• Most new users don't bother reading our rules. Here's the one that is ignored almost immediately upon signup: DO NOT ASK FOR FANEDIT LINKS PUBLICLY. First, read the FAQ. Seriously. What you want is there. You can also send a message to the editor. If that doesn't work THEN post in the Trade & Request forum. Anywhere else and it will be deleted and an infraction will be issued.
  • If this is your first time here please read our FAQ and Rules pages. They have some useful information that will get us all off on the right foot. More details on our policies, especially our Own the Source rule are available here. If you do not understand any of these rules send a private message to one of our staff for further details.
  • Favorite Edit of the Year (FEOTY) Nominations for 2020 are now open! Submit your entries here.

Transformers: Darkest Hour

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
It seems, every time that I wrap up one edit, instead of trying to finish another in-progress edit, I get an edit for a brand-new one. :|

Okay, so, last week, someone at Wal-Mart (where I work) put on new music over the intercom (thank God's Wisdom, because Wally World plays the same freakin' music every day, including an unhealthy dose of Beach Boys hits), and Stan Bush's "Dare" from the 1986 Transformers animated movie started playing. Surprised the heck out of me. I've been thinking about TF since then, and I've been wanting to create something to channel this...renewed excitement toward TF that I've been feeling.

I've decided to revisit the G1 cartoon series. This time, instead of focusing on any one character, I'm going to focus on the most dire event in the original cartoon universe: the Hate Plague.

Following 1986's animated film, saddened and outraged fans wrote in to Hasbro, voicing their disgust at the death of Optimus Prime, their hero. One story goes that a fan actually locked himself in his room for two weeks.

This wasn't the best time to tell them that they were bringing him back...as a zombie controlled by the Quintessons. That's exactly what happened in Season 3's shocking and ballsy episode, "Dark Awakening". This episode must have scared the crap out of many young TF fans.

Finally, it was decided to bring Optimus Prime back for good. Thus, the two-part "The Return of Optimus Prime" aired in February of 1987, bringing Optimus Prime back to save the day, and the series went out on a triumphant note with Stan Bush's "The Touch" playing as the Autobots roll out.

Oh, wait, they had a new three-part episode in Season 4. Oh, well.

In TRoOP, scientists Jessica Morgan and Gregory Swofford, testing a new heat-resistant alloy, fly toward a sun and come across the ship that Optimus Prime had been piloting into a self-sacrificial battle at the end of DA, and Jessica is insistant on retrieving the body.

Unfortunately, Jessica's father, Mark Morgan, hates all robots, due to an accident in which he'd gotten scarred while walking in on a fight between Optimus Prime and Megatron, and Gregory is in agreement with him. Mark's hatred is deepened when Jessica is paralyzed and put in a coma during an attack. Later, Jessica pleads with her father to not destroy Optimus' body, and Mark coerces her into luring the Autobots to their lab.

See, Jessica inadvertantly brought back something far worse: mysterious spores that cause hatred and violence in whoever is exposed.

Things get out of control, and the "Hate Plague" spreads across the universe. Only when Optimus Prime is revived, and he teams up with Decepticon leader Galvatron, is he able to use the power of the Matrix (and the accumulated wisdom of the ancients) to "light their darkest hour" and cleanse the universe. The day is saved and ends in peace.

I see this edit as starting with an expository text accompanied by sorrowful music (I have the entire film score, thanks to a BotCon CD put out by Vince Dicola, the film's composer). It will bring the audience up to date on the war between the Autobots and Decepticons - up until 2005.

The first act will be the movie. I'm not sure exactly how much to include. Various characters introduced in the movie (such as the Junkion Wreck-Gar) also appear in "The Return of Optimus Prime".

Depending on how much of the movie that I cut (I might ditch Unicron entirely, since I've always found it weird that the Autobots have two darkest hours), this will then be followed by some expository text and brief glimpses of important events (such as Hot Rod becoming Rodimus Prime and Megatron becoming Galvatron). End with a card that reads "2006".

The second act will be "Dark Awakening". I've already started editing this part.

The third act will be "The Return of Optimus Prime". One challenge will be in how to merge DA and TRoOP. See, originally, DA aired early in the season. It was later re-aired in February of 1987, the day before TRoOP1. It included new narration: "But is this really the end of Optimus Prime? Find out tomorrow in 'The Return of Optimus Prime'."

