I love the Transformers....seriously. My office is filled with tons of them all the way back to the G1 TFs from the 80's (and my office is locked, much to the chagrin of my children). Hell, I have a Decepticon symbol tattoo'd onto my right shoulder. Want to see it? No? I didn't think so. Fine, your loss.
I love dinosaurs too. When I was a kid the only thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a Paleontologist. Hell, who knows, with my mid-life crisis looming I might still decide to do that. Note: any 18 year old coeds who want to go digging in the dirt with me, please apply on the left.
So it should thus come as no surprise that when the Transformers introduced the Dinobots it more or less blew my fucking mind. I'm talking the original ones here: Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, and Swoop.
In case you doubt my veracity in this, here to the left is the view looking down upon me in my home office. They stand there judging me....harshly. One day I have no doubt that I'll displease them in some way and the only thing that will be left of me will be a pile of smouldering ash.
Another summer is here and that means another Transformers film from Michael Bay has arrived to leave our childhood memories violated and weeping in a corner, repeating over and over again "It'll be ok." Once again Bay gives up just enough fan service to remain unlynched (barely) while at the same time gleefully raping away at my cherished memories.
The first movie gave us Peter Cullen reprising the voice of Optimus Prime, which was almost enough to make me forgive the shortcomings of the plot....almost. In the second, the big nod to the fans was Devastator and his....giant swinging steel balls? Err ok. Finally, Transformers: Dark of the Moon reintroduced us to Shockwave. Unfortunately, the three seconds he was in the movie he just wasn't enough to make me forget that Shia LaBeouf wasn't turned into a greasy smear on the bottom of Megatron's foot within the first five minutes.
However, Michael Bay apparently has no intention of ever letting my beloved Dinobots see the light of day on celluloid. After all, fuck what hardcore fans like me might want! I guess I just don't fit in with his 'artistic vision'. Why bother caring what the people who made something popular to begin with want? It's reasons like this why we wound up with a Godzilla who couldn't breath fire, a screenplay with a Superman who couldn't fly, and a Last Airbender who.....Aw fuck it. We could spend an entire novel on what was wrong with that abomination.
No, we're here to talk about the Dinobots and why they kick all sorts of ass, and it's not just because they turn into goddamned dinosaurs. Speaking of which....
They Turn Into Goddamned Dinosaurs!!
As I said already, dinosaurs are cool. There really isn't too much more to say there. Who amongst us wouldn't want a pet triceratops? Fuck German Shepherds! Let's see some burglar try to break into your house with ten tons of sharp horns and bad temper standing in the front yard. Now what if that triceratops was made of metal? Sure charging up his batteries might wind up costing more than the occasional bag of dino-chow, but the bonus would be no dino-shit to shovel off the lawn. Hey, while we're at it, let's say that metal dinosaur pet of yours can also turn into a forty foot tall robot, complete with laser blaster? Do we need to go on? If that thought alone doesn't have you drooling then I don't want to know you.
The original Jurassic park made enough money for Steven Spielberg to buy a small nation, and those were just normal fleshy dinosaurs. Just having the Dinobots show up on the screen would create a giant nerdgasm that would drown everyone in the first five rows of the theater. Hell, I'd probably drown half of them all by myself! However, they could be so much more if they were used as a plot point (yes I know....plot in a Transformers movie, go figure). Why?
Duh! It's because they were badass engines of destruction whose leader is a murderous psychopath. Think about it. One common conceit of eighties cartoons was that the main good guy was pretty much infallible. Sure the bad guys would surround themselves with treacherous oafs, but you just didn't see Man-At-Arms giving any shit to He-Man. Hell no. He and every good guy on Eternia would bend over backwards for the chance to touch He-Man's soiled loincloth. On The ThunderCats, Lion-o was young and inexperienced, but you can be sure as shit that by the end of every episode he won the day and could sit back and let Cheetara admire his biceps. So too with Transformers. After all, nobody could compare to Optimus Prime. If he told the other Autobots to go jump into an active volcano you can be sure they.....err wait. Not all of them would.
Enter Grimlock, the leader of the Dinobots. Grimlock was the very definition of motherfucking badass. He was a giant sword-wielding robot, who turned into a goddamned T-Rex....and he couldn't stand Optimus Prime. He wanted Prime's job and not exactly through democratic election either. Character depth like that was unheard of on the Super Friends.
And Optimus wasn't the only one on Grimlock's shit list. He basically had a policy of disliking anybody or anything that he laid his eyes, or optic sensors on. In the space of one episode, he pimp slapped Optimus Prime, blasted Starscream, and made Megatron his bitch. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen would have been almost bearable if every time Optimus tried saying something deep and wise, he wound up catching a dinosaur shaped foot to the face.
And that's talking about a character people mostly like. Imagine a movie where Shia LaBeouf's character tried to talk smack to Grimlock. Every incarnation of Grimlock, in either cartoon or comic form, would have fucked up Shia's shit Why? Because the Dinobots don't Like humans. God what a relief it would be to see the autobots tell the humans to get out of their fucking sight before they stomped them into gravy.
But oh well, I guess that's not to be as long as Michael "Lets make a movie about a giant robot war and focus instead of Shia LaBeouf's vacuous girlfriend" Bay is at the helm. Until such time as that changes, I'll at least have my fantasies. (Although if we're talking strictly in the realm of fantasy here, I might keep Shia's girlfriend in it) Until then or until such time as the Transformers come up with a robot that transforms into Godzilla, the Dinobots will always be number one for me.
*sniff* I love you guys! Whoa, hold on! I didn't mean that crack about Godzilla. Really! Oh god...they don't believe me! Tell my wife and kids I..****