TFTM DVD thoughts

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Gregatron, Nov 9, 2006.

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  1. Gregatron

    Gregatron Member

    Jul 3, 2002
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    There doesn't seem to be a main TFTM DVD discussion thread, so I'm starting this one!

    Some preliminary thoughts:

    Two "BONNGGGG" sounds can be heard over the DEG logo at the beginning of the film. Was this in the original theatrical US release? Cuz it sounds just like the gong sounds used in the J. Arthur Rank distribution logo (which features a guy baning on a gong), which is seen before the movie starts in the UK version of TFTM (and which can be seen in the original 1999 Kid Rhino VHS release of TFTM).

    Since it appears that an actual theatrical print was used for the widescreen version, the vividness of the colors (and the film grain/imperfections) isn't a surprise.

    The fullscreen version's colors are way off, however. The Rhino version looked much better. For example, in the Sony version, the purple energy effects seen when Unicron transforms Megatron and the others looks red in the Sony version, and Hot Rod looks maroon instead of magenta.

    Something that REALLY worries me: The trailer for Sony's 2007 G1 DVD release uses the EXACT same audio/video (complete with added sound effects) as the infamous Rhino DVD versions.

    Does this mean that the Sony version will be a straight re-release of the Rhino versions, complete with all the same groan-inducing audio/video errors and changes? I really, really hope not. Or is the trailer just something that was thrown together using the Rhino versions as a placeholder to promote a fully-remastered and corrected Sony re-release?

    Additionally, the edits of G1 background music that can be heard over some of Sony's TFTM menus and special features can also be heard over special features in the Rhino sets. Y'see, Rhino apparently had access to DMEs (separate/isolated audio tracks combined to make a finished soundtrack, each containing all the dialogue, all the music, and all the sound effects separate from each other) for each G1 episode. Rhino just took the isolated music tracks from some episodes (not the complete music cues, just the edited versions heard in any given episode) and used it as background music for their special features.

    So, it looks like Sony just grabbed exactly what Rhino used for their sets to give the TFTM DVD some background music. Which worries me.

    I also noticed a number of factual errors in the bonus features/commentaries that cropped up from time to time. Being a life-long fan of the classic Transformers series/movie, and having studied the movie in obsessive detail, allow me to supply a few corrections (and other fun details):

    Along with Huffer and Sunstreaker, Prowl, mistakenly colored like Bluestreak, can be seen with Kup when Hot Rod is firing at the Autobot shuttle (the real Bluestreak can be glimpsed earlier on, working on the roadblock).

    It is NOT Ironhide who can be seen flying over Autobot City as the Decepticons attack (in the shot just before Blaster is introduced). It is actually REFLECTOR, mistakenly colored like Ironhide (a common mistake with characters who have similar body types). Reflector shows up several times in the film (most notably when the Decepticons all gather and line up outside Autobot City before Devastator appears, and during Starscream's coronation), despite having been dropped from the series midway through season 2 (I believe the tv series' bible has a notation to the effect of "Do Not Use" regarding Reflector after a certain point in time).

    It is NOT a dead Sideswipe who can be seen in the left corner of the screen as Springer runs to the launcher to move it into place. It is actually just the dead Wheeljack, mistakenly colored like Sideswipe.

    Hot Rod jumps Megatron because he apparently sees that Megatron is reaching for the gun (which Prime can't see), not solely because of some arbitrary plot point which necessitates Hot Rod's involvment in Prime's death.

    As far as I know, the filmmakers never intended to have any Insecticon clones running around in the movie. Otherwise, there probably would have been a moment in the film showing clones being made. Rather, it's very, very likely that the various appearances/disappearances/deaths of the Insecticons in the film (and their subsequent appearances in season 3) are just animation mistakes. Indeed, in the script, Shrapnel is specifically named in his appearance on the Planet of Junk, and apparently, no one caught the fact that he was later chosen to be killed off and become a Sweep (at some point after the script was written, presumably).

    Cyclonus DOES have dialogue in the completed film. According to the script (and my recognition of the voice), he is the one who says, "You want me to gut Ultra Magnus?" during the second attack on Autobot City (it just so happens that Scourge flies by and pops his head up at that moment, hence the confusion).

    Also, Cyclonus is the one who says, "The Autobots have been terminated!" after 3/4 of the shuttle is destroyed, NOT Scourge. According to the script, it is definitely Cyclonus who says that line. For a long time, I also thought it was Scourge saying that line, but careful examination of the voice makes me sure it's Roger C. Carmel (whose performance as Cyclonus was constantly fluctuating).

    The Decepticon jets eaten by Unicron near the end of the movie are not exactly the ones we know and love. Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker can all be seen in jet mode, attacking him. However, "Starscream" appears to be "super-deformed" and squashed, and "Thundercracker" only appears for *one frame* as himself; he then morphs into Dirge-colored-like-Thundercracker. Apparently, the animators just took the F-15 jets' model sheets and used them to represent "generic" Decepticon jets. They may not have had reference for the "Cybertronic"-type jets from "More than Meets the Eye" and "The Ultimate Doom".

