Less than meets the eye

I thought I’d go see the Transformers movie.

A few of you are, right now, going “Well, Duh. You’re a geek. It’s a transformers movie. Of fucking course you’re going to see it.” except that you’re wrong – I could have given it a miss .. and may yet still.

The problem is that I’m an OLD geek. I’m closer to 40 than 30 now. When I was a kid, watching cartoons, it was the 70’s, not the 80’s.

I think the Transformers movie where Optimus Prime dies was relased in 1986. I wasn’t watching cartoons in 1986. At all. I spent much of 1986 either sulking my room hacking on pacnet with my Amiga and modem, avoiding my parents and wondering how other people at school managed to talk to actual girls without sounding like a complete spaz[1], sulking in the garage while tinkering with the engine of my car[2], or driving said car aimlessly around town at 3.00am[3] on a school night while obsessively listening to tapes of various bands whose names were prefixed with “The”[4]

Main point is, wasn’t watching cartoons.

So, to gear up for this possible Big Robot Movie viewing, I decide to illegally pirately download some communism in the form of classic transformers episodes and watch them. This was not a good idea. They suck. A lot. I’m pretty sure that even an 8 or 10 year old me wouldn’t have watched this. And I remember watching and liking Battle of the Planets, so you know it’s not good.

So, lesson learned. Not only should you not attempt to recapture your own youth, you shouldn’t try to retcon other peoples youth into your head.

And I’m still not sure if I’m going to go see the Transformers movie.

[1] Still don’t know.
[2] 1967 850cc Morris Mini, dark blue body, white roof, florescent pink wheels. Yes, pink. Shut up!
[3] Know what there was to do in Timaru at 0300 in 1986? Nothing. Except drive around randomly.
[4] The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Sisters of Mercy, The Smiths, and also featuring some misc non-“The” bands.[5]
[5] Dreadful 80’s pop bands like Duran Duran and whatnot. I’m not going to mention them.


  1. I spent much of 1986 either sulking my room hacking on pacnet with my Amiga and modem

    OMG! Pacnet! My dad worked for Telecom and one day he brought home a modem that was as big as a VCR (a late ’80s size VCR). I don’t want even want to imagine how slow it went. And we connected to Pacnet which was, like, awesome.

    Also, all those ‘The’ bands rule.

  2. I was recently forced to watch “Beastwars”. I’d never seen _any_ of the Transformers stuff when it came out, but it turns out Beastewars was one of the first computer animated series. Considering when it was done (and what it was done on!) it is pretty good. The scripting is a little cheesy at times, and it helps to know some of the backstory just so you get more of the in-jokes, but it was actually entertaining – good voice acting, amusing scripts and plotlines over all, blahblahblah.

    Re. the movie: Micheal Bay directed it: he will have fucked it up. EOS.

    • See, like I said to Poe, if the whole movie is just action set piece after set piece of giant robots blowing shit up … then Michael Bay is _perfect_ as director. If there’s actual story and characterisation and plot and … you know, WORDS and things in there, then maybe MB was not the right guy.

  3. Recently a group of people start reminising about childhood TV and I was all like “remember The lost Islands”, chorus of nope “well you must remember “Monkey Magic” nope, “Jamie and the magic torch” nope, “Vision On”, nope, “Don’t ask Me with Magnus Pyke”, “Beanie and Cecil” nope, nope. “Oh but you must remember “A haunting we will go with Count Homogenised” shaking of heads, at this point I sulk and don’t even bother mentioning my righteous Wombles lunchbox I had as a child.

    But I am of the opinion that these childhood programs are sometimes best left as a delightful nostalgic feeling, upon re-watching some of these shows you might ruin it for yourself, I have been told Robin of Sherwood is like that.

    An exception to this is Sapphire and Steel which is still just as spooky campfire story scary if you watch it by yourself in the dark, ditto some early episodes of The X-Files, you know the “scooby doo monster” ones as opposed to the “there are totally aliens” ones which are deathly dull.

    I’m all for remakes of old classic things provided 1, you loved the original and know everything about it and will do it justice, 2, the original needs remaking, example, New Willy Wonka movie, old movie was fine, new movie whilst good if original movie never existed, not better than original.

    Ditto Dune and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

    Though I’m not for remaking or re-using old music, Puff Daddy can die as far as I’m concerned, taking a riff from a classic queen song or the police and repeating it for the entire track while you talk about gansta shit over the top of it is not music, it’s just talentless butchery.

    • I remember Count Homogenised! Hardly anyone else I ask does, though 🙂

      • He actually runs a restaurant here in Lyttelton, I’ve been dieing to take one of my classic old glass milk bottles (with plastic caps I got for them) full of blue top down there when I go there for a meal and whip it out and ask him to do the honours.

      • I remember him “the world’s famous milk man”… he was funny… but then I’m an old fart too 🙂

    • Robin of Sherwood doesn’t actually hold up too badly, all things considered.

      They’re a little bit too clean, and everthing’s just a little bit too neat, but it’s still not a bad show.

      And, if it makes you feel any better I remember most of those shows… I guess you’d be about jsr’s age as well?

      (what about Basil Brush?)

  4. You are so awesome 😀

  5. I think you should go see it — you’re in the perfect position, in that there’s no danger of you being part of the “you’re raping my childhood!” crowd. And then there’s the fact that the movie is awesome. Giant robots fucking each other’s shit up — who else but Michael Bay would be suitable for that?

    I could go on, but screenwriter Jeremy Slater says it better than me.

  6. A bit much comic relief at times, but I thought it was largely spot on. “cheesy and cheesy and cheesy” — you realise it’s a movie about giant robots fighting each other, right? What else could it be? And who else but Mr. Bay brings enough bombast to pull it off?

    (Unless you’re Harry Knowles, who wanted a sequel to The Iron Giant — “a boy and his robot car” — presumably to fuel his adolescent fantasies about how cool it would be if you really had a Transformer that was like really real and you could drive in it and watch it transform and be its friend and *sigh* I love you Bumblebee…)

    I liked the giant robots – I though they looked like robots, rather than giant toys, which I think is what a lot of the fanbase was after.

  7. I think you should go and then come bak and write an amusingly scathing review.

  8. I think you should go.
    I didn’t pay attention to Transformers when I was a kid because they were “Boys things”, and at that age, I wasn’t interested in “Boys things”. I also thought the movie looked really stupid from the preview, and I swore I wouldn’t pay to go see it.
    My brother dragged me along and paid for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie! It was funny, exciting and entertaining!
    The only bit I didn’t like was the nasty little decepticon. While he was funny, he was a bit too Jar-Jar Binks, I think.

  9. I’m with Buttons on this. I remember it being on, but didn’t watch any of it. I haven’t seen the other movie. So I wasn’t going in with too much background other than it’s robots, 2 sides, and they fight for some reason.

    I rather enjoyed the movie, the special effects were rather good, and it had lots of things blowing up 🙂 It’s soundtrack is quite good too.. and although there is cheese there, it’s rather good cheese 🙂

    • Hmm, too many rathers and goods in that.

      You could always wait till it’s the 2 for 1 night, so the expense isn’t a downside to an evening of entertainment.