4 years

Out of the toy box, into the turkey

From Transformers to Barbie - is nothing sacred?!

Characters based on toys have been a staple of animated shows and movies for decades, with some gaining a dedicated and passionate fan following. Today live-action movies based on the products are one of Hollywood’s latest obsessions, and they usually range from awful to should-never-have-been-made.

Hasbro’s Transformers figures were shown to be characters that were much more than meets the eye in comic books, various cartoon series and a 1986 animated movie. They arrived on-screen with a fully-formed and intriguing backstory: they were two warring factions (Autobots and Decepticons) of alien shape-shifting robots from the planet Cybertron. Many characters including Optimus Prime and Bumblebee found a place in the hearts of viewers, whilst Megatron and Starscream were villains you loved to hate.

That was until 2007 and the first entry in Michael Bay’s multi-billion dollar-earning, Razzie Award-winning Transformers franchise. These movies are loathed by anyone who doesn’t regard a series of superficial nonsensical explosions as an entertaining cinematic experience.

Bay’s Transformers franchise is well-known for its predictable and boring plot, uninteresting and emotionally vacant human characters, they-all-look-the-same Transformers, and what-the-hell-is-happening action sequence with more explosions than you thought possible. The only reason the movies exist is to make action-porn fans squeal like teenage girls once every few years.

The Transformers aren’t the only toy line to suffer at the hands of overeager Hollywood producers; Hasbro’s GI Joe toy line is another victim. Stephen SommersGI Joe: The Rise of Cobra arrived in cinemas in 2009 and introduced movie to a group of paper-thin, gym-fit actors that are the physical clones of the figures, and possess as much charisma and likeability as plastic.

There is no end in sight for films based on toy lines with Barbie and Space Invaders features in the pre-production stages, which may prove to be the first critically successful movies of the genre. More than likely they’ll fail spectacularly, but at the moment there’s hope.

Discussion feed

  • Hey Sam! I can't attach a feature picture to this post, is it something to do with my permission access on the new system? Best, Tom
  • Hey Sam, it's the new system, I'm just trying it out for my latest podcast episode with Greg Lucey and I'm trying to attach a picture - it uploads the picture and then says I don't have permission to attach it :(
  • Hi Tom, I'll look into this today. I think I already know what the issue is. It's because the media being uploaded is not associating itself to a post ID. Thank you for being my test dummy. At least this creation dialogue is working!!!
  • Hey Sam, I've tried again just now still the same issues I'm afraid :( I'd also look at the text editor I'm not sure if the texted/front is properly formatting at the moment (there's big gapes in the spacing, front size). If you want to jump around inside my draft and see what's what please do! I think I am going to use the legacy editor to upload today, but we can work  on testing and refining the new editor together :) Best, Tom

Everything is ready for a screengrab

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