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December 22nd, 2005

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01:52 pm - Transformers: The Movie
Jimi loaned me his DVD of Transformers: The Movie. I've always felt somewhat of an outcast not having seen it before, so I watched it last night. My thoughts? Transformers fans will love it (probably already do), but to the rest of the world it's a non-essential piece of '80s nostalgia.

The plot, essentially, is that this sentient planet/robot is tooling around the universe eating other planets (didn't Douglas Adams write a Doctor Who episode about that once?). He/it/whatever wants the Autobots out of the way, so he enlists (well, enslaves) the help of the Decepticons. Etc., etc., etc. The good guys win, the bad guys die, Rosebud is the sled, Bruce Willis is dead, she was killed by her father while he was being inhabited by Bob, and Keyser Sose is guy he was talking to and I was in the turkey all along.

The movie doesn't really have a lot of problems, other than that the action starts right away, and never really lets up. This would be fine if there were more plot to support it, but there isn't because they spend so much time shoehorning unnecessary characters into the story to please the fans (who (by the way) probably had a median age of seven at the time). Reduced to a handful of essential characters Transformers might have been a good popcorn flick, but there just wasn't room for plot between the cameos and explosions. Incidentally, I think the most impressive thing about the movie is its casting: Eric Idle, Casey Kasem, John Moschitta Jr., Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Judd Nelson, Orson Welles (in his final role) and the ubiquitous Frank Welker. I can only imagine what moral sacrifices were required to secure that ensemble.

Another interesting facet of the film is that it uses a lot of visual action movie conventions which didn't pop up in Hollywood until the early to mid '90s. I've never heard anybody refer to Transformers: The Movie as groundbreaking in any stylistic sense, but director Nelson Shin deserves points for that stuff.

I'm somewhat weirded out by the subject matter, which deals with slavery and agonizing torture (it's a movie for kids, after all). Optimus Prime (leader of the good guys (that's the Autobots if you're playing at home)) dies during the first third of the movie. Bambi's mom gets shot too, I think. Oh, well.

Anyway, it's worth sitting through if you've ever thought it sounded interesting, but I didn't need to see it. What's the big deal? Am I missing something here? The fact that I'd never seen Transformers: The Movie has always been shocking to my friends. Then again, the people who gave me the hardest time about it are former roommates who make an annual pilgrimage to BotCon. Maybe my social group is excessively comprised of hardcore Transformers fans.

On a semi-related topic, the friends who told me I should see Transformers also talked up G.I. Joe: The Movie. As a kid I hated G.I. Joe, but they got me seriously interested in in it more recently. After Transformers, I'm not so sure I even care.
Current Mood: okayMeh.
Current Music: Letters to Cleo -- Dangerous Type

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:December 22nd, 2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing Transformers in the theater when it came out. I think I sat right up front...I don't even know why I went, to be honest.

Ah, 80's nostalgia...it's a grand concept.
[User Picture]
Date:December 23rd, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC)
I don't even know why I went, to be honest.

Probably to meet boys.
Date:December 23rd, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
Oh poo on you Colin! I was maybe 6 or 7 years old and boys were stupid...
[User Picture]
Date:December 23rd, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
Why were you trying to meet stupid boys?
Date:December 24th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)
I never said I was...you're trying to shove words in my mouth so I spit them back at you! HA!
[User Picture]
Date:December 22nd, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
(Forgive me if this ends up longer than your actual post)

First, some more trivia:

1) Not only was it Welles' final role, but he actually died during the course of recording. Leonard Nimoy filled in for the missing lines. Nimoy will not talk about the film to this day, and it is suspected it has a lot to do with Welles' final bout being such a trivial piece of commercial propaganda.

2) Kasem and Welker were already old standbys from the TV show, and Moschitta joined the cast for the third (and (mostly) final) season.

