By Stuart Wood: 2005-11-08
We were all crazy-nuts when the Transformers movie was announced. There are very few twenty-something guys out there who can't admit to being a little geeked out by the prospect of the biggest cartoon of the 80s coming to the big screen in live-action format. We were even more geeked when we learned that the movie would be based on the original series and not the ultra-crappy slew of updates and remakes that Fox and Saban have churned out over the last 10 years.
Then producers announced Megatron would be a tank.
Now, while part of me can see where the makers are coming from, that a hulking 30ft robot can't practically turn into a handheld gun, even a Transformer-sized one, I was disappointed. But I kinda put it behind me under some misguided geek premise that, well, in the show Megatron became Galvatron who was just a giant mobile cannon anyway.
Unfortunately, this seems to have set someone's cogs turning far too much, and now according to AskMen.com increasing numbers of supposed "G1" characters are becoming victims of "reimagination" into something far more sensible and practical... and a whole lot less like G1.
So far, the changes include:
* Soundwave [G1 - Cassette Desk] who played the role of spy with his cassette Transformers will now inexplicably become a helicopter?!?!?
* Ratchet [G1 - Ambulance] the repairman and essentially "doctor" to injured Transformers will now become a firetruck?!?!?
* Jazz [G1 - Martini Porche 935] will become some other generic sportscar - presumably because Porsche won't allow licencing of Jazz's original form.
* Arcee [G1 - Cybertronian Car] will become a motorcycle (which she does in, surprise, the crappy 2004 "Transformers: Energon" remake!)
How can any of these changes listed above possibly reflect even the robot-form image of the G1 characters? Thankfully it's not all bad. Producers are at least fighting to secure some agreements with certain car brands to allow some characters to retain their original form, for example Bumblebee is to remain a Volkswagen.
But it's sounding like the movie is starting to bend to pressure from somewhere to conform to a modern Transformers audience instead of the nostalgia audience which would make up their core repeat-viewing audience. They need to realize that this is a potential FAMILY movie, not just a kids movie. Make a movie for all those guys who grew up with Transformers, many of whom now have their own kids that they can take to see the movie together, not a movie to substitute as a creche for soccer moms who need to dump their kids while they go to the salon.
The one saving grace I guess - At least they didn't hook up a product-placement deal with Apple and have Soundwave turn into an iPod.