It’s no secret that the “Transformers” franchise has struggled to find its way, both creatively and financially, in the years since parting ways with franchise filmmaker Michael Bay. As well-intentioned as it is, “Bumblebee” is missing a certain filmmaking spark to really liven up the story, while “Rise of the Beasts” attempted to win over kids, my fellow nostalgic Millennials, and Bay fans alike … while missing the target on pretty much all of these demographics with a half-hearted adaptation of the “Beast Wars” storyline. It wasn’t for a lack of trying on the part of franchise leadership, however, as we learned in the bonus features of the movie’s home release.
Longtime producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura laid it out pretty succinctly at one point in the featurette:
“Well, one of the interesting things about ‘Bumblebee’ was, while people seemed to really love the movie, a lot of the fan base was not entirely happy with the scale of it. It was very intimate, and it was consciously intimate, and there was one refrain that came out of a large group of them, which was, ‘Where’s the explosions? Where’s all the stuff?'”
Fellow “Rise of the Beasts” producer Mark Vahradian echoed those thoughts: “So, it was a lesson to learn that. And coming into this movie, while bigger is better in terms of spectacle, what is more important than that is that people care about those characters and their successes in those set pieces.” Honestly, this all sounds like they wanted to win back the audience members they lost from the Bay years, and what better way to do that than to up the explosion quota? With plans for a “G.I. Joe” crossover in motion, the days of “Bumblebee” and its humble charms seem long gone.