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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 02 August 2020 at 10:21am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The latest iteration is on Netflix, so maybe this should be in TV? And thats just the smallest part of my confusion.

Look, these are Transformers, right? Alien robots that turn into cars and trucks and planes and Dog knows what else. Based on a toy line intended for children. Yet one of the YouTube comments sums it up by hoping the movie will be super violent with no more of this kid-friendly shit.

So, Transformers have gone down the same rabbit hole as superheroes? Dark, bleak, targeting a greying audience?

Or is this all some joke Im not getting?

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 02 August 2020 at 12:21pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Sounds 100% on target to me.
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 02 August 2020 at 8:39pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

It's the same thing we see with pretty much any property that was popular with kids. Now that they're older, they want their beloved characters/shows/whatever to become more mature as well. That was part of the backlash that happened with Star Wars: Episode I. The fanbase that adored Star Wars as children in the 70s and 80s had aged and expected SW to become darker and more adult. Then Lucas gave them a pg movie consistent with the original films and these same clowns flipped out because he made a "kiddie movie". Some things never change.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 5:36am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The Transformer franchise, and I say this as a long time fan of it, is basically a glorified commercial for toys. Hasbro tends to cater to two markets for the toys. One is whatever the current media reboot of Transformers is, of which there have been several, many of which have been geared toward kids. In the past decade, these mass market lines have done really well in movie years and not so well in the non-movie years.

The second market caters to G1 fans, fans of the original cartoon and comic series from the 80s. These toys tend to be more collector focused, and the collectors tend to be more discerning. They want things like cartoon accuracy for the robot mode while still remaining accurate to the alt-mode, which requires more engineering because the character designers were just making stylized versions of the original toys and not worrying about how they'd transform. Alt-mode accuracy means licensing from car manufacturers, because the original toys used real-world car designs that were not authorized. The result is more expensive toys ranging from $20-$50 for the "cheaper" mass market retail lines to $80-$200 for the high-end Masterpiece figures.

In the current toy market, "boys' toys" have been struggling with growth, as they have been losing out to electronic devices and video games, so toy manufacturers have focused their energy on "girls' toys" and adult collectibles. Looking at the price points and marketing for the WAR FOR CYBERTRON toys, they seem to fall in the latter.

So yeah, the Netflix series is geared toward 30 and 40 something G1 fans in order to sell toys at higher price points. But another kid-friendly series will inevitably come out, probably whenever the next movie does.



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Bill Guerra
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 1:32pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I'm a lifelong Transformers fan (well, they came out when I was nine, so since then...) and I prefer them being a sci fi tale in which to tell adventure stories. Basically, like it was back in the 80's! It doesn't need to go dark or become "grim n gritty". 

The Transformers was more violent that most of its contemporary cartoons in the 80's because robot on robot violence didn't seem to bother the censors as much. Characters did die on occasion. (That's without getting into the movie from 1986!) The cartoon, which was for kids, and the comic, which was for a slightly older audience, made me a fan for life. 

When I saw that "fear" was involved in the rating on Netflix, I rolled my eyes. What was wrong with it as it was originally? Not all these franchises need to "grow up"...maybe the audience does. 
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John Harrison
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 2:58pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I remember The GoBots came out then all of sudden this new show
Transformers followed and that was that no more GoBots they weren't cool. I
loved what is called now the G1 Transformers but I left around the time of was
it all mega forming into giant robots. Sorry I don't know the names but no way I
could talk my parents into buy these 5 figure sets. Transformers like He-Man
was fun for a bit for me but for whatever reason it didn't stick. I still have a
Soundwave mighty mugg somewhereThe Back to the Future/ Transformer of
the Delorean toy I saw a few months back does look very cool

Edited by John Harrison on 03 August 2020 at 3:02pm
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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 4:08pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

In many cases (NOT ALL cases) adult fans and fans turned pro are some of the most selfish people. They want material that was created for kids and all ages to be made exclusively for adults so that it can now appeal to their SELFISH (and often TWISTED and IMMATURE) "adult" tastes instead of either accepting the material for what it's always been or moving onto something new and different that is aimed at and appeals more to their "adult" tastes.
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 5:22pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I look at Transformers fans and their homes lined floor to ceiling with toys and think, whoa that's crazy. But then I remind myself I was the same way with comics. 

