Surely this is not how Orson Welles imagined it would end. According to the chronology appended to Peter Bogdanovich's This Is Orson Welles, on Oct. 5, 1985, Welles spent the day on the set of Transformers: The Movie, giving voice to Unicron, a villainous, planet-eating planet. On Oct. 10, he was dead. The man's first feature film had been Citizen Kane; his last was an animated movie based on a line of toy robots.
Of course, by 1985 Welles was a long way from Rosebud. His most visible role at that point was as a pitchman for Paul Masson wine, a responsibility he does not seem to have always discharged ably. He'd also recently cut the voiceover for the Revenge of the Nerds trailer. But it would be a mistake to lump Transformers in with Welles' other regrettable late-career moves. Though a modest film compared with Michael Bay's blockbuster out today, the original Transformers is the better film. And for a certain subset of Americans—boys who were 9 in 1986—it was every bit as shocking as War of the Worlds had been for Grandma and Grandpa.
Bay's Transformers bears no resemblance to the original in terms of plot, but both movies are grounded in the same fundamental mythology. Back in the early '80s, the wily folks at Hasbro realized that the only thing better than a toy truck was a toy truck that was also a toy robot. Transformers were born, and, as was standard practice at the time, Hasbro promptly commissioned a half-hour afternoon cartoon to fill in the back story and market the toys to unsuspecting kids like me.
The Transformers, from a planet called Cybertron, were divided into two factions—the goodly Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron, who transformed from a robot into a handgun. After a long civil war, the two sides somehow end up on Earth, where their battles continue and where the cartoon picks up their story. Most episodes involved the Decepticons devising a dastardly plot to take over the universe—only to be thwarted by the Autobots.
Late-afternoon television was full of programming like this in the mid-'80s, whether it was He-Man or G.I. Joe. Transformers, though, was the first such show to jump to the silver screen. Those of us who raced to theaters as third-graders thus assumed that what we were about to see would be like the TV show, just longer and awesomer. Only in our wildest dreams did we think that the show might celebrate its liberation from network television by letting loose with a curse word. And only in our scariest nightmares would we have imagined that a mere 20 minutes into the movie, Optimus Prime, the most beloved of Autobots, would be killed by Megatron.
To use a phrase I learned the day I saw Transformers, "Oh, shit!" No one ever died in these shows. Even in G.I. Joe, a cartoon about a special U.S. Army strike force, no Rattler was ever shot down without the pilot first safely ejecting. But in the Transformers movie, the death toll was jaw-dropping. More than a dozen marquee characters are dispatched in the film, among them one of my personal favorites, Starscream, the Decepticon malcontent always scheming to relieve Megatron of his command.
Of course, all of this bloodshed had a specific purpose—to move toys. In the commentary track on the 20th-anniversary edition of the movie, Flint Dille, one of the writers, explains he was instructed to eliminate much of the existing product line to make room for the new characters Hasbro was planning to sell me. I already owned Optimus Prime, after all.
As a 9-year-old, it hardly occurred to me that this robot bloodbath was a marketing ploy. It just blew me away. Witnessing death on that scale was shocking to a sensibility that had been nurtured on white-knuckled but always successful repair operations by the trusty Autobot mechanic-medic, Ratchet.
It's funny to listen to the filmmakers on the DVD talk sheepishly about killing off all of those characters, Prime in particular. They genuinely regret it. But in watching the movie again as a grown-up, you realize that Hasbro's profit motive had the unintended consequence of forcing the movie to tell a much more sophisticated story than might otherwise have been possible. With Prime off to the great scrapheap in the sky by the end of the first act, the movie becomes one about finding a leader who can take on Prime's mantle and defeat not just Megatron, but also Orson Welles' Unicron, eating his way through the galaxy. And in a nice mythic twist, Prime's successor turns out to be an Autobot no one—not even Prime—thought it would be.
Bay's new Transformers is fun in its own goofy way, and there are enough sops to the fanboys that most will go home happy. Peter Cullen reprises his role as the voice of Optimus Prime, and the screenwriters manage not one but two invocations of the immortal phrase "more than meets the eye." But there's nothing even approaching the original's narrative depth. The good guys beat the bad guys, and no one we care about is harmed in the process—the movie hasn't succeeded in making us care about anyone. Prime comes across as a stand-up guy, but we have no real sense of Megatron's motivations or of Starscream's ambition. Bumblebee, the robot we spend the most time with in the movie, doesn't get a speaking part until the penultimate scene. The high-octane violence and PG-13 attentions lavished on Megan Fox's torso may attract some new young fans, but in the end Bay's Transformers feels timid compared with the 1985 version.
