Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Transformed into A Kid Once More

Who didn’t love cartoons as a kid?

I did and still do. My earliest recollection is of those old Marvel Super-Heroes cartoons that way simple and cheesy by today’s standards. Then there were the Herculoids (I loved that show) and Gigantor that sort of softened me up for the anime stuff.

I liked watching Transformers (Optimus Prime was always my fave) but I felt that it was too much of a kiddie show. Too tame. Hmm. No wonder people talk about the effect of violence on television. When I got into my anime phase, it was all Mobile Suit Gundam, Akira, Ninja Scroll, and Battle Angel Alita among others.

It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that I discovered the 1986 Transformers animated film where I nearly wet myself. I was in a friend’s house -- Richie Ramos, the bassist for local rock band Cog, when I first saw the movie. Richie is actually the single biggest influence on me for Japanimation and manga. Take a bow, bud. I’ve spent a lot of moolah on this stuff over the years.

But I was like, “This is some serious shit! They killed off Optimus Prime and a bunch of Autobots!” That was almost as horrible as the death of Jean Grey in the X-Men comics (by the classic team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne)! They killed off the Generation One Transformers to make way for a new line of toys, but I guess people didn't expect kids to be real upset that Optimus Prime would die so it was an eventaulity they'd bring him back. So did anyway catch the Search for Optimus Prime? I saw it but the animation wasn't up to par with the original animated film. Hot Rod rocks, but Optimus rocks. No one quite says it the way he goes, "Autobots, transform and roll out."

Dude, Orson Welles as the voice of Unicron!

The better animation and darker storyline got me hooked and the makeover of Megatron into Galvatron was awesome! I have always been an Autobots fan but why do the Decepticons have cooler designs? I mean Starscream was a fighter plane for crying out loud. And the makeover he gets in the new movie – hoo hah! And howzabout Devastator (the modified M1 Abrams tank) and Blackout (the Pave Low chopper) – weren’t they way cool? And Bumblebee from a Beetle to a Camaro -- hokey smokes, Bullwinkle! The one car I always wanted to have was a Volkswagen Beetle whether the original or the new version and maybe that's why Bumblebee always appealed to me.

I loved the Transformers animated movie along with the GI Joe animated film as well (the one where Duke nearly buys it).

When I heard that Michael Bay was doing the Transformers movie it was like when I first saw the animated movie where I… you know what I did.

I’m really not a fan of his movies – Armageddon, the Rock, the Island, Bad Boys, and there’s this one… Pearl Harbor. But what I do like is his capacity for the grandiose and big action movies that assault the senses. If Michael Mann is the master of the firefight (witness Heat), Bay certainly has a mad on to destroy the world.

While Michael Bay rewrote the Transformers canon and answered many of the glaring inconsistencies of the cartoon series, I loved this movie as only a fan could. It was only natural to include the US military in the movie to make it look more credible. And it comes off as a great recruiting tool what with all the high tech hardware they showed here. The fact that Bay got the Pentagon to agree to use the Osprey helos (the one with the twin upright rotor blades when there are only three in service) speaks much of how the men in uniform think of him. I grew up a military buff and always thought I'd end in up in uniform so stuff like this always appeals to me.

I'd say that this is easily Michael Bay’s best film and the ironic thing there is it stars relativeunknowns in Shia Lebouf (am so looking forward to Disturbia) and Megan Fox. And to think that he didn’t want to do it at first coz he thought it was a “stupid robot movie.” I know it’s a set, but how the hell did they tear up downtown LA? ow many cars did they trash? King Kong can have NYC, but the Transformers will take LA... and Wilshire Boulevard along with it.

And with Starscream jetting off into space, you know this means... sequel! And I betcha Megatron will be back. And me want to see Grimlock. But they have to come up with a story on how they mimick dinosaurs.

This is going down as one of our favorite movies of the year. Mai, who wasn't weaned on this stuff really enjoyed it too. Can’t wait for the DVD that will surely be loaded with extras.


  1. Oi!

    Dun ba nag shocking, LOL! What I remember from those days was watching Urutsukidoji. hahahah!