What are the Transformers?
What (who )are the Transformers?
One of the biggest movies in 2007 is a live action adaptation of an 80's cartoon called "Transformers". If you grew up in the Los Angeles area, you were watching them on KCOP, Channel 13, in the afternoons. The cartoon came from a line of popular Japanese toys from the 70's. Hasbro made them popular in the US.
In the world of the Transformers, the faith of planet Earth was being decided by the conflict between two feuding clans of Transformers - the noble Autobots and the evil Decepticons. These gigantic organic robots came to Earth from their home planet Cybertron which was ravaged by their centuries old war. The Decepticons wanted to deplete the Earth of it's fuel that they call energons. The Autobot followed and fought them so as to preserve life on Earth.
When "Transformers: The Movie" was announced a few years back and as the theatrical release came closer, many of us who watched them in the 80's were either skeptical or completely geeked-out. Surprisingly enough, the movie was well done. The only complaint I had was that there were too many humans talking and not enough Transformers talking.
In any case, if you're not familiar with the who's who in this year's summer blockbuster, then read on. I'll describe the roster of Transformers in the movie. This information might help you just in case you're buying a gift for a young boy this Christmas.
Optimus Prime, Transformers
These are your good guys. Led by their leader, Optimus Prime, the Autobots transform into wheeled-vehicles such as cars and trucks. In the movie, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Jazz, and Ironhide represented the Autobots.
The noble leader. Optimus Prime turns into a 18-wheeler semi-truck both in the movie and the 80's cartoon. He was voiced in the 80's cartoon by Peter Cullen. And the fans were treated in the movie by having Mr. Cullen voice Optimus Prime again.
Bumblebee played a special part in the movie as the loveable guardian of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). In the battle the end of the movie, Bumblebee became the object of Mikaela's (Megan Fox) affection as she went above and beyond her call of duty (self-preservation) in order to get the wounded and wrecked Bumblebee to safety and back to battle. In the movie, Bumblebee was a Camaro. In the 80's cartoon, he was a VW bug. He also had the most screen time of all the Transformers.
He's the team medic. In the movie, he was a Hummer H2. In the cartoons, he was an ambulance.
Jazz was a favorite in the 80's cartoon. He played a bigger role then as a hotrod. Also, in the 80's cartoon, he transformed into a Porsche 935 Turbo. In the movie, he was a Pontiac Solstice. He's cooler in the cartoon! Also, Jazz sadly died in the movie by the hands of Megatron. He was pulled in half and Ratchet could not put him back together.
Ironhide is the weapons specialist. In the cartoons, he was also a top officer and bodyguard to Optimus Prime. In the cartoons, he was a van. In the movie, he was a GM TopKick pickup truck.
The bad guys. These Transformers were led by the ruthless Megatron. Other members of the Decepticons include Starscream, Barricade, Devastator, Bonecrusher, Blackout, Scorponok, and Frenzy.
The "harbinger of death" according to Sam Witwicky. Megatron was the leader of the greedy Decepticons whose goal was to drain the Earth of a fuel resource called, Energons. Megatron was popular for his gun-mode that he transformed to and shot by his officer and second-in-command, Starscream. One wish I had for the movie was that Megatron should have played a bigger role and not simply be frozen for more than half the time. In the movie, Megatron transformed into a jet.
Best known as the Decepticon's 2nd-in-command. In the cartoons, his desire to usurp Megatron was very blatant, often engaging his leader with bickering arguments over strategies. Their tenous relationship was not shown in the movie. At the very end scene, Starscream was seen leaving Earth, his destination a mystery, possibly determined by the sequel. In both cartoon and the live action movie, Starscream transformed into a jet fighter.
We saw Barricade as the police squad car in the movie who first followed Sam Witwicky. Luckily for Sam, his guardian Bumblebee was not too far around. In the movie, Barricade transformed into a Saleen 281 Mustang police squad car, which looked pretty cool. He squared off and lost to Bumblebee, a Camaro. Hmm...Ford vs. GM.
In the movie, we saw Devastator as a M1 Abrams Tank. Pretty good action he fought at the last battle in the city streets towards the end of the movie. Now, in the cartoons, Devastator was the creature that a combined constructicons become. Constructicons are another set of Decepticons introduced much later.
Speaking of Constructicons, Bonecrusher was one of them in the cartoons and he transformed into a bulldozer. In the live action movie, he's an armoed vehicle. He had the dubious role of the slained Decepticon by the hands of Optimus Prime in the freeway chase.
Blackout was the first Transformer we saw in the movie. He was the helicopter who attacked the soldiers in the desert. He has the size to store other Decepticons such as Scorponok and Frenzy, whom he's allied with. In the cartoons, Blackout has had various forms including a helicopter.
Scorponok was the Decepticon who followed theescaping soldiers through the desert at the beginning of the movie. He traveled with Blackout and has close ties to him. In the movie, he's the only Transformer who did not transform into a different mode.
The smallest Transformer who can transform into something as small as a cellphone. He's the one who infiltrated Hoover Dam and discovered the Allspark for the Decepticons.