Sunday, July 15, 2007

but it would have been cooler with the song

I'm not going to lie; I had a great childhood. And part of what made it so quacktastic is Duck Tales (you know, along with all the love and nurturing I got from my family). That fine-feathered program was only one of about 68* shows from those carefree days that I look back on with a great deal of fondness. My heart still melts just a little when I remember how I would dream about having enough money to take off my spats and dive into without worrying I'd get a concussion.

Sigh. Those were the days.

I love all my favorite shows from yesteryear in much the same way, and that cheesy sentimentality is probably what makes me a target demographic for Transformers: The Movie 2 (let's not forget about the original 1986 bigscreen adventure, Transformers: The Movie, which was animated). I saw that one and probably all of the original American episodes, too, because back then my brother and I just loved to watch those Autobots wage their BATTLE. to. DESTROY. the EVIL. FORCES. OF... THE DECEPTICONS.

H is a fan, too, so of course we went to see it when he was here, and I liked it. A lot. That has come as a surprise to a shocking number of people, in my opinion. So let me break it down (WARNING: MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS):

* The girls were dressed like hoochies, which I have been told prepubescent boys (another major target audience) like to look at as well as technogeekery, things blowing up and elaborate car chases. And while I adore that last one myself, the whorified getup on the girls--peroxide/dark roots and stiletto heels ensemble doesn't really scream "government analyst," and skirts that are wider than they are long don't lend a lot of cinematic credibility when it comes to taking apart a carburetor--was irritating. But what do I know? Regardless, what are the young chickadees watching this going to think? You have to dress like a tramp if you want your brains to get noticed? Ugh.

* The CGI work was great. But sometimes, especially during the fight scenes, it was hard to differentiate Autobots from Decepticons.

* The battle scene was a little convoluted and went on too long. I understand that was probably an attempt for reality, but it didn't stop me from dozing off during part of it (I have a reputation to live up to, after all).

* Product placement? I'm not a big fan, but the truth of our Tivo World is that it's here to stay. Hell, it's been here for ages, even if it was subtler before. Besides, anything's gotta be better than seeing Jennifer Garner bark, "Get to the Ford-F150!" in Alias. How credible is a double agent who has the time to say all that when she's chasing a baddie or trying to avoid getting assassinated? Didn't she learn anything from Batman?

* Aside from a stuttering speech to impress the girl, there was no reference to the show's original kickass themesong. It was short, original and catchy, (something that is missing from television of today, but that's a post for another time). I thought they might've even used a little snippet of Gnarles Barkley's "Transformer," but no.

* Some of the main characters weren't even alive when the show came out in 1984.

* The girls were the ones who most reliably proved to have enough brains to save the day, and on multiple occasions. Ole girl analyst is the one who spotted the problem (thank God she wasn't reduced to flirting with somebody to get attention), and junior-hoochie proved to be very handy with mechanic stuff and had some impressive backwards-towtruck-driving skills. For reals.

* They had the sense to use the original voice of Optimus Prime. If they hadn't, the movie would have been total crap.

* Bumblebee has always been my favorite, and he still is. Answering questions with song lyrics is classic '60s Herbie-style fun. And I was still chuckling about the scene featuring No Mercy's "Baby Come Back" even as we left the theater. But I do think it's beyond creepy that people can feel comfortable making out on a car hood knowing that the car can comprehend what is happening on top of it.

* It was an improvement on the original. The television series wasn't known for its technology or the strength of its screenplay, and even though this film is a piggyback on something old--which i generally despise--at least it was better in all aspects save for themesong. It's not a corruption of something that was fantastic in its own right and should either be remastered and re-released OR LEFT THE HELL ALONE. I'm looking at you, Alvin and the Chipmunks remake: As cool as he is, Jason Lee is NO Dave Seville!

* I was sad when Optimus Prime died in the The Movie 1, so I'm glad they had a whole new story.

* Even though he's everywhere at once right now (can we say Jude Law in 2004?), Shia LaBeouf was very endearing. My heart went out to him in a very Boy Meets World kind of way. After the movie, H and I caught the tail end of an Even Stevens marathon in which a curly-headed Shia was eating a soggy philly cheesesteak in the ocean with his surfer buddy. Adorable.

