Musings – Transformers Through The Eyes Of A New Fan

4 07 2007

My recent watching of the movie Transformers was a real blast. I loved the show… although the ending was a little dumb and… some sequences… unnecessary. I loved it simply because a toy franchise I had loved from childhood finally made it to the big screen big time! It joined the ranks of Star Wars, Spiderman, Batman and Superman – icons I grew up with.

Take Spiderman for example, I loved every episode of The Electric Company just because I could see the costumed Spidey pop thought balloons over his head. There was this cool live action Spiderman TV series back in the 80s(?) or was it the 90s? I can still hum sections of the series’ soundtrack till this day! In retrospect, I found it amazing how sticky these images and sounds were.

Transformers also generate fond thoughts. The dinosaur-loving kid in me naturally picked a Dinobot (Snarl) when my parents finally agreed to get one for me. Razorclaw was the other memorable toy I had although I never got to forming Predaking even though I poured over the catalog for years! And yes, the Transformers catalog was the extension of my imagination for the toys I did not have. I’d tell myself that I’ll get this Autobot, then this Decepticon and then this and that. The list goes on with different permutations over time. And as a kid, it was still fun despite not really having the toy.

Even today I still enjoy the simplicity of the Transformers G1 cartoon which I now have on DVD. I do fall asleep occasionally watching it however. I guess we are now at a time when we are engaged with so much top-notch special effects and CG that shows the old cartoon format dated. It’s a different diet today.

And so it was that after walking out of the cinema after seeing a new take of the Autobots and Decepticons that I wonder how Optimus Prime would be to the new kid fan. Prior to the movie, the true essence of the Transformers line was only known to big kids like us. I believe that although their toys were on the department stores’ shelves, they were largely transforming robots. These days, Gundams can transform to an alternate mode as well. Then there were the Power Rangers and their transforming rides. The Transformers distinction is somewhat blurred.

With the new blockbuster movie, Transformers is once again catapulted to the highs previously seen during the G1 cartoon series. Optimus Prime, Megatron and their followers, however, now look so very different. For a CG-fed new generation of younger viewers, this is probably the cool new look for these transforming robots. Bumble Bee is the supercharged Camaro instead of a the Beetle (see the same scene in the movie?). No longer the stocky looking little guy. I wonder how would the new generation of fans feel when they see the original Bumble Bee today.

And this is not a new phenomenon. Take Star Wars for example, we already have factions of fans who loved different episodes. Those who grew up with the OT naturally picked EP IV, V and VI. The younger fans picked the Prequels. For them, watching the OT AFTER the Prequels was just not the same experience. They could tell the parsec difference. Their Star Wars imagery was defined with the newer CG-laden images. Clonetroopers were all rendered. No chance of bloopers such as Stormtroopers bumping into rising doors in the Death Star.

And it is the same with comics. See how Iron Man has evolved since his stocky early days. See the fan preference when the movie comes out. Will they go get the early comics of Iron Man, I don’t know. Will they go get the new Iron Man comics? Likely.

The changing appetites of times is certainly interesting. Let’s have a M.A.S.K movie!

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2 responses

13 07 2007
Kenny

I still hate the look of the new Transformers, but my, what a movie!

13 07 2007
swftoys

Ha. The new look has grown on me but i still cannot stomach:
1) Optimus with the mouth look;
2) Megatron;

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