Tuesday, July 11, 2006

TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE (dir. Shin, 1986)

image hosted by blogger


D.D. TINZEROES: Well, the Transformers movie, I think, is pretty cool. However… I stipulate the following improvements:
1) John Carpenter does the soundtrack,
2) Hot Rod's voice doesn't change when he turns into Rodimus Prime, and
3) Bumblebee dies.
LAFAYETTE CONTRADICTION:Those are nice changes!! Even better if…
4) Kurt Russell voices Hot Rod instead of, uhm, [snaps fingers] Judd Hirsch!!
TINZEROES: …Fat, its not... nevermind. Uh, while we're at it,

5) that "you've got the touch" theme song gets repaced by the Fixx's "Deeper and Deeper."

CONTRADICTION: Nice. But wouldn't there be trouble because its already being used for the closing credits of Streets of Fire?

TINZEROES: Err, I hadn't really considered that, Fat.

CONTRADICTION: Hey, you know what always bothers me? ArCee. What was up with her? A CHICK Autobot? And she's, like, the only one. Everyone always talks about the Smurfette quandry, but the ArCee situation poses a TON more questions. I mean, they're ROBOTS for crying out loud! They're produced ON AN ASSEMBLY LINE! What do they need genders for?

TINZEROES: Perhaps, maybe, ArCee is some sort of second-tier robot: like a service industry robot. I mean, Autobot society appears to pretty function and task oriented. There's medics, mechanics, scientists, spys, uh, jive-talkers, and so on. It should follow that there's Autobots below this first-tier who perform even more specialized, mundane tasks, like, uh, take out the trash, make Energon pancakes, do the dishes, work the customer assistance phones, etcetera, etcetera..

CONTRADICTION: Uh, the "first-tier" Autobots?

TINZEROES: Yes, Fat. These Autobots would need not to be as strong, tough and such as the ones who fight Decepticons. Hence, they are slender and curvy!!

CONTRADICTION: So, if ArCee's primary function is to be secondary, then why does she get to shoot a laser pistol and fight in battles and fly around the galaxy and stuff?

TINZEROES: Dunno. Some sort of Affirmative Action program, probably. It matters not, anyways! This sort of idle speculation is merely a byproduct of the revisitation to the childhood fascination that was Transformers, and subsequent desire to dream a more befitting canonical crown jewel to that fond childhood franchise.

CONTRADICTION: Yeah, but isn't positing a different plot to the film a kinda silly exercise? I mean, if you watch the old t.v. episodes again, there isn'tt much to write home about. "Creativity/originality" is apparently not found in the Cybertronian lexicon files.

TINZEROES: Okay, Fat, look, just follow with me here, okay? Megatron's stated goal is "to rule the universe." To this end, he seeks to plunder Earth's resources so he can acquire enough Energon to do so. How, exactly, acquiring a planet-worth's of Energon leads, ergo, to ruling the universe, is left up in air, but I'll excuse that. But what can be drawn from this aim is pretty obvious: When Megatron and Optimus, et al. land on Earth, Megatron sees opportunity in Earth's ample resources, presumably IN CONTRAST TO Cybertron's, which, it is established, is a little planet MADE OUT OF METAL that's been stricken with civil war FOR GENERATIONS, and is, apparently, very sparse in natural resources. By contrast, the Autobots' stated goal, via Optimus, is simply to stop Megatron.

CONTRADICTION: But by protecting the earth, and its resources, from the Decepticons, aren't they basically trying to prevent a second Cybertronian catastrophe?

TINZEROES: True, but they're basically fanatics. Assuming they stopped the Decepticons, what would they do? Pretty much just sit around on their little shithole metal planet and… what, give each other medals for being good citizens?

CONTRADICTION: You could say the Decepticons are go-getters? They're hustlers? They strive?

TINZEROES: Why, yes, you could say that, Fat. Megatron, for one, isn't content to just sit around on his rear bumper, occasionally lubing his crankshaft. Now, ruling the Universe is a little vague as a goal, and megamanical, for sure, but at least the guy has the balls to dream big. The Decepticons are agents of progress. If it wasn't for them, the Autobots would have never made it to earth in the first place, and, in the overall scheme of things, its safe to assume that without the second campaign on earth, they would have lost Cybertronian Civil War eventually, anyway.
CONTRADICTION: That seems a little harsh. Optimus Prime was a great defensive strategian. His forces were not military in design, but he had evidently kept the Autobots on their feet for decades, perhaps centuries… And let's not forget that he fights these defensive battles in unfamiliar conditions, on unfamiliar terrain, once they get to Earth. That's tough!

