|From a press release |
Live-Action Movie's 'Heroes' Attend 6th Annual GM Ten Event; DreamWorks/Paramount Film Slated to Debut July 4
LOS ANGELES – Four new movie stars – "Bumblebee," "Autobot Jazz," "Autobot Ratchet" and "Ironhide" – from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures', in association with Hasbro's, forthcoming July 4th action-adventure release, "Transformers," were introduced this evening by General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) as it hosted its sixth annual "ten" pre-Oscar fashion event at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.
"Bumblebee" changes from the classic Chevrolet Camaro, and is a central character in the saga of aliens who take mechanical forms when on Earth "Autobot Jazz" converts from a Pontiac Solstice in a hardtop format. A Hummer H2, modified as a rescue vehicle, changes into "Autobot Ratchet" and "Ironhide" changes from a GMC TopKick medium-duty truck. They all star in this summer's live-action blockbuster, "Transformers," from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, in association with Hasbro, which will premiere July 4.
Buzz about the roles that these vehicles play in the movie has been spreading since a quick glimpse of the new Camaro was spotted in Paramount's newest "Transformers" trailer, which began appearing in theaters on Dec. 20, 2006. This clip, which is currently the most-viewed movie trailer on Yahoo!, also contains images of the Solstice, H2 and TopKick for fans who were quick enough to have freeze-framed it.
"'Transformers' is a compelling project and offers us a global platform for marketing GM products and building our brands," said Mike Jackson, GM North America vice president, marketing and advertising. "It represents the perfect intersection of entertainment, marketing and design."
"The first time I saw the new Camaro, while touring the GM Design Center, I knew immediately that it would be the perfect 'Bumblebee,'" said Michael Bay, the film's Director. He continued, "It's got beautiful lines and a classic, timeless look. There were no other cars that came even close. I have had a great working relationship with GM for many years and am psyched to be working with them on 'Transformers.'"
Gerry Rich, President of Worldwide Marketing at Paramount Pictures, added, "We are thrilled to be working with GM on this incredible and action-packed film. Having integrated the cars as characters in the film is truly an innovative concept that will help eventize this exciting 4th of July tentpole film."
GM will roll out a fully integrated marketing and promotional effort around the film in the near future, including a major Chevrolet promotion, according to Jackson.
Written by Ryan Yzquierdo
February 13th, 2007
Ok, where to begin? As many of you know, I've been a pretty big naysayer about a variety of issues regarding the upcoming Transformers Movie. Most of my concerns have revolved around the designs of the robots. While I still think the look of Megatron and Starscream is pretty bad, other characters such as Blackout, Barricade and Bumblebee are saving my overall opinion. The leaked script that I read during August 2006 is actually a big part of what started to turn me around about the movie. While I think it's great that Transformers "transform", I've always been more interested in the story behind the Autobots and the Decepticons. I found the script interesting, entertaining, compelling, emotional and true to an alien invasion of Transformers robots coming to Earth. While I found the script up to par, I still had my reservations about the movie.
Let me rewind by about 6 hours. Tonight was the big event that truly brought me from Chicago to a fun-filled weekend in New York that just happened to intentionally coincide with Toy Fair 2007. The event was located at the Walter Reade Theatre on 165 W 65th St in New York city, on the northside of Manhattan and east of Central Park (near WABC's studios). The doors to the event opened at 5:45.
Upon entrance to the event, I had begun to immediately feel underdressed in my black pants and button up shirt. It had become obvious very quickly that the event wasn't designed to cater to guys who run major Transformers fan websites. Regardless that I was missing the attire that most were wearing, I quickly saw some familiar faces from Hasbro, Hunter PR and, of course, several key people within the Transformers hobby.
The walls of the front rooms to the theatre were decorated with various Transformers Movie posters, most of which prominently featured the Autobot and Decepticon symbols. The cardboard cutouts of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were near the place where we checked in our coats. The 4 primary products featured at Toy Fair (Optimus Prime helmet, arm blaster, Leader class figure and Ultimate Bumblebee) were also on display. I expressed to Aaron Archer that I thought the Bumblebee figure was excellent. He seemed to be really proud of the figure. I got the same sense from Brian Goldner during a brief conversation with him at Hasbro's Toy Fair event this past Saturday.
