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Marian Perera
03-13-2009, 02:58 PM
So I’ve been on a Transformers jag recently. I became curious about the cartoons after reading about them on the Transformers Wiki, and so I decided to watch as much of the original series as I could find on YouTube. Many of the episodes were fun. Even though the plots are simple (often relying on inconsistencies) and the animation screwy on occasion, I enjoyed the premise, the characters and the action. The dialogue was sometimes amusing too.

Then I watched the movie.

Transformers: The Movie (http://transformers.wikia.com/wiki/The_Transformers:_The_Movie_%281986%29) came out in 1986 (and takes place in 2005), where the Autobots are planning to retake their Decepticon-held planet, but the Decepticons launch an attack on Autobot City (on Earth) first. Meanwhile, a planet-eating… thing… called Unicron* is advancing on Cybertron.

I won’t summarize any more of the story, which can be read here (http://transformers.wikia.com/wiki/The_Transformers:_The_Movie_%281986%29), but I’ll say for the record that I stopped watching shortly after Galvatron appeared. It was just too disappointing by then. But let me start with…

What I liked

Rumble! He had some good lines – “Nobody calls Soundwave un-chrasi-matic!” and “First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside!” And it was sweet how Soundwave carried Megatron and Rumble carried Megatron’s fusion cannon.

“Such heroic nonsense!”

Starscream’s having to shoot himself free of the closed doors. “Aaah! My foot!”

“One shall stand. One shall fall.” Epic!

Starscream ending the Constructicons’ flourish of trumpets at his coronation.

“Megatron? Is that you?”
“Here’s a hint!” BLAMM!

So, what did I not like?

Let’s start with the big one – bigger than Unicron. The deaths of major characters.

Prowl, Ironhide, Brawn and Ratchet were killed when the ‘Cons boarded the shuttle. Optimus Prime went down after the battle. Megatron, Skywarp, Thundercracker and the Insecticons were thrown out of Astrotrain. Starscream bit it a few seconds after his coronation. That’s a lot of characters to off. I’m amazed that kids were allowed to watch this movie; I’d have cried if I’d seen it when I was little.

The deaths of main characters isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. But the characters need to be built up and fleshed out first – in other words, I have to know something about them to care about them when they die. With the movie, the Autobots were mown down at the start (I don’t even remember hearing all their names), and the ‘Cons didn’t fare much better.

While it’s realistic for war to take people out in swathes, not giving anyone much time to grieve or recover before the next battle or massacre, this also means less of an emotional connection to whoever dies. As Stalin put it, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”

To jump from the nobody-dies cartoon to the everyone-dies film was a bit jarring. Also, if a book or movie kills off a main character halfway through, it needs to provide another character to pick up the fallen banner and continue the fight, and this character should be as interesting as the one who died. Transformers: The Movie substituted Galvatron for Megatron and Hot Rod for Optimus Prime.

Since I stopped watching the movie around the time Galvatron appeared, I can’t comment on his character there. I did watch a few episodes of the post-movie cartoon in which he appeared, though, and I couldn’t stand him. The kind of leader who slaps his troops around when they’re stupid is fine by me, but not the type who’s utterly unbalanced.

As for Hot Rod, let’s just say he didn’t make a great impression when his response to Megatron’s reaching for a gun during the duel was to… jump him, thereby allowing Megatron to use him as a shield. Couldn’t he fire at Megatron? Throw something at him? Yell, “Hey Optimus, he’s got a gun, shoot him”?

And of course, with both Megatron and Starscream out of the picture, there went that interesting dynamic. I was always wondering what Starscream’s next power play would be like, and what Megatron would do in retaliation. Having the two of them more or less murder each other killed a lot of the tension as well. Galvatron’s lackeys were just cardboard cutouts in comparison to Screamer.

If a character is fleshed out, dies because of something that can’t realistically be prevented, and goes down fighting, it seems realistic and heartwrenching, rather than a transparent attempt to get rid of the old toys and sell new ones.

The WTF moments

I can understand having the Constructicons at the Battle of Autobot City, since they formed Devastator, but why not the Combaticons? If they’d been there, Blast-Off would probably have been able to tow all the jettisoned weight back to Cybertron (he towed an asteroid in “The Revenge of Bruticus”).

Also, how is it that Devastator withstands everything the Autobots throw at him, but a few seconds of Rumble and Frenzy pounding on the floor is enough to shake his individual components apart? I have to agree that “Soundwave superior. Constructicons inferior.”

Unicron.

Where to start with Unicron? Why hasn’t anyone known about him until that moment? Does he have no other aspirations than to eat planets? I don’t mind a giant monstrosity devouring people or planets when said monstrosity is unintelligent (like the shark in Jaws) but it doesn’t make sense here. Why can the Matrix destroy him? And why does he need Megatron to do anything for him if he’s so powerful?

Even if we assume that Unicron really does need someone to serve him for some reason, and can’t create that someone out of thin air, why pick Megatron? I mean, after Megatron lost a battle and nearly died, his own second-in-command threw him overboard. That’s hardly a glowing recommendation. I could understand if Unicron established some kind of connection with him based on this – for instance, they both want revenge – but it just looks like Unicron subjected Megatron to about three seconds of torture and that was it.

