From the LATimes:
Transformers’ taking new shape with Universal ride and fourth film
Optimus Prime, voiced by Peter Cullen, greets guests as they enter the ride’s “battlegrounds.” (Universal Studios Hollywood)
Film critics who put down Michael Bay’s “Transformers” movies by calling them theme-park rides in disguise won’t change their mind after hopping on Transformers: The Ride — 3D at Universal Studios, but they might have a dramatically improved opinion of theme-park rides.
The $100-million ride, which officially opened May 24, is being hailed as a game-changer by the reviewers and bloggers who cover such things (yes, there is quite a bit of room on the Internet), and even rivals at Disney Imagineering have, in private, acknowledged that the shiny new kid on the block is pretty impressive and possibly, well, transformative.
Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, opening this month, has been the big theme park story this summer due to the scale of the project and the stakes involved for a Disney destination that was not the hoped-for success story in its first decade. Years from now, though, this summer’s opening of Transformers: The Ride might also be viewed as a milestone moment for its intriguing hybrid of digital illusion, real-world velocity and assorted atmospheric effects.
“It’s pretty amazing what they do and how they do it,” said Bay, who was a key creative consultant to the ride team of Universal Creative (the in-house counterpart to Imagineering) and Industrial Light & Magic, the illustrious effects house that also works on the Bay robot films. “They’ve got it down to a science and they grab you, take you through this world and this story, and it’s impressive.”
Bay’s consultation may have been limited to the story, but his cinematic fingerprints are everywhere. The “physics” of the ride — like the slow-motion, whizzing metal, groaning-whirl effects used at key points — and the robot design are all from the Bay and ILM trilogy, which, for young male moviegoers, is their era-defining franchise. And despite the reviews, last year’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” stands as the third highest-grossing film of all time (trailing only “Avatar” and the final “Harry Potter” film) in international box office.
The Transformers brand dates back to the Reagan era and it may be the ultimate example of the reuse and recycle principle applied to pop culture if you consider the fact that Transformers: The Ride — 3D is a theme-park attraction based on a movie franchise based on a cartoon based on a toy. And, yes, there’s a gift shop right next to the exit with Hasbro’s latest line of mecha-heroes.
There’s plenty more Transformer action to come with a major new video game release, “Transformers: Fall of Cybertron,” due in August and another Bay movie in the works. (The director, by the way, says that the fourth film will include some redesign of the robots and an entirely new cast. He also said it will be his last and set the franchise up “for the next guy.”)
But a fan’s affection for a toy or a movie will only get them to stand in line once for a new theme-park ride, said Chick Russell, the creative director for Universal Creative, as he walked through the dim corridors of the ride in January.
“We want this to be a true state-of-the-art experience and we think we have something really special,” he said. “This is a world that, with these characters and story, is just perfect for us too.”
Veteran observers agree that the ride is pretty close to perfect. Brady MacDonald, reviewing for The Times, ranks the “state-of-the-art marvel” as one of the three best rides in the world and declared its digital accomplishments to be “far more immersive and engaging” than Disney’s Star Tours ride. Theme Park Insider, meanwhile, rates it as the new No. 1 ride in Southern California and calls it a game-changer for the way it uses 3-D to place riders within a world.
There have been some glitches. The ride seized up a number of times on its opening weekend, becoming instantly still and quiet (it’s more like a Blu-ray player than a roller coaster when in distress). There’s also a military problem; the Universal theme park employees at the entrance to the ride are dressed like soldiers and, like drill sergeants, some shout and scold the riders to enhance the illusion that a crisis situation is underway. The problem is not all the riders connect the dots or they just don’t enjoy the being yelled at by a kid in camouflage.
As tweaks are made, Russell’s hope is that the ride becomes a milestone like the one that arrived in Anaheim in March of 1967. That’s when the definition and (more importantly) the ambition of theme-park attractions changed with the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean, the first truly immersive, in-the-dark storytelling ride, with its animatronic buccaneers, music, flickering flames, the rolling water below and the cannon fire overhead — even the fireflies that catch your eye in the inky bayou night.
