June 29, 2007 in Features

Transformers can’t pull guns on Team Jordan

By The Spokesman-Review
 

We have a no-guns rule at the headquarters of Team Jordan.

That includes when it comes to TV, movies and video games.

Classics from the 1980s “Star Wars,” “G.I. Joe” and – as much as pains me to admit it – “The Transformers” cross the line.

The pre-Columbine cartoons and toys weren’t weighted with modern-day controversy.

Still, looking back, Transformers was futuristic in both fantasy and the reality.

A brief synopsis: The original Transformers series (1984) chronicles a war between two factions of advanced alien robots who came to Earth after draining their home planet’s energy supply.

While the tyrannical Decepticons seek to control Earth, the heroic Autobots fight to protect Earth’s natural resources.

What made Transformers cool and unique is that the “robots in disguise” masked their presence on Earth by transforming into planes, trains and automobiles (cue the “ree-eer-err-oor-irr” sound effects).

As if you couldn’t tell from the picture above, I was heavy into Transformers when I was a kid. Few people know this, but my Soundwave blog and column are named after the Decepticon who transforms into a ghettoblaster.

One of my favorite episodes (yes, I have the entire series on DVD) is “A Plague of Insecticons,” which pits the voracious Insecticons against the valiant Skyfire.

The Decepticons hijack an oil refinery with the help of Insecticon clones. Skyfire is first to arrive at the scene, but it’s all he can do to stay alive until the Cavalry comes.

When that happens, Decepticon leader Megatron’s lust for power is so insatiable he nearly destroys the refinery to keep the Autobots from taking it back, but he is distracted when his Insecticon allies are overcome by greed and attempt to betray him.

The Autobots didn’t necessarily earn the win, but the Decepticons lost in the end because they weren’t united.

For a cartoon based on a toy line, “Transformers” was taking on relatively deep issues compared to its peers such as “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” (might makes right), “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” (patriotic propaganda) and “Voltron: Defender of the Universe” (if all else fails, pull out the blazing sword).

In so many ways, “Transformers” was ahead of its time. Because of its strong message of energy conservation, it almost seems suitable for the kids of today.

If only there weren’t so many guns.


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