The literal crowd of other characters who stepped up to fill the empty spots just didn’t hold my interest. I’m not keen on the Quintessons – they seem bizarre for the sake of being bizarre – and a few minutes of someone called Wheelie was all I could take. Daniel was the generic Spunky Kid, Arcee was too girly, and Blurr competes with Starscream for most annoying vocalizer ever.

The opposition fared no better. Galvatron commanding an army of Sweeps (none of whom seem to have names) is nowhere near as much fun as Megatron commanding Soundwave, the combiner teams and the Seekers, all of whom have their own names, colors, personalities, and special abilities. Even the appearances of the new Decepticons didn’t work for me – they’re mostly blue/purple with bat wings and one has pink claws. Whee, scary.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the G1 cartoon because it featured something very unfamiliar in a familiar environment of Earth landscapes and city streets. That environment kept it more or less grounded, in a way the bizarro planets never did for the deep space shenanigans. And while I could see myself driving riding in a Porsche or even an F-15, I can’t do the same for one of those little spaceships that Galvatron’s forces use. So I felt even less of an imagination connection with the movie.

The movie just made me feel sad, ultimately. I think I’ll watch “Starscream’s Brigade” to cheer myself up – at least I know and enjoy the ending of that one.



*I can tell I’m going to have problems with that name in the course of this review, because I typed it “Unicorn” the first time.

JimmyD1318
03-13-2009, 05:55 PM
I will have to say that you are right on a lot of point QoS. In fact...a friend of mine told me that the producers of the show and movie actually got hate mail from parents because they killed off so many charters. And a whole lot of hate mail for killing off Optimus Prime especially. There are some points about the movie I do like. I like it that the Dino Bots got a lot of screen time and fit the role of comic relief perfectly. Some of the music in this film was fantastic and gave me goose bumps when I first watched it a long time ago. And yes...the two best classic lines are from this film.

"One shall stand! One shall fall!"

"Until the day..all are one."

Overall a very good review QoS. One bag of POPCORN for you! :popcorn:

Gynn
03-14-2009, 04:28 AM
I was 10 when the movie came out and yes, it was traumatizing. All of my friends were confused because the robots were always getting shot on TV and recovering, but in the movie it was all: "BOOM. HEADSHOT."

Marian Perera
03-14-2009, 12:23 PM
Overall a very good review QoS. One bag of POPCORN for you!

Thanks, Jimmy. I take my popcorn extra buttery. :)

Here's another review (http://builtstlouis.net/tf/manic/s-movie.html) which goes into more detail, since the writer watched the movie through to the end. He even suggests a way to incorporate Galvatron et al into a better storyline, to fulfil the "sell toys" prerogative as well as satisfying viewers.


All of my friends were confused because the robots were always getting shot on TV and recovering, but in the movie it was all: "BOOM. HEADSHOT."

Yeah, in the cartoon a laser shot just knocks robots back. If it hits at all, which is by no means a given.

JimmyD1318
03-14-2009, 05:06 PM
Thanks QoS...one extra buttery batch just for you! :popcorn:I'll go check out that other review.


I was 10 when the movie came out and yes, it was traumatizing. All of my friends were confused because the robots were always getting shot on TV and recovering, but in the movie it was all: "BOOM. HEADSHOT."

I agree with you on that. I saw the movie in my late teens...and it still disturbed me that they were wiping out some many good charters right off the bat! I really didn't like the part where Ironhide bite the dust! That was just pure evil!:rant: I am looking forward to the new live action film coming out this summer. But I heard that it won't have the Dino-Bots in it! Man...I was really hoping for them to make a appearance.

Marian Perera
03-14-2009, 05:37 PM
I really didn't like the part where Ironhide bite the dust! That was just pure evil!

I'm afraid Ironhide wasn't one of my favorite characters. I tend to prefer the Decepticons, if you hadn't already guessed from my list of what I liked about the movie. ;)

JimmyD1318
03-14-2009, 08:48 PM
I'm afraid Ironhide wasn't one of my favorite characters. I tend to prefer the Decepticons, if you hadn't already guessed from my list of what I liked about the movie. ;)

LOL! Nothing wrong with that! Afterall...Megatron did get one heck of a good line from that part.

(Hurt Ironhide): "No...!"

(Megatron): "How pathetic!" Boom!:D

Gynn
03-15-2009, 11:47 AM
Thundercracker was my favorite. Coolest name, was a jet and not annoying like Starscream.

Soundwave was a close second. I don't think anyone at school liked the Autobots lol

Marian Perera
03-15-2009, 03:45 PM
Dead End's my favorite. :) No wait, that smiley face just seems wrong in that context.


I don't think anyone at school liked the Autobots lol

I like the Aerialbots, but that's partly because they're a combiner team and because they're not as normal or noble as the rest.

