SYNOPSIS FOR "MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE" PART 1
TOTAL NUMBER OF BLOOPERS: 84
CLIFFJUMPER: "I'm sorry, Hound. I shouldn't have fired on Megatron."
HOUND: "You... you shouldn't have missed, you mean!"
CLIFFJUMPER: "Huh? Oh, yeah... right!"
- What is the name of one of the people in the van that Ravage attacks?
- How many thrusters does the Autobot spacecraft have?
- The designs for the Autobots and Decepticons as featured in the cartoon--called character models--differ quite drastically, in many cases, from their toy counterparts. Apparently an artist at Marvel comics, John Romita Jr., was responsible for their look in the show. Allegedly, Hasbro instructed him to make the characters (particularly the Autobots) more humanoid and thus easier to relate to. This is all hearsay, but the end result was that quite a few characters bear very little resemblance to their respective toys.
For starters, they changed the colors for some characters. Optimus Prime and Thundercracker are a decidedly lighter blue in the show, while Huffer (whose toy sported the same dark blue) became purple; Wheeljack and Cliffjumper have grey parts instead of black; and for reasons which completely escape me, they switched around Rumble and Frenzy's colors. Not only that, but nearly every Autobot's face was altered (particularly Wheeljack and Bumblebee); most of the extra vehicular bits in robot mode (like wheels) were omitted; Brawn was given hands instead of claws; and Megatron's "trigger pelvis" was completely re-worked. The most glaring difference is Ironhide and Ratchet, whose toys did not actually have heads.
- The character models themselves, incidentally, were taken not from the toys themselves, but from the box art (the paintings of the robots that appeared on the front of the toy boxes). To demonstrate, I offer three characters' box illustrations next to their TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE profiles for comparison. There's something ironic about the artists' interpretations of the characters being based on another artist's interpretation of the toys! (Megatron would approve.) Transformers character models (160KB).
- Also, two characters--namely, Reflector and Shockwave--appeared in this pilot before their respective toys were out on the market. (Reflector finally appeared in the U.S. through mail-order, around the time the movie came out--a bit late, since by that point he was no longer featured in the series!)
- The Decepticon symbol appears in slightly different form in the cartoon than it does on the toys and in the comics. Apparently, when someone was creating the model sheets for the team insignias, they were working from one of the "three-dimensional" drawings (the scene bumpers in the show use this drawing) and misinterpreted it, adding an extra spire in the middle of the symbol's "forehead." This mistake appears in nearly every episode of the series; I will only call attention to those rare instances where the insignia is drawn correctly (without the middle spire).
- Since this is the series pilot, a few bloopers are "retroactive"--that is, this episode will contradict events or facts established in later episodes. Instead of mentioning them in the upcoming episodes, I will call them to attention here.
PLOT OVERSIGHTS: (17)
- Why does the Decepticon shout, "Autobots--stop them!" when Wheeljack is the only Autobot in evidence? Bumblebee is riding inside of him at the time.
- What the heck does Soundwave transform into on Cybertron? A mailbox? (Actually, several people have said they thought he was supposed to be a street lamp.) There's an identical fixture on the opposite side of the bridge to Iacon. Is that a Decepticon, too? And do the Autobots notice that they only have one mailbox/streetlamp when Soundwave's not there?
- When Megatron summons Shockwave, he's sitting up on a pillar in space gun mode. Does he just hang around in gun mode all day until someone needs him? (For that matter, maybe Soundwave never leaves his post. Or is that post office?)
- How close is Earth to Cybertron, anyway? The Autobot and Decepticon ships had ostensibly just left for Cybertron when they flew into the meteor shower... and all of a sudden, they're caught in Earth's gravity. Remember, the Autobots weren't going on a galaxy cruise, they were just looking for new energy sources. Either somebody made a gross navigational error, or their ship flew into some kind of wormhole.
- Does anyone else find it odd that, in the hundred or so years that humans have lived in the western part of the U.S. (assuming the volcano is in Oregon, as the comics claim), nobody ever noticed the butt-end of a gigantic orange spaceship sticking out of the mountain?
