Friday, April 26, 2013

Why Transformers Are So Complicated?

In two previous articles Gizmodo provided a few details on how Transformers are made. While there they took the opportunity to ask why Transformers have been so complicated to transform for the last few years. The answer, of course, is because of the Michael Bay movies.
"The reference style is so phenomenal in the movie tie-ins, we got more complicated than we had to," Lamb says. "Right now, there's a big effort to get back to simple; and more than simple, intuitive."

What was the issue, exactly? "Bay and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) work it pretty well," Lamb says, "But they also do some magic." In the movie, a car's parts could fold into infinitely small sections. Tiny pieces of interlocking plastic? Not so much.

Take Bumblebee. In the movie, he's a 1977 Chevy Camaro, which is a license deal agreed with Chevrolet. Meaning Hasbro not only had to deal with the normal mechanics of turning a car into a robot, and do it in a way that resembled the on-screen transformation, but it had to make sure the car was as detail-specific as possible to the original ‘77 Camaro. Not easy.

Not only that, but the team had to match that replica car to the movie's version of the robots, and find some approximation of the transformation you see in the film, which isn't always possible. "If the bumper isn't on his chest," Lamb says, "and his doors aren't back here [motioning to his shoulder blades], it isn't Bumblebee."

"We were definitely proud of them when it was all said and done," says Lamb. "The movie models were the most accurate and realistic we'd ever produced." In the end, the movie toys used more points of articulation and movable parts than any generation before. But they were also supremely hard to assemble. "You get back to G1 [the well loved first generation of American Transformers] Optimus Prime, and you can transform it with your eyes closed one you figured it out."

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