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Does the Transformers franchise transform the action genre or not make any dent at all?

1986 saw the Transformers TV series go cinematic, but not in the same fashion that we’ve come to expect from Michael Bay. The Transformers: The Movie is the only animated film of the franchise and generated only $6 million in its lifetime – this is comparatively small when compared to An American Tail of the same year ($47 million lifetime), which didn’t even have the source material or audience recognition to start with.

In 2007 Transformers stepped into the now well-known Michael Bay era. Transformers was a worldwide success bringing in $319m and stood out for its new take on the action genre, the spectacle of the Transformers themselves, as well as an excellent new lead in Shia LeBeouf. Two years later Revenge of the Fallen capitalised on the success of the previous film taking $402m, despite being widely recognised as a weak follow up to the original. 2011 again saw the next instalment with Dark of the Moon and followed suit as another poor follow up in the franchise, despite beating the first film with $352m worldwide. The main problem with these two films was the stark similarity to the 2007 film except they amplified silly comedy and over the top action sequences. A change was definitely needed. With lead man Shia LeBeouf not coming back for a fourth film Mark Wahlberg was given the chance to fill LeBeouf’s size tens; set several years after the last alien robot battle and with entirely new characters, it looks like the creators might have listened to fans cries after all.

There’s only one place to start when discussing the gathered data as the franchises overall count of flame explosions is an eye watering 697. Most of these occur in the final two films, with the high majority occurring the fourth, Dark of the Moon. However it’s worth remembering that none of the films are lacking a substantial amount, it’s just this film has a ridiculous quantity. Interestingly in the initial Michael Bay trilogy, the explosions increase throughout, as well as the data for transformers killing each other and slow motion scenes – the correlation between these might stand out more than any other data, particularly with how good ol’ Mike likes to milk an explosive transformer death. Now that we’re done counting explosions it’s probably time to unwind with some Downton Abbey.

The highest amount of transformations by Transformers is actually in the first animated film with 62, and this is a little surprising. With he new visual technology on offer in 2007 it wouldn’t have been unfair or unexpected to see this installation contain the most, but it’s not even close. As the second lowest in the franchise, Transformers only clocks in 40 transformations which also happens to be our highest rated film. It just goes to show that you don’t always need the best visuals to create the best film; I’m looking at you, Revenge of the Fallen.

Transformers: The Movie is a notable hick in the overall data trends particularly when looking at death counts, combat involving humans and slow motion scenes. Slow motion wasn’t in fashion during the 80s and there are only two major humans in the film – both of which take a bit of a back seat when it comes to fighting. Despite this, there are still 13 gunfights and 5 physical fights, making this film the highest for combined fights. As a franchise total, there are more physical fights (39) than gun fights (34), which also might come as a bit of a surprise when looking at the amount of explosions or how the franchise is perceived; however as a caveat, these gun fights would normally last substantially longer than the physical fights and sometimes take up entire cities.

The Transformers series has some serious peaks and troughs in terms of quality, but what always stays consistent is its enthusiasm towards the action genre (even as an animation); it’s jam packed with explosions, fighting, chases, and deaths; the perfect mix for most action films. The 2014 version is a solid addition and with two more films in the works let’s hope the franchise keeps the quality its just gained. Autobots, roll out.

What we learnt from...


There are never enough explosions
Shia LeBeouf used to be a funny kid
Transformers love fast exotic cars
Bumblebee always listens to the radio
The All Spark cancels out all deaths/serious franchise moments
Earth militaries are underprepared for an alien invasion
Believe it or not, Megan Fox can’t be replaced (successfully)
Swords make everything better. So do dinosaurs
Mark Wahlberg is a great Dad
The elderly are important