Saturday, 17 January 2009

Things What Are Great #2 - Transformers: The Movie (80s Style)

In A Nutshell:- Forget Michael "Noisy" Bay, this is the real deal. It's the ultimate battle between good and evil. But, you know, in animated robot form.

The Basics:- It's 1985. I'm 9 years old. And the most exciting film in the history of ever is about to come out. It's called Transformers: The Movie, it's set 20 years in the future and it looks great. In cynical terms, it's a reboot of the toy franchise designed to introduce more exciting action figures designed to tax the wallets of many a parent. It's actually a pretty entertaining film, though.

Why's It So Great Then?:- Firstly, for what is ostensibly a children's film, it's pretty grim fare to start with. The opening twenty minutes of the film features pretty much kills off every character that we've grown to love in the series so far being killed off in fairly brutal ways. This is a pretty bold move for a big screen feature - to replace your established cast at the start of the film - and was fairly traumatising to most of the child-based audience ("Mummy, is Optimus Prime really dead?")! Secondly, it has a bizarre selection of voice talent. From Leonard Nimoy and Eric Idle through to (in one his last screen roles) Orson Welles*, it's a really odd roster for a toy-based cartoon spin-off. Thirdly, it has a blisteringly cheesy cock-rock and metal soundtrack featuring such classics as The Touch and Instruments Of Destruction that opened up a whole new world of music to previously Disney-based cinema going kids..

Surely Some Of It Must Be Rubbish:- There's an irritating child-like character called Wheelie who's got a weirdly pitched voice that really grates. Also, it's not really a standalone spin-off as it expects you to know who all the main characters are in order for you to care about them being killed off. Other than that, for a cartoon film based on some robot toys, it's good fun.

So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak? :- Want to watch a film with giant transforming robots fighting yet don't want to have to watch Shia LeBoeuf for a couple of hours? Then this is the one for you, my friend. The only drawback to this one is that it doesn't have Megan "Ridiculously Attractive" Fox in it. You can always pretend.

* Citizen Kane to Transformers: The movie - quite a career slide...

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