  Optimus was like the John Wayne of Transformers.  In fact, the fan response was so great that the upcoming G.I. Joe cartoon movie was rewritten during production, because in it Duke was going to be killed, so they made him go into a coma instead.  Why am I saying all this?  To show that fans care about characters with personality.

how Transformers CGI should have looked in the movie

If you’re a Transformers fan like me, you might’ve been disappointed by the redesign of the characters in the 2007 movie.  I very much was.  I was willing to accept some redesign, to be more modern, and in a few cases, to be more practical (like with Megatron and Soundwave).  But the movie took it way too far.

To give you a taste of how it could’ve looked, I present this video clip.  It’s the fight scene between Megatron and Optimus Prime, the one with the famous quote of “One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall”.  This starts as the original cartoon and switches into 3D CGI.

CGI rendering of G1 Transformers clip

[Update: 7/8/11]

Apparently Hasbro took the video down off their site, for whatever reasons.  But it’s still on YouTube:

A fan took this video and replace the audio with music from the original G1 cartoon series, which makes it even better:

It’s not the highest of CGI quality (due to budget and time, I’m sure), but it shows that the characters in the live-action movie could’ve been made closer to the originals and still looked good, especially with a high-dollar budget.  So why did Michael Bay and crew decide to totally change the design?  The new look for the Transformers in the movie didn’t have much personality, as they all looked too similar and generic.

Until someone does a live-action Transformers movie RIGHT, I’ll always wonder what might’ve been…