TINZEROES: Oh please. By dumbfuck luck if nothing. Take a standard skirmish on Earth: Megatron cooks up a fairly ingenious plan to collect a dumptruck of Energon in one fell swoop, he gets his team on it, they get shit done. Meanwhile, the Autobot Counter-Intelligence unit, the only reasonably competent branch of the Autobot forces, catch wind of what’s up, report back to HQ, and you know what Optimus does EVERY SINGLE TIME?

CONTRADICTION: "Autobots! Transform and Roll Out!" [laughs]

TINZEROES: [laughs] Yep, full frontal assault. [chuckles, wipes tears from corners of eyes] "Subtlety" is a concept unknown to Autobot culture, it appears. Still, due to the relative competence of the Autobots counterintel unit, the Decepticons always get caught at the second-to-last stage of their plan, so they never get the big haul of Energon, just enough to pull off the next scheme.

CONTRADICTION: I understand your raking of Optimus over coals for incompetence, or his uninsipred leadership, but how does this feed into the movie?

TINZEROES: Well, you see, turns out the opening sequence of the film, resulting in Optimus' death, perfectly follows the structural deficiencies of Autobot culture I have outlined this far :

(1) Megatron pulls off a brilliant sneak attack on Autobot city on earth;

(2) with the Autobot defenders on their heels, Optimus shows up with some reinforcements, and then

(3) proceeds to launch an all out frontal assualt BY HIMSELF.

He kicks some butt, then ends up getting killed by Megatron. In truth, this should have happened a long time ago.

CONTRADICTION: I thought you said you'd rewrite the entire script. So far, you've basically told the story of the first reel as is, but justified it with a little more logic and internal consistency.

TINZEROES: Well, if you think about the only thing more systematically damaging than Optimus' imcompetence was the way all the Autobots were completely loyal to him. As a result, when he dies, they're thrown into complete disarray. They're on their heels for the entire film. And, to me, this seems the exact opposite of what should really happen.

CONTRADICTION: D.D., this has better be good…

TINZEROES: Okay, Autobot society is a total Leadership Cult built around Optimus. He could tell an Autobot to tear humans in half and they'd do it. But when he dies, and he cedes leadership to Ultra Magnus, and the Autobots are suddenly even worse off than they ever were before. Now, the Decepticons loose Megatron as well, but their society is of a simple "the strong lead" variety, so after some quick infighting Starscream emerges as the new leader. But, since Ultra Magnus is, by his own words "just a soldier," then the way I figure it, he not only takes the Matrix, he makes a point to also take Optimus' bad-ass blaster rifle…

CONTRADICTION: That blaster was bad-ass.

TINZEROES: At this point, given the structure of Autobot culture, its a very powerful and revered religious artifact, as well. Magnus takes the blaster, he gives Optimus this grand state funeral, like a viking funeral or a Spock space funeral, launching his body towards the sun , or whatever, and then, basically, the Optimus Prime Jihad begins.

CONTRADICTION: Holy crap.

TINZEROES: Yes. Its like taking two mediocre films, Transformers: The Movie and Lynch's Dune, and making a great one.

CONTRADICTION: [whispers] Cybertron… The Metal Planet…

TINZEROES: [giggles] Yeah. Anyway, I think it’s a given Ultra Magnus is a hundred fold better tactician than Optimus ever was, AND he's got the cloak of Optimus' Leader Cult draped over his shoulders, the Matrix in one hand, Prime's blaster in the other. He's not all wiffle-waffle: he's bringing the fucking smack-down on the Decepticons!

CONTRADICTION: But… I confess, this complicates things and makes more sense and all, but does that REALLY affect the ultimate ending? Unicron still finds Megatron and makes him into Galvatron and gives him his new bad-ass troops and stuff.

TINZEROES: True, but the point is the Autobots are on the offensive. Magnus and the rest of the Earth 'bots beat Galvatron back to Cybertron, and ambush the Decepticons at Starscream's coronation. Galvatron doesn't kill Starscream, Magnus does.

CONTRADICTION: He rips his head off and drains his oil filter down his neck! Ha! Or, perhaps, he'll rip his optics out and reboots his mainframe…MANUALLY!!

TINZEROES: Yeah. Anyway. Another Decepticon power struggle insues, but Galvatron arrives and reasserts command, Since Autobots don't have their heads completely up their exhaust pipes and their shifters in their hands, for a change, they actually fend him off after maybe some initial confusion.