Bob Gurr, one of the best known Disney Imagineers (he was named a Disney Legend in 2004, a sort of Hall of Fame status within the company), who is noted for his work on Haunted Mansion, Autopia and the Matterhorn, says that the Pirates ride was a pivotal moment. He said it ranks on a short list — along with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, Cars Land and the Matterhorn — of the “huge leaps forward” he’s seen in his 57 years in or near the business. He may add Transformers to that list in the weeks to come, he said.
“Transformers has pushed the envelope out a bit,” Gurr said, when asked what he’s hearing from peers. “It’s similar to the ‘Harry Potter’ machine, and with a bit tighter 3-D projections. I will see it soon.”
The new ride’s story finds Chicago being leveled by giant space robots called Transformers (the good guys) and Decepticons (the bad guys), and visitors must help protect the AllSpark, a sliver of shiny rock that apparently is of cosmic consequence. The attraction puts riders inside a car of sorts — it’s actually Evac, a sentient robot on wheels — that seats 12 people and then races, swerves, careens, soars and tumbles across (and under and then above) the streets of downtown Chicago, shown on 14 massive screens. Those front- and rear-projection screens display images at quadruple the resolution of HD images (to fend off the picture degradation and dimming tendencies of 3-D) and presented unique challenges in their nontraditional sizes and shapes.
The ride is not quiet (there’s 5,000 watts of sound being pumped by a 14-channel audio system) nor is it peaceful (the cars zoom over 2,000 feet of track and reach a perceived speed of 60 mph), but it is clever. The juxtaposition of urban props (chunks of masonry, mangled pipes, etc.) and the Evac car itself create a tactile foreground. Curved-screen lighting, steam and mist are some of the ways that Russell’s team masked the distance between the props and the pixels.
The most impressive trick of the senses that the ride accomplishes is the one that it does on the sly. To extend the duration of the ride, the designers wanted two levels, so riders start on the first floor, do a lap and rise to the second floor for a loop there. The trick is that riders never feel themselves going up — the elevation moment and movement are disguised by the sensation of wind at their backs (which is created by an evil, sucking Decepticon named Vortex, if you’re curious) and the wobbling struggle of the Evac car as it fights to save its occupants.
There is a moment of oven-hot heat and the splash of fat-drop mist that speak to a long tradition of Universal rides creating atmosphere — the Terminator 2 ride has a squirt moment as well and the old King Kong attraction famously roared with banana-scented breath — but here they are delivered in a concentrated and cohesive way.
That was powerful stuff to Humberto Flores, who brought his 5-year-old grandson, Elijah, to the opening weekend of the ride.
“I don’t know what to say,” Flores said with his hand on gray-bearded chin. “That is art. Really, that’s the ultimate art. It’s like being inside of a movie. I don’t know anything about [the characters] or what was going on there, but that’s something.”
(Miami-Dade County, FL) — Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman is sponsoring a special proclamation on June 5th, 2012 for world renowned film director and producer Michael Bay, to be presented during the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners meeting. The Miami-Dade Film & Entertainment Advisory Board and the Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment requested the proclamation as a way to celebrate and recognize Mr. Bay’s contributions and the positive economic impact his films have had on Miami-Dade County.
Michael Bay’s first feature-length film, Bad Boys I starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, was shot in Miami in 1994 and grossed over $141 million at the box office. Bad Boys II was also shot on location in Miami and has grossed $273 million worldwide. Bad Boys I and II together expended approximately $60 million into the local economy. As the director of such films as The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Transformers to his credit, Michael Bay’s worldwide box office totals make him one of the highest grossing directors of all time. The recipient of numerous film awards, he has won nearly every award bestowed by the advertising industry as well.
Mr. Bay is currently shooting Pain and Gain throughout different locations in Miami-Dade County. The project is expected to infuse approximately $25 million into the local economy between March and May 2012. Mr. Bay, who also owns a home in Miami Beach, is committed to the success of the industry here in South Florida.
