I remember the Transformer cartoons when I was younger, maybe 8th grade time frame, although it was my brother Chris that had all the metal toys. I never got into the history of the alien robots turned earthly vehicles but it was entertaining to watch and even more so to try and change the toys back and forth from thier 2 forms.
I saw previews of the new movie when I went to see 300 and I have to admit it does look like a good movie, even if the plot sucks and just consists of showing the robots changing forms. The few trailers I've seen show a great mix of special effects and editing.
A friend of mine passed on a link that shows some leaked photos and movie designs of the robots. I am certainly no expert on the Deceptacon/Autobot lore but I do remember enough to know that the leader of the Deceptacons was a huge gun and not an alien jet that he portrays in the movie. Another example of creative license is Bumblebee's new form- not the perky little VW Bug he was in the cartoon but a 1974 Camaro (not a bad upgrade IMO).
My ignorance of Transformer culture was brought to fruition this morning when we were looking at the website of the movie and i casually asked why these robots, who were from another planet, would turn themselves into vehicles with an area for human passengers when there were no humans on the robot planet. I was quickly rebuked by someone who clearly knows more about the cartoon and was told that when the robots came to earth each faction landed in a different area of the world and changed their forms to fit in. The Autobots landed in a metroploitan area where vehicles were everywhere and the Deceptacons landed near a military base and both changed their shapes according to what they saw. Fair enough. I guess I have some research to do before I take my 4 year old to go see it.
I have one more substance observation about Megatron, leader of the Deceptacons, whose only claim to fame was that he could change himself into a BFG (those of you who played DOOM will know what this means). Why did this qualify him to lead his faction? He transformed into his gun then someone else had to pick him up off the ground before pelting the Autobots. It seems like a very limiting characteristic of someone who is supposed to rule the Earth.
Oh, here is the link: Transformer Leak