The opening scene of TRoOP1 presumably occurs during the final scene of DA (near the beginning of Season 3), and the second scene onward occur at the end of Season 3. However, the two scenarios are seemingly irreconcilable. DA ends with Optimus, badly destroyed, flying a ship, which then gets destroyed, triggering an artificial supernova and wiping out the enemy fleet. TRoOP1 begins with Optimus seated in the ship (which looks completely different), dead but otherwise in pristine appearance. There's no sign of a battle, and the sun is about to go supernova naturally (this is Jessica's big test for the heat-resistant alloy; lucky for her that it works!). It's like the two occur in alternate universes, but we're expected to accept both (heck, in Season 5, Optimus' added narration to the beginning of TRoOP1 ties it to the end of DA: "Unknown to them, there was another ship in the area.").

I suppose I could cut it like this:

Optimus flies toward the sun.

Jessica and Gregory arrive and retrieve Optimus' body. The sun goes nova.

Optimus' ship and the enemy fleet are destroyed.

Jessica declares the experiment to be a success. They fly back to Earth.

Rodimus eulogizes Optimus as the others looks on.

Add a card that reads "2007".

Continue on with TRoOP.

Thoughts?
 

Menbailee

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
175
Reaction score
0
Trophy Points
26
There's an interesting idea germinating here, and the best way for it to take root may be in weeding out the original plot progression and all its nonsense entirely. Put simply, the original Transformers cartoon continuity made no sense at all and assumed that kids must be ninnies in order not to recognize this. Instead of presenting the story in its original airing order, it may be possible to use the existing footage to tell a different and more coherent narrative.

I'm not certain what that narrative should be, though. The movie passes the torch of leadership to Rodimus. Dark Awakening solidified that transference--that episode was one of the few pieces of decent writing ever to come out of the series. TRoOP undid that process on account of its unpopularity. Your story arc needs to make up its mind what it's doing.

It sounds as if the Hate Plague should become the major threat of your story, meaning it should be introduced near the beginning. This means that Unicron either gets cut or somehow gets represented as a function of the Hate Plague. Essentially, you could restructure footage from the movie, DA, TRoOP, and maybe some other episodes into a single story that makes some semblance of sense.

Maybe Hot Rod takes up the mantle of leadership directly after OP's death. He does catch the Matrix for a moment, so maybe you can cut it so that Ultra Magnus never takes the helm.

This is all quite speculative. Whatever road you take, it should avoid expository text anywhere other than at the very start.

One technical difficulty will be Nimoy's guttural and intimidating Galvatron as opposed to the high-pitched whiny Galvatron on the show. Good luck with that.
 

Zarius

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
165
Trophy Points
103
I am wondering how you'll go from Zombie Optimus falling apart to looking squeeky clean in ROOP, which is evocative of the inconsistent continuity brought up by Menabliee
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
Thanks for the ideas, Menbailee.

The idea of Optimus passing the Matrix on to Hot Rod directly is interesting, but it makes no sense, because Hot Rod is young and inexperienced and had just indirectly caused Optimus' death. I like how the Matrix glows when Hot Rod touches it - a small hint that he's the Chosen One.

Introducing the Hate Plague first would be ideal, but its introduction is dependent upon the Solaris being in close proximity to Optimus' ship.

Maybe I could reverse your idea and have the Hate Plague be an agent of Unicron. Even with Big U defeated, it's not over. His dark legacy lives on. I'm not sure how to pull this off, though. Maybe add in a shot of Unicron's head from the end of the movie or one of the Season 3 episodes, followed by a close-up of the spores.

Maybe I'll include as much of the movie as possible in order for DA and TRoOP to make sense. This will elliminate the need for exposition later on. I can cut the opening attack on Lithone, the opening credits sequence, Hot Rod finding and rebuilding Kup, etc. I can also reduce the Junk/Quintessa side trips.

Heck, I might use the scene where Rodimus is talking to the statue of Optimus as an opportunity to flash back to pivotal events of the movie.

Zarius said:
I am wondering how you'll go from Zombie Optimus falling apart to looking squeeky clean in ROOP, which is evocative of the inconsistent continuity brought up by Menabliee

Unfortunately, there's really no way around this. I can try to cut out some of the more blatant shots of Optimus falling apart.
 

Zarius

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
165
Trophy Points
103
I like the idea of the spores being cells of Unicron, I'd love you to try your best modulated Unicron voice impression (or failing that, finding someone who can pull it off) and bridge a connection with the spores via some breif dialouge.
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
Zarius said:
I like the idea of the spores being cells of Unicron, I'd love you to try your best modulated Unicron voice impression (or failing that, finding someone who can pull it off) and bridge a connection with the spores via some breif dialouge.

