Transformers

The new Steven Spielberg/Michael Bay live action CG Transformers movie looks to be one of the biggest films of the summer. But if you want to know how far we’ve come in 20 years, compare the latest trailer to the Marvel Productions cartoon feature from 1986:


  • http://cartoongeeks.blogspot.com/ S. Michelle Klein-Hass

    Jerry, I’m surprised. Comparing the CGI Michael Bay epic to a Japanese-made cel-drawn movie is like comparing apples to oranges. If anything, this is one of the first true collaborations between a Japanese animation studio and an American animation studio and remarkable on that level alone. Also, if you read the full credits at IMDB, some interesting names jump out at you, like Peter Chung, who did some of the storyboards.

    Also…this was the last performance by Orson Welles. Henry Jaglom released “Somebody To Love” after this was released, but that was filmed prior to this vocal performance. This was Welles’ last performance, ever. Show some respect for one of the greats.

  • http://jamessuhr.blogspot.com the suhr

    I have to agree with the comment above! I was so motivated by the nearsightedness of your post, but was beaten to the punch. The biggest difference is the budget of the two films. If you wanted to compare the old to the new, okay, I’d give you that. But you are just attacking the old film just because it wasn’t made in the 50′s or 60′s.

  • http://www.mickeystrailer.com Tommy

    I hardly think Jerry was showing any disrespect for Orson Welles simply by making a light-hearted post about the old Transformers movie!

    Speaking of famous actors’ last performances being in cartoon features: James Stewart’s last film “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West” Long live Wylie Burp.

  • Paul

    If nothing else, the ’86 trailer shows that the idea of promoting stars doing voices for animation is in no way a new idea :0)

    Michelle and suhr, take a deep breath and relax. Of COURSE it’s apples and oranges; I don’t think Jerry was sincerely comparing the two or intending to slight anyone involved with the ’86 movie.

  • http://jamessuhr.blogspot.com the suhr

    I know, but there were other choices that could have been used:
    Tron (1982): with its use of CG
    The Last Starfighter (1984): another film to be the first to use CG in a movie.
    Flight of the Navigator (1986): done 20 years ago
    Terminator (1984), and Terminator 2 (1991): These could have been used to compare how robots have been handle SFX wise in movies.

    On the topic of famous actor’s last performances:
    Jimmy Stewart was great in that film. I heard some of the Orson Welles lines at the end were done by Leonard Nimoy.

  • Ratphink

    I also read nothing about “comparisons.” He simply stated look how far we’ve come in 20yrs. Frankly, I’ll take this version over any over-bloated Michael Bay production.

  • http://cartoondavid.blogspot.com david

    I like the older one a lot better. the music is 10 times more fun even if it is 80′s and cheezy. the older transformers were silly, but that was the point. Michael Bay films are like a kid with plastic explosives and a webcam. He is way overrated and is one of the reasons why other “low” budget films fail because audiences expect 50 million dollars worth of s**t to be blown up, instead of a plotline, charismastic characters, or something worth watching.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    My favorite thing about the current Transformers revival is the way it outs the people who are really still living in their childhood. They rail against Michael Bay, citing Independence Day and Day After Tomorrow as examples of why he shouldn’t be allowed to direct the Transformers. I guess a director responsible for empty special effects action films won’t be able to pull off the subtle character interplay between space robots that turn into cars and trucks.- in a film based on a line of toys. Brother. This one will be better because it will be less ugly and terrible than the animated cheese of the original television version.

    As for Welles, his golden years were decades gone by then. Paul Masson wine commercials were his medium of choice when he started his association with the animated Transformers movie.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com ZekeySpaceyLizard

    Michael Bay’s transformers will have very few transformers in it, I wager. I can tell from watching the trailer that they’ve shown all the cool stuff in the trailer (roughly 3 minutes of footage) and the rest of the movie will be a boring romantic comedy starring Shia LaBouf. 90% of the movie will no doubt focus on the young couple. If they even bother to mention all the transformers names before the end credits it will be a miracle. :[

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Michael Bay films are like a kid with plastic explosives and a webcam. He is way overrated and is one of the reasons why other “low� budget films fail because audiences expect 50 million dollars worth of s**t to be blown up, instead of a plotline, charismastic characters, or something worth watching.

