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First ‘Transformers One’ Trailer Teases Fresh Animated Origins



After over a decade of Michael Bay’s bombastic live-action Transformers movies, the iconic “Robots in Disguise” franchise is getting a total reboot and animation makeover with Transformers One. Paramount Pictures has finally unveiled the first trailer for this prequel story, taking fans back to the beginning on the Transformers’ home planet of Cybertron before the war between Autobots and Decepticons erupted.

From the debut footage, Transformers One looks to be an exciting new take that refreshes the long-running franchise while also paying homage to its animated origins. Striking a lighter, more youthful tone compared to the live-action films, it introduces Optimus Prime and Megatron not as mortal enemies, but as bickering teenage allies who haven’t even learned to transform yet.

That premise alone is enough to pique interest after so many Transformers stories have centered around the eternal clash between the two titanic figures. But the crisp CGI animation style and stacked voice cast also give Transformers One the potential to be something truly special when it rolls into theaters on September 20th, 2024.

The trailer opens by immediately distinguishing itself from the live-action Transformers continuity, zipping us back millions of years to “Cybertron, before the war.” We’re introduced to the protean forms of two of the franchise’s most iconic characters, here going by their pre-transformation names Orion Pax (Optimus Prime, voiced by Chris Hemsworth) and D-16 (the future Megatron, played by Brian Tyree Henry).

Rather than the gruff, battle-hardened warriors we know, Pax and D-16 are depicted as reckless, comedically bickering juvenile robots, rushing excitedly to the “first transformation” of their kind while snarking at each other. The scene plays out with the same endearing rambunctiousness of Pixar’s best buddy comedies as the pair fail miserably at shapeshifting into vehicle modes for the first time.

“I can’t wait to get wheels!” Pax exclaims eagerly, ecstatic to become the semi-truck we know he’s destined to be. The bumbling hijinks that ensue definitely evoke more of a kid-friendly, animated Transformers vibe as the two “transformation sparks” fumble and crash into each other.

But the tone shifts quickly as a dark, ominous voice booms “You are being deceived.” Enter the movie’s apparent big bad, a terrifying alien force that appears to trigger the coming war between Autobots and Decepticons at the heart of the Transformers mythos.

The trailer keeps things deliberately vague, only flashing quick glimpses of the villainous new threat and epic battle sequences to come as gravity sets in. “This is no longer about transformation…this is the fight of our lives,” Pax grimly states as we see flashes of Cybertron society crumbling into apocalyptic chaos.    

One sequence shows Pax and D-16 surrounded by a sea of hostile drones, while another teases a gargantuan “world destroyer” robot looming over the horizon, its presence too massive to be contained in one shot. The dynamically edited footage effectively sells the sense of portentous, galaxy-shaking conflict to come in Transformers One’s final act as the youthful horseplay gives way to the robots’ tragic origin story.

Aside from the intriguing premise and promising animation style, one of the most exciting elements of Transformers One is its incredibly talented voice ensemble. The Hemsworth/Henry duo as the young Optimus and Megatron is already an inspired bit of casting – the Avengers hero and acclaimed character actor should have great banter chemistry and make for a charismatic central pairing.   

But the supporting players revealed in the trailer ad even more pedigree. We glimpse sleek Autobot warrior Elita-1, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, who seems poised to be a major player. Jon Hamm voices Autobot leader Sentinel Prime, while Laurence Fishburne lends his authoritative basso as Alpha Trion, a mentor figure to Optimus. 

Perhaps most exciting is the appearance of wisecracking scout Bumblebee, cheekily voiced here by comedy dynamo Keegan-Michael Key. One can easily imagine the former Key & Peele star rattling off hilarious one-liners as the beloved yellow Autobot. The cast is rounded out by an intriguing mystery role for Steve Buscemi, possibly as one of the alien villains glimpsed.

Overall, the voice talent assembled is about as A-list as one could imagine for an animated film. It should make for a fun, star-studded experience seeing these actors put new spins on such iconic Transformers characters.

From a technical perspective, Transformers One boasts an absolutely gorgeous 3D CGI animation style that fuses sleek modern designs with the chunky, angled aesthetics of classic Transformers toys and cartoons. Great detail work is visible in the machinery of the Transformers themselves, the gleaming metallic surfaces and intricate moving parts giving them an eye-catching photorealism.

At the same time, the character designs channel retro Transformers alongside modern sensibilities, like Optimus Prime’s strikingly rendered new alt-truck mode glimpsed at the end. It’s an aesthetic that looks to finely walk the line between freshness and nostalgia that should thoroughly please longtime fans while also wowing newcomers.

With its inspired premise and such an impressive voice ensemble already on board, Transformers One is shaping up to be the animated refresh the Transformers franchise has long needed after the bloated spectacle of the live-action era. Directed by Josh Cooley (Toy Story 4) from a script by Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, it has the creative pedigree to potentially launch an all-new chapter for the beloved Robots in Disguise.

The debut trailer teases up an enthralling origins tale that rewinds the clock on icons like Optimus Prime and Megatron, dramatizing their doomed early friendship against the backdrop of a cataclysmic alien invasion of Cybertron. Packed with humor, heart, and explosive action, Transformers One looks ready to roll out the red carpet for a new generation of Transformers fans when it hits theaters in September 2024.

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