CONTRADICTION: This is some crazy shit.

TINZEROES: Get's crazier, Fat. The Prime Jihad was hot and heavy before, but the Autobots figure out that Galvatron is the robot formerly known as Megatron, and they go completely apeshit, I mean, Prime, the freakin' Holy Leader, is dead, but Megatron lives?! They figure this is the Armageddon battle and basically go into apocalyptic witch-hunting mode, seeking out Decepticons wherever they can be found.

CONTRADICTION: I believe I perceive where this is going. Because now Unicron shows up.

TINZEROES: Correct. The Eater of Worlds couldn't pick a better time. The Autobots think they're in the End Times, and the Matrix is in the wrong hands. He attacks, and I guess Galvatron turns on him anyway. Cybertron is getting eaten, but the Autobots are doing crazy shit, like using spaceships in suicide attacks and such. Magnus is all "Prime's Wrath Hath No Fury" and leads a heavy casualty attack that ends up with what he assumes is the Big Finale, him and Galvatron mano y mano. And here's where crap gets really crazy, because I think Magnus fails to unlock the Matrix, gets offed, Galvatron gets the Matrix, he can't unseal it either, and Hot Rod - voiced by Kurt Russell - somehow ends up with it, slaps Galvatron around, and then destoys Unicron.

CONTRADICTION: So the movie ends the same, but just took a different, and admittedly cooler and more twisted route to get there?

TINZEROES: Almost. They're probably estatic at first: Unicron is gone. Cybertron is theirs. But if we go on what the series leaves us with, Galvatron and his forces live, and fight, on. The Autobots believe they've fought the Final Battle and won. And Magnus ain't in charge anymore, and "Rodimus Prime" can't quite carry keep the Passion of the Prime burning like Magnus did. And the Autobot forces have to be pretty depleted. I think the future looks bleak. I think the only hope the Autobots have maybe involves Rodimus somehow meeting the Junkabots or whatever, which wouldn’t have happened in my rewrite of the movie's script, because the Autobots would have never been scattered like that in the first place, and somehow converting them to the Cult of the Matrix, which is really the only thing he's got going for him. With that entire NEW CIVILIZATION of transforming culture-junkie robots at his disposal, who apparently are also great at repairing damaged 'bots, I think the Autobots prevail, ultimately, but then, of course, we're sorta back where we began: assuming they stopped the Decepticons, what would they do then?

4 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

I posted a little prologue-thingy over at tinzeroes which includes a footnote about the Quintessons, the "new race" that's introduced in Transformers: The Movie. Although said movie certainly lacked in fleshed-out sciffy speculation, the third season, which picked up where the movie left off, certainly did do an admirable job of playing around with the concept of the Quintessons, with some interesting results, tho' I think the existence of an essentially "Elder God" race creates more questions than it solves.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Three points I fear may have gotten lost in your avalanche of apocalyptic brilliance:
1) "Rodimus" is totally a funny name. After two decades, I'm still sniggering over that one.
2) ArCee is totally a fox-bot!! Smurfette always looked pretty haggard (and for good reason, obviously), but ArCee held up really well, even after dozens of Autobots pulled (drive-)trains on her.
3) When you point out that "[Megatron] has the balls to dream big", I think you mean ball...BEARINGS!! Kapow!

-Fat

P.S. I took a little trip to Circut City yesterday, and it appears no show is too fucking lame for DVDival. I look forward to revolutionizing ThunderCats real soon now.

P.P.S. You note that the Autobots have a fairly minimal raison d'etre, other than impeding Decepticons.* Canada points out that this was a fairly common syndrome in toy commercials of the era: did G.I. Joe EVER do anything except foil Cobra?** The apotheosis of this relationship was in M.A.S.K., whose enemy was V.E.N.O.M., "Very Evil Nemesis Of M.A.S.K.". Canada further argues that V.E.N.O.M. could have been vanquished permanently simply by disbanding M.A.S.K.! Without their "nemesis", they'd have had no reason to exist...

*Come to think of it, there are thorough and disturbing parallels between the 'Bot/'Con situation and the Dem/Repub stalemate over the past thirty years...
**Outside the P.S.A.s, which are clearly not canon.

6:33 PM  
Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

Canada can read?!?!? Or did you just give him a sort of abbreviated, verbal, rendition? I guess there are pictures in the post and he always likes those...

8:52 PM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

I have no idea whether or not Canada can read. He hasn't read your latest opus, if that's what you mean. ...We just have these conversations a lot.

-F

2:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home