    Probably why I hadn’t seen a Michael Bay film at all to notice that. Just not into those kind of films otherwise (nor have I seen the TF animated movie either). Not a big TF fan anyway.

  • http://pediatristsplayground.blogspot.com Kevin W. Martinez a.k.a. Leviathan

    “He is way overrated and is one of the reasons why other “lowâ€? budget films fail because audiences expect 50 million dollars worth of s**t to be blown up, instead of a plotline, charismastic characters, or something worth watching.”

    I think David hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head here

  • Keith Paynter

    Wow, 80′s cheesy pop synth score. At least the current movie is meant to stand on its own merit, in a nostalgic way. The original cartoons were simply 23 minute toy commercials, despite the lofty anime goals. No disrespect to the fanbase, but I never got into the whole thing. The new movie will hopefully be better than most of the the current crop of cartoons-turned-live-action. It might even sell more toys at McDonald’s/Burger King/wherever.

    I still think the Robot Chicken PSA clip may be more fun – Optimus Prime is no spring chicken…

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Michael Bay’s transformers will have very few transformers in it, I wager. I can tell from watching the trailer that they’ve shown all the cool stuff in the trailer (roughly 3 minutes of footage) and the rest of the movie will be a boring romantic comedy starring Shia LaBouf. 90% of the movie will no doubt focus on the young couple. If they even bother to mention all the transformers names before the end credits it will be a miracle. :[

    Heh, some die-hard TF fans have sighted this as well since they feel it won’t be the TF they want to have in a film.

    Of course I kinda dread one of Michael Bay’s upcoming projects, a doomsday pic based on a book chronicling the usual 2012 year that’ll be hyped up the wazoo by the time this film comes out. Don’t want to be reminded of that personally since I know there’s going to be too many duped into believing this and falling for it in the end.

  • http://cartooncrank.ebloggy.com/ cartooncrank

    Yeah, just LOOK how far we’ve come.

    It’s 21 years later and we’re STILL MAKING TRANSFORMERS MOVIES!

    Woot!

  • Sullivan

    “They rail against Michael Bay, citing Independence Day and Day After Tomorrow ….”

    Ummm…. I think you’re thinking of Roland Emmerich.

  • Ellio7t

    Speaking of Spielberg and computer “animation”, how come there has been no news on Tintin posted. It was just released that he and Peter Jackson will be making 3 movies based on the amazing comic. Only problem is its going to be motion capture. After a year of work Weta said they had 20 min of footage. 20 min they have not released to the public, nor have they even given a glimpse of stills or character designs. With one of the most loved franchise in history you would think something would be given to wet fans pallets.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    “They rail against Michael Bay, citing Independence Day and Day After Tomorrow ….�

    Ummm…. I think you’re thinking of Roland Emmerich.”

    Oop! I think I effed up there!

    Ha ha!

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tony Mines

    “want to know how far we’ve come”

    That would be backwards then.

    I thought this site was meant to be for obsessive animation nerds. Am I going to have to be the only person here to mention that almost all of the animation in that trailer (the 80s one) isn’t used in the film and hasn’t been seen in 20 years? Or that said trailer has been made available to promote what seems to be one of the best considered restoration re-releases this year? Usually hot topic around here, that sort of thing.

    Maaaaaaan, if it doesn’t predate colour television, you guys just don’t want to know…

  • Billy Batz

    At least show the cooler trailer (the one that shows optimus jumping thru the air).
    On a design note: At least I can see the face on the old transformers, and I can tell who’s a Decepticon or an Autobot. The Hollywood craptacular designs look like a pile of gray metal confetti( can they possibly add more detail ? ).
    Also… Transformers the movie (1986 cartoon) owns Shrek 3, Spider man 3, Pirates 3. Watch it . You’ll feel some emotion besides boredom.
    You got the touch!

  • http://mayersononanimation.blogspot.com Mark Mayerson

    I just want to point out that Orson Welles was making independent films until the time of his death. He used jobs like The Transformers and the wine commercials to finance projects like F for Fake and The Other Side of the Wind, which was incomplete at the time of his death but reportedly features a brilliant performance by John Huston.

    Welles did not enjoy whoring himself out for money, but he had learned the hard way that the only way to make films as he wanted to was to pay for them himself. While it’s easy to knock him for many of the things he did towards the end of his life, we should be praising him for not giving up and for using the system to achieve his own goals.

