Bob Chipman asks: Is The G1 Transformers Movie really that good?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by TargetmasterJoe, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. electronic456

    electronic456 擎天柱

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Posts:
    2,237
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Likes:
    +971
    I guess the design aesthetic was something. I mean Arcee having robo-buns does remind you of Leia right?

    And yeah, you're right about Star Wars not being 100% original because George Lucas took some inspiration from The Hidden Fortress.
     
  2. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Posts:
    1,266
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +876
    Well, if Star Wars is unoriginal, then surely TFTM copying a load of stuff from it merely compounds the issue, no? Just because one guy drives over the limit and gets away with it, doesn't mean we should cry when we get caught speeding...

    There are a lot of films that are technically well made but have script problems. The Michael Bay Transformer movies are excellent pieces of technical film-making. Prometheus is another good example.

    Don't get me wrong, I like this movie, just as I like the Bill & Ted films, or Evil Dead 3, or Fast5. But would I classify any of those in the above list as particularly good examples of cinema? Possibly not.

    It's like, I dunno, I can be a fan of both Tubular Bells and the Greatest Hits of Hanson whilst still realising that the former album has far more artistic merit than the latter.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Agamus

    Agamus Not an Iguana

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Posts:
    493
    Trophy Points:
    132
    Location:
    Washington State
    Likes:
    +377
    The comparison to Obi Wan and Luke just as easily could be made to Merlin and King Arthur, and even then it's still weaker than superficial. Prime is definitely not a wise old man/mentor archetype. My point is that "originality" isn't relevant, and the comparison to Star Wars is more lateral than anything else in terms of emotional content. What appeals to you and strikes you emotionally is personally subjective, so if TFTM's flaws break the Rule of Cool for you then that's that.
    Ripping Akira Kurosawa is only a part of it too, mainly that Star Wars is more generic tried and true Hero's Journey thrown into a Flash Gordon-esque sci-fi setting than not. Even on an aesthetic level I'm sure weathering a prop wasn't a new concept. What can I say, it was standing on the shoulders of giants, what film doesn't.
     
  4. Metroplex79

    Metroplex79 Hey mouse, say cheese!

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Posts:
    5,074
    Trophy Points:
    262
    Location:
    Torontonia
    Likes:
    +138
    I love how people are still dissecting the movie today.

    It's not as iconic as Star Wars, but hey, we're still here, the toys are still here, the movie is still being talked about and compared to.

    It did it's job, and more.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Posts:
    12,179
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +1,276
    There's certainly a cynical, commercial aspect to the movie. How could there not be? And I'm sure there were people working on it who didn't see a lot of merit in the project but still tried to just do a decent job. But if you ever heard Wally Burr talk about his work, or if you heard Judd Nelson's improvised speech at Botcon 2016, there's no way you could think there weren't also people trying to make something good--something with heart--out of what they were given to work with. The messages of hope in the face of loss and of becoming something greater genuinely are there, even if they were prompted by a need to rotate product on store shelves.

    It's that weird mix of manipulative commercialism and authentic feeling, of being almost really good but almost really bad, that I think makes the movie an almost perfect encapsulation of the 1980s.
     
    • Like Like x 8
  6. pilot00

    pilot00 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Posts:
    3,263
    Trophy Points:
    187
    Location:
    Athens Greece
    Likes:
    +2,131
    There are some good fairy tales for 3 year olds. I am sure those would cater to your needs if you cant understand a medium meant for 8 year olds ;) 
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. GogoDG

    GogoDG Come and help me somebody quicklyyyyyyahhhhhhh!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2017
    Posts:
    263
    Trophy Points:
    107
    Location:
    Europe
    Likes:
    +284
    Twitter:
    As it was my first experience of the Transformers (as a brand) I really liked the movie. And its still holds by today's standards.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Venixion

    Venixion So-Cal Girl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2013
    Posts:
    4,517
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +2,235
    :thumbdown I thought I was watching a tftm review. Not a political piece about a girl and bull statue.