JimmyD1318
03-15-2009, 05:01 PM
I liked all of the combiner teams also. But my favorite Transformer of all was...OMEGA SUPREME! I liked him because EVERYONE was scared of him! Even though he was a Autobot...the other ones feared him because of his power and lack of emotion. Even Optimus Prime was scared of Omega.

regdog
03-15-2009, 05:53 PM
I loved and still love the Transformer series. When the movie came out I was the only person in the theater over the age of 12 without a kid :) I would come home from high school everyday and watch Transformers, none of my friends got it.

I hated the movie. They killed off the main characters because the series was revamping and introducing all new characters. After the movie, the series really changed directions and it quicky died. They did try to bring back Optimus Prime but killed him off again. :(

I bought the series through Amazon and it comes with Chinese instructions and subtitles but once I figured out how to turn those off, I've really enjoyed the old Transformers.


Another cartoon they ruined by introducing all new characters was GI Joe, good cartoon in the beginning but then it crapped out when they added Serpentor

Marian Perera
03-15-2009, 06:14 PM
I liked all of the combiner teams also.

The Stunticons are my favorite - thoroughly dysfunctional but they don't care. I love that scene in the cartoon when Starscream and the Combaticons finally get Megatron to proclaim Starscream is the leader. Then Menasor puts an end to that with one punch.

As someone on YouTube said, "poor Starscream... Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!"

regdog
03-15-2009, 06:23 PM
[quote=Queen of Swords;3391895]The Stunticons are my favorite - thoroughly dysfunctional but they don't care. [quote]

In one episode the Stunticons were capture by the autobots and Sideswipe said "How mortifrying."

Marian Perera
03-15-2009, 06:28 PM
That was in the episode "Masquerade", and it was actually Breakdown who said that was "mortifrying" to be gawked at (Breakdown is paranoid about people or robots or even inanimate objects staring at him).

Dead End replies, "The word, Breakdown, is morti-fy-ing. My sentiments exactly."

Sideswipe took Breakdown's place when the Autobots rolled out to face Megatron, IIRC.

I'm such a geek.

Jcomp
03-15-2009, 06:41 PM
When I was a kid I liked the movie, even though it's the only time I ever cried in a theater. For God's sake, Optimus Prime died. Not even halfway into the flick. I wasn't traumatized but it was my Old Yeller moment.

And I agree with the earlier statement that having the characters killed off by laser fire in the movie makes no sense when they kept getting plugged in the series and were fine by the next episode. It was a blatant "We need new characters to sell new toys" move.

Still, I always kinda liked that Galvatron killed Starscream. It was about damn time, really...

JimmyD1318
03-15-2009, 07:33 PM
I'm such a geek.


Aren't we all? LOL! Thanks for posting this up QoS...it brought back a lot of good memories.


When I was a kid I liked the movie, even though it's the only time I ever cried in a theater. For God's sake, Optimus Prime died. Not even halfway into the flick. I wasn't traumatized but it was my Old Yeller moment.


Yeah...same here. I felt so dumb for crying over a cartoon. Poor Optimus...:cry:!

regdog
03-15-2009, 08:02 PM
That was in the episode "Masquerade", and it was actually Breakdown who said that was "mortifrying" to be gawked at (Breakdown is paranoid about people or robots or even inanimate objects staring at him).

Dead End replies, "The word, Breakdown, is morti-fy-ing. My sentiments exactly."

Sideswipe took Breakdown's place when the Autobots rolled out to face Megatron, IIRC.

I'm such a geek.


Thanks for the correction. My bad. You're not a geek. Only geeks don't get Transformer love :D

Opty
03-26-2009, 07:11 AM
Can't believe my old handle on here was "Optimus" and it's taken me this long to chime in.

As a kid, I loved the movie, but hated a lot of what happened in it (of course, Optimus dying sucked all balls). I did understand, as time went on, that the entire purpose of even making the film was to introduce a new toyline and reinvigorate sales.

And, some of our favorite transformers weren't in the movie because when the movie was being created, many of those transformers hadn't even been introduced into the series yet (took a long time to make an animated flick of that magnitude back then, without all those fancy-shmancy computer animators that make the flicks today).

I still like the movie to this day. The Stan Bush soundtrack songs are pure, nostalgic cheese ("Dare" and "You've Got the Touch" are classics!). It does sadden me, though, when I talk to someone who was not a true child of the 80s who thinks that "You've Got the Touch" is an original song from Boogie Nights.

Overall, this movie is far superior to the crapfest Michael Bay put out 2 years ago. I'm hoping this year's movie is a lot better than the first live-action one, and that "Revenge of the Fallen" actually borrows from the "Fallen" storyline of the comics.

JimmyD1318
03-26-2009, 05:45 PM
Don't forget the song 'Dare to be Stupid' by Werid Al! That was the perfect song for the Junkincons! I forgot about them till now. 'We talk TV. You talk TV?'

regdog
03-27-2009, 04:49 PM
Of course this isn't the right Ironhide, but the sentiment is right


http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j272/seismicdisaster/Modivational%20Posters/transmotivational.jpg