- Teletraan I must have really liked Skywarp. He was the only Transformer that Teletraan bothered to fix on its own; Skywarp had to drag Megatron and the others into the repair beams himself, and Optimus was zapped by accident.
- Also, why does Teletraan rebuild Skywarp and Optimus in their new vehicle modes, but Megatron and the other Decepticons are repaired in their robot modes?
- Did Teletraan repair the Decepticon cassettes and then put them inside Soundwave's cassette door? My, wasn't that helpful! For that matter, Teletraan rebuilt the Transformers into Earth machines, right? (Although it's not stated directly in the episode, both the Marvel comic and the pamphlet that came with the S.T.A.R.S. membership explain that Teletraan believed that these vehicles and machines were the dominant life form on Earth.) Then why did it rebuild Laserbeak (and, presumably, Ravage and Buzzsaw) into Earth animals? And Rumble and Frenzy seem to have been neglected altogether, because neither their cassette nor robot modes appear to have been modified. (Laserbeak already had a cassette mode on Cybertron, so I assume the others did.) My point is, there are many more people on the planet than cars and planes. If Teletraan is able to recognize organic life forms, why didn't it make all the Transformers look just like humans?
- Also, it's surprising that Megatron just left the Autobot ship without gathering any supplies.4 For that matter, all the Autobots were disabled, but obviously not dead (if the Decepticons were revived, the Autobots could have been, too). Why didn't he finish off Prime right then and there?
- When Skywarp questions whether Cybertron even still exists after four million years' time, Megatron asserts, "It must exist." Isn't this a serious tactical flaw? Megatron is basing the conquest of an entire planet on a potentially flawed premise. He makes no effort to contact Cybertron and at least confirm his arrogant assumptions.1 You get the feeling Megs was suffering from space lag?
- When Starscream and Soundwave spot the power plant, Soundwave ejects Rumble and orders him to activate his pile driver arms. Then all three of them fly off toward the power plant. Wouldn't it have made more sense to eject Rumble and tell him to activate his pile drivers after they arrived at the plant?
- As Hound is eavesdropping on the Decepticons, Megatron says, "I will plunder Earth and steal its precious resources." A few scenes back, all he knew was that it was "a planet far from Cybertron." Who told him it was Earth?4
- When Cliffjumper and Ratchet rescue Hound after he falls off the cliff, there is an orange crane with them which Cliffjumper calls Hauler. Apparently it is an Autobot (the Autobots haven't made any human friends yet at this point), but it never speaks, doesn't transform, and is only in this one scene. I suppose it could be an early version of Grapple, but why does he disappear after this scene? (Instead of introducing a non-existent character, wouldn't it just have been simpler to have Jazz use his grappling hook to pull Hound back up?)
- When Jazz is assembling his battle unit, he selects several Autobots by name. When he calls Prowl's name, both Prowl and Cliffjumper transform. When he selects Sunstreaker, we see that Ratchet has already transformed as well. Who said these guys could come along? And later on, at the oil rig, Bluestreak, Brawn and Huffer show up as well. Were they feeling left out and decided to come along anyway?2
- Suffice it to say, the Autobots can fly like pros in this episode. When the pilot came out, that wouldn't have been considered a mistake, but in the course of future episodes, the Autobots' powers of flight will continue to diminish until their inability to fly has become a hard and fast rule.
- Megatron keeps telling Starscream to "activate the Null Ray" in these episodes. He makes it sound like some big superweapon that there's only one of in the world, but these are just the guns that Starscream has mounted on his arms.
