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Transformers Buzzsaw card art


Direct Beams Comms #35


Transformers: The Movie

TransformersIn 1986 Transformers: The Movie made something like $5.8 million at the box office, and about $3 of that came from me.

Honestly, I have no idea how or why I decided to go see Transformers: The Movie at the theater. Back in 1986 I was into Transformers but I was just at the age where I was starting to cycle out of toys and TV cartoons for other things. I suspect that my friend Jon, who saw it with me, was the driving influence on us going since my family didn’t see a lot of movies in the theater and it wasn’t like I had a lot of money of my own to spend seeing films.

Transformers: The Movie is an odd film. It’s based on the 1980s cartoon series of the same name where no character ever died and things always stayed the same between episodes even though there were lots of battles between the good Autobots and bad Decepticons. But in Transformers: The Movie movie LOTS of characters died, even arguably the most famous characters of all Optimus Prime.

Or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Just before Optimus’ big death scene there’s a huge battle and I had to go to the bathroom. And I held it until the fighting had ended and the Autobots went to attend to a wounded Optimus. Since it was a weekday afternoon we had the place to ourselves and then I ran out of the theater to the bathroom, went as fast as I could then ran back to my seat and back to the movie. Jon leaned over and said, “You totally missed it, Optimus just died!” While I believed him, I really didn’t. Surly they wouldn’t kill off the most popular Transformer character of all time?!

Looking back now I can see what happened. In 1986 the toy series had been around for a few years and Hasbro was looking for a way to add some new Transformers characters to the line. So some characters had to die in the movie to make room for new ones on toy shelves.

Transformers the Movie

Transformers the Movie

What’s interesting, though, is that while there were big changes in the movie and new characters were added, I don’t remember that the cartoon series changed all that much the next fall. What ended the spring of 1986 continued that autumn and ignored the movie entirely. Though when I was reading up on the movie I did forget that it takes place in the far off futuristic distant year of 2005, so maybe that explains the story discrepancies?

While I do have fond memories of Transformers: The Movie those memories are mostly around seeing the film in the theater rather than the actual content of Transformers: The Movie itself. I still enjoy seeing clips from the movie, think the soundtrack is excellent throwback brilliance and love the poster, but I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down to watch Transformers: The Movie?

Of course nowadays if you say, “Transformers: The Movie” to almost anyone they’d assume you’re talking about the line of dreadful Michael Bay produced films that began back in 2007 with yet another one due in 2017. If the 1986 movie is bad, it’s bad because it’s too earnest in a 1980s kind’a way. If the recent film series is bad, and trust me, they are, it’s because it’s a movie series about talking robots that transform into things like cars and jets that takes itself waaaaaaay to seriously.

Which means that since there’s a slew of new, abet crappy live-action films out there now there’s less opportunity for Transformers: The Movie to air anywhere on TV. Why would kids today want to watch a crummy cartoon when they can watch a stupid live action cartoon instead?

In closing, Transformers = sort’a cool, Michael Bay = uncool. 😉

Dunkirk teaser trailer


Out this week is the book Aliens: The Set Photography that looks to be 144 pages of behind the scenes pics from this movie classic.

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1960: David Duchovny, Fox Mulder of The X-Files is born
  • 1968: Gillian Anderson, Dana Scully of The X-Files is born
  • 1986: The Transformers: The Movie opens in theaters
  • 1989: The Abyss opens in theaters

Summer movie preview

First up this year, as it has been every year since 2007, is a movie based on a character from Marvel Entertainment; this time The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on May 2. Totally skipping the notion that every super-hero movie sequel should feature just TWO villains, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) throwing down with Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti).

Three villains!? Do you think Spider-Man might, gulp!, lose this time!?

Bryan Cranston in Godzilla

Bryan Cranston in Godzilla

On May 16 Godzilla returns to US theaters after an absence of 16 years. Like virtually every other Godzilla movie ever made, Godzilla is set to stomp unsuspecting cities, this time here in the US. Godzilla does have a few things going for it; the movie’s being directed by Gareth Edwards who also directed the underrated Monsters (2010) and stars a post-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston.

I can only hope that Godzilla finally settles the debate on the true fate of Dr. Niko Tatopoulos from the ’98 Godzilla.

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past, really X-Men Part 5, “bamfs” into theaters May 23. Days of Future Past mingles characters from both the newer prequel X-Men: First Class film and the original X-Men trilogy of films from ’00-’06. This time, Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) from their time to their younger counterparts (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) in the past to head off doomsday in their timeline.

X-Men:Days of Future Past is a great comic story and this movie does look interesting if a bit character-heavy with a dozen + super-hero characters currently listed for the film in IMDB.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow, out June 6, wins the award for best original movie title All You Need is Kill turned into something that sounds like more like a soap opera that sci-fi epic. Tomorrow features a futuristic battle-armored soldier, Tom Cruise, who’s sent to fight an invading alien army bent on world domination. In his first battle Cruise is killed almost immediately by the aliens but inexplicably wakes up to relive that battle over and over again. Think Groundhog Day but with heavy artillery and power-armor.

The “didn’t they promise us there’d be no more of these movies after the last one — they lied!” movie Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction stumbles into theaters June 27. This Transformers movie sets itself apart from every other Transformers movie in that it has dinosaur Transformers, the Dinobots. Which sure screams “let’s figure out what we can sell the most toys of THEN come up with a movie” to me.

One sequel I’m genuinely interested in this summer is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, or really Rise of the Planet of the Apes Part 2, or maybe really Planet of the Apes Part 8 on July 11. Taking place nearly a decade after the events of Rise, in Dawn most of mankind has been wiped out by the virus released in that film allowing the smart apes lead by Caesar to rise (get it?) to the dominant species on the planet. My worries here are that both the writers and director of the spectacular Dawn were oddly enough dumped from Rise. This doesn’t mean that Rise won’t be good, I’m just concerned that it won’t be as interesting or thought provoking as the first.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy continues the Merry Marvel Marching Movie Machine in theaters August 1. Sort of X-Men meets Star Wars, Guardians follows a human (Chris Pratt) in the far off reaches of deep space who teams up with characters like a living tree and a raccoon (no joke) to battle the evils of the universe. Back in the ’90s Guardians was one of my favorite comic books and after seeing the trailer for this one I’m actually kind’a excited about the big screen Guardians.

On August 8 a fourth live-action version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles chops it’s way into theaters. Supposedly this version alters the history of the turtles a bit with an alien invasion being the cause of the genesis of said mutant ninja turtles. ALIEN INVASION!? Totally unrealistic when compared with the original explanation of turtles being exposed to radiation that turns them into kick punching crime fighters. Everyone knows radiation works wonders, just ask Daredevil.