The Transformers may be robots in disguise, but there’s no hiding the fact that this franchise has morphed into a big pile of metallic dung. And it may have reached rock bottom with its latest outing, the just-released Transformers: The Last Knight.
The fifth Michael Bay-directed Transformers film has been savaged by many critics – Postmedia’s own Liz Braun called it “an incomprehensible pile of scrap” – and with Bay vowing that this is his last turn at directing Autobots and Decepticons, we may not see the Transformers again for a while. If we’re lucky.
Fear not, though. Just because Optimus Prime and pals have stunk up the screen with their live-action outings doesn’t mean we can’t get our fix of giant fighting metal machines. Here’s a roundup of movies and TV shows featuring big, battlin’ robots, and where you can stream or rent them. (Tragically, we can’t find the original Transformers animated movie or the awesome Robot Jox anywhere online. What the heck, Internet?)
Pacific Rim (2013)
iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft Store, Cineplex Store
Director Guillermo del Toro paid homage to Japanese giant robot comics and movies with this spectacular-looking tale of human-piloted mechas battling an invasion of equally massive monsters emerging from the ocean. A sequel is in the works, starring The Force Awakens’ John Boyega.
Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, Cineplex Store
Michael Bay’s first Transformers movie isn’t exactly what we’d call good, but at the time it was super cool to see our Autobot heroes come to life in a big-budget, live-action spectacle. Every film since the first has been worse – much worse in some cases. Let us never again speak the names Skids and Mudflap.
Japan’s long fascination with giant robots predates this classic sci-fi anime series, but for many viewers here in North America, this was our first TV introduction to Japanese animation that tried to retain the complexity of the source material. Considering its age, it still holds up pretty well.
Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store
Slow down there, Judgey McJudgerson. If you go into this movie with the right mindset – expecting a silly, cheeseball, action-packed tale of earthlings staving off an alien menace – you might just enjoy it. And the fights between the battleships and the massive, robot-like alien warcraft are super-cool to watch. Bonus: Rihanna, “acting”!