Throwback Thursday: Transformers (1984-1993)

What: Transformers

When: 1984-1993

Starring: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Shockwave, Dinobots and Constructicons

Reason for the throwback: Tomorrow, the fourth film in the Michael Bay-helmed series, Transformers: Age of Extinction, hits theatres and there are only two really good things about it:

  1. Shia LaBeouf is gone, replaced by Mark Wahlberg, and
  2. The Dinobots finally make an appearance.

As a child of the ’80s, these movies have brought me mixed emotions. On the one hand, it’s been cool to see toys I played with growing up brought to life on the big screen and bring enjoyment to new audiences, but on the other hand, thanks for exploiting a portion of my childhood Michael Bay.

Sorry — as much as i like explosions and fighting sequences, there are only so many times I can take entire cities being decimated by robots in disguise with pretty much nothing else going on, and that’s what the last two movies have felt like to me.

Maybe this is just me getting old (and I admit I’m getting old), but I was cool with Transformers being toys that I fought over with my older brother Pete and a kick-ass cartoon. I used to watch them whenever they were on (and have enjoyed the cartoon movie on several occasions) and vividly remember Santa bringing me Megatron for Christmas and how excited that made me.

For the record, I was a Decepticons fan from Jump Street; they were always cooler. Megatron transformed into a Walther P38 pistol and rolled with jet fighters by his side, which was way better than being a truck with a bunch of cars as sidekicks.

While there have been plenty of ’80s toys/cartoons/movies that have been rebooted or repackaged in the new millenium, nothing has felt more jammed down our throats than Transformers. Between the movies, the video games, the toys, comic books, etc. there has been a lot of Autobots and Decepticons dropping into our laps and just like when I was little, I’m not very good with sharing.

Transformers were ours — we had them when they came out, we grew up with them, and it was something that could show up on a Buzzfeed “You know you grew up in the ’80s if” lists alongside Teddy Ruxpin, Punky Brewster and ALF.

So on the eve of Optimus Prime & Co. once again hitting theatres, I’m throwing it back to the originals, when they were the coolest after-school cartoon on television and the most coveted toy around.

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