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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Does this scene got the touch?

I put the above clip on the side bar with the title "Greatest scene in movie history?" Now, calling a movie scene the greatest of all time is a bold claim indeed. So, I've decided to dissect the scene and give a little play by play to see just how good it is.

0:00 - We start off simply enough. "Megatron must be stopped. No matter the cost." It may not be an all time movie line, but it's certainly an all time Transformers line and sets up the scene nicely.

0:05 Now you're in for a treat. At this point you get a double whammy. First of all, you get the slow motion transform by Optimus Prime. Secondly, the ultra-cliched, ultra-awesome '80's inspiration rock song starts up. Every great movie needs a great anthem. Rocky III has "Eye of the Tiger", Karate Kid has "Best Around", and The Transformers has "The Touch". With this music behind the action, you know things are shaping up to be special.

0:25 So Optimus Prime starts doing what he does best. Kicking ass. In his truck mode he's starts mowing down some Decepticons. Optimus's foes are dramatically reflected in his front grill before getting smashed. One of the Insecticons gets squished insect, I guess. Anyway, only Blitzkrieg manages to get out of there. I assume this is because he's a triple changer...which means triple the awesomeness. (Please note that somehow Optimus Prime manages to be quadruple the awesomeness despite only having two forms.)

0:36 At this point the Decepticons are tired of being run over. They finally decide to go on the offensive and start blasting Optimus with lasers. The lasers, of course, bounce harmlessly off Optimus Prime...because he's Optimus Freakin' Prime. You may be tempted to ask me how Optimus Prime suddenly became invincible in truck mode, but if you do you'll get a karate chop to the throat. It's not your place to question the ways of Optimus Prime.

00:41 Despite his invincibility, Optimus Prime transforms back into a robot in midair and starts blasting the Decepticons. Notice his carefully aimed shots. One blast for each of his foes. And they all go down. Why did Optimus Prime never do this during the numerous television episodes? Shut your flesh-bag mouth, that's why!

0:55 - The two mightiest transformers at last face off. Optimus Prime and Megatron. Both gladiators size the other up. Optimus Prime belts out what has to be considered one of the all time great quotes in movie history: "One shall stand, one shall fall." So elegant in it's simplicity. How many great movie battles can be boiled to down to that simple sentence?

0:59 That all time quote is followed by an all time movie dialogue exchange.
Megatron: "Why throw your life so recklessly?"
Optimus Prime: "That's a question you should ask yourself, Megatron!"
My only thought? BA-ZING!!! Point goes to Optimus Prime. Megatron is so dumbfounded by this respond, he can only say "No!" Lame! That's like saying "I am rubber you are glue!" Megatron's clearly waving the white flag in this war of words.

1:14 The epic duel begins. Of course, Hot Rod sees this and vows to help out Optimus Prime. Keep in mind Hot Rod's a pussy. He's bound to just make things worse. That's what we call foreshadowing in the business.

1:24 Megatron throws some debris like a javelin. Lasers have no effect on Optimus, but a hunk of rock is extremely harmful, apparently.

1:33 Here we see how bad ass Optimus Prime really is. He ignores the giant piece of rock stuck in his side and runs up and decks Megatron. Good thing, too, because that caused some debris to fall and break off Megatron's arm cannon. Good show, Optimus. That's what we call strategery.

1:37 Up to this point I feel like the animators\writers knew they were on to something special. They knew they could make this scene the greatest in movie history. They also knew that that's impossible unless said scene contains a light saber. So what happens? Out of nowhere, Megatron finds and wields a light saber. Brilliant.

1:40 Optimus Prime gets sliced with the light saber right where the hunk of rock had been. Some say this was just to save on animation costs. But, really, this an obvious homage to the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones gets repeatedly punched in the open bullet wound on his arm. Paying respect to great movies that came before you is always a plus.

