This time around, Stampede demonstrates just how deeply violating a cartoon intended for children can really be. Prepare for a surprisingly disturbing experience after the jump.
Specifically, this is a scene my sister once described as "molecular rape." Odd as that sounds, I think it's an accurate description.
It is also one of my favorite scenes in the movie. I don't think that actually says anything nasty about me (or at least, I really, really hope it doesn't); I just like awesome villain scenes, and this is a great one.
If you've ever seen The Transformers: The Movie (the G1 cartoon one from the '80s), this sequence is likely to seem familiar (they even both involve really, really large demonic things changing evil guys into purpler evil guys). This is not a bad thing. I almost wonder if the writers had seen that scene and decided to one-up it, because that's exactly what they did.
Now, don't get me wrong. The scene from TF:TM is actually pretty good, although its place in the wider movie makes little sense. (This is because the film was re-written too many times and the scene was based on an earlier draft that, while it wasn't necessarily better, was more coherent. But I digress-this is about Bravestarr.) But this scene blows it out of the water.
Anyway, we open on Tex Hex and his lackey Skuzz, who... have somehow been thrown free of the wreckage of Tex's ship, more or less.
The two are very unconscious.
And Stampede is here, drooling over Tex.
And no, I'm not overstating or misrepresenting things.
He crows "Greed... cruelty... eeeevil. You are perfection itself!" Keep in mind that the poor blighter is still unconscious, and then read the line. (Also, note that Alan Oppenheimer uses a less benign version of his Battle Cat voice for Stampede, which means he periodically has snarls interspersed with his dialogue.) "You shall serve me well." And with a wave of his hand, Stampede telekinetically picks up Tex and holds him upright.
The animation has a jerky, disturbing quality. As Stampede bellows "Take now these powers!" Tex's limbs start flailing around.
Then comes Stampede's rape face.
Yeah, I know, I'm talking about a cartoon, but what would you call it?
Stampede fires off beams from his techno-horn greebly as he shouts "TRANSFORMATION!" (the first of the powers Tex is being given).
And just when you think maybe it'll turn out that the disturbing imagery and vibes might fade away, well...
...obviously it doesn't.
A huge amount of energy is... well, zapping Tex in the face, pretty much.
And here comes incredibly odd-looking stock footage, lest you have forgotten for a moment that this is a Filmation presentation.
Stampede releases another burst of energy, accompanied by more spectacular visual effects and a bellow of "DESTRUCTION!" (the second of the powers he's giving Tex).
It looks rather like Tex ought to be on fire by now, doesn't it?
Under Stampede's mental influence, Tex starts using his new powers to blow stuff up.
Tex is still thrashing around like a twitchy puppet, by the way.
Stampede then adds "And... SORCERY!" (the last of the powers he's given Tex).
Finally... Tex gets turned into a pile of ash and falls to the ground.
I guess we need a new main villain... No, I'm joking.
Stampede tells the rather deadish Tex to "Feel your new powers, my servant!"
He's apparently "fine," although he now looks older and wrinklier.
Even though there's enough dust left over to make half another Tex, he seems to be fully intact.
For the record: He only just wakes up as Stampede tells him to "RISE, AND FACE YOUR MASTER!" (Stampede is a huge ham. His voice is actually not only similar to Battle Cat's, but to Oppenheimer's Prime Evil voice, only louder, angrier, and more intimidating.)
This is a big part of why the scene is so violating. In the aforementioned TF:TM scene, Megatron had the option of refusing. He'd have died if he did, yeah, but here Stampede doesn't even ask, he just does it while Tex Hex is unconscious (and also possibly dead or nearly so).
Tex is clearly kind of overwhelmed by what he wakes up to.
Tex gets up, and lightning conveniently flashed right as I took the screenshot.
He starts to get the feel for his new powers, glowing for a moment with energy (I actually started to take a screenshot, but ultimately I've taken too many in this sequence already) and laughing like a maniac before zapping his toady, Skuzz.
And he proceeds to do to Skuzz exactly what Stampede just did to him, albeit in far less dramatic fashion and without conferring any apparent powers on the poor sap.
That is one of the other things that makes this scene fantastic: Tex just got his molecules totally messed up, so what does he do? He does it to somebody else!
It's like if Galactus turned somebody into his herald, then the herald turned somebody else into his herald.
Then, Tex cackles, showing how easy it is to become like those who abuse you.
Not that Tex was that nice before...
Incidentally, this scene was pretty short. Later posts on the movie will have a lot fewer screenshots per minute of screentime; this pretty much was the peak, at 22 screenshots from 1 minute, 37 seconds of footage. (Compare to about 3 minutes, 49 seconds [almost two and a half times as long] for the comparable scene from TF:TM, though admittedly that scene was on a larger scale and presumably had more animators working on it.)
Next time, varied plot threads will be resolved, and we'll then jump forward in time a few years. (Note that "next time" may be in two weeks rather than next week, as I'm low on screenshots and need to make a few more before I can continue, although as noted I intend to cover more screen time per screenshot than previously.)