Interesting idea. I might try that. My original idea to make the connection was to dub in bits of Unicron's theme whenever the spores appear.

I'm thinking the movie can begin with shots of Optimus' death, Unicron's destruction, and Rodimus taking the mantle of leadership - intercut with shots of the spores, an expository text, and credits.

Start off in 2006 with DA. Move on to TRoOP. When Rodimus is talking to the statue, he remembers his events from the movie (or, heck, move the remembering to the beginning of DA when they're approaching the mausoleum). Later, while the group is on Charr to retrieve the heat-resistant metal, so Optimus can melt it down (nice trick) and coat himself with it, Optimus says "Because I know you too well, Galvatron." The two then remember their events from the Movie.
 

steelio2006

Well-known member
Messages
929
Reaction score
0
Trophy Points
21
Mark Moore said:
Interesting idea. I might try that. My original idea to make the connection was to dub in bits of Unicron's theme whenever the spores appear.

I'm thinking the movie can begin with shots of Optimus' death, Unicron's destruction, and Rodimus taking the mantle of leadership - intercut with shots of the spores, an expository text, and credits.

Start off in 2006 with DA. Move on to TRoOP. When Rodimus is talking to the statue, he remembers his events from the movie (or, heck, move the remembering to the beginning of DA when they're approaching the mausoleum). Later, while the group is on Charr to retrieve the heat-resistant metal, so Optimus can melt it down (nice trick) and coat himself with it, Optimus says "Because I know you too well, Galvatron." The two then remember their events from the Movie.

that sounds pretty awesome.
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
I started editing "The Return of Optimus Prime" today.

I've been thinking of which music to use. I'm currently considering "Critical Mass", which Movie composer Vince Dicola has composed specifically for BotCon 1997, for the opening credits.

As for the closing theme, I could continue with "The Touch" by Stan Bush, which plays in the final scene:


Or there's "Ground Zero" by Stan Bush, which he had composed for the 1997 BotCon (Ground Zero leads into it on the album - as it does in this video):


Going outside the franchise, there's "The Dream Within" by Lara Fabian:


Or maybe "Let's Fly" by Lance Matthew from the 1990s Gatchaman remake OAV:


Thoughts?
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
First, a correction to my first post: It's Gregory that got scarred, not Mark. Mark starts hating the robots only after Jessica is injured.

I have decided to remove the faction-symbol scene transitions and the fade-outs to commercial breaks. Unlike "Carly's Story", which has the feeling of a feature-length episode like on those old f.h.e. VHS releases, I want this to feel like an actual movie - at least a direct-to-video movie. No letting up.

I have cut two things from "Dark Awakening" (except for the final scene; see below):

*Grimlock's 15-second(!) temper tantrum. Now, he merely growls, and it goes back to Optimus (where you can hear a foot stomp or two). It's very comedic and childish and tonally at odds with the rest of the scene.

*Springer's "I mean it, Arcee" line. I don't know why these two are suddenly a couple (if you can even call it that) in Season 3, whereas Arcee seemed to be a bit flirty with Hot Rod in the Movie.

In TRoOP1, I've cut Ratbat arriving at the...stadium, and instead I'm fading to it just as Jessica says "My father has his body in the lab." In the original episode, that one line is Ratbat's entire report, and Galvatron somehow figures out from that that she's talking about Optimus Prime - and also knows who she is and thus where "the lab" is.

Of course, you gotta question how none of the Decepticons nor the Autobots noticed Optimus' body during the earlier attack on the lab, but then you also have to question why Jessica didn't immediately notify the Autobots upon her return to Earth.

Speaking of that, I'm going to be adding the "2007" notice to the scene where Mark arrives at the hospital after Jessica has awoken (instead of the previous lab scene) in order to not make the Solaris seem as slow as a snail. Also, it makes sense that Jessica would be in a coma for months. This will close the window of when she could have told the Autobots about Optimus' body but didn't. I figure, knowing Gregory's feelings, she probably wouldn't have contacted them from the Solaris, and, upon returning to Earth, Gregory would make analyzing the spores the first priority. Then the attack happens.

I heard this does create a continuity conflict, because a team of Autobots present during the lab attack were created by Grimlock in "Grimlock's New Brain". Fine, whatever. Just move that episode up in the timeline.