“The film and entertainment industry brings millions of dollars into our economy each year, creates thousands of jobs, and supports local businesses. Public recognition is a great way to show our appreciation and support for Michael Bay who has contributed so much to the growth and success of the film industry here in Miami-Dade County,” Commissioner Sally Heyman said.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman
The Miami-Dade Film & Entertainment Advisory Board
The Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment
Proclamation – Film Director and Producer Michael Bay
June 05, 2012, 9:30 a.m.
Stephen P. Clark Center (SPCC)
111 NW 1st Street
2nd Floor Commission Chambers
Miami, FL 33128
Paramount marketing changed the name. They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers. Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie. This script is being developed by two very smart writers, with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles. They care VERY MUCH about making this film for the fans. Everyone on this team cares about the fans. Just give them a chance. Jonathan the director, is a major fan of the whole franchise. HE’S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN.
Kevin Eastman – “Hey Guys, Sorry to have been away for so long–completely swamped with work–but it is some pretty exciting stuff. I had been invited to check out the TMNT film development by my friend Scott Mednick over the years, and a while back had a full look behind the curtian at what writers Appelbaum and Nemec, director Liebesman, and producer Bay are doing–and trust me–it IS AWESOME. I’m officially on board, and will share more as I’m allowed… thanks all!”
I have had several requests from TMNT fans during this past week to comment on the idea of the Turtles being “reimagined” as aliens for the upcoming TMNT movie to be produced by Michael Bay. A few people — who don’t seem to understand that I am no longer in control of the property — want me to stop this, somehow. Obviously, I can’t do that, even if I wanted to.
But I would actually encourage TMNT fans to swallow the “chill pill” Mr. Bay recently suggested they take, and wait and see what might come out of this seemingly ill-conceived plan. It’s possible that with enough truly creative brainpower applied to this idea, it might actually work. I’m not saying it’s probable, or even somewhat likely… but it IS possible.
However, as I have pondered this further, I have realized that in one way it IS truly a genius notion. Let me explain…
Over the years, I have made no secret of my distaste for what I consider to be the weak, facile, creatively bankrupt idea which can be summed up like this:
“If FOUR Ninja Turtles are good, then FIVE (or more) Ninja Turtles MUST be better!”
It was in large part this brain-dead notion that led to the creation of the execrable “Venus de Milo” character in the blessedly short-lived live action TV series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation”. And I can’t tell you how many times we got mail in the early years of the Turtles from people who thought it was simply an amazing idea to do a “fifth Turtle”, and how many times those same people suggested that this fifth Turtle be named “Picasso”. And many times, the brilliant idea to explain this extra Turtle was that, instead of there being just four pet shop turtles in that glass bowl in the origin story, there were really FIVE.
I’ll admit — I have played with the idea of more Turtles myself, a few times. There was the character of “Kirby”, the “fifth Turtle” that Kevin Eastman and I came up with for one of the several movie ideas which never came to fruition. And I created the “Super Turtles” in Volume 4 of the TMNT comics published by Mirage… and they eventually appeared in one episode of the 4Kids animated TMNT TV series.
… in both those instances, I was careful to make these Turtles not just MORE of the same, i.e. just extra TMNT. In both of the above cases, the extra Turtles were from other dimensions… and the Super Turtles, especially, were VERY different from the Ninja Turtles. I don’t remember all the details of the work we did on that “Kirby the Fifth Turtle” thing, but I DO remember being adamant that if we were going to agree to the idea of a “fifth Turtle”, it would have to be something other than the harebrained “there was an extra Turtle in the bowl, etc.” idea.
Is that too fine a line? Yeah, maybe… but to my way of thinking, anyway, it is a CLEAR line.
Anyway, to get back to the “TMNT are aliens” thing — the reason I say it could be a “genius” idea is that — for the first time — someone has come up with a way to have as many freakin’ Turtles as they want. I mean, if the TMNT are actually members of an alien race, there could be a whole PLANET of them!
Joy. — PL
Source: Peter Laird’s TMNT Blog
Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.
Source: S4TE Forums
As some of you might know, there have been several news outlets reporting on Chris O’Dowd’s comments on Michael Bay. Here is Chris’ apology:
Chris O’Dowd here, are as you probably know me, that loudmouth Irish shit. Or even more likely, Chris O’Who?