Aside from all that, I probably loved the movie most because it took me back to those great days. I was surprised I remembered so much about the characters--even down to Decepticon names like Bonecrusher and Starscream. I wonder if people who never watched the show had any idea what was going on during certain scenes. For me, somehow, watching the robots transform in and out of disguise was comforting in a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic kind of way.

But the experience wasn't complete without going home and watching this on YouTube.

*One night when I was stuck in the dungeon especially late, H and I were e-mailing back and forth about the Scooby-Doo themesong. That discussion turned into a lengthy treatise and compilation of all the significant cartoons we watched as kids. I have searched high and low for the 2006 planner in which I recorded the list, to no avail and my great frustration.


Syar said...

I heart Transformers (the movie). But my love did not go as deep as yours, seeing as you're an original fan and everything. I orginally heart Shia, which is why I went to go watch the movie.

But I agree with all your points. I loved Bumblebee (and he's an alien robot...I mean, making out on him would be like making out on Chewbacca who may not be a robot but is a living, breathing intelligent alien) and Optimus Prime and the hoochies pulled through and I too got a bit bored during the fight scenes. Maybe it was cause I sat three rwos from the screen, but all I could see was a blur of chrome and metal.

Also : Duck Tales freakin' ruled! I even liked the movie. How did that theme song go, darn it?

Alexandra said...

peroxide roots - excellent!!! makes the movie just real! you know what i mean! oh.. hand me a tissue

Lia said...

The only thing I even remember about Transformers is the theme song. So fuzzy is the memory, I'm not even sure I'm talking about the right theme song.

highcontrast said...

what's a spat?

cadiz12 said...

I totally knew you'd love Shia, Syar-- I almost put that in my post!

The best part was Duck Tales, woooHOOOOoooo! Here's a refresher:

Life is like a hurricane
here in Duckburg
Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes
It's a duck blur
Might solve a mystery
Or rewrite history!
Ducktales! Woo Hoo!
Everyday they're out there makin'
Ducktales! Woo Hoo!
Tales of daring, new, bad and good luck tales!
D-d-d-danger lurks behind you
There's a stranger out to find you
What to do just grab on to some
Ducktales! Woo Hoo!
Everyday they're out there makin'
Ducktales! Woo Hoo!
Tales of daring, new, bad and good
Ducktales! Woo Hoo!
Not pony tales or cotton tales, no
Ducktales! Woo Hoo!

spats are those cover things Scrooge McDuck always wore on his webbed feet. they're very oldschool victorian UK.

cadiz12 said...

Lia, the transformers themesong is the last link on my post. and i couldn't resist watching this one this morning:

Jon said...

ah Ducktales... My little sister had this dance routine she would perform every day during the theme song... I wish I had a video camera back then...

I thought Transformers was pretty solid too. That's really the key in my opinion. You can change some of the things about a show from the past if it makes for a good movie, but if you screw with the intrinsic value of the characters too much, you screw the whole thing up. See Dukes of Hazzard for what I'm talking about.

omar said...

I used to watch Transformers, but I barely remember any of it. I'll probably wait to catch it on DVD, as my one summer movie visit for the year is being reserved for the Simpsons.

Librarian Girl said...

No theme song??? What the???

The Stormin Mormon said...

Just the other day I was talking about the need for a Duck Tales movie...

Lia said...

Okay, I went back and watched the YouTube. I was thinking of the right show. I know how relieved you must be.

cadiz12 said...

stormin, they should just remaster Duck Tales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp from 1990.

i was just thinking that shia labeouf's sam witwicki totally reminded me of john cusack's Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything except without all the kickboxing and radio-holding.

Guyana-Gyal said...

And to think we had no tv growing up, not because my parents chose not to have a tv. There was none in Guyana.

DCveR said...

Thanks for the spoilers warning. Though it made me skip most of your post :)

Beenzzz said...

I used to watch Transformers all the time with my bro in the 80's! That clip brought back some serious memories. I still need to see the movie.