    The attack force also includes the coneheads, apparently. In the first dynamic, well-animated shot of the Decepticons attacking Unicron, we can see all three coneheads in jet mode, colored correctly, and all on-model. The next (lengthy) shot, however, seems much faster, and much lower in overall quality/detail, as if it were created in a hurry. And, as previously mentioned, we see ("super-deformed") Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker.

    We then see all three(?) coneheads fall into Unicron's mouth and explode. Well, first off, there are FOUR jets, and they all have Dirge-type wings. Are these the "real" coneheads? I sincerely doubt it. The animators probably wanted to draw generic, "Cybertronic" jets, but didn't have proper reference materials. And, why would Hasbro allow their newer (1985) jet toys to be killed off along with the older (1984) jets? The Movie went into production around the time in the series that the coneheads were first introduced!! Surely they wouldn't just kill them off! Besides, the coneheads still appear in the 1986 toy catalog, whereas the "old", dead jets (Starscream aside) do *NOT*. In additon, none of these "conehead" jets speak in this "death" scene, so there's no true evidence that these jets were indeed the "real" coneheads. And, of course, all three coneheads appear in "Five Faces of Darkness" (with Ramjet and Dirge even having dialogue).

    CONCLUSION: The coneheads probably partipated in the battle against Unicron, but they weren't the ones who got eaten.

    Also, Unicron actually smashes and *destroys* Galvatron's flagship with his hand (just before Galvatron transforms to cannon mode in a futile attempt to attack Unicron), yet the ship appears later on during the third season of the series.

    The issue of which Decepticons became which has fascinated me for years. I've done a lot of research on the matter, and actually worked on a huge essay regarding this topic years ago (which was never completed):

    There are a huge number of continuity errors regarding the Decepticons tossed out of Astrotrain, the number of new Deceptcons, etc. Kickback's left leg is missing (as if lost during the battle) in some shots, the Insecticons' guns appear and disappear, etc.

    Here are some of my observations (some cut-and-pasted from my own revisions to the Cyclonus article):

    Thundercracker becomes Scourge, with Shrapnel and Kickback becoming Sweeps (uncontested).

    Skywarp and Bombshell both become Cyclonus robots at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME, with little indication of which is the "real" Cyclonus, save for the fact that Bombshell-Cyclonus is in the foreground of the shot.

    And, despite the fact that Bombshell is more prominent on-screen when Cyclonus is created, the purple "energy cocoon" surrounding each of the Decepticons (which Unicron uses to reshape their bodies) disappears two frames faster from Skywarp/Cyclonus than it does from Bombshell/Cyclonus (meaning that Skywarp is "finished" becoming a Cyclonus-style robot two frames before Bombshell is).

    Also, when the two Cyclonus robots subsequently transform to jet mode, Skywarp/Cyclonus's color scheme is slightly more accurate than Bombshell/Cyclonus'. As seen in the rest of the movie and the subsequent tv episodes, in jet mode, Cyclonus' knees become VTOL thrusters, and change color from dark purple to the lighter purple of the rest of his body. In the scene, however, Bombshell/Cyclonus' knees remain dark purple, while Skywarp/Cyclonus' knees become the correct shade.

    Then, Scourge (identifiable because he is the only Sweep in the group whose robot-mode head pops up in vehicle mode during the movie--however, later in the tv series, ALL of the Sweeps can pop their heads up) and Skywarp/Cyclonus are both the last to transform to vehicle mode in the scene (and they are next to each other when they do), while all of the subordinate robots have already transformed. Then, *FIVE* Sweeps (already transformed into hovercraft mode), as opposed to the two created on-screen fly into frame to join the other new Decepticons.

    Finally, as the group flies into Galvatron's ship, we see Cyclonus, Scourge (whose head is still popped up), and three Sweeps. Thus, the number of new Decepticons once again corresponds to the number tossed out of Astrotrain. We can thus assume that the second cyclonus and the extra Sweeps were animation errors which were removed after that one shot, and that either Skywarp of Bombshell retroactively became a Sweep instead of a Cyclonus-type robot (more likely Bombshell, since the notion of the three Insecticons becoming the three Sweeps feels more logical, somehow).

    The dialogue which accompanies this scene claims that we are seeing “Cyclonus, the warrior...and his armada.” Clearly, one extra Cyclonus-style robot does not make an armada – the line is, in fact, a carry over from the script, in which Cyclonus was intended to have multiple identical duplicates under his command, in the same way that Scourge had the Sweeps (multiple Cyclonus-style jets can still be seen in the Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie).

    However, the idea was apparently abandoned right after the transformation shot was animated, since the second Cyclonus immediately disappears for the remainder of the film and is retroactively replaced with a third Sweep at the end of the scene (despite this, some fans choose not to discount the existence of the second Cyclonus, and, somewhat irreverently, refer to him as a second character actually named “Armada”). The only other glimpses of duplicate Cyclonus robots are in "Five Faces of Darkness, Part Five" and "The Quintesson Journal", but these examples are generally discounted by fans due to the episodes' infamously poor, error-riddled animation (though it could be argued that if Bombshell were Cyclonus, he may have retained his Insecticon cloning ability to create these extra copies of himself).

    I'm curious as to how the storyboards depict this sequence. Hmm.
  2. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

    Apr 6, 2003
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