The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Transformers: Meh

So, I just watched the first three episodes of "Transformers: Prime." Meh.

It's amazing, usually these things are pretty divisive. I even knew people who were defending "Revenge of the Fallen" when that came out. But this? NOBODY I know online has something nice to say about this show. It's not even met with hatred, just general meh-ness and disinterest.

Okay, I like Josh Keaton. He brings a lot of energy to his character.

I also like Steve Blum, but I wish Blum had better material to work with. Starscream is too... LOYAL. "Animated" solved the problem with G1 Megatron and Screamer's relationship by having him betray Megs ONCE, in the first episode, and SUCCEED, and then kept them apart for as long as possible until Megatron killed him.

Prime's solution? Just not have him be remotely treacherous. The problem there is that treachery IS Starscream. That's all he has. Treachery and narcissism. PrimeScream is just... Igor to Megatron's Frankenstein.

The thing about these CG cartoons, is they can't really do as much as cel-animated shows, due to limited animation budgets. You get a dozen or so character models and a few backgrounds to play with, so the character writing had to be STELLAR. "Beast Wars" was. This... is not. Transformers seems to work best when Hasbro just hands the toys to professional writers and says "go nuts."

I asked my friends to describe the personalities of ANY of the main characters of Prime. They couldn't. All Optimus Prime himself does is provide exposition. OVERLY DRAMATIC exposition. Remember when Peter Cullen didn't deliver every line like it was the Revelation of St. John? Soundwave is a non-character. Bumblebee is a non-character. Congratulations, you just wasted two of the most recognizable characters in the franchise.

The whole affair reminds me of those bland GI Joe CGI mini-movies Hasbro made years back. It's an extended commercial that doesn't know how to pretend to be more than a commercial.

It's sad, really. But this is what happens when people who make toys try their hands at making a show. You get a bland commodity made to appeal to as many people as possible. Constructing a story from their product without any real understanding of what storytelling is.