as unbelievable as it seems, they were able to turn the most beloved cartoon of my childhood into a live action/cgi feature film that had the same playful-then serious-then playful spirit of the original! in this case, "They" were producer Steven Spielberg and director Michael Bay (Armageddon, The Rock, Bad Boys), and "They" knocked it outta the park like dave justice.for those who have no idea what i'm talking about (PHILLISTINES!), Transformers is the story of intelligent, shapeshifting robots from the planet Cybertron, crash-landed on Earth, embroilled in a centuries-long war, the outcome of which will determine the fate of the galaxy! There were the good, peaceful Autobots, and the evil, conquering Decepticons. like many concepts in movies today, Transformers had its humble beginnings in the pop paradise of the 1980's, first as a line of SWEET toys (like my favorite transformer, Starscream, seen here!) then as a series of blockbuster cartoon shows and comics.
of course, i wouldn't be much of a blogger if failed to mention the original big-screen appearance of the Robots In Disguise: 1986 animated smash Transformers: The Movie, starring such notable actors as Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek) as Galvetron (the ressurection of Megatron) and Orson Wells as the planet eating archvillain, Unicron. the film's mashing of pseudo-religious themes and colorful cast of new robots set against the thrusting of the cartoon into the future (2005 was the future back then, family!) helped make it an instant classic among faithful Transformers fans. the film shocked thousands (maybe millions) of young fans with an unpredictable and unbelievable plot twist: the brutally violent deaths of many popular characters (including fan-favorite Autobot leader Optimus Prime, below) in the first Act! i saw T:TM in the theater (rare for me as a child), and the audience was in saddened shock when Prime's light went out. Initially panned by critics and a financial disappointment, T:TM is now considered by some (including me) one of the best animated films ever made.
there is no need for new Transformers fans to see the cartoon show or film to get and appreciate the new Transformers film, which is packed with metric tons of action, effects, and laughs. "Good, ignorant fun!" as we like to say. while i wouldn't worry about taking kids to see it, Transformers is definately aimed at my generation: eighties kids that may have outgrown the chasing of new toys and other products associated with this franchise, but many of whom now have children that will serve as a conveniant excuse to dive back in. the PG-13 rating will bother a few parents, but the minimal references to sexual subjects, occasional cussing, and glorious abundance of cartoon violence won't bother most parents.
in short, a great, great flick. i will let the purists debate the changes in plot and characters. any problems i had with the movie were minimal. i'd say overall, it was big fun!
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