Now, before you scuttle your plans to go see the new Transformers and queue up a copy of the old one instead, let me say this. A Brad Bird production it is not. I admit that my appreciation for the animated movie is colored by nostalgia—for the toys but also for the decade that produced them. Blur, a fast-talking Autobot, is voiced by John Moschitta Jr., better known as the Micro Machines guy. The soundtrack features a song by Weird Al Yankovic and an inspirational anthem worthy of the Karate Kid's Joe "The Bean" Esposito. Robert Stack, Casey Kasem, and Judd Nelson round out what can safely be called one of the stranger casts in cinematic history.
As for the strangest member of that cast, Orson Welles does not seem to have been very proud of his work. Film historian Joseph McBride quotes Welles saying of his participation: "I play a planet. I menace somebody called Something-or-other. Then I'm destroyed." He needn't have been quite so dismissive. Welles' voice was apparently so weak by the time he made his recording that technicians needed to run it through a synthesizer to salvage it. But listen closely as the ruthless Unicron explains his plan to bring the universe to its knees. I swear you can almost hear a younger Welles, plotting his conquest of a different world as the imperious Charles Foster Kane.
Hello people! Chebos here and joining the crossover event between CA and TV/Movie Amino,I decided to participate in part two,wich is compare and analyzing the difference between a Cartoon and their live Action film version trough various topics,as you might expect,I choose Transformers,today I will compare Transformers Prime and the Live Action Transformers films!
"But Chebos,why Prime and the movies are connected,in that case Animated is some sort of movie spinoff"
It's complicated,Animated was supposed to be way different,but they have to change things in order to hang out from the live action movie popularity and be more popular,with Prime,things are different,let's begin!
-I always get the "deep" meaning in shows/movies,but I suck at explaining it!
-I will not count the Aligned Continuity or the IDW comics as arguments or something,just Prime and the movies,to be fair
-I will refer to the live action movies as "Bayformers"
-I don't know if this is how my entry was supposed to be
SOME INFO ABOUT THE SHOW/MOVIE
This whole movie franchise begin as a "revival" project in 2007,at this point all movies have been directed by the explosive director Michael "Crazy Bombs" Bay
The first movie was very well recieved,so they decided to continue the story,the movies are cash magnet,all the movies had surpass the billion of dollars at the box office,at this point is confirmed that the whole franchise will become a cinematic universe to compete with other brands like Marvel or DC
The movies had been very criticized,the quality of the first one is way superior than the quality of the next ones,another popular complain is that the designs are so realistic,and plus with the unnecesary overuse of explosions,not everyone can see when they are fighting
they decided to go to a more humanoid look in the current movies
Transformers Prime was created by Jeff Kline and Lorenzo DiBonaventura,producers of the Live Action Films,they refer to Prime as "What the movies could have been",the show was very well recieved by the Transformers fandom,and even outside of the fandom,being one of the most popular shows in the time the show aired,it takes various elements from every previous TF show,but the main inspiration are the Bayformers movies
Here the storytelling is...bad,the story isn't well made,I mean,every movie consists of the same plot over and over again (fight for an ancient artifact),there are a lot of plot holes in this story,for example,in the first movie is stated that the "Cube" give life to all the cybertronians,but then it results that the Primes created them and they were just traveling and Earth wasn't very important at all,but then it results that Optimus is not a Prime,is a knight,that actually every Transformer was built by the "Creators",not the allspark,the Dinobots are knights and Megatron is actually a knight and...a Prime too?,it is obvious that the makers don't care about what the writers do,they just think in money...but afterall,Transformers is about money
In Prime things are different,in the very first episode we see how things will be,how the consecuences affect the characters,how everything leds to something bigger,there are no filler episodes,we learn something new every episode,and I really love the fact that they show how the smallest things can change everything (that's why I love the whole Orion Pax arc,everyone had to adapt to the changes and is really hard to some characters)
(and their development)
Something I hate about this version of the Autobots,is that from the 30 Autobots that appeared in the whole saga,just 7 have a real personality,and only 2 of them have actual development,Optimus and Bee,they are cool,but c'mon! You Bay waste a lot of characters! Like Sideswipe and a whole more,and the worst part is that if you don't erase them from the movie with no reason,they are killed in the most horrible ways!
And do I have to talk about the fact that most Autobots aren't like their cartoon/comic counterparts!?,don't get me wrong,I love the designs,but please...
You better keep Hound,Drift and Crosshairs alive Bay!
