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Transformers Set to Invade Theaters Again
Then, Now and Forever
By Robert T. Trate
June 23, 2009
Starscream from Transformers Season 1
© Hasbro/Robert Trate
It was a long ride home. Well it was only about three miles but it felt long. Then of course there were the unnecessary stops of kids who took way too long to get off the bus. As Susie would walk down the aisle and say goodbye to all her friends I would get really angry. Why couldn’t she just hurry up? There will still two more stops and Transformers started at four. I was never going to make it. If I missed the beginning I was probably going to be completely lost.
When the bus did stop it was a race to get home and get that TV on. Soccer practice started in a few weeks and missing the Transformers would be a regular thing. Now it was time to suck it all in, Optimus Prime and his Autobots thwarting the evil Decepticons. In the years that followed I did see, eventually, every episode. When the movie came out my Dad didn’t take me to see it. To this day I have never seen Unicron larger than life on the big screen but I am working on that. As a kid, hearing Optimus Prime died was the equivalent of learning Kennedy was assassinated. Our hero had fallen and some new Autobot named Rodimus Prime was now the leader. To this day I wonder what my face must have looked like when my good friend Matt told me the news.
You get nostalgic for those things from your childhood when you get older. In college I found a few places that still had giant clam shell boxes of the Transformers. When I started working at Blockbuster Video they had the only copy of Transformers the Movie in town. Imagine a college campus of 93,000 students and only one copy of the Transformers the Movie. Think I am nuts? It was the only one and when it did come back I snagged it, copied it and put it back on the shelf. Before I got back behind the counter someone was already renting it. It would eventually never return as someone figured out, besides me, that it was the only copy in town and not on VHS anymore.
A couple of years later when DVDs were the standard format I picked up Transformers: Season One (Collector's Edition). It was incredible. They held up, unlike most cartoons from that era and they were a lot of fun. I got season 2 and so on. When the new movie came out I went through my collection and came up empty. Season 2 and 3 were sitting on the shelf but season one was no where to be found. So when Shout! Factory released Season 1 on DVD a few weeks ago I simply had to have it.
After sitting through Transformers Season 1 again as a critic and columnist for Mania I discovered a lot of crazy things about the show. The first being I never realized how much Optimus Prime was like John Wayne. Peter Cullen’s voice will forever be a part of my childhood as John Wayne was. My dad was a huge fan of the Duke and now I see that Optimus Prime was just like him. Always the hero, always standing up for what was right, never backing down from a fight and even once played the villain just like Optimus Prime did (see John Wayne in Red River (1948) and Optimus Prime in “Dark Awakening”).
Starscream has now become my new favorite character. Whether this has something to do with Chris Latta also being Cobra Commander I am not sure but now Starscream is the joy of the Transformers. He was always trying to take over, he had backstabbing plans intermixed with Megatron’s plans to conquer the universe. That and Starscream, unbeknownst to him, had great comedic timing. His humor was not only dark but freaking hilarious as well. I never had a Starscream action figure but he has suddenly made my must have toy list.
Is it just me or did the Decepticons go about harvesting the Energon all wrong? They steal like junkies on a bender but they had all this great technology. Sure later they would deal with some of the shadier humans on Earth but why didn’t they just exchange transforming technology, space bridge technology (which looked a lot like a Stargate) or even their advance rocket fuel to some of the bigger industrial companies of the world? Sure a kid is never got to think about this when watching the show. The Autobots were good and the Decepticons were bad. That was the order of things. Why didn’t they move Cybertron closer to a sun and install solar collectors on the planet to harvest Energon? Why not set up windmills in the middle of desert and collect all the Energon they could use and then head back to Cybertron? The Autobots never seemed to have a problem with getting Energon. Why were the Decepticons so stupid?
Should I even get into the female Transformers?
Transformers Season 1 is a great trip down memory lane. It is a cartoon I can’t wait to share with my nephew and I look forward to seeing his face when Optimus Prime says, “Megatron, let this be our final battle” and falls. At least I can reassure him that everything will be okay and eventually Prime will return when “all are one”.
Unfortunately there is no release date yet for season 2. What is good for collectors is that the original Rhino releases are still available on Amazon. However if you wish to skip that entire process of picking them up one at a time Shout! Factory is releasing THE TRANSFORMERS: 25TH ANNIVERSARY "MATRIX OF LEADERSHIP" EDITION COLLECTOR'S SET on DVD which is the entire TRANSFORMERS series on 16 DVDs (pre-orders start July 13th see more details here). Sadly there is no Blu-ray edition for any of the Transformers cartoons yet.
