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Slick’s Nit-Picks: Transformers Prime

I can hear a few of you groaning already just at the fact that I am typing this. People know how I will fly completely off the handle at anything Transformers that strays from the source material. Allow me to ease your concerns. Transformers Prime takes the G1 story and mixes it with just about every other source of Transformer canon to create something a bit different. Thus far, I have fewer complaints than praises. Unlike the last animated show, Optimus Prime is the true leader of the Autobots and is not half the size of Megatron. Bulkhead returns from Transformers: Animated but he does not look like a pile of green poop anymore. Megatron still looks like a plasma grenade went off inside of him and shrapnel is all over the place but he looks much better than the big screen version. So far the story consists of just a five-part miniseries but the original show was just two three-part stories before it was picked up for ongoing status. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

The base of the Autobots story is about ninety-nine percent the same as the G1 story. The Autobots are on Earth as protectors of the human race from the ever present Decepticon threat. Said threat picks the worst time to rear its ugly head – that being when humans are present. Two drones attack Arcee while a teenage boy is admiring her vehicle mode. She has to protect him and herself as the two cars have now targeted man and machine. She chooses what she thinks is a deserted area to stand and fight but another younger boy happens to be playing with his RC car (that looks like Bumblebee) in the area. Bumblebee shows up to even the odds and the drones retreat when Bulkhead shows up. The two boys are surprised to find BB and Arcee waiting outside their school the next day and once a girl sees them talking you now have the human trio that will be a part of their adventures.

The Decepticon story varies quite a bit from the original. Megatron has been on an as yet unexplained three Earth-year hiatus from the Decepticon forces on Earth so you know who has been running things and doing a surprisingly good job of it. Under Starscream’s command, the Decepticons have avoided Autobot detection and amassed a large stockpile of energon. When Megatron returns, he brings with him the “blood of Unicron,” also known as Dark Energon. What he does with it would spoil a lot but if you played the recent War for Cybertron video game then you have a pretty good idea.

Am I going to complain about this show? Of course I am, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. However I will say that there is so much more to like than to bitch about this time around. Why does the youngest boy, Raf, look like Keenan Cahill? Why has Frank Welker, the original voice of Megatron, forgotten how to do said voice? And why do they keep making Soundwave look like shit? He looks like those unmanned drones that drop smart bombs on the Taliban for crying out loud! And no, I do not expect him to be a tape deck anymore, but at least make him a Scion like in the last cartoon and the video game. An SUV with a thumping sound system sounds about right for SOUNDwave. Now for some things I like: Optimus doesn’t look like he got his paint job in East L.A. like in the movies, The Rock voices Cliffjumper and Bulkhead looks like a respectable transformer for once. I have gripes about Arcee but her character makes a whole lot of sense. Not sure why they made her a motorcycle but I get the color change. After all, her human partner is a boy and even if he were a girl, pink is not doing much for the “robots in disguise” motif. As for her attitude, Arcee was always a positive and pleasant member of the team, but after what happens to Cliffjumper, I understand her bitterness. Oh yeah, can we please fix Bumblebee’s voice box and have him stop making R2-D2 noises? It’s bad enough that he does it but now the kid Raf understands what he is saying? Gimme a break. I just hope that when they start to introduce new Transformers on either side that they go the G1 route versus anything from any of the half CGI/half ink & paint series that aired on Cartoon Network.

A fan can only hope that Bay watches this show and maybe even reads the comic books and says to himself “Wow, robots don’t have to look like shit,” and “OH WOW! There’s a STORY to be told?” Transformers Prime takes mostly the best elements of every Transformers story (including the movies) and presents a new(ish) story that should appeal to fans of all ages. The show officially starts on November 29th on the Hub Network but they showed the first two episodes on November 26. In a way I wish they had not because now there are only three episodes left and they do not start until December 1. As of yet there is no word on a regular series, so we really have to keep our fingers crossed and make sure you write to Hasbro to let them know what you think of the show.