  • http://demianjohnston.blogspot.com Demian

    wow. the music in that trailer made me sad.

    that was a good summer though.

  • Chuck R.

    The original had Orson Welles, which is cool, I guess, but this new version has a guy that sounds exactly like Tom Hanks when he yells “no, No, NO!”

    Oh and speaking of animation swan-songs: “Wasn’t The Fox and The Hound” Corey Feldman’s last performance before his career tanked? ;-)

  • http://lunarworks.ca Jacob

    I have that movie on Betamax. I actually dug it up a few days ago.

  • http://opticboost.blogspot.com Dave Dind

    I second Billy Batz note about the design of the transformers in this new movie. What were they thinking?!

    Does anyone else have an issue with these monstrosities?

  • James Kormann

    I think that I will pass on seeing the live action version. I saw the original back in ’86 as a 10 year old and absolutely enjoyed it. I won’t waste a dime of my money on the new film. I ‘m not helping Spielberg or Bay get rich for pissing all over my childhood memories.

  • Dave

    I think the person who did the VO for this is still in business…

  • Steve Gattuso

    When I think of Michael Bay, I think of his fine fine work on such classics as “The Island,” “Bad Boys 2,” and “Pearl Harbor.” In other words, he’s perfect for this flick. But it also means I wouldn’t waste the time to see this thing at gunpoint. And reading the flame wars on both sides is even more enjoyable than watching LOTR fans go ballistic when they first found out Peter Jackson was responsible for “Meet the Feebles.”

  • Andrew Lee

    It could just be the testosterone talking, but I’m looking forward to the new Transformers movie. It’s a premise about giant robot’s at war, I want to see stuff get blown up, and Bay delivers there.

    Don’t get me wrong here, it wouldn’t be the worst thing if the movie also came with a good story. But if all I wanted to see are giant robots emote, I’ll go watch the Iron Giant.

    Bay has done some pretty craptastic stuff. But I don’t think he is completely raping anyone’s child hood here. As far as character design goes, I think staying with the original designs would have looked cheesy, I’m not hip on all the changes especially Megatron and Starscream,….but come on, Iron Hide is much cooler as a big ass truck than a mini van.

    Anyway, like most people,….(smile)…I won’t judge it till I see it.

  • Jpox

    That original movie’s storyline was also set 2 years ago.
    Go figure…
    A classic movie in my opinion.

  • http://tenpoundtoons.com Dino

    That synth music kicks ASS.

  • Gabriel

    hey, they should recreate orson welles’ voice on computer to use in the new movie!

  • Don Wilson

    No comparison. The 1986 movie was fun, and wasn’t another typical “in your face” loud computer generated mess like all of today’s “so called” animated movies are. To me the word “animation” used to mean artists who drew the cartoons with their hands, with their talents. Today’s “so called animators” are mere button pushers who let the computer do all the work for them. Add to that the fact that to me, computer animation has always looked fake, and the 3D elements have never looked real. At least with 2D animation, we’re drawn into a world all it’s own, not a computerized world in which humans are a part of, and doesn’t look or feel real.

  • Dasnick

    Don Wilson: Are you serious, or just trolling? On the off chance you actually believe what you just wrote, let me respond.

    Calling a computer animator a “button pusher” is like calling a traditional 2D animator someone who “doodles funny pictures.” You obviously have never touched a 3D animation program in your life if you think the computer does alll the work.

    Look, say what you will about the quality of the movies, but dismissing these animators, some of whom have enormous talent, just because they use a wacom tablet instead of a pencil is asinine. Go back to your cave and push some dirt over your head . . . you’ll be happier in the dark.

  • http://vice.parodius.com/ Dave Silva

    Okay, how about we blame the designers who messed up all those transformers instead?

    I mean, the best way to alienate the original fanbase is to destroy the original characters. I can take -some- updating, but come on. Many characters now look like “modern art” pieces.

  • Rob

    Well I’ve seen both trailers, but that one right there sells the old movie for me. Off to ebay I go…

    I’m not really slighting the new one. The CG looks impressive, but I have a gut feeling it’s going to be “Hollywoodized” into something awful. I hope I’m wrong.