As for merging DA and TRoOP1, it's a bit of a mess. I inserted the Solaris scenes of TRoOP1 immediately after the last shot of Optimus that we see in DA. After the sun goes nova, and Jessica declares "We're going home!", I cut back to DA with the Autobots witnessing the explosion on the monitor (cutting out the ship explosion and fleet withdrawal entirely). After Rodimus says "Farewell,...Prime", fade to the lab in TRoOP1. I doubt anyone will genuinely buy this, but we've already been expected to buy it (albeit as separate episodes) for decades.

I haven't added in the Movie footage yet.
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
I rewatched the Movie a short while ago (widescreen version, since I don't recall having watched that yet) in order to get ideas for what to cut.

A few random thoughts:

Connecting the spores to Unicron is made easier by the fact that a red light engulfs Galvatron whenever Unicron is tormenting him.

Would anyone be interested in a widescreen version of this edit on a second disc. Obviously, it would mean cropping DA and TRoOP, but the widescreen version of the Movie is available on the first disc of the DVD set and actually includes a tiny bit MORE on the left and right (mostly the right) compared to the fullscreen version (although obviously the fullscreen version contains way more image on the top and bottom):

Tftm_widescreenesque.jpg


Despite the image above, the widescreen transfer is anamorphic, so the part of the image that IS there should be using more pixels and thus look better.

I could use the widescreen version for a widescreen version of this edit, but I'd like to get some feedback first.
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
I burned a test DVD today of my work-in-progress (just the DA and TRoOP footage) and watched it on my HDTV just to better see and hear how things go and spot any potential problems. I'll fix those as I add opening and closing credits and Movie footage.

Speaking of the Movie footage, should I use the new 5.1 mix or the 2.0 mix? The TV footage is 2.0, I think, although I believe it's actually in mono (there doesn't seem to be any directionality).

Should I downmix the entire thing to mono to make it consistent? (This would mean the opening and closing pieces of music would be in mono as well).
 

Zarius

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
165
Trophy Points
103
Bit of a long shot, but is there a chance you could squeeze Call of the Primitives into this somehow as a sub-plot or just before the whole thing with the spores begins?
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
Zarius said:
Bit of a long shot, but is there a chance you could squeeze Call of the Primitives into this somehow as a sub-plot or just before the whole thing with the spores begins?

Eh, maybe. We'll see.

Right now, I'm working on the opening title sequence, and then I'll start adding Movie footage at the appropriate spots. I'm torn between placing the bulk of it as a flashback when the Autobots are approaching the tombs in DA (which will establish how Optimus died before he's shown as a zombie) and during Rodimus' moment at the statue in TRoOP1 (which could have only HIS memories of the Movie but which would introduce the spores faster).

Maybe I could use the opening sequence to show bits of everything (Optimus' death, Unicron, the spores, etc.) to set the mood.
 

tranzor

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
1,330
Reaction score
0
Trophy Points
46
Mark Moore said:
I burned a test DVD today of my work-in-progress (just the DA and TRoOP footage) and watched it on my HDTV just to better see and hear how things go and spot any potential problems. I'll fix those as I add opening and closing credits and Movie footage.

Speaking of the Movie footage, should I use the new 5.1 mix or the 2.0 mix? The TV footage is 2.0, I think, although I believe it's actually in mono (there doesn't seem to be any directionality).

Should I downmix the entire thing to mono to make it consistent? (This would mean the opening and closing pieces of music would be in mono as well).

the 5.1 has added sound effects and such that you would normally expect with a 5.1 made from a 2.0 (or mono) original source. I think most would prefer the 2.0 and not from a down-sampled 5.1
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
tranzor said:
the 5.1 has added sound effects and such that you would normally expect with a 5.1 made from a 2.0 (or mono) original source. I think most would prefer the 2.0 and not from a down-sampled 5.1

Okay, thanks. I'll go with the 2.0 track.F

Funny, I never heard about added SFX on the 20th anniversary DVD.

I know Kid Rhino hired some company to add new SFX to the original cartoon series (as well as "G.I. Joe" and "Jem") when they released it in the early 2000s and then claimed "Oh, they were always there. You just haven't been able to hear them until now."
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
I've decided, for story pacing reasons, to ditch the Movie flashback footage and go for a simpler approach, combined "Dark Awakening" and "The Return of Optimus Prime" into a short movie. Think of this as a sequel to "The Transformers: The Movie". I felt this change was needed, since flashbacks to the Movie would delay the introduction of the Hate Plague. Also, flashbacks explaining what came before would seem kind of half-assed, since there's no explanation of the greater backstory of what Autobots and Decepticons actually are.

Anyway, with this simpler approach, this edit is much closer to completion and will actually be only a little over an hour long. The shorter running time will allow me to add an audio commentary to the DVD5.
 