It seems some offensive words have been cast in your direction in the last day or two, seemingly from my own potty mouth. I thought it important to apologise and try and set the record straight, though I understand if I don’t hear back from you.
First and foremost, let me say how difficult it is to compose an apology while galloping aimlessly atop the highest of high horses.
Please know this, I never called you an asshole. For one, I don’t know you, and secondly, in Ireland, we say Arse.
More importantly, I Never called you sexist. I was quizzed as to why Megan Fox is considered such a nightmare to work with (which was not my experience when i worked with her twice this year) And What I actually said was; ‘The way the Press gleefully dealt with the firing of a young woman was one of the most sexist things I’ve ever seen. People shouldn’t revel in seeing anyone lose a job. The dismissal of an old male actor would never have been welcomed with the same joy and ridicule.’
It was naive of me to assume a remark aimed at the sexism in the entertainment press would reach its target in the entertainment press. I’m new to all this and that was stupid of me. You clearly got caught in the crossfire and I’m sorry about that.
I’m actually sorry I ever took the bait and got into this at all. I’m totally ignorant about it, I’ve never even had a conversation with Megan about it and was clearly too full of bravado and bereft of subtlety to defend a co-star professionally.
Anyway, I genuinely feel bad if this has hurt your feelings. It was always unlikely we’d ever work together given our differing genres and my own general physical ineptitude. But I hate the idea of offending anyone unnecessarily, that’s really not me. So please accept this apology with the sincerity from which it comes.
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do.
Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s day.
A Miami casting firm was fired from Pain & Gain yesterday for their bad choice of a publicity stunt for auditioning a former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City. This was a stunt concocted by them. This audition was never seen by me, nor would it ever be considered. I’m told the true embarrassment would come from the audition itself.
Hopefully, it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
I read something in Hollywood Reporter saying Pain and Gain is being made for $35 million. I wish. But it is being made for $22 million. I want to do this one cheap. Not get muddled in the stuff. It’s about the characters on this one. I’m taking director scale pay as well. I have great actors and a fun script, it should be a blast. Anyway start shooting in a few weeks and will post from time to time.
Math doesn’t lie.
So I looked into this Razzie thingy. Sounds like a fruit cocktail but it is an apparent award for they say “the worst in film” by respected judges.
On their website you can join to be Judge! Holy shit, for $40 I could actually use my credit card to be a one! So I joined (I didn’t want the INNER SANCTUM membership for $75, because it sounds too much like Rectum). The $100 one for “GUARANTEED ANONYMITY” sounds kind of cool for the pure Internet lifer-hater-living-their-whole-life-behind-a-computer-wishing-they-could-of-done-something-other-then-hate-the-ones-that-are-doing. But the price was steep.
I’m a judge now $40 bucks with a newsletter included. I must say the Razzie Reporter Newsletter rocks!
So here’s the math, made by a young PA in the office:
- Directed nine movies
- One movie tanked at the box office
- 4th Highest Grossing Director of All Time according to BoxOffice Mojo
- Youngest age in the top ten Grossing directors according to Boxoffice Mojo
- Bay most likely has received the most Razzie nominations as a director ever has
- Transformers Dark of the Moon: 140 million people around the world attended
- Transformers Dark of the Moon box-office $1.123 billion dollars.
- Transformers Dark of the Moon received 7 Noms this year
- Transformers Dark of the Moon is 4th highest grossing movie of All Time (the last Harry Potter is 3rd , and last Lord of the Rings is 5th).
- The next most attended movie Nominee is Jack and Jill, 4.2 million people.
- Transformers Dark of the Moon made $1.20 billion more dollars then the next Nominee Jack and Jill
- Number of Razzie Judges: 423
- Razzie Judges with Emperor packages: 13 (not sure what special shit they get)
Okay so now…
430 judges vote + 140 million people saw it + 712 Paramount Studio employees are smiling = 1 Very Happy Director
Film School Reject’s Robert Fure:
Achievement in Sound Editing
Hugo wins here, which is stupid. Drive was nominated because it was loud and realistic, but I don’t think that overcomes Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which created an amazing and realistic immersive experience that was well thought out. Say what you will about the movie or Bay, but the film is cutting edge and sounded amazing.
