Thursday, July 20, 2006

Regarding Next Summer's Transformers Flick

Ok, so I was a little aghast at first at the idea of Optimus Prime being a longnose cab, but I withdrew some of my loathing and spite when I realized something. We're staring down the barrel of 20+ years of Transformers evolution. Just look at this:

http://www.tfu.info/2002/Autobot/OptimusPrime/optimusprime.htm

There are so many crazy redesigns and configurations there, I don't even think the guy has an identity of his own anymore (not to mention he's already died and been resurrected at least TWICE). The problem is, the hardest of the hardcore fanbase are the people who were there from the beginning. However, those people are all grownups and parents and are having mid-life crises by now. So who's going to love this movie? The recent fans, ones who started with Generation Two and the Minicons and all this other stuff that the purists spit on. Just look at the PS2 Transformers game. Prime is a longnose cab in that, and I didn't even bat an eye when I saw it there. That's just what he's become, and frankly, if they tried to go back and make a movie solely of Generation One characters and designs, they would make that cupful of hardcore TransFans orgasm repeatedly, but no one else would get it. They'd say "That's not what Prime looks like" or "I thought Megatron was a tank not a piddly Walther handgun with a--of all things--SILENCER on it." They'd be making the same complaints that we purists from the olden days are making about the new stuff.

And I gotta admit, whether I like the redesigns or not, the Dreamwave series of Transformers comics that came out in the last few years--at least artistically speaking--was freakin incredible. Everything down to the last scratch, glint, and rivet was in every frame. I just stared at each panel and drooled. I didn't get enough of the issues to really evaluate the story ($3 per issue? Yeah right...I remember when it was $0.25 or $0.50 per issue!), but there might be something good there to base the upcoming movie off of.

This flies in drastic contrast to the Alien Vs. Predator movie. There were tons of novels and comic series they could have drawn upon for inspiration, but they didn't. Paul W.S. Anderson is the American equivalent of Uwe Boll, in my opinion. The AvP canon hasn't changed a whole lot outside of the printed page in the last 10 years, so it's not like his issue was picking which generation of fans to please, like Michael Bay has to do with Transformers. Anderson just made a humongous turd of a movie, and I'm ashamed I paid to see it in the theater. Way to cash in on brand loyalty, Hollywood.

So I'm not going to grill Transformers to death just yet. Bay is known for making movies with pretty explosions and effects and minimal story, and frankly, if any movie could rely on that formula and still please its fanbase, it's one involving giant robots waging war on one another. I'm certain some part of it will disappoint me on some level, but it's such a tricky equation, I doubt ANYONE who sees it will be completely satisfied.

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