Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Transformers Movie

The Transformers teaser trailer has been released.

Like all teaser trailers, it's not much. Space shuttles. Silhouette of a robot. It gives you the bare basic bones of something out there in the hope that you'll want more.

I will, of course. I've got two nostalgia kicks: Star Wars and Transformers. Of the two, it's only the Transfomers property that I've been able to get into beyond the original cartoon series and movie. I even like to sit round and spin shit on how the first season of Transformers had an environmentalist message weaved through the back of it, attached to the almost eduction driven, toy advertising message of the series as a whole. It was the eighties when the cartoon first kicked in--how many other shows were busy warning you against ripping the resources of the Earth out of the ground and leaving a dried husk in its wake? The message of the show was clear: protect your environment. Especially if giant robots that turned into planes and guns and whatnot were busy trying to steal it.

Ah, Post Modernity. Where would I be without your assistance to make old cartoon shows culturally relevant?

It is, of course, a garbage argument, like so many other garbage arguments given to shows like this. Star Wars doesn't given you a revolutionary text; Bewitched doesn't really enlighten you about domestic struggles; and Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn't really give you an insight into what it was to go through High School and be a teenager. All the meanings you can give to it are the work of an outside influence, picking up on hints, a theme that might have been played once or twice like a guitar in a chorus. You remember the chorus once the song is done, and you ignore what the rest of the song is about. But you know, if you want, you can sit and spin shit, and occasionally it's fun to do, but sometimes you've just got to face the fact that there isn't an overarching developed theme in the trash you like. So whereas I can say that something like Transformers had an environmental concern, I don't pay much to it. The show was about robots that could transform into things and how it could make kids go out and buy them. That's what the kid I was liked about it and the adult hasn't forgotten. Occasionally I go on ebay and look for the reissues. I have a Japanese reissue of Soundwave that I bought off a guy in China who had three different bank accounts in different countries so that he could sell toys throughout the world, and so I could pay him in Australian dollars, for example.

At any rate, when it comes to this movie, what can I say? Do I reckon it'll be good? No, probably not. I do think they've got the right director in Michael Bay, however, because of the trash directors out there, he's probably your man for a franchise driven robot movie. It also allows me to hope that the film won't be some desensitized PG version of giant robots beating the shit outta each other. But who knows? Hollywood is putting out bad films and I'm sure this'll be no different. Of course, nothing can really compare to those moments when, in the original film, three seasons worth of characters were blown the fuck away in half an hour, so that the Orson Welles voiced planet eating transformer and a bunch of new ones that were never as interesting as the originals could be introduced for you to buy. The sheer amount of violence in that first half an hour is still kind of mind boggling for a tv show that was for kids.

(Though you've got to feel sorry for poor Orson Welles. At this stage in his life he was unable to get financial backing for any of his films, and so he was forced into doing bit parts, including the voice of Unicron, which he reportedly hated. It was also the final job he did--he died before recording finished, and Leonard Nimoy finished his part, or again, so the rumours report.)

That said, Transformers have recently had a strong injection by Simon Furman and E.J. Su who, in the comic Transformers: Infiltration have actually delivered a really strong science fiction thriller. It's one issue from being completed, and it feels like the ending is going to be a bit rushed, but I actually find myself in the curious position of saying that the writing has actually been quite good, and that Furman's story has bought in a nice conspiracy angle, made the transformations of the robots important, and even made characters like Megatron threatening. It's been interesting to watch and I reckon, if you've a bit of an interest in the old property, it's worth a look into. It's honestly never looked as strong as this before.
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