Achievement in Sound Mixing
Again, Hugo doesn’t hold a candle to Transformers. The action film is ignored because it’s perceived as being big, loud, and stupid, when it is actually big, loud, and technically crafted amazingly in several departments. Hate the film, you can’t ignore the layers of sound work here.
Achievement in Visual Effects + This is What’s Wrong with the Oscars Part 2
The childish Hugo again wins, inexplicably. I don’t think Deathly Hallows had the consistency in its effects work to win here. Many were cheering Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I don’t think that wins here either – what was the achievement? More facial mocap? Big whoop. The technology being utilized here is Lord of the Rings stuff plus the hair texturing of King Kong. It’s not groundbreaking. I liked Real Steel, which had some pretty great effects, but the king of the pile here is Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
This is again what’s wrong with the Oscar’s. They don’t want to give Transformers an Academy Award, despite the fact that it is utterly amazing visually. Michael Bay has a bad reputation in some professional circles and a lot of people consider him to be a bad director – so what? This isn’t about good people and this category actually isn’t about “good” movies. Transformers is at least competent in every department, but when it comes to visual effects, this film is retardedly amazing. The robots move more realistically than the apes in Rise, and they seamlessly interact with the physical environment. The effects are blended perfectly.
Further, the film breaks ground in processing power and what’s possible on the screen. Each of the Transformers is made up of hundreds, if not tens of thousands, of pieces that are animated. There was a time when just putting one of those guys on screen was impossible, yet now a battle can rage with dozens of Transformers fighting dozens of flying vehicles while buildings collapse in the background. This just isn’t about the robots, it’s about the entire digital landscape collapsing around them. Dark of the Moon was fucking robbed.
FIRST UP FOR THE PROLIFIC FILMMAKER IS “PAIN AND GAIN” STARRING MARK WAHLBERG AND DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON, FOLLOWED BY A NEW INSTALLMENT IN THE HUGELY POPULAR “TRANSFORMERS ” FRANCHISE, TO BE RELEASED ON JUNE 29TH, 2014
HOLLYWOOD, CA (February 13, 2012) – Paramount Pictures announced today that director Michael Bay has signed a two-picture deal with the studio, which will commence this spring with the filming of “Pain and Gain,” and will be followed by the next installment in the hit “Transformers” franchise.
Based on a true story, “Pain and Gain” follows a group of bodybuilders who engaged in a campaign of kidnapping, extortion and murder in Florida. First told in an article from the Miami New Times, “Pain and Gain,” will be directed by Bay and will star Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Expected to begin production in early spring, the movie’s producers include Bay, Donald De Line and Ian Bryce.
Following “Pain and Gain,” Bay will bring audiences a new take on the “Transformers” franchise as he begins production on the fourth installment in the hit series of movies based on the best-selling Hasbro toyline. The third, and most recent installment of the franchise, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” is the fourth highest global grossing film of all time with 1.124 billion dollars of worldwide box office success. Directed by Bay, the movie will re-unite the filmmaking team from the hit franchise, including producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto and Ian Bryce; and executive producers Steven Spielberg, Bay, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. Paramount Pictures will release the film on June 27th, 2014.
“Michael has been working on PAIN AND GAIN for a number of years but has patiently waited for the perfect casting to trigger a start,” said Adam Goodman, President of Paramount’s Film Group. “Clearly his patience has paid off as we couldn’t be more excited about this combo. His passion for this project is just awesome.”
To clarify uninformed reports coming out of Toy Fair – Steven Spielberg and I are working on a whole new re imagining of Transformers, the fourth installment. We have been working on the idea for a few months. I’m excited about where it’s headed. But first I’m doing a small $20 million dollar edgy black comedy of a true crime story set in Miami called “Pain and Gain,” staring Mark Wahlberg and Dwanye Johnson, and very close to signing on a couple other great actors. I’m extremely excited to simplify my film career this spring with a great character piece.
That starts filming at the end of March. I might then jump onto a very cool television show my company Platinum Dunes is selling to a major cable network. It might be my first pilot I might potentially direct. We are still working out the details of the deal.