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
At the Death House Door
The Black Cyclone ~ Kathleen Collins, Christian J. Frank, The Killer, and Lady
Catlow ~ Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna, Leonard Nimoy, and Daliah Lavi
The Code [Blu-ray] ~ Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas, and Radha Mitchell
The Garth Method
Love, Murder and Deceit ~ Michael Genevie, Terry O'Quinn, Rachel Ward, and Joshua Morrow
Colorful ~ Koki Tanaka, Sawako Agawa, and Kanako Magara
D. Gray-Man: Season One, Part Two ~ Todd Haberkorn, Travis Willingham, Bryan Massey, and Yuri Amano
Darker Than Black: Volume Five
Death Note: Re-Light, Vol. 1 - Visions of a God
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa (Limited Edition)
Kyo Kara Maoh!: Season 1 Box Set
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Volumes 3 & 4 (2-Pack) ~ Mabuki Andou
Moeyo Ken: The Complete Series
Origin: Spirits of the Past (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] ~ Ryo Katsuji, Aoi Miyazaki, Yûko Kotegawa, and Masaru Hamaguchi
Petite Princess Yucie: Complete Collection
Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension, Vols. 1 & 2
Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension, Vol. 2
Romeo x Juliet: Romeo Collection, Part 1 ~ Takahiro Mizushima, Fumie Mizusawa, Chris Burnett, and Brina Palencia
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
Confessions of a Shopaholic ~ Isla Fisher, Leslie Bibb, and Hugh Dancy
Confessions of a Shopaholic [Blu-ray]
Pink Panther 2 ~ Jeremy Irons, Alfred Molina, Jean Reno, and John Cleese
Pink Panther 2 [Blu-ray]
Last Year at Marienbad (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] ~ Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoeff, and Luce Garcia-Ville
Last Year at Marienbad (Criterion Collection)
Backwoods ~ Haylie Duff, Ryan Merriman, and Danny Tucci
Choke Canyon ~ Stephen Collins, Lance Henriksen, Bo Svenson, and Janet Julian
Grindhouse Double Feature: Lady Revenge ~ Jeff Dolniak
Hobgoblins ~ Tom Bartlett, Paige Sullivan, and Steven Boggs
Hobgoblins 2 ~ Josh Mills, Sabrina Bolin, and Jason Buuck
Johnny Legend Presents: Vampire Chronicles, Vol. 1 - The Devil Bat/An American Vampire in London ~ Bela Lugosi
Johnny Legend Presents: Vampire Chronicles, Vol. 2 - Hannah, Queen of the Vampires ~ Francisco Brana, Teresa Gimpera, Andrew Prine, and Patty Shepard
Johnny Legend Presents: Vampire Chronicles, Vol. 3 - The Last Man on Earth/Atom Age Vampire ~ Bela Lugosi
Johnny Legend Presents: Vampire Chronicles, Vol. 4 - Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride ~ Patrick Barr, Michael Coles, Peter Cushing, and William Franklyn
Johnny Legend Presents: Vampire Chronicles, Vol. 5 - Vampire Bat/Dead Men Walk ~ Bela Lugosi
Legend of the Bog
Make Them Die - Grindhouse Double Feature ~ Gunnar Hansen, Fabian Forte, and Marilyn Burns
Mutant and The Uninvited ~ Wings Hauser, Lee Montgomery, and George Kennedy
Simon Says ~ Crispin Glover, Ernie Lively, Lori Lively, and Robyn Lively
Tales of a Terror Cult: A/A2
Trapped ~ Henry Silva
X-Cross ~ Ami Suzuki
Zombie High ~ Richard Cox
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
Dragon Hunters (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray] ~ Forest Whitaker
Inkheart (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Amazon Digital Bundle + Digital Copy and BD-Live) [Blu-ray] ~ Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, and Jim Broadbent
The Old Fairy Tale: When the Sun Was God ~ Bogdan Stupka, Malgorzata Foremniak, Michal Zebrowski, and Daniel Olbrychski
War Wolves ~ Michael Worth
The Monster Squad: The Complete Collection (2pc) ~ Fred Gandy, Barry Dennen, Alice Ghostley, and Vito Scotti
Silent Western Classics Double Feature: Thundering Hoofs/The King Of The Wild Horses