2.11.2010

It's relevant... (to me)


Ok so I just watched Transformers The Movie.

Don't be confused, not the Michael Bay movie about humans with the occasional robot. I mean TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE. Animated. Released 1986. Heavy metal soundtrack that dates the movie horribly...  Ya with me?  This blog is about Transformers.  If you're not interested, may as well quit reading and move on to your porn sites...

Something that always bothered me about Transformers post 1986.  I mean besides the fact that all of the best characters died in it, including the Autobot and Decepticon leaders (Hey gotta get those toys outta kids minds so they'll buy WAVE 3, COMING FALL 1987).  What bothered me was how Hot Rod got such a raw deal.  Hear me out here.

Optimus Prime, bad ass
For two years prior to the movie's release, Optimus Prime was established as the leader of the Autobots.  Now let me tell you, this guy was, and still is my hero. He's wise and powerful, a warrior, scientist and diplomat.  While all the other Autobots were cars, he was a TRUCK.  A Goddamn TRUCK!  I have every incarnation of his toy, even the $150 masterpiece import from Japan. I have every episode of the TV show, and every Transformers comic because of Optimus Prime.  I was even able to stomach two simply terrible, awful, horrible live action attempts because of Optimus Prime.

In 1986, Transformers The Movie was released with the tagline "Does Prime die? Then who would lead the Autobots?"  Well by even bringing up the prospect, they were pretty much telling us this was going to happen.  Then the new toy commercials began hinting that "...a new Autobot leader would appear".

So I tried to prepare myself, but *SPOILER ALERT* when Optimus Prime died in Transformers The Movie, I was pretty crushed. However, I believe I was a pretty well adjusted kid, and was able to handle it. Looking back, I think it was an important lesson to learn as a kid, that things change, death happens, and you need to move on.

Apparently some kids were not as well adjusted as I was... Here's how Hasbro, the powers that be behind Transformers handled it, and why I think Hot Rod got the friggin' shaft:

Hot Rod, shafted by Hasbro
This is Hot Rod.  He was first introduced in Transformers The Movie. He was voiced by Judd Nelson, and established as a young Autobot, equivalent to a human teenager.  I liked Hot Rod, and through a series of unfortunate events, he was chosen as the next leader of the Autobots.  He became Rodimus Prime.  Rodimus was a different type of leader than Optimus, full of doubt that he could live up to Optimus' example.  He spent a lot of time talking to a statue of Optimus, asking what HE would do.  Despite being unprepared for the mantle of leadership, he continually shined out and showed great courage and leadership ability.  Again, what a great lesson for 1980's cartoon to be teaching kids, that even the youngest of us can grow up and be responsible when called upon.

Rodimus Prime, transforms into camper with flames
While I pondered these lessons and accepted Rodimus Prime as the new leader of the Autobots, apparently some other children were locked in their closets, crying under their beds and hiding in kitchen cabinets.  Hasbro was flooded with letters (no e-mail back then) from angry parents telling them to bring back Optimus Prime so their kid could move on with life.  Hasbro certainly didn't want this development to hurt their bottom line, so instead of making these kids grow the hell up, they BROUGHT BACK Optimus Prime, in a two part episode appropriately titled, "The Return of Optimus Prime".

Now don't get me wrong, I was glad to see my hero again.  But did anyone ever stop to think about Rodimus Prime?  Now he's back to being regular old Hot Rod.  All of the time he spent learning, growing and becoming more responsible as Autobot leader, a young TV viewer grew along with him.  But hey guess what kid, here comes Hasbro, Optimus is back!  I always thought it was a raw deal, for both myself and Hot Rod.  I don't really have a point here, it's just kinda annoying right?

Sorry for wasting your time.



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