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July 28, 2007
Transformers Animated Comic Con Preview!

Transformers Animated at Comic Con!

The Video:
So, Cartoon Network's making a new Transformers animated series, right? We posted about that awhile back outlining some fairly interesting parts, and today there's more to look into. Earlier on, Cartoon Network showed a preview of Transformers Animated at Comic Con, and I was taken aback by just what they had shown. Now, really before I get into it, I should make note that Transformers is another series I grew up with, and I've always had a soft spot for it, which lead to my initial feelings about the film, in that I was worried that with all of the changes it would ultimately lose the heart of the property that I was so fond of, and subsequently this new series really more or less ushered an 'ugh' from me, more or less because I had seen what had been done to Fantastic Four.

Cartoon Network had a decent amount of success with Teen Titans, but seemed to lose the magic touch when it dived into Fantastic Four (note: this isn't to say that I mean that they're responsible for the series, so much as they decided to air a program of less than admirable quality); so hopefully you can't blame me for my apprehensions over the quality that Transformers Animated may have ended up disposed to. However, it's pleasant to say the least that the more Cartoon Network says about this new series, the more I am feeling better about this. You might also say a false sense of security, and I wouldn't argue that at all, but I would rather a false sense of security about the quality of something (note: I am not saying hope, this isn't ReBoot just yet) and find a soft disappointment if it comes to that, than be completely negative over it, and ultimately give way to the possibility of ruining the show for myself whether or not its bad.

My reassurance ultimately comes in the form of Megas XLR, believe it or not. Even with the ugh, there was that light in the darkness that reminded me that Megas was a great cartoon that sadly ended far too early. Megas XLR, if you haven't seen it (a rock, by chance?) was a series about two guys who happened to come across a giant Robot, which they used to defend the Earth from the Glorft. It was actually more interesting than it sounded, and even had a guest appearances of some big names, including Bruce Campbell (Ash, Evil Dead), Frank Welker (Megatron, various), and Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime, various.)

With that, I lead you all back to Transformers as quickly as we left that topic. The video of Transformers Animated is an interesting one, first going into the theme song which is an interesting composition to be sure, and sounds audibly like your average '80s rock production, but also almost seems to have just a hint of techno in the mix; I could be mistaken, but that's just the way it sounds to me. Overall it's fun, and reminds me of its roots really well.

Along side that, as tends to be the case, is the pre-assembled animation meant to get you right into the mood as quickly as possible, and it does that as well as can be expected, but really seems more like a work in progress, which gets me interested in seeing how it will turn out once the show premiers. It could be worse, though, and have turned out to be a clip-show of the film or another Transformers series, out of sheer laziness; so at the end of the day it's actually quite nice to see something, especially something that gives the first taste of what the animation will look like, which for the video itself and what we see, the animation is very fluid and well done, as I am sure many have come to expect out of a Cartoon Network property.
Of the theme presented, the only downsides I find myself coming to is one, spread over two of the characters shown: transformation sequences. The characters we see, which all transform, are Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Prowl, Rachet, and Bulkhead, and all of them except for Bumblebee and Prowl actually transform well enough during it, and we get to see the important stuff. Now, whereas the case with Bumblebee, his transformation, even for a quick transformation, is basically two positions, first he's the car and then he's transformed and standing; it's as if they completely cut out any movement he made during that, which is incredibly weird and also disappointing on that level. Beyond that Prowl shows us how a quick transformation is done, by actually being clever about it, and transforming in a splash of light. I may seem a bit picky, but if they're not going to put in an effort on quick transformations, they may as well be clever about it and not stunt it.

When push comes to shove, I can completely deal with quick transformations to save time if they want to do it in a clever way, but if they're going to just be cheap about it, then I ask why bother? Hopefully that's as I think it may very well be, unfinished, and it will change between now and the premier.

Moving right along, there's character design afoot. Early on in the video we're exposed to the designs, and at first I thought that they were really basic and uninteresting, but seeing them in action gives me an entirely different outlook on them; this being coupled with transformation work, and the animation, it presents what is more than the designs are and really gives character to them beyond what the teaser poster offered. The only down-side still left on the table is the lack of small details, which is a bonus when its there in shows and especially so when done well, but the lack of it here isn't too damaging; something that would be really nice, but ultimately of very little consequence either way.

Finally, once the theme concludes we jump right into a preview of the actual series, and with it a panning shot of various Transformers, including Optimus Prime and Bulkhead on the deck of a ship, followed by a short exchange between a few characters, and then visually introducing a series of characters through various assorted clips set to music, a bated breath appearance of Megatron in the shadows, and then more clip shows, this time featuring the toy line and a few scenes of the characters and concluding once again with the logo, all to the tune of the theme song. This is one of those take it or leave it moments, other than the dialog which was interesting, it's just a clip show thats showing off more than anything else, and leaving a lot of room for more of the same videos to introduce more of the voice cast. Can't say it was that bad, wasn't that great either.

Video Source #1: ENI: Entertainment News International index video
Video Source #2: iKlipz.com: Cartoon Networks Transformer Animated

The Toys:
First up is a couple of pictures of figures from the awesome action figure devoted site, ActionFigs.com...





First up is Bumblebee, looking impressively as one of the better figures of him I've seen in awhile, complete with friendly smirk. Then some prototypes of Black Arachnia, and Soundwave. Now Lockdown (who will be voiced in the series by Lance Henriksen, as I am told.) Really, the rest speak for themselves since they're named and all. But frankly, from Bumblebee on up to Optimus at the end, these are looking to be some cool as hell figures, and definitely stuff that I'd like to get myself.

Something also worth noting about the toy line, is the lack of a problem that had plagued the franchise; in that the toys actually look like the characters of the show, and in this case are extremely accurate to the source designs. It's amazing is what it is.

I don't really have a whole lot more to say about them, since I am not really a toy aficionado or anything; but that transformed Voyager Optimus is entirely kick ass.

Image Source #1: ActionFigs.com
Image Source #2: ActionFigs.com: Transformers Gallery
Image Source #3: ActionFigs.com: Transformers Panel Gallery

To the readers, raise your hand if you're a fan of Transformers!

-- lost in thought

Source: Index Video (ENI)



Tags: News, Comic Con, Transformers Animated, toys, preview



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