More than meets the eye

I went through a lot of toy fads as a child—He-Man, Star Wars, Godzilla, Robocop, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, just to name a few—but none had so long and successful a run in my interest as Transformers. I was into Transformers for almost five years, I think, from ages five to ten, and then had a renaissance during my early teenage years, when I wrote a 215-page novel about them. Titled The Siege, the task consumed more than six months of my young life and remains my longest writing effort to date.

Having been quite obsessed with Transformers at several points in my young life, I feel compelled to have some sort of opinion on the upcoming Michael Bay film. Part of me thinks it’s too little, too late, and another part of me will probably always think of Transformers: the Movie as that 1986 slice of cheese that features both Optimus Prime’s death and the pure ’80s tune “The Touch.”

Anyway, Big Guy pointed me to the trailer for Bay’s Transformers movie. My take? It looks okay, in an Armageddon—kind of way. I’m sure there will be plenty of action.

But I don’t really like the anime/mech look of the Transformers themselves. I think they should have skewed a bit closer to the comic; in robot form, the Transformers look so alien they’re going to be difficult to identify with as characters. They neither resembles humans nor the vehicles they change into. They look like escapees from the Matrix films.

Obviously I’ll reserve my judgment until I see the movie, and having some of the original voices might go a long way to bringing back those nostalgic feelings of yore. But color me skeptical on the enterprise for now.

  1. Let’s not forget the the Transformers cartoon was designed to sell toys – the two were launched hand-in-hand. A faithful adaptation of the look and feel of that cheap-80’s animation would be laughable today.

    Personally – the only way I could be coaxed into a theater to see a Transformers flick is if it were updated to reflect a more modern, “mature” sensibility. Based on the trailer alone, Bay seems to have nailed that look.

    This flick looks like it cost a billion dollars – so I’ll kick him a fin or two to recap the costs. Great teaser!!!

  2. Big Guy left a comment on December 20, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    I agree with you Ed. Transformers:The Movie was a pivitol moment in my childhood. Watching Optimus Prime die was right up there with watching little Sport kick the buckett. And it has two of the best looking Anime scenes I can think of in “Dare” and “The Touch.” Your a liar if you dont get shivers from “Dinobots! Destory Devistator!!!” or “Megatron must be stopped. No matter the cost.”

    I got those same shivers when I saw the Peterbuilt rolling down the street. If it can make me believe that two giant robots can roll down the street and cause mayhem and havoc, then, by all means, lets have it.

  3. I’m not looking for a identical translations of the cartoon designs. I just would have preferred fewer pipes and spines. The character designs look a little busy.

  4. First of all, I nearly fell off my chair when the 20th anniversary edition of Transformers: The Movie came out a few months ago. Had it really been that long???

    Second, the trailer is awesome in every way. Never really giving you a clear or lingering shot of one of them. Based on what they can do with FX these days and anything we’ve seen that is sort of like this, Bay almost had to update the designs a bit to seem relevant. I too will reserve final judgment until I see the finished product, but so far, it looks damn good to me.

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