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The countdown begins for Transformers movie

July 04, 2006|by MATT NEWTON

Next year, giant robots from another world disguised as cars, jets, and other objects will reveal themselves to the citizens of Earth, waging a war amongst themselves.

Well, at least on the silver screen.

"Transformers," a brand of action figures and a successful cartoon series introduced by Hasbro toys in 1984, has since expanded into comic books, video games, and an animated film. But on July 4, 2007, the franchise will make its live-action debut on the big screen.

The movie is being directed by Michael Bay ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor" and "The Island") and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Transformers fans (TransFans) can only hope that these big-name Hollywood guys will do their beloved robots justice.

Take it from Jesse E., aka Matrix_Prime, who interacts with TransFans on a weekly Transformers Podcast, TFWIRE, to understand the dedication fans possess.

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"The fanbase, for the most part, seems to be a nice group of people," he says. "They are very outspoken about The Transformers, both good and bad, and sometimes that comes across wrong on the Internet, but they truly are passionate about it."

Passionate is an understatement. At the turn of the millennium, the current Transformers TV series was known as Beast Machines. This series dared to be different, and experimented with the looks of beloved characters and already established mythology of the original cartoon series. The experiment resulted in a sea of angry fans, some whom sent death threats to the show's writers. Transformers has since fallen victim to a pseudo-anime format, which is reworked every year into a new show and line of toys.

Many TransFans now long for the movie to be a breath of fresh air from the monotony of what feels like half-hour toy commercials.

"I hope that it isn't a slap in the face to the fans," says Jesse. "It doesn't have to follow any established continuity (to please me). I just hope the concept of The Transformers isn't watered down or used as a gimmick to draw people to the movie. The story should bring the people in."

Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, writers of the film, have stated that the storyline isn't based on the original cartoon series, but it does feature many of the original characters, most recognizably Optimus Prime and Megatron.

Whether or not this fresh start is a hit with the current fans, it has great potential to draw new fans into the world of the Transformers.

"I think that it will bring more people onboard to the fandom, at least those that are sci-fi fans," Jesse adds.

Ultimately, the outcome is uncertain. TransFans and every day moviegoers will simply have to wait for the end result.

"I can't wait," says Jesse, "I can't even wait to see the teaser trailer."

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