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com GagaMan

    DOMO ARIGATO MR ROBOTO

    DOMO

    DOMO

  • http://www.filmbuffonline.com Rich Drees

    I may have crossed a brain cell or two, but I thought that Welles’ last performance was the introduction he did for Moonlighting’s black and white episode “The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice” just a few weeks before he passed…

  • Andrew Lee

    Hi Dave,

    Just to play devils advocate.

    In the 86′ animated version, they killed off almost all of the original Gen 1 character’s that were on the show in the first 20 minutes, replacing them with new Transformers that no one had ever seen before ie. Ultra Magnus, Kup, Hot Rod, Arcee……yadda yadda. On top of completley redesigning Megatron into Galvatron.

    Don’t get me wrong here, I’m in no way shape or form defending the live movie Megatron….I’m completely disgusted with that design.

    I’m just saying, they screwed the pooch on the 86′ version too, and didn’t alienate their fanbase then.

  • http://www.slitherandfriends.com MisterSpook

    As a long time fan of the Transformers, I still prefer the old over the new and I think the new, updated look has done little to capture what constitutes the characters and personalities of the old series. That said, I’ll probably go see it anyway but I don’t have high hopes for it. It just seems like the fact they’re transforming robots is incidental. The story isn’t about them, it’s about how the Decepticons are threatening humanity (oh, and if you want to help Chevy save the world just go to this website…). Please.

    At least in the old version the threat to the humanity was only a byproduct not a focus of the conflict between two opposing factions of… uh… well, transforming robots. Either way, the old series has charm, cheese, and nostalgia going for it. The new film looks to be yet another re-imagined piece of crap.

    On an almost completely unrelated note, I have an old Transformer’s Comic lying around where the black suit Spider-Man appears. I should go visit ebay!

  • http://vice.parodius.com/ Dave Silva

    Andrew Lee:
    Well, I wasn’t talking about the movie itself, just the way characters look. At least they look human-like in the original series… the new movie’s characters look like something spat out by a blender.

    Not to mention, there wasn’t an internet in 1986. All those kids from then? Now they can complain. :p

  • http://www.aaronhazouri.com Aaron

    Gee… I feel like kind of a jerk, or an idiot or something, because the new Transformers movie looks exactly like a movie about giant robots should look. I was never into the cartoon as a kid, though, so I don’t have that sense of “my childhood being raped” or anything.

    I can kind of understand how they feel, though. I was pretty perturbed when that awful American “Godzilla” movie came out back in the 90s…

  • RODAN

    That god awful trailer is most likely the reason I never saw this one.. why the heck didn’t they have Orson Wells narrate the trailer.

    Actually…I’m kind of glad I never saw this one.. I could barely stand this clip…The new one might be a good one to take my nephew to. That and the popcorn… I can’t think of any other reason to see either version. Maybe to hear the Last gasp of Orson Wells. O’ well…Cheers and better luck next time…

  • Paul

    Add Paul Newman to the list of actors whose last screen performance was in an animated film.

  • http://www.lakupo.com/grblitz ManekiNeko

    Yeah, I’d pick the original Japanese cartoon feature over this new film, where ALL the Transformers look like Junkions. Or just junk.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Heino

    I don’t know if you can say we’ve come too far – I still hold this as one of the best animated features of my childhood. Limited animation or not there’s so much momentum and imagination throughout the film, and a genuine sense of spectacle. Keeping in mind the fact that most of the old characters were killed within 15 minutes to introduce a new toy line, that brutality and honesty of a cruel, harsh world still rang true to a kid far more than Disney’s fodder at the time (except GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE – that was amazing). It may be a toy commercial, but someone tried to make it something special.

    The opening scene of Unicron basically committing intergalatic genocide is the stuff of space opera, and even at its worst there are some great visual ideas that hit harder than you’d think. There is one sequence in particular that elevates way beyond simple kiddie fodder, in which the heroes are imprisoned on a world ruled by creatures with one rotating head with multiple faces, each of which serves as a different member of the court. The idea of impartial judge, jury and executioner all in one malevolent being is pretty amazing, and there’s too much good stuff snuck into this movie to write it off as fluff. Compare it to GI JOE (the movie) for a real contrast of creativity and whimsical adventure vs. conservative Regan-era propoganda to kids.