    I like the movie, but its got its flaws just like any other. It looks good, has a great soundtrack and has plenty of kickassery from the robots we know and love. Its also got some moments that make you wanna slink out of the room in embarrassment for it. Plus, with the exception of Arcee, Kup and Cyclonus, it ushered in some truly awful characters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  9. Rodimus Prime

    Rodimus Prime Sola Gratia, Sola Fide TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2002
    Posts:
    11,746
    Trophy Points:
    392
    Likes:
    +266
    Uh... yeah, let's not use Bob Chipman, aka the guy who called the Nintendo vs. Sega school rivalry 'his generations Vietnam', to argue in favor of anything, ever.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  10. Ramberk Magnus

    Ramberk Magnus TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Posts:
    1,896
    Trophy Points:
    267
    Likes:
    +747
    I don't know dude. "Soulless toy commercial"? The movie actually had really good characterization and drama. "Aping popular trends." It was aping Star Wars but the movie definitely created its own unique take on the typical adventure story tropes. And it did not fumble at all to establish its mythology. I could give you a list of concrete examples of these points if you want.

    It was a fun action-adventure story that fulfilled the need to sell new toys. The video made good points that I hadn't thought of before too.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  11. TargetmasterJoe

    TargetmasterJoe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2017
    Posts:
    153
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    67
    Likes:
    +139
    Twitter:
    Tumblr:
    He was trying to compare the Fearless Girl statue (which was commissioned by "investment firm State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) to advertise for an index fund which comprises gender-diverse companies that have a higher percentage of women among their senior leadership," but got reinterpreted as something more meaningful like women standing against elitist men) to TFTM (which was meant to be a 90-minute advertisement for a new line of toys, but got reinterpreted as something much more meaningful).

    TL;DR: the Fearless Girl statue was made as an advertisement. TFTM was also made as an advertisement. But they both have gotten or are getting praise by the masses, even though the two of them are getting slapped by professional critics as "corporate baloney."

    Also, the video is NOT a TFTM review, but an analysis about why TFTM has lasted as long as it has.

    Ok, I'm honestly surprised by the dissing this video's getting... :( 
     
    • Like Like x 5
  12. Jumacas

    Jumacas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Posts:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    122
    Likes:
    +315
    While I'm certainly far from a fan of Moviebob, a compeling argument is a compeling argument, I think. No matter if the same person has made incredibly dumb arguments in the past or does in other topics. In this instance, I think he makes some incredibly substancial commentary and addresses something that needed to be addressed in regards to Transformers: Art vs Commerse and Intent vs Result. This is something fundamental to the success of Transformers in general, that Hasbro is yet to realise. If you want to sell bubblegum, and somehow come up with Star Wars to advertise it... Well... You now have created Star Wars! Get a damn clue!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    • Like Like x 3
  13. Rodimus Prime

    Rodimus Prime Sola Gratia, Sola Fide TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2002
    Posts:
    11,746
    Trophy Points:
    392
    Likes:
    +266
    I'm just saying, if you have someone who wrote this:



    as a source for your argument, you need better sources. I mean, I love the movie, it's a guilty pleasure of mine, but I don't see how citing this individual is going to win anyone over.
     
  14. Venixion

    Venixion So-Cal Girl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2013
    Posts:
    4,517
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +2,235

    Oh so there was an actual review? I sat there for about 2 minutes waiting for it, before shutting it off.
     
  15. Jumacas

    Jumacas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Posts:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    122
    Likes:
    +315

    Yeah... He's usually neck deep in bullshit and more often than not seems unable to leave his political affiliations at the door and differenciate between opinion and fact. But, dammit if that dude doesn't do his research in his video essays. All I say is, a good point is a good point, as much as a dumb comment can be dumb. And this video in particular includes some very valid points in this particular subject, regardless of the speaker. Shame if those valid points become devalued because of the individual's other comments on other topics.
     
  16. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Posts:
    5,827
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +791
    At first I thought I had clicked on the wrong video. What was all this stuff about the bull & girl statue? I checked the title of the video while it was playing to make sure. No, it definitely says it's the TFTM episode. But as it continued on, the point became clear.

    The bull statue, a work of independent art, once removed due to its lack of permit & seen by many on Wall Street as an eyesore, was restored after public outcry & would come to symbolize Wall Street itself, which is probably the furthest thing from its intent or how it came to be located there.

