1776: (RAMONA. WHAT)
NAME TAKEN ([personal profile] 1776) wrote2009-06-18 12:10 am

this is a saved draft, actually.

PMS has laid me up from much vacation-related excitement today, so I'm stuck here writing about my choice trashy beach read, Transformers: The Veiled Threat, while my sunburned nose peels and I drink margarita mix straight out of the bottle. (no tequila added!)

A novelized prequel to Revenge of the Fallen, it's basically author Alan Dean Foster publishing some Transformers-related dreams he had after watching the first movie and falling asleep in his son's toy room with a Starscream figurine lodged uncomfortably against his lower back. I realize the poor man doesn't have a heck of a lot to work with, given that he's charged with killing time between Michael Bay's explosion-packed summer blockbusters and not writing a novel that panders to the series' myriad fans. While the book's rife with EPIC!!! AWESOME!!! EXPLOSIONS!!! Transformer grappling, just as Bay likes it, it skimps on character development or any redeemable content outside of the giant robot skirmishes. Basically, a military group called NEST stocked with multinational OCs (there's a Japanese woman named Kaminari who carries a large gun, two advanced degrees, a hot body, and a working knowledge of "Jodo") and military personnel supposedly from the first movie team up with Optimus and his ever expanding expendable crew of Autobots to take down approximately four Decepticons holing up in Zambia, who want little more than to...crush dams? What? And Starscream, their leader now that Megatron is taking an extended vacation on an Alaskan seabed, is almost never present, appearing as little more than a deus ex machina to cause havoc and then zoom away immediately afterward. He's like the dog in Duck Hunt, laughing while everyone else makes legitimate efforts. It's not Starscream's cowardly nature that keeps him at neighboring nation's length, but Foster's apparent disinterest in the character. "Well, Starscream is the new self-appointed Decepticon leader," he reasons, "but why not write more about this other Decepticon I just made up three seconds ago, while Starscream hovers in the background? Kids love new things!" And so we get extended scenarios about Payload and Dropkick and Macerator, and the briefest, most convenient glimpses of Starscream.

But the point of this half-baked review, which is oozing with e coli., still, because I am only halfway through the book, is to lament the short life of the Autobot Beachbreak. Beachbreak journeys down from Cybertron with his friend Salvage to join Optimus in the fight against the Decepticon powers. He measures in at a comparatively puny ten feet, and, while he can't transform into a hulkin' diesel like Prime, or a stately ambulance like our buddy Ratchet, Beachbreak fits into that nice little nomenclature-dictated niche that is a jet ski. In his local form, he can't move about freely, so he hitches a ride on Salvage's truck form's bed, but that's okay! Beachbreak is an oft-referenced background character full of promise, (or something) always being overlooked by our smoking Japanese dream, Kaminari, and Russian fetishist of all things small, Petr. Just when you thought Beachbreak was introduced solely to boost sales--there is an action figure, guys!--a la the 1986 Transformer movie in which the beloved original Transformers cast was killed off to pave the way for a new wave of merchandise, Beachbreak gets his one brief moment of character depth before he finally gets important after a struggle in the Zambezi River!

Beachbreak often felt dwarfed by his Autobot colleagues. Standing a little over ten feet tall when in robot mode, he was neither as big nor as powerful as his companions on Diego Garcia. He missed his friend Bumblebee, not only due to the fact that they were relatively the same young age and enjoyed similar personalities, but also because Bumblebee did not tower over Beachbreak quite as much as the others.

The poor dude! His only friend is Bumblee, and apparently the Transformers: Animated incarnation, because that's the only Bumblebee that's a "kid." Listen, fandom, just because Bumblebee is small does not mean that he is young. Is every person with dwarfism fated to be eternally youthful due to their diminutive stature? Of course not, so why does a tiny robot = tiny age? It is baffling, and the movie (and G1) give all sorts of evidence to the contrary, as Bee sounds like a wizened professor in the former and a thirty-something taxi driver in the latter. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, so pardon me if I am taking it a little too heavily, but we now know that Beachbreak is a fucking stupid kid like Bee in TF:A. Swell. He probably has a high-pitched voice and does needlessly risky things, so it's no wonder that he is overlooked by everyone.

But before we start getting carried away with our mixtures of sympathy and hate, and quite before we develop an opinion on Beachbreak, he dies some sixty pages later, after using his cable-extending powers to save his teammates' asses in Zambia. They emerge fresh from the battle, Decepticons running scared, when...

But the victory was short-lived. Starscream, after having deposited Macerator on the far shore, had circle dback to gloat over the demise of Optimus Prime. Enraged by the sheer dumb luck of Prime, and the pathetic heroism of the little Autobot, he screeched in for his revenge. As Ironhide leaped the short distance of the falls, Starscream streaked low and knocked Beachbreak off the weapons specialist's shoulders.
Even in Jet Ski mode, Beachbreak would never have been able to fight the current so close to the precipice. In robot form, the point was moot. He gave a single startled cry and disappeared over the rim. There was nothing anyone could do. With a shriek of triumph, Starscream disappeared.

The ensuing reaction is basically a quick :( from everyone in the team, after which they all promptly forget Beachbreak and start talking about other things. Beachbreak is never mentioned again, left to rot in the annals of expended Transformers history. That was basically all I had to say, as I was pretty appalled that they killed him that way. Beachbreak died as he lived--incredibly unremarkable.

I could talk for ages, but I have to go eat dinner before I die.

Basically, I'm going to play some video games whenever I get home!

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