Thursday, November 06, 2003

Results of a Three-Hour Discussion Upon Hasbro's Marketing Department During the Reagan Administration:

So, after I finished playing video games last night (this week's pick is Kingdom Hearts for the PS2... only twenty bucks), my friend Scott and I somehow started discussing the intricacies of things like, "Now, they killed off Optimus Prime and various Autobots and Decepticons in the Transformers movie, why didn't anyone die in the G.I. Joe movie, other than maybe Burgess Meredith's character?"

Note: This is the only part of this thing that has anything, really, to do with movies, but it does satisfy my need to stay somewhat on topic on this page, so just be happy that I'm not rambling about my personal life. Oh, by the way, did anyone else notice that the Transformers character of Jazz is clearly a black man? I'm serious. He's totally stereotypically black. Go back and watch either Season One or Two, and you'll agree. Or, if you watch the movie, Jazz is voiced by the late great Scatman Crothers.

Anyway, we're talking about death here. I think they were able to kill off loads of Transformers in the movie because the action-figures had run their life cycles. For example, Ironhide dies either first or second in the movie, and it's still kind of a shocking thing, that a cartoon would go and kill off a major secondary character (if that term makes any sense at all). Anyway, I think they basically did this to explain to the kids why they can't get an Ironhide action figure anymore.

Because Ironhide didn't have a head. That's right. His torso was the windshield and front-end of a big mini-van (again, if that makes sense), and the dude just didn't have a head. And neither did Ratchet, when you think about it, since all they did was stick different-colored plastic in the same mold and churn out another character for the kids to spend seven bucks on. And, of course, they also did this with Skywarp, Thundercracker and Starscream, which were so much more fun because they had parts that you could easily lose, such as their fists or their wings.

Now, of all the people that I was sad to see die in the Transformers movie, it had to be Starscream. I often wonder (okay, I've wondered this exactly once in my life) if Starscream had been head of the Decepticons in Megatron's absence, or if Megatron never had a Starscream, would the Decepticons have gotten closer to victory than they did when the two were working together? Because I'm not sure which one was actually inept. Christ, if those two weren't working together, Soundwave (the easily-broken boom-box) probably would've jumped up, slapped the hell out of whichever one was running the show and would've said in his synthesizer-enhanced voice, "Shut the hell up and get more Energon," which is pronounced EN-ur-jon, but is lacking a vowel to make that pronunciation clear to anyone who never watched the show.

So, they killed off characters which had run their life-cycle in the Transformers movie. And, yes, this includes Optimus Prime, whose body they simply injected into a white mold to create the base-unit for Ultra Magnus, the first of many, many Transformers which took five minutes and just short of an allen-wrench to transform. G.I. Joe, on the other hand, well, how the hell are they going to die, except for perhaps by falling down a hole or of old age? The Cobra guys shoot just as badly as the Joes do.

At least, that was true up until what I think was Season Three of G.I. Joe (a series I'm still waiting for on DVD, even though Transformers has three seasons out now). During Season Three, Cobra released these android units called BATs, which is the abbreviation for Battle Action Troopers, if I'm not mistaken. And, as we all know, actronyms are cool (especially ones like FUBAR or BFE). Anyway, they gave the Joes some non-human targets, and lo and behold, the Joes were no longer shooting like B.A. Baracus from the A-Team. But, if I'm not mistaken, the BATs were essentially invincible unless you hit them in this one rather sizable panel on their chests, which made me beg the question, "Who's running the combat-design department at Cobra? Because if you're going to put the sensitive electronics for an otherwise-invincible android anywhere on the robot, wouldn't you put those terribly vulnerable electronics on the BACK?"

So, we wonder why Cobra Commander never won? That's why. Furthermore, he couldn't decide between wearing that cool reflective helmet and that stupid blue cloth, because you know you didn't want the action figure where he was wearing the cloth on his head, which -no doubt- is why they kept pushing that guise on the show. Because it's all about the marketing of toys.

Which reminds me, I think I saw a Unicron action figure on a webpage or a catalog or something. Which is cool in the respect that, "Dude, they finally made a Unicron action figure!" but uncool in the respect that, "Dude, it only took them seventeen fucking years to do it!" Too bad it (1) just doesn't look as cool as Unicron did in the movie, and (2) he's not quite to scale with the other Transformers, given that the dude's supposed to be a fucking planet and the final act of the the movie took place with Transformers running around within his body. I suppose that the scale question would be asking a bit much for $49.99, though.

Finally, we got around to talking about novelty figures, like the Refrigerator Perry G.I. Joe action figure that you had to send away for. Yes, that was the year the Bears won the Superbowl. Now, can someone please tell me how the Fridge got his own action figure? I mean, who the hell is his agent? In any case, we got to talking about Zartan, and how he would change color in sunlight. If memory strikes me correctly, he became darker in sunlight, which was a really cool little novelty, even though he was supposed to be camouflaging himself, which didn't make a lot of sense in the long run. Anyway, I was thinking to myself, "If I was the design genius at Hasbro, I wouldn't have made him do the color change in the light. That would be eat away at profit margins on the figure."

See, if I was this guy, I'd have said, "Zartan becomes COMPLETELY INVISIBLE IN TOTAL DARKNESS!" Because, hey, prove me wrong.

AIM: therbmcc71
ICQ, MSN, Yahoo: Yeah, right, like I use those.

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