3) Spike's "OH SHIT, WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO NOW?!" line was put in the film to bump it up to a PG rating, the idea being that parents would feel compelled to watch the movie with their kids (why they thought parents would be less likely to supervise their kids at a G movie, I have no idea) and see all the wonderful toys they could by for their younglings. The line was subsequently removed in video release, but a Canadian re-release reinstated it and became quite a hot item until the DVD came out.

4) I assume you're referring to Geever and Crawley. Even if you aren't, they've been immortalized in the halls of The Lost Episodes. Given that I posted about that today, I find it this an interesting coincidence!

And now the other stuff...

Speaking as a former hardcore Transformers fan, those first 20 minutescontain some of the best movie action sequences ever, and showed (seemingly) limitless potential. Unfortunately, I think they blew their budget (and all their ideas) on that first act, and the next two never live up to it.

For anyone curious, I have a low-quality copy of the movie trailer up on what's left of the old version of my Transformers site. And for anyone familiar with the film, you'll notice that a LOT of sequences (and colors) are vastly different from the final release.

[User Picture]
Date:December 22nd, 2005 09:47 pm (UTC)
Regarding Orson Welles:
From what I've been reading onine, I was under the impression that Nimoy's dubbing of Welles' lines was an urban legend, and that though Welles died while the movie was in production, he had completed all of his recording. Not positive where I read this, but I want to say that it was IMDB and Wikipedia, and that that the director of the film and the woman who voiced Arcee were specifically named. I s'pose that unless Leonard Nimoy addresses it directly, we'll never know for sure.

Regarding the infamous single instance of profanity:
I'd read that it was excised from the movie after the theatrical release, and that didn't surprise me. It didn't fit very well. The whole "sell more tickets and toys" thing is really interesting.

Regarding Geever and Crawley:
Yep, those are the former roommates. I have other friends who have pushed me to see the movie too.

Regarding the first 20 minutes:
I can agree with you on this. I recall really enjoying the movie at first, and then gradually getting very bored with it. I really think the cameos from characters who didn't have to be in the movie were the problem.

Regarding Henry:
I never saw Regarding Henry, but I seem to remember hearing that it was good.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:December 22nd, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Pardon The Interuption, But...

The same way I know Colin and a lot of the other Stoughton/Madison people he does -- high school (although admittedly I really don't know Sean very well at all, I mean, look at that, I didn't even call him McG). I bumped into them at BotCon '99, in fact, totally by accident.

Also, my college alma mater is UWEC, and Josh went there for a time. I've kept in touch with him mostly by visiting Westfield's a lot and trying to get him to hit up No Brand.

[User Picture]
Date:December 23rd, 2005 04:47 am (UTC)
Neither of these movies should ever be seen by anyone, ever. unlike most of the stuff I saw when I was a kid I tought these movies were awful at the time as well.
[User Picture]
Date:December 23rd, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'll watch G.I. Joe if I ever get a chance, but it's not commercially available so I'm not holding my breath.

Yeah, Transformers was probably exactly what most six to nine-year-old Transformers fans wanted to see, but I'm 25, I never cared for the show, and the movie doesn't do much for me. I will, however, agree with Sean's assertion that the first 20 minutes are actually very impressive.
[User Picture]
Date:December 23rd, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)

Oh oh I know I know! :)

Doctor Who show in question was called Pirate planet, part of the keys to time series :) he did a couple of other episodes for Doctor Who, but I would need a smidge of the story to remember which one :)

[User Picture]
Date:December 23rd, 2005 06:07 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh oh I know I know! :)

Yep, that's the one. I actually knew that, but I've never seen it (have a copy somewhere, though). People tell me that it would have made a decent four-part story, but they cut out so much material that the final product feels underdeveloped. The others he wrote were called (I think) Shada and The City of (something). Don't know what the something was.

Incidentally, the book Life, the Universe, and Everything began life as a Doctor Who script which was rejected as being "too silly."
Garmonbozia for the soul.

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