Monday, July 2, 2007

More than Meets the Eye... Really?

I was discussing this Saturday night at a party and thought it would make for a good first post. This is a cautionary tale.

There are many things that I have always wanted to do, and as it so happened recently, several things aligned in a way that allowed me to do one of those things. Like any person who has "sold" out to industry, my easy job (by CalTech standards) gives me plenty of disposable cash and quite a bit of free time on the weekends. Add to that a Hollywood marketing juggernaut, and I quickly found myself longing to complete this specific quest once and for all.

I suppose this particular desire originated sometime around 1985 but has been largely dormant since that time. There was a brief stint when I tried to accomplish it during 1998-9. Jaideep joined me for a while, but alas the zeal for our adventure faded away quite rapidly... until this month.

I am, of course, talking about watching the entire Transformers Generation One Cartoon Series.

By my calculations, this would be a relatively easy task for someone who routinely watches seasons of TV shows (all 5 seasons of 24, Veronica Mars, Lost, etc) in 24 hour chunks. There are 98 original episodes and one animated feature film. Clocking in at 22 minutes an episode, that's only ((98*22)+120)/60 = 38 hrs -> easily manageable as a two weekend event.
So, I blocked off my calendar, invited others who may have been excited by the premise, and got down to business. 51 episodes in, here is what it is like:

Episode begins with Decepticons attacking some sort of hydroelectric dam/oil rig/nuclear plant/energy source. Autobots, notified by their all-knowing computer Teletraan I, go to defend humans. Battle ensues. Everyone shoots at everyone but no one hits anyone. Starscream mocks Megatron's leadership abilities. Decepticons are somehow defeated and escape.

Repeat 51 times.

Granted this was a cartoon series designed to push a toy line, but watching the episodes back to back unexpectedly highlights the obvious redundancy in the first two seasons. My expected glee at reliving my childhood is slowly being replaced by the dreaded realization that my 10-year-old self was easily entertained and possibly stupid.

Nevertheless, I march on, hoping that my memories of a deeper mythology will be justified in upcoming episodes. Indeed, the last few story lines have taken place on other planets and have begun to flashback to the Cybertronian past of these robots in disguise. All the while I keep watching, anticipating the moment when the series will reveal its grand story and show me once again that this cartoon truly was more than meets the eye.


Alan Rosenwinkel said...

I'm set to be "transformed" as Shep called it on his Facebook page, in 3 hrs. Although I'm pretty excited about this movie, I'm content for it to be on par with other Micheal Bay films like The Rock and Armageddon. I expect to be entertained, but not struck with all-encompassing joy like I expect to be for the Simpsons Movie at the end of the month. From the previews, Transformers seems to stray a bit too far from the original series to really bring me back to my childhood days of GI Joe, Transformers and the Thundercats.

Also, Sandip's post is further confirmation of two things:

1) he has OCD, which he focuses mostly on TV . . . and Starwars . . . and cake.

2) He must have found the perfect girlfriend to put up with his quasi-insanity . . . and there were unconfirmed reports of a Starwars piƱata.

dave hiller said...

...some have come to defend us...most have come to destroy us...

Saw the movie last night, and it was as expected - really cool and pretty funny in the beginning but it's really just a dumb action flick that gets boring after a while. As is usual with Michael Bay films (and others of the type) the trailer is better than the movie - though I wouldn't lump The Rock in with this movie or Armageddon. (They turned the rock into a college?!)

Alan Rosenwinkel said...

I saw it the other night too. Some of it was awesome, especially the effects, but a lot of it was really retarded. C-

php hit counter