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23 June, 2009 / Erik

Transformers Week: Day Two

Rummaging through old boxes that have survived moving, the Bush Admistration (of the late 80s), and 20-odd years of life, I found what I believe to be the last Transformer in my posession.

End of the Road

Oddly enough, it’s Rodimus Prime.

It was a bold decision to kill Optimus and replace him with a punk kid voiced by Judd Nelson (in the movie), but it’s one of the things that makes “Transformers the Movie” a fondly remembered film. It took a chance and replaced the principle Autobot cast with a group designed to transform into into futuristic helicopters, cars, and RV Campers. In some way, though, I find I have a better memory of Ultra Magnus, Stringer, Arcee, Blur and Kup than I do Jazz, Ironhide, or um … there was one called Trailblazer, right?

While the Decepticons had a strong stable of characters from the onset, the Autobots not called Prime tended to be cyphers; their chief character trait being their vehicle mode. The movie cast, rounded out with Grimlock and Perceptor (he was an older character, right?) all seemed to have stronger personalities. Magnus was the good lieutenant, if a terrible commander. Stringer and Arcee were the good looking kids that never invited contempt. Kup was the crusty vet, always ready with a story. Even Perceptor’s brainy schtick played better off this group.

Oh, and there was Wheelie.

This core group is one of the things Optimus’s death gave the show. It also gave us, in Rodimus Prime, a more accessable leader. Optimus Prime was the paragon; an unatainable plateau of leadership. His successor, though capable with aid from the Matrix, privately expressed doubts in role. In him, you saw a young character thrust into a job he never sought, but making due. I’d dare say he was a more human and rounded character. One interesting trait I recall about him: inappropriate sarcasm.

Unfortunately, the show never went very far with these notions and Optimus returned. Rodimus reverted to his early form as Hot Rod and pretty much disappeared into the background with the double agent and the lesser Dinobots. It was around this time that I walked away from Transformers. The story became less viable and other interests replaced the plastic replicas. I remember having a lot of Transformers, but only he remains.

I wonder if there is some significance to that.

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2 Comments

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  1. Tim Bennett / Jun 24 2009 8:59 am

    Rodimus Prime touched me in my matrix of leadership.

    • Tim Bennett / Jun 24 2009 9:06 am

      Seriously though, the old Marvel series did a slightly better job of giving the robots some personality. At least eventually. When Simon Furman took over, the stories got much more sophisticated, if you can believe it.

      The cartoon had a better Starscream and Soundwave, though. The voice acting helped.

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