Friday, May 18, 2012

FEATURE: LoEB ''Geek Confessions''

I'm late to the party this week (stupid real life stuff...) but here's the That Figures contribution to this week's League of Extraordinary Bloggers assignment.

This week, Cool and Collected's Brian posed the following question:

What is something you absolutely hate or love or just don’t get, or maybe it’s something you have never even seen or read. What is your deepest, darkest geek confession?

Mine can be summed up in four simple words: I don't get Transformers.

Argh! What's wrong with your... everything!
I know a lot of people probably aren't into transforming robots either, but the thing is, on paper they should be my dream obsession:
  • I love robots.
  • I love sci-fi (pretty much a given, I guess)
  • I dig cartoons about good guys and bad guys being locked in epic struggles
  • I'm an obsessive collector and - given how many Transformers lines there are - that means lots of toys to collect
  • They're a spin-off from the Henshin Cyborg/Microman line, which - in it's Western form, the Denys Fisher Cyborg/The Micronauts - was my favorite toy line as a child
And yet, I think the Transformers toys - and the associated movies, TV shows and other spin offs - represent some of the largest, most festering piles of monkey butt ever produced.

You see, I've never been a gear-head, so toy cars/vehicles don't interest me (unless they're used by figures to ride around in) and the fact that the potential awesomeness of the robot is sacrificed because of the transforming feature really, really annoys me. Maybe I'm just too black and white in my thinking but for me, I'd rather have a line of car toys and a line of awesome robots. By trying to combine both you're left with an OK toy car that turns into a robot that sacrifices its cool design because it's forced to include a stupid shape-shifting gimmick.

Exhibit A: Nice-looking toy car. Crap-looking walking pile of junk robot.
Maybe I have some resentment to these toys. After all, it could be argued that the Microman's shift in focus to include transforming robot sidekicks - which then became more popular than the Microman figures themselves - is responsible for the end of the line. Or maybe it's because as a child there were few ''geek'' toys that a fantasy-loving kid could really get into and having a line of figures hijacked to become cars (which were real and therefore boring) annoyed me. I don't know. But whatever the reason, I really, really don't understand what all the fuss is about with these toys.

And then there's the movies: infantile to the point of making Baby's Day Out look like Shakespeare, yet also featuring profanity, gags about masturbation, horrifically offensive racial stereotypes and a surprisingly high death toll. And then there's the action sequences. When you have protagonists that are - essentially - walking piles of metal sh!t leaping around fighting each other in slow-motion-to-regular-speed-to-slow-motion, transforming from car-to-android-abortion-to-car again whilst everything else in the shot explodes you're left with sequences that are not only impossible to follow but also impossible to even care about. But I guess I'm missing the point of the movies: namely to ogle at the ''hawtness'' of Megan Fox between posting Facebook updates from your smartphone about Megan Fox's hawtness.

OK, so I will admit that the Transformers: Prime toys look OK in robot form but beyond that, I'm really struggling to see the appeal.

Now The Gobots on the other hand...


Check-out these contributions and more at Cool and Collected


  1. LOL I don't share your blind fury but I was never a huge fan either, I think I just never got caught up in the craze. The cartoon was so-so and the toys would have interfered with my dedicated he-man collecting. ...wait a minute. These comments aren't public are they?

    1. Nah, don't worry - nobody else can see them. :D

  2. My only problem with the Transformers toys is that I can never get them to do what they're supposed to do. I also don't understand why the good guys would be trucks and cars while the bad guys are tanks and fighter jets. "Quick, we have to get the allspark in Mexico!" "Autobots, roll out!" Meanwhile, the decepticons are cruising to Mexico at Mach 1.

    1. Yeah, that's a bit of a flaw. Although can't they fly in robot form? Or did I just imagine that?

  3. Now I'll agree w/ you that the movie toys are crap...all three lines of them! However it seems you are basing your entire decision on the "modern" toys. Have you much interaction w/ the toys that started it all (that being G1)?

    What about the Animated series where the toys are a dead ringer for their animation models? The same could be said for Prime. Hasbro and Takara Tomy are doing a bang up job these days.

    I think the other aspect of TFs that is so intriguing for many are the stories. The original 80's Marvel Comics series started off as a 4 issue mini series and ended up running 75 issues! The stories told in Beast Wars and now in Prime I'd argue are some of the best in an animation series hands down. How many properties from the 80's have had the success and longevity that Transformers have? Not many..

    I'm obviously a little biased here by the way.

    1. I have to say I'm not a fan of the earlier designs either. Even the early figures had the problems that I dislike - namely that the robot design is compromised to accommodate the transforming gimmick. And yeah, the Prime toys are a little better but I still don't like them.

  4. Strangely enough, I didn't ever really get into Transformers until just recently. I kinda missed out on GI Joe and Transformers and most of Sunbow entertainments golden years stuff as I was just too young to comprehend it (and I only had time for Ghostbusters) After watching the animated movie and catching up on the series, I'm really enjoying it and wonder why it took me so long to get on the horse.

    I agree with you totally about the Bayformers movies...which kinda is the reason it took so long for my adult self to take notice of this property.

    1. I was actually at the opposite end - I was just too old for a lot of the classic 80s toys. I've got the GI Joe bug now but Transformers still don't do it for me!


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