Just Josh

Member
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
Trophy Points
1
Im looking forward to seeing this. I had TRoOP on VHS and know all the words!! So I'm very excited!
 

Zarius

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
165
Trophy Points
103
Good decision. I think the audience that'll view this edit are more than familiar with the movie anyway, so it's better to grab their attention with the principlal story of the project
 

Mark Moore

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
935
Reaction score
10
Trophy Points
28
I spent a few hours last night going through this, looking for errors, and fixing stuff up. It's very near completion. Here's the current cut list and some comments:

*cut opening and closing credits for all three episodes

*added Sunbow/Marvel opening logos from Movie

*created new opening credits - red text on black screen, almost like original "Highlander" but meant to evoke the spores; might switch to TF font for at least the title, since it's all in Arial right now; includes a screen of quoted lyrics from Lion's TF theme; might add in writing, directing, and editing credits here too; music is "Critical Mass", composed and performed by Movie composer Vince DiCola for Stan Bush's BotCon 1997 CD, "Call To Action"

*cut "Dark Awakening" title; episode fades in directly after, but the music has been retained and mixed with "Critical Mass" during the credits

*cut all faction symbol transitions and commercial fades and did any music/video blending where needed; I want to keep the action up

*cut Grimlock's one line and temper tantrum - reduced to a growl and an off-screen foot stomp

*cut Springer's "I mean it, Arcee" line - this was to maintain continuity with the Movie, where Arcee seemed to have a thing for Hot Rod, even though she did seem grateful to Springer for pulling her into the shuttle as well, but it seems just as well to keep any notion of robot romance out

*added Solaris scenes from "The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 1" just before Optimus' ship explodes - I'm not satisfied with the audio mix here; the TROOP music (which I mixed into the DA footage up until the point where the episode title disappears) is mostly drowned out by the DA music, making the audio appear to abruptly switch once the TROOP footage starts

*cut Optimus' ship explosion from "Dark Awakening", since it occurs in the TROOP footage

*after Rodimus says "So long,...Prime", it fades to the first lab scene in TROOP1

*I need to come up with a better transition from when Jessica leaves the lab to her riding in Ultra Magnus. You can still see the fade-in from the commercial break, but the speaking at the end of the former scene and the beginning of the latter is so close that a fade would drown it out - unless I do the fade but keep the audio at full volume from both scenes.

*cut Ratbat returning to the Decepticons' sports studium base (WTF?) - I wanted to remove the error that Ratbat's full report consists of one line from Jessica, and yet Galvatron somehow knows from this that she's talking about Optimus Prime and where the lab is; removing Ratbat's arrival also removes Soundwave's one (incorrectly processed) line; I kept Jessica's one line, even though it's obviously a different take than what she'd said earlier

*merged TROOP1 and TROOP2 by using Optimus' visual from Part 2 and audio from Part 1; cut TROOP2 title; this results in four frames of silence during the far-away shot of Optimus (right before the title), but it's not distracting

Random observations and musings:

Spike and Daniel don't talk after the last mausoleum scene, even though they're in the rest of "Dark Awakening". What's the deal with that? Did the voice actors have to leave for whatever reason, or did the script writer simply not bother giving them any additional lines, so the voice director was like "Okay, Corey, David, you can leave now"?

What, exactly, was used to melt down the heat-resistant metal (which can survive a supernova) to coat Optimus?

How does a heat-resistant metal protect against spores?

How does wisdom destroy spores?

How was the heat-resistant metal removed from Optimus?

How did Jessica get off Chaar, and how did both she and Gregory end up in Russia of all places?

Joy Grdnic (Jessica Morgan) has a bit role in a 1982 movie called "Time Walker". In it, there's a moment where she says "Dick." I'm toying with the idea of ordering the movie, so I can insert that line after one of the times where Galvatron gets the Autobots in danger. It might be cute for Jessica to call Galvatron a dick. Thoughts?

I have to type up the closing credits, and I'm still trying to decide which song to use.
 

Zarius

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
165
Trophy Points
103
Mark Moore said:
Joy Grdnic (Jessica Morgan) has a bit role in a 1982 movie called "Time Walker". In it, there's a moment where she says "Dick." I'm toying with the idea of ordering the movie, so I can insert that line after one of the times where Galvatron gets the Autobots in danger. It might be cute for Jessica to call Galvatron a dick. Thoughts?

Go for it, no TF movie is complete without a bit of crassness
 
Top Bottom