The 6 Most Underrated Movie Transformers

Because money makes the world go round, we have once again arrived at another Transformers movie! This one is entitled ‘Age of Extinction’, the logical follow-up to ‘Revenge of the Fallen’ and ‘Dark of the Moon’. Why the new film isn’t called ‘Age of the Extinction’, I will never know. But all these titles raise the obvious point: how are future generations supposed to figure out the viewing order? Will it even matter by that point? Who cares! Explosions!

“I forgot to mention the Dinobots is all…”

The big draw this time around will be the Dinobots, and I’m personally looking forward to some robot stegosaurus action. Major characters like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee will return, but Shia LeBeouf, who played the part of the human, has been replaced by Mark Wahlberg, playing the part of the new human (the part he was born to play, baby!). So if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the course of the franchise, it’s that the characters are easily replaceable, especially the Transformers themselves. There have been countless bland and indistinguishable Transformers stuffed into each movie – but not all of them are so bad.

In fact, there are more than a few diamonds in the rough. Half a dozen, to be exact. Join me after the jump to meet the unsung heroes and villains of the Transformers movie verse!

6. Ratchet

He personally invented robot HMOs

Did you know that Ratchet has appeared in every Transformers movie so far? Outside of Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, the two stars, Ratchet is the only other Transformer to survive all three movies. But I bet, like me, you’d be hard pressed to remember that he’s even in Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon. The first movie actually seemed to care about the individual Autobots, and Ratchet had a pretty unique role as medical officer, even if he couldn’t fix Bumblebee’s freakin’ voice box! What the hell could you fix if not a voice box?! Jeez, that still bugs me!

But Ratchet is clearly an Autobot who can hold his own and not die like everybody else. That’s got to count for something, right? Why isn’t he making meaningful friendships with human characters? Why isn’t he getting all the Autobot babes? He’s also brave enough to be colored a bright lime green. That takes robot balls, which, of course, we all know exist, thanks to Revenge of the Fallen. Basically what I’m saying is, Ratchet got game.

5. Mirage

Sometimes his name isn’t even Mirage; he’s that inconsequential

You may think that Mirage’s only contribution to the franchise is being ‘the red one’, but you’d be wrong! He’s also a freakin’ ninja! Check out those blades on his arms! Those aren’t just for show, they’re for cutting into Decepticon scum as he ninjas his way around major highways! Mirage only appeared in Dark of the Moon, where his big moment involved attaching ropes to one of the bad guys and using that speed to skate down a highway like an X-treme, 90s, sportsmaster! Mirage is also pretty smart, seeing as how he realized that the only way to get noticed in these movies is to be a color other than silver. Not every Transformer is that smart. (Though Ratchet is, obviously).

He’s also wildly Italian, because these movies will use any opportunity to inject a little racist diversity to their cast of alien robots.

4. Leadfoot

Behold, the robot beer belly

He’s a fat robot! How cool is that? Answer: very cool! And hilarious. Why the heck would his robot form be fat? How does that even work? Was Leadfoot fat back on Cybertron? Or did he just happen to pick the most unfortunate vehicle mode possible? Is it the unluck of the draw? Either way, Leadfoot doesn’t let his weight get him down, like a true hero. Instead, he’s a member of the NASCAR Wreckers from Dark of the Moon – they’re not actually called that, but when each of the Wreckers is a NASCAR racer, there’s only one logical conclusion to reach. And fortunately for us all, Leadfoot was not the best product placement in the franchise.

Leadfoot’s true power is being voiced by John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender, Jake the Dog and a million others. Leadfoot would probably reign as the coolest voice in the franchise until John Goodman stepped up for Age of Extinction. I’m expecting Goodman’s performance to be legendary.

