Friday, December 4, 2009

Transformers Introductions

Not an introduction to Transformers as a whole, but a whole mess of the series and movie intros, gathered in one place for your viewing pleasure. (It was my sister's suggestion, and it didn't sound like too much work... Though the page will probably eat your bandwidth like popcorn. IT IS ALL HER FAULT.)

I suppose I'll throw in a little commentary.

The 1984 intro is the one a lot of people think of. Too bad it's kinda boring. (My sister remarked that it does feel rather like it was thrown together at the last minute, herself.)

I mean, sure, it's got a decent bit or two, but I like the season two intro much better. Better animation, plus the Dinobots, Omega Supreme, etc. Sure, it's a bit ADD, but you have to love some of the little touches they put on it. (My personal favorite is Bonecrusher [or is it Scrapper?] rescuing Blitzwing after Omega Supreme steps on him. Don't blink or you'll miss it.)

TF:TM obviously wasn't a series, but the opening sequence deserves mention-Unicron comes blazing into Transformers, and never leaves it alone again.

Of course, this was probably also partly responsible for G1's spiraling decline. It hasn't seemed to hurt Transformers' overall mutant longevity, though, especially seeing as how Unicron is now an integral part of the overall mythos.

Whether or not season three damaged G1, it definitely represented a drop in overall quality. (In case you don't know, from left to right, that's Rodimus Prime, Springer colored like Kup, and Ultra Magnus with a blue face.)

Then came The Rebirth. They kept bits of the previous one, but one notable thing they did was replace a lot of footage with things from the commercials. When you recycle footage made for commercials, you know you're scraping the bottom of the animation barrel.

When they decided to reheat G1 as "G2" (and let's be honest, it was a reheating at best) they threw in some cheap CG animation and a booming narrator in hopes of distracting the viewers, or maybe just retaining the attention of ADD kids. (In effect, it serves the same purpose as spices did in the ancient world-distracting diners from the taste of rancid meats.)

Then came Beast Wars. It's interesting to note that Beast Wars marked the first time that no original footage was used for a series introduction-instead, they recycled everything from the series itself.

It's also the only time an original song made for the intro that didn't have the word "Transformers" in it.

I won't really go into the variations beyond noting that they reflected the differences in the seasons.

Then came Beast Machines, which kinda ruined the "Beast Era" by ending it. It's also been called "too dark for kids" by a guy who frequently wrote decapitations into stories. The intro used a preexisting song, "Phat Planet," which also featured in a commercial for Guinness. That's right.

It was followed by "Robots in Disguise," which marked the first time a series was imported from Japan, and also the end of any efforts to maintain long-term continuity between all series. (Technically, that was supposed to happen during Beast Machines, but it really didn't.) Except in Japan, where they insist it's in the same continuity as G1. Don't think about it, you'll only get a few dozen headaches. (Also, the series belongs to Disney, so Hasbro likes to pretend it doesn't even exist.)

The intro is squeaky.

The next Transformers series looked like it was another pure import, and many took it to be such when they watched, but it actually wasn't. It's complex. Armada was kind of a mess as a series, and has been described as "Transformers Pokemon," but its reputation was probably undeserved. I wouldn't know-it's just about the only English-language Transformers series I've never seen an episode of.

Then came Energon, whose position as one of the most-referred-to Transformers series in my list of Transformers quotes is not a good thing. As for the introduction, I actually like the song pretty well, though the footage is... kinda dizzying.

Cybertron had issues, too. Takara wanted it to be an all-new series with no continuity with its predecessors, while Hasbro wanted it to be part of what is now known as the Unicron Trilogy. It was the only Transformers series where Primus, the Transformers' creator, used a giant starship as a cannon.

Its intro, sadly, was more or less rap.

Then came the other movie. Since I did one for the first, I might as well stick in one for the second. Whatever you think of the live action franchise, I like the atmosphere they set up here.

Then, there's Transformers Animated. This was the first time in a long time a US-produced cartoon series came out. Like the movie, it proved controversial for fans, mostly due to its rather... loose character designs. It was the first time a series was released in the US since G2 that had original footage used in its opening (it's also the last by virtue of being the last release of a series in the US at the moment).

There was a long-running rumor that the theme for Animated was performed by Weird Al, but this apparently wasn't true. Ah, well.

He did voice Wreck-Gar, though, so that makes up for it.

Don't ask about Revenge of the Fallen-haven't actually seen it yet myself.

-Signing off.

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