Fans of the Transformers franchise will rejoice at the live-action fan film Generation 1 – Hero. Produced by Chisel Pixel, the 13-minute piece was an entertaining call-back to the original Transformers animated series from the 1980s.
The story follows a typical Transformers plotline: The evil Decepticons are creating a device that can harness energy from the Earth’s core and the Autobots have to stop them. This is revealed by Bumblebee in a report to Autobot headquarters.
The first half of the film is perhaps the most engaging section of Generation 1 – Hero. The Decepticon Starscream and the Autobot Bumblebee face off in a high-energy chase scene. Starscream soars through the air in pursuit of Bumblebee. This scene was captured by the production house’s impressive tracking shots.
The two robots quip back and forth throughout the scene.
“Okay Starscream, let’s see how you like a little sand in your face”. Bumblebee then proceeds to create a tornado of dust by driving around in a circle. To which Starscream responds:
“Gah, my optic sensors!”
These lines blend late ’80s cartoon cheesiness with definitively appropriate dialogue to follow the narrative. Bumblebee created the tornado in an attempt to shake Starscream off his tracks, which was explained clearly through this dialogue.
Throughout the first half of the film, the color design was immaculate. The desert setting is perfectly portrayed with an orange color palette overlaying the scenes.
This part of the film also shows off Chisel Pixel’s impressive VFX prowess. An audio message in the beginning of the film is displayed as a holographic waveform. Shortly thereafter, a map is projected in a similar manner. These holograms were a staggeringly high level of professional VFX.
Chisel Pixel’s prop and costume design deserves recognition as well. The costumes were accurate in comparison to the character designs in the original Transformers cartoon.
Mouths were animated on top of the costumes to match the dialogue. Similar in vein to the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series, voice actors were implemented in post-production to sync with the movement of the lips.
The audio quality for the dialogue and sound design was immersive and of a high caliber for an independent production. Almost all dialogue and background music/effects were balanced well. The lines of the characters could be heard clearly and the sounds in the background aided in supporting the tone of the scenes.
For all of the good that Generation 1 – Hero brought, it also had some setbacks. The second half of the film overall was less cohesive than the first. Medium and close-up shots between rapid cuts in a dark setting made it difficult to follow any of the action.
If Generation 1 – Hero had carried the near-cinematic quality of the first half of the film throughout, it would have made for an overall impressive piece. The action, color, cinematography, and VFX all peaked by the middle of the film. Generation 1 – Hero is a fun watch, but don’t be surprised if you find the latter half a bit confusing or disappointing.