    The girl statue, actually commissioned by Wall Street investors & granted all the necessary permits, became something else too- a symbol of female strength, seemingly staring down the face of the raging bull with courage. The SHE in the plaque refers to the 3 letter corporation identified in the stock exchange, not a general "SHE" as in "all females everywhere." It seems more uplifting, but its intent & origins are rooted in calculated business dealings. It represents everything that people think the bull represents.

    Likewise, TFTM is rooted in corporate cynicism. Buy new toys! Your old ones are dead! But somehow through chance or design, the movie came to mean something more than that to the generation of kids that grew up with it. There was something more there to kids than just a company's bottom line. And that's the part, about 20 or 25 minutes into the video, that I found really interesting.

    The basic argument of Bob's video is that, there must be something more to this movie, because people are still talking about it today. There must be something there that people knowingly or not are affected by.
    He argues that while the rest of 1980s media largely portrayed the resurgence of the stable nuclear family of the 50s, the reality was that divorce rates were rising, & families were breaking up.
    TFTM creates a void in leadership for both sides. The new Autobots are mostly all young, & both Kup & Ultra Magnus are quickly shown to be either ineffective or unable to protect the kids on their own. It's up to the kids themselves, in this time of turmoil & change, to somehow pull through. And the movie promises that you'll make it through the deepest reaches of Hell and be okay.

    It is strange then, that Bob showed but offered no commentary on the scene, where Daniel saves his dad. It matches up perfectly with Hot Rod saving Kup & the other young Autobots repairing Ultra Magnus. In a role reversal, the kids are shown having to protect their parental & authority figures. It makes sense then, when Ultra Magnus says, "I can't deal with that now." The guardian figures of TFTM are all shown to be either susceptible to death or ineffective.
    Also notable is the absense of Daniel's mom, in keeping with the undercurrent of the failing nuclear family of the 80s, though she was later shown still married to Spike in season 3. That means nothing to people (like me) who never saw season 3 until a decade after! And also, the discussion is about the movie itself, not any extra info added afterwards.

    Anyway, a very interesting take on the whole thing, devoid of the cynicism that I myself tend to display when talking about the movie. It covered a lot of the same bases that we've seen before, but at least a few new ideas were explored that were well worth the 48 minute runtime.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  17. LegionMaximus

    LegionMaximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Posts:
    1,197
    Trophy Points:
    177
    Likes:
    +211
    The movie is a rambling mess, but it's a beautifully animated and fun. And it was very ambitious. It's true that a lot of the original TF cast got axed because "gotta sell new toys", but it's not fair to dismiss it as just a toy commercial. As imperfect as it was, TFTM was trying to provide an interesting story while selling toys. Lots of elements that were included because the filmmakers thought they'd be fun, interesting, adventurous--not just because "we're making a toy of that."

    If you want to see "just a toy commercial" look at G.I. Joe The Movie (Cobra-la-la-la-la-la because this year we're selling SNAKE PEOPLE) or, particularly, My Little Pony The Movie. With MLPTM they didn't even offer an explanation for the disappearance of Firefly, Moondancer, etc; every single previously seen pony was just gone, replaced with the new toyline. Now that's some cynical commercialism.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Posts:
    5,827
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +791
    Bob's analysis reminds me of Solid Snake's speech at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2. In short- despite the fact that much of what we take in is fiction, the way that fiction makes us feel is a real thing.



    So while killing off the seasons 1 & 2 cast was a cynical business decision with no regard for the characters or their impact on pop culture, the fact remained that kids had grown attached to those characters, & cleaning the slate with them was synonymous with ending millions of kids' childhoods at that moment. What those kids felt was real even though the characters they were so affected by we're not.

    I also like his look at Spike- now a full grown man with a (off-screen) wife & son. He grew up but not out of Transformers. It's really something when you check out Lindsay Ellis' analysis of the Bay movies; specifically her episode, "The Problem of Lady Robots" (pretty sure it was that one). In it, she illustrates how the Bay movies tell the male audience that they should be more preoccupied with cool cars & hot women & getting laid, & the giant alien robits from outer space are pretty lame next to a pair of long legs on a curvy woman. *THAT* is damn cynical, & makes you realize that for all the blunders TFTM made, at least it was genuine & embraced the concept rather than show contempt for it.