- When the Autobots arrive at the oil rig, Megatron orders, "Decepticons, transform--transform!" Oddly enough, he's the only one who transforms. (Granted, Soundwave turning into a tape deck wouldn't do a lot of good in the ensuing battle...) So, were his followers disobeying him, or was Megatron merely warning the other Decepticons to watch out for flying, dislocated limbs?3
DIALOGUE AND SOUND EFFECTS: (9)
Many of the sound effects used in the G1 cartoon were stock sound effects borrowed from other sources. Most notably, the sound of Megatron's fusion cannon is a variation on the "heavy fall" sound effect prevalent in Hanna-Barbera cartoons (and the sound of Optimus Prime's rifle is just the same sound effect layered on top of itself); the noise we hear whenever Soundwave opens his cassette deck is a sound effect from Star Trek, used when the Enterprise fires a photon torpedo; and the sounds of the other Autobots' guns is a sound effect created for Star Wars.
- When the Decepticons spot Wheeljack, Starscream says, "Autobots--stop them!" and he definitely does not sound like himself. A few moments later, Skywarp says, "After them!" and he sounds like Megatron with a sore throat. (They could have been other Decepticons who looked just like Starscream and Skywarp, I suppose.)
- On Cybertron, when Starscream warns, "My time will come, Megatron," Megatron doesn't move his mouth at first when he responds, "Never... never!"
- Megatron's voice is missing the electronic amplification that every Transformer in the series has (called flanging) when he tells Skywarp to revive the remaining Decepticons.
- When the Decepticons land at the power plant, Starscream doesn't make the characteristic transforming sound effect when he returns to robot mode.
- Here's a retro-active blooper: When Rumble converts his arms to pile drivers, they don't make the transforming noise usually associated with it in later episodes.
- When Hound and Cliffjumper are looking for the Decepticons, there's a weird echo to Hound's voice when he says, "It sure is a lot different from Cybertron, up here." They might have been trying to make it sound like his voice was echoing from the mountainous terrain, but the line Cliffjumper delivers immediately afterwards sound perfectly normal.
- There are two guys in the van that Ravage attacks, a big guy (Joe) and a little guy (unnamed; he sounds like Spike). When Ravage appears, Joe screams, "Look out!" in the little guy's voice.
- When the Decepticons arrive, Sparkplug exclaims, "What is it?" Then Spike chimes in, "What are they?" He's emphasizing the wrong word. Now, if Sparkplug had said "What is it?" and Spike had said, "What are they?" it would make sense. Or if Sparkplug had said, "Who are they?" and Spike had said, "What are they?" (You get the picture.)
- After Rumble grabs Sparkplug, Spike comes up from behind Rumble and hits him, making a clink sound. I'm sorry, but try whacking something metallic and solid with your knuckles. Betcha don't go clink. (You may hear the sounds of knuckles shattering, however...)
ANIMATION AND CONTINUITY: (52)
- The theme song which originally aired for the first season had a few minor glitches. Here they are in all their splendor:
- The Autobots riding in on the flying Autobot symbol seem to materialize out of subspace. Also, Prime's trailer just rolls off into neverland instead of disappearing into subspace. (See "More Than Meets the Eye" part 2 for a more detailed look at subspace.) Also, Optimus Prime's headlights are shaped a little wonky--they're trapezoidal when they would be rectangular.
- When Jazz punches Skywarp, he's missing his Autobot symbol and the panel on the top of his chest is white instead of blue.
- Soundwave sends Laserbeak and Ravage into battle without pressing the eject button on his shoulder.
- Megatron transforms into the air and hovers as he pops off a shot. In nearly every episode of the series he requires another Decepticon to carry him in weapons form.
- Two teams of robots fly behind the volcano at the end of the theme song. It's impossible to make out which team is which, but there are about 12 guys on the right side of the screen and around 15 on the left. Something's not right here, because there are eighteen Autobots in the pilot (19 if you count Hauler).
- At the beginning of the episode, when Wheeljack is first pulling the conductors out from the access hatch in the floor, a panel on his right forearm flashes from black to white.
- Then, when he pulls Bumblebee up, Wheeljack's right upper leg is white. Also, when he stands up, part of his left abdomen is missing and his pelvis is the wrong shape, with a horizontal line going through it.
- When the Decepticons first attack Wheeljack, they look just like Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp. When they break out the flamethrower, however, suddenly they're yellow, light purple, and blue and grey. Also, the purple guy's cockpit is purple as well; Decepticon jets usually have orange cockpits.