3. Arcee

Hubba hubba

Drink it in, fanboys, it’s a hot lady robot! And how does Arcee keep her feminine figure? By being a slinky little motorcycle Transformer, because god forbid she be the least bit chunky. Only boy Transformers get to be things like tanks and hot rods. Maybe if the military made a slender tank…or a drone fighter, maybe? Either way, with Arcee, Michael Bay proved to detractors everywhere that he could totally put ladies in his movie! He’s not sexist at all! Of course, Arcee was promptly blown apart in the big battle at the end of Revenge of the Fallen, because of course she was. There was literally no other possible outcome. But at least she looked sexy, right? That’s what’s important!

2. Junkheap

You do not know how much joy this scene brought me

Junkheap, the Waste Management garbage truck Decepticon, is probably my favorite bit of product placement ever, in the history of the universe. He’s on screen for all of 3 seconds in Dark of the Moon, but those 3 seconds changed my life (skip to 2:14). Junkheap comes down to Earth with a bunch of other invading Decepticons, and he immediately seizes upon a nearby Waste Management garbage truck for his vehicle mode. He then transforms, rolls out and is never heard from again! Why not? How could Michael Bay deny us exciting garbage truck action? What prompts a Transformer to choose a garbage truck for his vehicle mode? What does he do with himself in battle? How much did Waste Management pay for this 3 second cameo?

Those 3 seconds of film raised so many wonderful questions about the nature of Transformers, of product placement, and of the eventual fate of Junkheap. Surely he distinguished himself in battle somehow. And there are reports that he might actually reappear in Age of Extinction. If that’s the case, then you better hope you’re not sitting with me in the theater, because I’ll probably spend the whole rest of the movie giggling.

Seriously, you guys, in researching this List, I’ve discovered that Junkheap really will appear in Age of Extinction! You do not know how much I loved that 3 second cameo in Dark of the Moon. I’m now more excited to see the new movie than ever before!

1. Dispensor

All the best robots drink Mountain Dew

Transformers are inherently evil. Did you know that? The Decepticons are the natural order of things. Optimus Prime and the Autobots are the outcasts, the weirdos fighting against natural Transformer biology. How do I know this? Because of Dispensor, the Mountain Dew Transformer from the first movie. Remember the All-Spark, the big giant transforming cube that gives life to Transformers? Every single time the All-Spark gives life to a machine, that machine is evil and immediately starts trying to kill Sam Witwicky.

There’s that little Nokia phone Transformer in the box. The various household appliances at the start of Revenge of the Fallen. And then there’s Dispensor at the end of the first film, when the All-Spark starts zapping every bit of machinery in the area, instantly turning them into violent killing machines. Dispensor is the biggest and the most extreme, and no doubt he went on to live a wild and successful life as a Decepticon. Or maybe he became a successful Mountain Dew spokesperson between films.

You may think Dispensor is a minor character, but he absolutely got a toy, and again, he is a big, thirsty red flag about the nature of Transformers that none of the good guys in the movies seem to notice! If the natural order of Transformers is to be evil and shoot Mountain Dew cans out of an arm bazooka, then what exactly is Optimus Prime fighting for? To wipe out his entire race in favor of himself and his elite ruling class?

Dispensor really makes you think.



About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on June 25, 2014, in Lists of Six!, Movies, Toys and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. It’s mentioned that the largest object that had been “transformed” by the allspark was Dispensor, but it actually isn’t. Remember that scene where Sam runs across the street with the allspark, and bumps a Cadillac? That starts to transform as well, so I guess that would be the largest…?

  2. No way! The most underrated Transformer is Ironhide–and that’s b/c he’s the only good Transformer in this whole mess of a movie franchise! He’s the most realistic acting character, he’s the most down-to-earth/grounded, he has the best lines (which I know isn’t saying much), and his trigger happy attitude was pretty darn infectious!

    • Ironhide was definitely cool! But he was actually one of the main Transformers, who managed to appear in all three movies! This list was more about the very small, minor Transformers who maybe got one appearance to their name. Poor Ironhide through…and Ratchet…

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