Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Evolution Of Starscream

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has apparently made such an impact on movie critic Roger Ebert that he has written not one but two reviews on it. In his second, he points out through images just how incomprehensibly designed the character Starscream has become since his toy/animation days:

"In the stills with this blog, I have traced the history of Starscream® from its origin as a children's toy through its evolution in TV animation (1984) and the 2007 movie. It has grown steadily more complex, apparently feeding on larger and larger junk yards. Starscream® is now too much to comprehend, especially in Bay's typical average shot length of not much over one second."

And it's true. I find the movie Transformers ugly and overly-complicated in design next to their earlier counterparts. I don't mind highly detailed robots, but there should be a style to that detail.


Sometimes less is more, and so-called "realism" less of a virtue.

As an aside, Ebert points out that the designer of the original Starscream was from his home town.


  1. It's not so much that the Michael Bay Transformers don't look like Transformers, it's that they don't look like anything. At best they look like a really bad day in an undergrad sculpture class.

  2. Ebert's second review is a stitch.

    Thanks for finding it.

  3. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Starscream's ugly movie appearance is merely the hairy mole on the distended hump of the festering, drooling mutant that is Transformers 2.

  4. God, I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. Ultimately, it's not the lack of story, the poor editing, or even Megan Fox that's kept me away from both of Bay's Transformers; it's the fact that they look hideous, like the robot equivalent of the American Godzilla.

  5. You want to talk disappointing, take a look at the movie version of Soundwave, the transformer that turned into a stereo. I was in Target the other day and saw that figure and wanted to get it, but it looked nothing like the original version and doesn't turn into a stereo anymore.

    Not that I'm a huge Soundwave or Transformers fan or anything, but as a man who was born in the 1980s it's practically a requirement to have a favorite Transformer, GI Joe, or He-Man.

    Have a good day.
    G Morrow

  6. That begs the question-- What does Soundwave turn into now?

  7. Anonymous3:57 AM

    I was impressed that, in the trailer, the Transformers looked BETTER. I'm saddened by all these comments against that idea. Another reason not to see it (the movie did indeed look far more promising initially).

    Ebert is getting WAY too much crap for his review. People are saying he just doesn't "get it".

    I think he did get it.

  8. I still look at Cartoon Network's "Transformers: Animated" as proof that stories about giant robots fighting doesn't have to be idiotic.

    It wasn't the best thing ever, but it was certainly enjoyable. It had excellent stories, arcs, characters, acting, design . . . and it did it all without one shot of dogs humping.

    Oh, and judging from pics on the web, I'm not sure what Soundwave transforms into, only that it looks like what would happen if a crab were to mate with an X-wing.

  9. I hated Bay's first Transformers so much, I refuse to see the second one.

    There is absolutely no love of the source material from anyone involved, and it shows.

    Neither Spielberg, Bay, Orci, or Kurtzman seem to give any appreciation for what came before, what made these characters so beloved for three years that 25 years later they can still make millions of dollars off of these characters.

    I was not expecting a complete clone of the 80's cartoon, that would be naive. I was hoping for the respect that Batman, Ironman, Spider-man, and the second Hulk movies got.

    I wanted a script that a fan would write.

    I guess that was just too much to ask. Instead we got four yahoos milking our childhood, mangling it, and selling it back to us.

    If a reboot of a franchise was ever called for, it is now.