Unlike the movie version of the Autobots,the Autobots in Prime are few (just ten Autobots appear in the whole show) but they have a really well made development,you can see how every character evolves and evolves to the point that you can relate to them
Here we see how the Autobots have to face the consecuences of the war,they have to keep going even if they already have losed everything,with the time they realize they aren't an army,they have become a family...a badass family
(and their development)
I HATE THESE DECEPTICONS,not just by the fact that they are weak as hell (you touch them in the head and they explode),but mainly because there is no actual Decepticons you can actually care about,Megatron is the only relevant Decepticon in the whole saga,and he isn't a good character (also he was just the main villain of the first movie),and the other Decepticons are just...awful,for example,Shockwave (my fav Con) role in the movie was stupid,like any other Decepticon (Scream,Soundwave,Fallen,do I even have to talk of Devastator?),it's pretty sad watching your fav villains being represented in such a bad way!
Resumed,the human villains are way better
Unlike the emotionless Decepticons from the movies,all the Decepticons in Prime are perfect,unfortunately most of them ended up super dead (Dreadwing was my fav),the way the Decepticons are developed in the show is so good,you will end up saying "hey,they are better than the good guys",Starscream is by far the best and most well developed character in the whole show,if Michael Bay decided to make relevant Decepticons,he should take inspiration of the ones from Prime!
If the lack of development of robots wasn't enough,the humans ALWAYS take most parts of the movies,and instead of keep using the same characters,they constantly bring new ones and left the other ones with no reason to be in the movie (Sam,Mikaela,Lennox,Epps and Simmons are the only well developed ones so far),and the human villains well,Kelsey Grammer won the razzie for worst villain of 2014,that says a lot...
In Prime the humans are very likeable,they aren't in every episode,they have their reasons as to why be and when not be with the Autobots (Raf almost died in one episode,actually every human here almost dies),another awesome thing about them is that there are ONLY FIVE MAIN HUMANS! so they have a really well made development,and you end up actually caring about them,I mean,we're still wondering if June Darby and Agent Fowler will go on a date someday (they did) and well,the human villains (MECH) are very good,not the main threat,but really cool ones (the whole "C.Y.L.A.S." arc is great)
But I kinda dislike the fact that Raf (human Peridot) and his laptop are super OP,he even hacked Soundwave!
And now the final and most important (for me) comparison is...
AND THE WAY HE IS PORTRAYED
Optimus is the most iconic character in Transformers,he appears in every show/comic/game/movie,he have always been seen as "the light of hope" since 1984,so the next incarnations most keep that essence
The way Optimus is portrayed in the movies is...very weird,he is someone that knows that Decepticons must be stopped,in order to save the humans,as we know Optimus will never kill any disarmed or defenseless being,but that's not the case here BECAUSE HE WILL KILL AND RIP OFF THE FACE OF EVERYONE HE KNOWS EVEN HUMANS!!
That is why the fandom give him the nickname "Murder Prime" because dude,for example,in DOTM Megatron save his life from a near death,and how Optimus thanks him? He rips his damn face off!
Also this Optimus contradicts himself constantly,for example,he kills Lockdown by slicing him in half from behind (no jokes plz)
very gruesome death,but what does Optimus say next?,he says "Honor,to the end",stabbing from behind isn't a very honourable action,if you really want to see a honourable Transformer watch Dinobot from Beast Wars!
Edit:I realize I didn't talk of the fact that he doesn't know how to be a leader
(Giant Space Dad)
This Optimus Prime must be one of the best incarnations of the character,he has the most detailed development of the show (The show even has his last name as the title),he knows how tragic the war is,he started it,he lost his family,his world,and everything for his own fault,and everyone sees him as the only hope,so he really has to show everyone that even when the darkest hour seems never ending,light will always return,troughout the entire show we see him facing everything,he maybe looks wise and acts like a father for the Autobots,but at the same time he doesn't know what to do,the pressure consume him always,but in the movie we realize that,in order to protect his planet,his race,his family,he has to give his own life...
The Bayformers movies really need to improve,people will not pay to see the same thing five more times,they have to stop making "original and cool" ideas and take inspiration from previous Transformers versions,and the best source of inspiration is Transformers Prime,the whole Aligned Continuity actually,the material there is so well made I wish they rebooted the movies and make a Prime adaptation,because at this point Prime is one of the best Transformers shows ever (alongside Rescue Bots,Beast Wars and Animated),btw I wish this Transformers Cinematic Universe good luck,because after all,thanks to the movies Transformers is how it is now,one of the biggest brands of all time! So yeah,thank you Michael Bay!
I hope you liked this blog,I made this like two days ago,don't know why I posted it now,anyways,what do you think of the Bayformers Movies? You will like to see an adaptation of TFP? Tell me in the comments!
As always,thanks for reading!
I keep forgetting the hashtag!
SEE YA IN THE NEXT BLOG!!