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Transformers: The Novelization

June 21, 2007

Being between novels and with some time to kill (and because I grew up in the 80’s and am a geek), I decided to pick up the Transformers novelization ahead of the movie’s release.  So far it has been…interesting.

The Good

– The story, at least as far as I’ve read, is actually pretty good.  It’s no Count of Monte Cristo, mind you, but for a big-budget summer blockbuster based on a line of toys, it works.

– I’ve found myself enjoying a lot of the little details.  A few "more than meets the eye" lines.  Sure, they’re groaners, but whatever.  It’s Transformers.  And when Sam (Shia Lebouf’s character) is first introduced to Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots, one of his first questions is why they’ve come because it’s "surely not to play at transforming yourselves from vehicles into robots and back again and again", which is genius!

– Bumblebee’s "voice". 

– Optimus Prime.  The soul of the character (yes, he has a soul, damnit!) is essentially unchanged from the G1 cartoon series.  Speaking of which.  Our intern was asking me who my favorite Transformer was today, and I nodded to the Optimus action figure on my bookshelf, and he asked "which one is that?".  I mean, come on!  It’s not like we’re talking one of the obscure Transformers here, much less a Go-Bot or something!

The Bad & The Ugly

– Alan Dean Foster’s writing.  Good God is it bad.  Laughably bad.  As in – and I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the drift – "The robot’s name was Blackout, but nobody could have known that, and the robot was not inclined to disclose it".  Now, I realize that something as visual as Transformers is probably a challenge to put to paper, but come on!  This is some of the worst descriptive writing I’ve ever encountered.

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