HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Monday, July 2, 2007

Transformers Talk with TFW2005's Joe Moore!

It's always cool when you can interview an important member of a fandom, but it's even cooler when you get to interview said person and they are from PHILLY! With the upcoming (less than 6 hours left) release of Michael Bay's Transformers HK and CULT FILM NEWS interviewed TFW2005's Joe Moore and talked about all things Transformers. Thanks again to Joe for taking the time to do this interview.

Also, Jess and I will be at the King of Prussia 8:30 DLP screening tonight and are on the look out for fans wanting to talk about the movie for our review and event write up; we should get in (if we can't get our seats) at around 7:30. I'll be in a blue Transformers shirt with thick black glasses (I have brown hair). My fiancee has brown hair and will be wearing an orange shirt and is a lot better looking than me. She also may be trying to sneak in ear plugs after she heard the film is apparently very LOUD!

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Joe Moore. I am one of the administrators of I'm 29 years old and live in Philadelphia. I have been collecting Transformers for a solid 8 years now, with a collection that I've lost count of. Fans may remember me as a member of the commentary for the Transformers The Movie 20th Anniversary DVD along with my friends Alex Weiner (aka Tony Bacala), J.E. (Rik) Alvarez and Paul Hitchens.

2. How did TFW 2005 come about and what is your role in it? was created in, I believe, 1999, owned and operated by Tony Bacala. He created the site, originally, to share some of his music and to share his passion for the Transformers. Over the years, the site has gone through some very drastic changes. However, our goal of bringing top notch Transformers info has always remained the same.
I came onto the site in 2002 as a toy reviewer. I eventually moved onto doing news and worked my way up to Admin in a relatively short amount of time. What made it easy and fun was the friends I've made by being a part of the site. I consider the a lot of these people to be like family to me.

3. What was your first exposure to Transformers?
I'm one of the guys that grew up with Transformers. I was 6 years old when the G1 cartoon began airing. I remember recording the original 3-part mini-series when it originally aired too. That tape lasted through far too many viewings. Transformers became my favorite toys as a kid, far surpassing my enjoyment of Star Wars or He-Man.

4. What is you favorite incarnation of the Transformers?
When I started getting back into collecting, like many fans, I thought the original G1 series was the end all for Transformers. They toys, the toon, everything. However, when the Car Robots line was brought to North America as "Robots In Disguise" (RID), my love of the toys shifted to that series. Since then, I really think it's been my favorite toy line, not only for the show characters, but for the expanded universe that RID turned into. It was really a great way to bring old and new designs together under a cohesive heading.

As for the cartoon, G1 will always hold a special place in my memory. However, once I completed the Beast Wars series, I really fell in love with the characters and story arcs portrayed. The writing and voice acting were really a step above anything else at the time. The show, in many ways, was way ahead of its time because of its complex animation and attention to minute details.

5. Did you ever think there would be a live action version of the Transformers?
I always thought there would be one. I do recall reading that Hasbro tried to get one off the ground quite in the 90's, but that the plan never got beyond a write-up. I've never been able to get confirmation on this story though. It was movies like The Matrix that really made me think that a Transformers movie was possible, and after the release of Matrix Revolution, I knew transformers was an inevitability.

6. When it was announced that Michael Bay would be the director, would you say that the reaction of fans was negative overall?
It was really hard to judge. there were days when I thought the fandom was going to tear itself apart with the arguments over Michael Bay directing the movie. But I guess the overall tone did lean toward the negative end. People weren't sure which Michael Bay we were getting. Were we getting the Michael Bay who gave us killer action movies like The Rock, Bad Boys and the Island (which I finally saw and loved)? Those movies had great story and action. Or were we getting the director of Pearl Harbor and Armageddon? With those films we had overly clichéd stories and action without emotional weight. People were really apprehensive. Most of the early reviews seem to point more toward the former.

7. It seems that reaction and expectations have become more positive over time; what do you think has caused that?
I think the main thing was prolonged exposure to the designs. There's no denying the movie designs are a huge departure from past iterations. The designs came out of left field for a lot of people. Once people started seeing final designs and seeing them in action in the trailers, it turned a lot of, but not all, people's opinions around. I still see a fair amount of criticism of the movie, but that's what makes the fans great. They have a very diverse taste and vision for Transformers can be.

8. It was initially stated that Transformers received an R rating, but there hasn’t been too much detail about it. Why did it get an R rating? Was anything cut or was it similar to what happened with Poltergeist and the power of Steven Spielberg, where an R was reduced with nothing cut?
The gloriously flawed organization known as the MPAA originally did hand Transformers an "R" Rating, citing extreme violence. Kind of ridiculous if you ask me. Never one to be scared by the MPAA, Steven Spielberg protested the rating, pleaded his case, and got the rating changed with nothing removed from the film. Shia LaBeouf had revealed that info in an interview. Spielberg is one of those guys who will fight for a movie he believes in.