I think they're a lot better than adult comic fans. The fact that it is toys they are collecting is a constant reminder that Transformers (or whatever 80's cartoon franchise they obsess over) are for kids. They've never tried to pretend it something other than a toy, like how we rebranded comics as "graphic novels". 


Edited by Joe Zhang on 03 August 2020 at 5:26pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 5:24pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply


 QUOTE:
They want material that was created for kids and all ages to be made exclusively for adults so that it can now appeal to their SELFISH (and often TWISTED and IMMATURE) "adult" tastes instead of either accepting the material for what it's always been or moving onto something new and different that is aimed at and appeals more to their "adult" tastes.

Eh. I don't get the pearl clutching. They are selling toys, and these days, boys aren't buying as many toys as adults are. It is what it is. Also, Transformers had already crossed the line in 1986 with TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, where most of the original cast gets killed off violently, including Optimus Prime, and they dropped a "Dammit" and a "Shit".

Both the original series of G.I. Joe and Transformers suffer, and again I say this as a continued fan of both franchises, from a Reagan-era, Rambo II-mentality view of warfare. Gun violence is justified because everything is black and white, and the heroes remain morally pure because the bad guys all happen to eject from their planes before the good guys blow them up, and no one really gets hurt. I mean, even the much more kid-friendly STAR WARS doesn't gloss over the fact that people died when the Death Star blew up.

I'm not suggesting that either G.I. Joe or Transformers needs to be grimdark, but they can't go back to glamorizing warfare and pretending there are no consequences.

And again, a kid-friendly reboot series is inevitable.
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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 5:56pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply


Eh. I don't get the pearl clutching. They are selling toys, and these days, boys aren't buying as many toys as adults are. It is what it is. Also, Transformers had already crossed the line in 1986 with TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, where most of the original cast gets killed off violently, including Optimus Prime, and they dropped a "Dammit" and a "Shit".

Both the original series of G.I. Joe and Transformers suffer, and again I say this as a continued fan of both franchises, from a Reagan-era, Rambo II-mentality view of warfare. Gun violence is justified because everything is black and white, and the heroes remain morally pure because the bad guys all happen to eject from their planes before the good guys blow them up, and no one really gets hurt. I mean, even the much more kid-friendly STAR WARS doesn't gloss over the fact that people died when the Death Star blew up.

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There is no "pearl clutching" on my part. I love the OG uncut 1986 Transformers animated movie and (for the most part) the the G.I. JOE Retaliation series/movie from several years ago. My point is that you these properties can deal with mature subject matter in a tasteful layered manner and still remain both suitable for and appealing to kids and all ages. As much as I loved the OG TF animated movie and think that Spike yelling "OH S**T" was/is cool, I have to admit that expletive was completely unnecessary and that line could have been made a little more kid friendly by replacing the word "S**T" with the word "CRAP". Violence and death can also be done in an all ages layered manner in material that is aimed at kids and all ages by dialing back and/or eliminating altogether the on screen blood and gore. This isn't rocket science and has been done before. So a TV Show or comic can be dark and mature and still be both suitable for and appealing to kids and all ages.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 6:11pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

So a TV Show or comic can be dark and mature and still be both suitable for and appealing to kids and all ages.

------

The Netflix series is rated TV-Y7, which is pretty much all-ages.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 August 2020 at 11:29pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

So I actually watched the series, and the "dark" amounts to:

The Autobots are on the losing side of a war and are struggling. 

That's about it. Nothing horribly objectionable for children. Some characters die, but for kids who grew up with anime, that's nothing new. Apparently, the word "ass" is uttered somewhere, but I couldn't tell you where it was. I'd compare the violence to the level of the CLONE WARS animated series. The Umbara arc would be a good comparison. War sucks.

As for the adult themes:

- The Autobot/Decepticon war is more nuanced, with its origins being a revolution of ah underclass against the elites. Megatron just went too far.
- Characters on both sides struggle with the measures needed to end the war, how far they should go, and what they are fighting for.
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