    And I would wager that most of us posting on these boards grew up to be more like Spike Witwicky than Sam Witwkcky. A lot of us have families now or at least a companion & have grown up with the Transformers, not away from them.
    The Sam Witwicky's of the world grew up, grew out of TFs & moved on with their lives. Both are valid truths of growing into adulthood, but I find TFTM has a more hopeful message- that you don't have to abandon your fond memories of childhood things to be a grown-up. It's kind of surprising too, considering that the 80s saw a massive resurgence in ultra-macho, hyper masculine movies & TV flooding pop culture. Having come out of the hippy, trance like, drug induced era of the 60s & 70s, the 80s were all about ramming the narrative & social programming of how to be a man's man down our throats. Yet somehow TFTM says, "Nah. It's cool. Keep your toys." I'm guessing that was a bit of unintentional 1980s counter-culture.

    On the issue of divorce & continued breakdown of the nuclear family- I had never thought of it before watching this, but there is a ton of separation in this movie. Obviously the separation we experience when a loved one dies, but also check out the scene where the 2 Autobot ships have to separate & end up on different planets, Ultra Magnus separates his own ship, allowing 3/4 of it to be destroyed in the process, Hot Rod & Kup get separated from the Dinobots, Hot Rod gets separated from everyone once inside Unicron, and so on ( there's probably more examples I'm forgetting). The final act of the movie has everyone reuniting, & pulling through in the last moments with an ultimate happy ending.
    For a kid watching their parents getting divorced, this movie very likely could've helped pull them through their own personal darkest hour. That's pretty cool.

    I gotta say, for years & years I've regarded this flick as pretty shit for all the reasons Bob stated at the beginning. But there was a time when I was 7 or 8, that the wild, imaginative craziness of the movie was surreal awesomeness somehow trapped & contained within the 2D confines of celluloid. I think I've found a new appreciation for this movie, despite it's many, many flaws & the its cynical origins. Didn't think that would ever happen.
     
    • Like Like x 7
  19. Tresob

    Tresob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Posts:
    3,940
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +493
    Overall, I think this video is a really effective introduction to reader response criticism (the audience determines meaning rather than the creator) and cultural materialism theory (how the toys and economic history impacted the art).

    Unfortunately, if you simply don't buy into reader response criticism, then you will bristle at his defense of the film's meaningfulness. I also felt like the film spent a lot of time apologizing for reader response criticism as an approach when it could have made more insights about the film itself.

    Some of its arguments are a little too conjectural for my tastes. I thought it was provocative to attribute the success of the franchise to how Hasbro basically hired creative people to play with toys, that doing so produced a film that felt more like kids playing with toys, and that this made it resonate more with young audiences. But one can't really prove this. It makes me say, "Interesting..." rather than, "Of course! How could I not have seen that!"

    I'm also not sure that I buy the argument that audiences were tapping into the theme of endurance through transformative social upheaval of the 80s. Is the video implying that the increasing pace of divorce made the movie more relevant to 80s kids? This might be true for some people, but not all. It doesn't really jive with my own personal experiences growing up in the 80s. Really, it might just be something as simple as the Transformers offering kids a greater power fantasy than most other toy franchises.

    Anyway, reader response criticism is very hard to do without either conducting surveys or just relying on personal experience. Arguing what something means to other people is a very tenuous basis to start an interpretation without having some other form of evidence.

    Still, I think the endurance theme works as interpretation of the film--and as others mentioned, seeing it as a war movie gives it a very compelling dramatic conflict--but I'm not sure it ultimately proves why the film itself continues to entertain people.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Posts:
    5,827
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +791
    Author intent is very important too, of course. But it's not the end-all, be-all of film analysis. I've had film professors that were adamant that the writer/director's vision and intent are all that matters & that any other interpretation of their work is wrong.

    I've also had professors that say that's a load of bull. That each person in the audience brings their own experiences into the theater with them, when they go to see a movie. Film analysis is inherently a 2-way street; we can take the author intent into consideration when looking at a movie, but we also bring our own views to it. Without that 2-way street, there is no such thing as film analysis. It'd just be some director telling us the meaning of their work & there'd be no room for discussion. That's boring.
     
    • Like Like x 3

Share This Page