Fine, I’ll talk about Transformers, then. Yes, I have a sizable collection of Gen1 Transformers and a smattering of toys from more recent lines, not to mention the comic books, so I think I should have my say.

I’m not happy with the art direction for the robots. They look nothing like any Transformer I’ve eve seen. They’re all pointy and spiky and menacy, as if Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were iron transforming demonoids from the Hellrazor universe.

I’ll provide a brief explanation as to why that irks me so much. The Transformers characters, throughout their various incarnations have always been identifiable by their fans. Imagine if they made a blond-haired Clark Kent with perfect vision – the Superman fanboys would be rioting in the streets. An example:

wheeljack.jpg

That’s a good friend from my childhood up there. His name is Wheeljack, and my brother got the toy (his first Transformer) for Christmas 1984 (I got Starscream). He was originally a G1 Autobot who transformed into a Lancia Stratos; in the third photo above we have Wheeljack’s Alternator release from 2005 (21 years since the G1 toy was released!) and even though he’s now a Ford Mustang, he shares facial features with his previous models. There are photos of the toy as well as shots from Wheeljack in the TV cartoon and in the comic book – in all of them the character is still recognizably (to a raving fanboy; ie me) still Wheeljack.

And if the art department kicking my childhood in the groceries wasn’t enough, the studio comes along and delivers a swift boot to the junk by hiring Michael Bay, a director who admits he wasn’t a fan of Transformers. Bay is all about building a rapport with the fans with statements like “I think I was 20 years old when the toys came out, so I just discovered girls then” (What exactly is he implying there? Optimus Prime not as cool as girls? Up yours, sir.). They had to send him to a special school at Hasbro for a crash course on what the Transformers were. Tell me I’m not the only one thinking Bay’s going to do anything other than yet another chase movie, except this time W1TH GIANTZ R0B()TZZ!!1!1ONE!!ONEONE!!

I’m not saying the movie won’t be a mind-blowing display of CGI, but there’s no way it’s going to be Transformers. Remember kids, that the god-awful Final Fantasy movie was chock-fulla mind-blowing CGI – when’s the last time someone mentioned that film? Bay’s Transformers will have giant transforming robots, and yes they sure will blow all sorts of things up, but for those of us who have grown up with the stories of The Transformers (of which there are quite a few) this movie will be way off the mark.

Here are some Transformers things that don’t suck.

Transformers music remixes by Tony Bacala. I’m not really sure who this guy is. I just stumbled onto some of his songs on the internet once, and I’ve collected a few half-decent ones. I couldn’t find any trace of this music online any more, so I don’t feel so bad putting them online so someone can get their hands them. Download here.

Neill Blomkamp is the guy they should have hired to direct this movie. He’s perhaps best-known for the transforming Citroën ads, but it’s his short films which make me think the guy really knows his robots. Here are a couple:

Alive in Joburg – Aliens as second-class citizens in future South Africa
Tetra Vaal – Advertising robot police in the third world

Transformers icons (all freeware):