The staff of theatre people operating the theatre were all dressed in black Autobot and Decepticon t-shirts. It was pretty cool to see all of these people wearing Transformers shirts ... and we weren't even at a BotCon or comic book convention. The staff of people handing out drinks had black Autobot and Decepticon napkins which several of us kept as souveniers.
After a few drinks, we started moving into the theatre to view the presentation. I sat next to Tony Bacala (tfw2005.com) and Rick Alvarez, one row above Brian Savage and one row below Kevin and Jason Lukis (unicron.com). Ben Yee (bwtf.com) was there also but I'm not sure where he sat at the event. I'm assuming that most of the people who were in the theatre were executives of various companies or worked for Hasbro, Hunter PR, Paramount, Dreamworks or various retail chains (the CEO of Toys R Us was apparently there).
Brian Goldner (Hasbro - CEO) took the stage once everyone was in the theatre. He made several comments about the Transformers franchise before making some introductions. I missed the name of one of the people who were on the stage. Tom DeSanto was present, but not on the stage. Brian Goldner was joined by Adam Goodman (Dreamworks), Wayne (didn't catch his last name) and, of course, Michael Bay (Director). Here are some of the things that were said about the Transformers Movie prior to playing the 4 different scenes:
There were a total of 4 scenes previewed at the event. If you do not want to read any spoilers, please do not read any futher. Here are my notes and thoughts on the scenes that were previewed:
After the event, a group of us were gathered near the coat check toward the front of the building. I talked to Paula Walsh (Hasbro's Public Relations Director) for a little bit. Brian Goldner joined the group to ask a few of us what we thought. I said "Remember that little Transformers 101 stunt from my website?" everyone kind of chuckles nervously, not sure where I'm going with that comment. "Let's just say that tonight was Transformers 102 and it was MY turn to get schooled." Everyone in the group laughed and I felt a lot better after acknowledging the Transformers 101 thing directly to Brian. No hard feelings, right? ;)
The Transformers Movie reminds me most of Independence Day (ID4). It doesn't seem to have the stupid slapstick humor that I didn't find appealing in Armageddon but it does retain some of the classic humor that Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum demonstrated in Indepence Day as well as Bruce Willis and Ben Afleck in Michael Bay's Armaggedon. It's not Steve Buscemi type humor.
The action seems very similar to Indepence Day (ID4 - Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum). ID4 is one of my all-time favorite movies so I'm pretty pleased with this direction. The scenes were absolutely incredible, the transformation of Blackout was fascinating and spectacular, and the mood was exactly what I was hoping for in the movie. I still think some of the robot designs could have used some improvements to be more reminiscent of the original characters but it's too late for that now. From what I've seen and from the version of the script that I've read, I think ILM has done a top notch job with bringing Transformers to life. The robots are designed to look like REAL Transformers, not computer animated or cell animated or toys for that matter. I think this goal was accomplished.
I've read that a few people out there were questioning if Hasbro/Paramount/Dreamworks "bought out" some of the outspoken people such as myself who attended this event. If getting to see a sneak peak of the movie so that I can share my thoughts with all of the fans of my website constitutes as being "bought out", then that's what happened. I think their main objective was to give some key people in the Transformers hobby a taste of what Hasbro/Paramount/Dreamworks have been seeing so that we could share that with you. It's a little different to hear the opinion of a die-hard fan like myself and not from someone who's officially involved with the movie. I saw it. I got it. It's going to be a spectacular summer blockbuster that most of us should enjoy. Ben Yee (bwtf.com), Kevin Lukis (unicron.com), Jason Lukis (unicron.com), Rick Alvarez (Transformers Collector's Club, etc), Tony Bacala (tfw2005.com) and myself all seemed to genuinely enjoy the movie. If I can look past some of the robot designs that I don't really like and was able to thoroughly enjoy myself while I watched the scenes that I saw, then I'm pretty confident that most of you will be able to enjoy the movie as well.
The Transformers Movie is going to be a very solid action flick that audiences worldwide will thoroughly enjoy. If you're a fan that is really against this movie, all that I ask is that you see the movie at least once with an open mind. You know the movie is going to be different. If you can accept the Transformers Movie for what it is, I'm pretty confident that you'll find yourself having a great time with the rest of the audience.
Stay tuned to Seibertron.com for all of the latest news regarding the Transformers Movie. I'll see you in theatres starting July 4th, 2007!
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