9. Of the three versions of the Transformers theme that have been floating around as possible themes (Mute Math-being the actual theme), Linkin Park aka Deceptibots, and Black Lab) which is your favorite and what do you think is the fan favorite?
My favorite...None, personally. I found them to be mostly generic, with nothing exciting added. There is so much that can be done with the Transformers theme, but they all played it pretty straightforward. A great example of ways to re-imagine the music of Transformers can be heard by checking the music selection of Tony Bacala. As the movie has gained momentum, more and more people stop by the site asking about Tony's music. I think the fans kinda liked the Linkin Park version the best, but I haven't really been following that.

10. With all the clips of the movie being released officially, are you afraid that pirated clips (such as the intro and Autobots intro that have popped up on youtube) may sneak their way onto the board?
They actually already have. But as soon as we spot them, we're sure to remove them and let the poster know that they are not to post any pirated clips on the website. If they are officially released, then so be it, no need to stop those. The only thing we can do is keep our eyes open and try to remove any that pop up.

11. Have you been trying to stay spoiler free or as a mod is that virtually impossible?
It was a lost cause for me. Being someone who reports the Transformers news, and has to keep an eye on the forum, staying spoiler free just wasn't possible. I actually had the leaked script well before it started making the rounds through the fandom. I resisted reading it for about a week and then caved. I've always been the kind of guy who just can't avoid spoilers.

12. Do you think anyone can truly replace Chris Latta as Starscream?
Sure. Latta's take on Starscream will always be in the older fans' mind. As it should be. It's one of the defining traits of the G1 toon. I just approach things with an open mind and let them stand on their own merit. Take Michael Dobson's Starscream from Transformers Armada. Though the majority of the Armada cartoon wasn't all that good, the last leg of the series was really fantastic. Dobson did a pretty amazing job throughout though, and really hit his stride in the episodes leading up to the death of Starscream. People tend to forget that kind of stuff as years go by.

13. If the film does well do you think Sony may finally do a new release of the original G1 show?
This is a slippery slope. Sony BMG closed down the Sony Wonder department shortly after the release of the Transformers the Movie 20th Anniversary DVD. Sony wonder handled all the children's DVD releases. Strangely, it was a division of Sony BMG, Sony's music branch. I was told that the rights for all Hasbro properties would revert back to Hasbro with the closing of Sony Wonder. Word now is that Sony Home Entertainment is set to absorb the remaining brands from Sony Wonder and relaunch all of the Sony Home Entertainment children's DVD's through Sony Wonder. What this means for Transformers is anyone's guess at this point. But the DVD's are almost certainly going to be released again at some point. They'd be too profitable not to. Be it by Sony or someone else.

14. What did fans think of the use of Transformers in an early episode of Robot Chicken? Do you know of any fans who were offended by it?
I think it was hit. That skit helped propel Robot Chicken into huge popularity, and not just with Transformers fans. I think most, if not all, fans were delighted seeing their favorite show spoofed.

15. What toys are the fans really excited for with this movie?
By far the Real Gear figures have really captured the love of the fandom. I think fans really like the idea of everyday items that become robots. It helps that they're pretty great figures as well. I'd also say fans are really digging both the Leader and Voyager Class Optimus Prime figures. In later waves, some of the characters are getting G1 inspired repaints, and fans seem to really be looking forward to those.

16. What are your favorites for this movie?
The Voyager Optimus Prime is a figure that really surprised me. He's got excellent articulation and has better resemblance to the movie version compared to the Leader version. Ironhide, Jazz and Wreckage are all very well done. I'm also looking forward to a few of the video game inspired characters.

17. Are you surprised with the speed of bootleg copies appearing on the internet and do you think it will hurt the film’s box office?
I'm disappointed more than anything. Pirated versions of a film can seriously cripple a movie's box office, or, in some cases, reflect poorly on a specific genre of film. The aftermath of the Hostel 2 bootleg is still being felt in the horror community, with studio's beginning to drop horror films from their slate because of Hostel 2's poor box office. I do believe the Sci-Fi/Action genre to be safe from the overreaction of studios. I'd love for fans to go out and support the film and show that they really are dying for a new epic adventure with Transformers.

18. How does it feel to win the Botcon awards for Best News and Best Design?
It feels great. This is the second year in a row we have won the Best News award. News is something we have always prided ourselves on. We have, probably, the best news staff we've ever had. These guys bust their butt's day in and day out to keep up. I'm glad their hard work paid off, they deserve it. The design award is all Tony. The guy constantly strives to have the best features and best aesthetic for the site. He's a workhorse.

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