I also could have titled this: Michael Bay Hates Me
While other kids were playing with He-Man (only saw the cartoon when I stayed with my grandparents, so for about 2 weeks a year) or GI Joe (Mom didn’t want me playing with soldiers) or Thundercats (OK, I was watching Thundercats), I was buying, watching, playing, collecting, and living Transformers. Comics, toys, and tv shows. I created scenarios where planets lived and died due to the eternal struggle of these mighty warriors. And if dinner was announced in the midst of battle – they’d hang onto the edge of the bed or dresser and hope I made it back to finish that story.
Many Autobots and Decepticons died while I ate corn dogs.
But like any obsession, there comes pain and suffering.
Suffering when it came time to get your Christmas presents from relatives. All those boxes under the tree. I just knew that I’d get to open Omega Supreme or Optimus Prime or Starscream or any number of other bots.
Well, I did get to open some bots… Go-Bots. The not-so-cool cousin of the real guys.
You’ll never know the pain that a 10 year old kid can go through when he misses Transformers the Movie. Not that it is entirely my Mom’s fault. We lived in a small Georgia town, one theater, and a ton of movies only came for 1 week (Godzilla 1985 being another that sticks out in my memories). For some reason, lost to time, I wasn’t able to go see it opening weekend (“I’ll take you next weekend.”).
But there wasn’t a next weekend. It was gone. Instead I had to suffer the ultimate in 10-year-old humiliation: having all my friends tell me about it.
A transformer who was a planet?
Optimus Prime dead?
Starscream dead? (this hurt more than Prime’s death).
And who the hell was Kup?
That was maddening… and I made sure my Mom knew my disappointment.
It took me about a year before I saw the movie. I had been counting down till it was released on VHS, and somehow they decided to play it on tv. And it was glorious. Everything that my friends had told me and more.
I figured that would be the only movie.
When the 90’s rolled around and this new Transformers show: Beast Wars came on, I scoffed. “That’s not Transformers. It looks weird. Who are these characters.”
I was wrong. When I sat down and watched it…dare I say it, Beast Wars might be the best story the Transformers have told.
But still, that had to be it. There couldn’t be anything more, could there?
I must confess something… I didn’t mind Bay’s 1st Transformers. Yes, it has lots of flaws (tons), but I enjoyed it for what it was. And what was that? A live action Transformers movie! For the sake of my 10-year-old self I could say I liked it at the very least.
But they say that time has a way of giving us perspective… and with enough time that first movie didn’t age well. I didn’t go see the 2nd one in the theaters. With the vitriol that people were throwing towards it, that was easy enough to avoid.
When it finally came on HBO and there was nothing else on, and the wife was in the bed… I watched it.
So, yeah, I’m not seeing the new one. Fool me once… not going to go see a Bay Transformer movie. The only reason I’m writing that down though is to give myself some kind of willpower…
So I’ll be strong and explain to my inner 10-year-old why we can’t bother with it. And he’ll be mad, I’m sure. Maybe not as mad as I was when I missed the animated movie, but mad enough. He’ll talk to me right before I drift off…
“But it is a Transformers movie. That’s still cool!”
“Why have you given up on the old school cartoons? Go see the movie!”
“Dude! Optimus is riding on Grimlock’s back! Dude!”
Pray I have the strength to avoid this one…
John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and now the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program. He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.