- Bumblebee's carrying a small silver gun, which he uses to return fire against the Decepticons. I only mention it because the animators are usually very good at keeping track of which character carries which weapon. For the toys that didn't come with guns, of course, the animators had to make them up.
- When the ring of fire encircles Bumblebee and Wheeljack, the fire overlaps part of the top of Wheeljack's vehicle mode for a few frames.
- A moment later, there's a scene from the inside of Wheeljack's cockpit, and the flames can clearly be seen through his windshield despite the dark battle shield protecting him.
- I find it odd that a guy named Wheeljack doesn't have wheels. What's also odd is that Bumblebee does.
- Er... who, exactly, are Wheeljack's vehicular mode seats designed for? Even Bumblebee seems too large for them. (And don't tell me the Quintessons designed him to accommodate a pilot, because the Quintessons were gone long before the Autobots learned how to transform!)
- When Jazz first transforms to robot mode, the front bumper on his chest is white, instead of red as it appears in later scenes. (For some reason, the color of his bumper is one of my favorite bloopers.)
- When Megatron orders Shockwave to stay behind, Soundwave's backpack is grey instead of blue, and the middle section of Starscream's cockpit (which forms the nose of his jet mode) is red instead of grey.
- Also, as Shockwave salutes Megatron, the symbol on the back of his arm is still right-side up when he raises his arm. That means when his arms at at his sides, the symbols are upside-down.
- Right after Megatron leaves Shockers in charge, Megs has got a second red triangle on his abdomen. He should just have one.4
- When Starscream insists that he will one day be leader and Megatron says, "Never!" the symbol on the back of Starscream's wing is right-side up. This is actually a blooper; they're right-side up in his jet mode, but when he transforms to robot mode, the wings pivot 180 degrees.
- After the asteroids collide, as the Autobots are being thrown about the ship in the ensuing meteor shower, Trailbreaker has one black fist and one grey fist (the colorists probably thought it was supposed to be his gun-arm).
- When Megatron orders the tractor beam readied, the top of Starscream's middle chest is red instead of grey.
- Jazz's eyes are grey instead of blue when he reports that the Decepticon tractor beam has been activated.
- After Optimus Prime announces that the Decepticons are boarding the ship, Megatron yells, "Attack! Attack!" but the same sequence of Optimus Prime pointing to the hull breach is used again.
- During the battle, Ironhide kicks Soundwave down, but he's standing up again in the very next scene. Then, Soundwave tosses Ratchet, who is wearing a Decepticon symbol (which, I might add, isn't even in the right place--it's on his windshield; it should be directly below it).
- When Teletraan I rebuilt Skywarp, it forgot to give him his arm-mounted guns. Fortunately for Skywarp, they magically appear a few scenes later.
- The only Decepticons leaving the Autobot ship are Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Reflector, and Soundwave (presumably the cassettes are inside of him). In parts 2 and 3, however, there are many assorted Reflector robots and differently-colored Decepticon jets.
- When Starscream is firing on the Autobot ship and "saying good-bye," the animation jumps a bit.
- As Optimus Prime assesses his new situation on Earth, Cliffjumper is colored like Bumblebee.
- Once Hound and Cliffjumper spot the Decepticons, in the long shot of the Decepticons building their space cruiser, Soundwave is colored like Sideswipe. (I guess the shoulder cannon threw the colorists off.)
- When Hound activates his satellite dish to hear what the Decepticons are saying, a circle at the base of the dish disappears as it pops out of his arm.
- When Soundwave ejects Laserbeak to find the Autobots, there is no opening inside Soundwave's cassette drive. It's just a blank space.
- When Cliffjumper delivers that oh-so-clever remark, "You couldn't hit an Autobot with a moonbeam," his side view mirrors are light blue instead of red.
- After the first commercial break, when Ratchet transforms, the rear portion of his ambulance mode transforms into a repair bay (his Mobile Autobot Repair Bay, as the comics call it). This is the only time we see his MARB base; for the rest of the series, his entire robot form turns into the ambulance mode. I think the animators were trying to stay faithful to the character model, which in turn is based on the toy, but quickly decided the MARB base was too awkward. (Can't say I disagree.)
