Saturday, March 24, 2007

FILM Spy in the House of Optimus Prime

I'm still friends with most of the publicists in Seattle, which gets me into screenings and sometimes a little bit more. Sometimes swag will make its way down to me. The latest piece is a t-shirt from the new Transformers movie. I never watched the Transformers when I was younger (I think I'm just a year or two out of that age range) and I never saw the original animated movie (famous for being the final roles of both Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers; also for using the voices of Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Casey Kasem and Robert Stack).

Anyway, this new Transformers t-shirt has a symbol for the Autobots (the good guys) on front, and the symbols for Autobots vs. Decepticons on the back. Nowhere does it actually say "Transformers."

I like this t-shirt, and have worn it around town several times. Every time I wear it somebody, usually an adult male in his 20s or 30s, tells me something about how they used to love the Transformers, or how they're looking forward to the new movie. Usually they'll drop references to characters that I know nothing about. They see me as a fellow member of this cult, someone who shares in their nostalgia for a TV show from the ’80s where trucks turned into fighting robots.

But I'm not, and I have to admit it makes me feel like a bit of an imposter. That won't stop me wearing the shirt, though. I like the abstract design of it, and the fact that it's not your typical movie-hawking t-shirt. I like the fact that it is written in another language, one that only fans of the show can read. I like the fact that it exposes this normally quiet Transformers cult. And I'll no doubt keep wearing it long after the summer release of the film when it, once again, turns into a small cult item speaking a secret language.


Sam Rhee said...

You're right, you were in college when Transformers hit its heyday...we watched it as a drinking game at U of Chicago.

I hope Michael Bay does a good job with this, but, well...Pearl Harbor.

Shannon said...

I've got a Frenzy, Ravage and the Deceptacon that turned into a red Lamborghini tucked safely away with my Star Wars figures. NERD!!!!