Hackery 101 – Pissing Off the Fanboys

Michael Bay

Michael Bay is gearing up to destroy TMNT

by HakSnider33
Recently, an extreme amount of nerd rage has been directed towards Michael Bay, the producer of the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, over the announcement that his team will be changing the TMNT origin story.

These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely loveable.

As if that quote was not ominous enough on its own, Bay threw even more gasoline on the fire using word choices that exuded that classic Michael Bay swag when Bay responded to the irate fanboys with the following message on his website:

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.

Not exactly reassuring words coming from the man who directed films that transformed the once heroic Optimus Prime into a homicidal lunatic . However, the combination of TMNT fanboy anger and Bay’s arrogant, “nerds, go back into your mother’s basement” response serve to highlight one of the core skills that every hack director must keep in his locker — the ability to effortlessly piss off fanboys.

Example #1 – Fast and Furious:  Tokyo Drift


The import car drift racing scene is based upon using technology to turn generic Japanese compact cars into street monsters.  For example, Honda Civics with four cylinder engines are transformed into 12-second quarter-milers using bolt-on turbochargers and nitrous.  The mortal enemies of this import tuning scene are the inefficient old school Detroit muscle cars such as the Camaro and Mustang that depend upon primitive brute force and lack the agility of the import compact cars.  This is the reason that cars like the Lexus IS300, Lancer Evolution and Supra are the status symbols in the drifting scene, not Corvettes or Cobras.  Anyone who knows anything about cars knows this – even hack director Rob Cohen, who directed the original The Fast and the Furious.

So what did director Justin Lin do with his film Tokyo Drift?  He set the film in Japan to take advantage of the import-dominated drifting scene, but then proceeded to put the protagonist in a Detroit muscle car to win the climactic race battle.  Granted, they tried damage limitation by putting a Japanese Nissan Skyline engine inside the vintage Mustang, but that just made things more ridiculous.  Why would you put a high tech engine in a big, chunky piece of Detroit steel?  You would not, unless you were insane, but by going the muscle car route, Lin slapped all fans of import racing in the face with a huge FU and in the process, robbed his film of any semblance of authenticity or credibility.

Example #2 – Devastator’s Balls


The Transformers have been an institution within American pop culture for nearly three decades.  From the toys to the comics, multiple television series and a beloved animated feature film, the Transformers mythology has grown into something very special to many who consider themselves to be children of the 80’s.  What’s the best way to shatter these fond memories forever?  Hire a hack director who openly sneers at nerdy fanboys.

As if painting lowrider flames on Optimus Prime and removing Bumblebee’s ability to speak were not enough, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen director Michael Bay went the extra mile by turning iconic combiner robot Devastator into a bad sexual joke through the addition of giant testicles.  Basically, this single decision encapsulates the sneering cavalier attitude with which Bay adapted the original source material.

Example #3 – Cobra Commander

Perhaps one of the few American toy franchises even more revered than the Transformers is GI Joe.  Starting from their origin as “dolls for boys”, over many decades the GI Joe franchise has developed into a line of action figures, cartoons and Marvel comic books that have stood the test of time.  Since the 1980’s and through the various iterations of the property, each writer of GI Joe fiction has at least made an effort to stay true to the characters first created by the writer of the original card back biographies and Marvel comics, Larry Hamas.  Surely, it would not have been difficult to create a perfectly acceptable and fun live action movie adaptation of the property by remaining reasonably faithful to the beloved source material.  Right?  Wrong. Enter hack director Steven Sommers.

In directing his ridiculously campy cheese fest, GI Joe:  The Rise of Cobra, Sommers committed numerous crimes, both against the GI Joe fandom and the world of cinema.  From adding nonsense like “accelerator suits” that allow people to bounce around like super balls, to the addition of a mouth on the mask of Snake Eyes, Sommers made sure that fidelity to the source material would not be an obstacle in his quest to make the shittiest movie imaginable.  However, the one decision that stands above the rest, the one that will live in infamy, was the decision made to “revise” the chief villain, Cobra Commander.  Finding no use for Cobra Commander’s iconic mirrored helmet, Sommers and his team transformed the chief Cobra bad guy into a pale, one-eyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  WTF?  Why make a decision that will please neither fans of chick flick 500 Days of Summer nor action figure collector nerds?   I have no idea, but Sommers succeeded in crafting a film that enraged legions of fanboys, while at the same time turning off general audiences  to guarantee total box office failure.


BTW, if you want to know what a fanboy-pleasing GI Joe live action film adaptation should look like, just take a look at the trailer for director Jon Chu’s upcoming GI Joe: Retaliation.

Pissing off the fanboys is an essential skill that all hack directors easily develop without trying and as you can see from the examples above, it is a skill that Bay, Lin and Sommers have artfully mastered.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s