- Also, when Hauler makes his cameo, at first the point on his crane hook is facing inward. In the very next scene as he lowers it, it's facing outward.
- When Reflector transforms to camera mode, the waiting Thundercracker has blue feet instead of black.
- Reflector produces Polaroids? I would have thought Transformer technology would be a little more advanced than that, like capturing images in 3-D, perhaps. (This is the first and last time Reflector spits out a hard copy of a picture, incidentally.)
- During Hound's report to Prime regarding the energon cubes, Jazz's front bumper is white again.
- When Prime orders Jazz to assemble his battle unit, the components on Prime's shoulders (which are actually the fog horns in truck mode) are grey instead of red.
- They cheat a little bit with some of the Autobots' transformations. When Wheeljack transforms, his forearms fade from black to white, because they form the trunk of his car mode. Likewise, the wheels on Sideswipe's legs, which are white for some reason in robot mode, slowly fade to black as he transforms to car mode.
- When Optimus Prime transforms to truck mode, do you get a strange sense of deja vu? And when Optimus Prime transforms to truck mode, do you get a strange sense of deja vu? That's because this transformation sequence is the most frequently recycled footage in the history of the series. The one they use here, however, is colored wrong--his lower legs are red, his truck horns are grey, and his headlights are red.4
- When the Decepticons first arrive at the oil rig, Thundercracker is flying in robot mode, but Starscream and Thundercracker are both in jet mode. Is Thundercracker embarrassed by his new, Earthly form? There's also a new, light purple jet flying with them.
- When Megatron lands and the rig workers throw their wrenches at him, part of his arm-mounted fusion cannon is grey; it should be black.
- After Megatron picks up the pipe to throw at the workers, the panels on Starscream's feet are light grey instead of black.
- Starscream's Null Ray works differently in this episode than it does in later episodes. Here, he uses it on the generators at the oil rig, and the generators become coated with a thin layer of ice!
- When Soundwave first produces the energon cubes, the sides of his head are blue instead of grey.
- In this episode, when the energon cubes are filled, the oil is visible within the cube until the cubes are physically compressed. In part 2, and the rest of the series, we'll see anything that the cube is filled with is automatically converted into pink, glowing, yummy energon.
- During the battle at the oil rig, Wheeljack is carrying a gun. (As with Bumblebee, his toy didn't come with one.)
- In the next scene, Starscream is missing the panels on his feet as he fights Ironhide.
- At one point, Prowl is fighting one of the Reflector robots. In the very next scene, he and Jazz are chasing off Skywarp and another Reflector robot.
- When Prowl and Jazz charge, Jazz is missing the Autobot symbol on his chest. (This is one of those bloopers that always gets me. Every Transformer in the series has an insignia somewhere on his person--usually his chest, shoulder, or some other fairly obvious spot. Maybe it's just me, but that seems like a fairly obvious thing to miss.)
- During the credits sequence, Frank Welker's name is missing.
- Here's a brief rundown of the scenes they used for the ending credits:
- Optimus Prime, charging the Decepticon Earth base, part 3
- Megatron transforms into Skywarp's waiting hands, part 3
- Hound and Cliffjumper transform to track down the Decepticons, part 1
- Rumble, Laserbeak, and Ravage eject and transform, part 3
- Jazz transforms (are you sensing a trend here, yet?), part 3
- Soundwave's strike force jets launch, part 2
- Bumblebee transforms to his Cybertronic vehicle form, part 1
- Starscream heads for the power plant, part 1
- Hound and Sideswipe transform, part 3
- Skywarp and Thundercracker transform for battle, part 3
- Trailbreaker charges, part 3
- Shockwave transforms, part 1
- Skywarp and Thundercracker transform to their Cybertronic modes, part 1
- Five. (You might have answered three, since only three of them are visible once the ship crashes into the volcano.)
©1999 Inspiration Studios