1:48 Megatron goes in for the kill with a leaping light saber attack. Optimus Prime counters with a the legendary uppercut known as the dragon punch. That move would be emulated by Ryu and Ken years later in all forms of the Street Fighter video games. All that's missing is Optimus Prime screaming out "shoryuken!"

2:02 After some more fighting, Optimus just grabs Megatron and toss him aside. Optimus Prime is the clear victor. Was there any doubt?

2:27 ANOTHER classic movie line. "You, who are without mercy, now plead for it? I thought you were made of sterner stuff!" Now to be fair, I never liked the term "sterner stuff." It sounds so generic. I would gone with something like "sterner steel." But then again, Shakespeare got away with "Screw your courage to the sticking place" so who am I to judge?

2:36 Hot Rod jumps into the fray to prevent Megatron from attacking Optimus Prime with a laser pistol. Apparently Hot Rod failed to realize that Optimus had a giant laser rifle point at Megatron and could've blasted him in an instant. Instead, Hot Rod becomes a hostage and Optimus can't get a clear shot. Way to go Hot Rod. *cough* pussy *cough*

2:42 Optimus Prime gets hit with a barrage of laser blasts amongst Megatron's cries for him to "Fall! FALL!" Maybe Optimus Prime should have transformed into Invincible-Against-Lasers truck mode. But at the same time, I'm not a giant, transforming robot with access to the matrix of leadership and neither are you. So we have no right to question.

2:57 The dramatic conclusion to the epic duel. The battle damage can be seen on both competitors. But, with a heroic last effort, Optimus Prime manages to knock Megatron off a ledge and down a couple of stories. Apparently, falling is Megatron's kryptonite.

3:18 Optimus Prime can't stay on his feet! Oh...the horror....

3:20 Hot Rod apologizes to the near lifeless shell of a robot that was once Optimus Prime. In honor of the decade in which this movie came out...smooth move, ex lax.

3:27 And it what can only be considered Art, the duality of the Autobots and Decepticons is displayed. Right after they show the Autobots huddled around and worried about their fallen leader, we see the Decepticons jeer theirs. And of course Starscream adds salt to the wound by giving Megatron a swift kick to the side. Hilarious.

3:53 The dutiful Soundwave carries Megatron out of battle (HEAVY homoerotic overtones). In a nice touch to continuity one of the tape robots, I'll say Rumble, is tagging along carrying Megatron's arm cannon (which fell off during the battle with Optimus Prime).

4:04 Kup alerts everyone to the fact that this battle was won because of one robot, and one robot only: Optimus Prime. I'm sure he is also thinking that the baddest ass Autobot to ever live was dead also because of one robot and one robot only...friggin' Hot Rod.

4:20 We see the Decepticons retreating with their tail between their legs thanks to the heroic sacrifice of his awesomeness, Optimus Prime.

So this scene contains two all time great movie quotes, an all time great movie dialogue exchange, one all time great Transformers quote, an epic duel between two arch rivals, an awesomely 80's rock song, a slow motion transformation, a dragon punch before the dragon punch was famous, homoerotic overtones, and a light saber.
Hot Rod is the only negative in this scene and even that can be chalked up as pacing.
I don't know how you can see it any other way. This is truly the greatest scene in the history of cinema.


  1. Yes.

    Your reasoning is 100% spot on.

    And clearly, the reason Optimus can mow down Decepticons with impunity at the beginning of the scene is because he's doing it while "The Touch" is playing.

    I think "The Touch" is like some kind of awesome, legal, consequence-free steroid for Optimus.

  2. I like to think "The Touch" is actually being sung by the Matrix of Leadership, in order to pump him up.

  3. I think you're right: it does the same thing to Rodimus when he's fighting Galvetron later.

    In fact, I think the only reason Rodimus was even able to hurl Galvetron out Unicron's eye was because "The Touch" was playing while he did so.

    And Rodimus went on to suck as the Autobots leader because the Matrix's rendition of "The Touch" couldn't be heard over all his whining.


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