MTV News Hip-Hop Editor Shaheem Reid is on location at the MTV Movie Awards, prepping for the big show. Here he details his geek-out encounter with some of the actual vehicles from Michael Bay's upcoming summer blockbuster, "Transformers," which currently sit on our red carpet.
You know it's a pretty big deal when the "protectors" of Earth have security guards making sure nobody touches them. Their movie doesn't come out until July 3rd, but the Transformers have been getting the Hollywood treatment all week...and deservedly so. They are legends. If you're 25 or older -- especially a male 25 or older -- chances are the Transformers were an intimate part of your life in the '80s. Either you loved them or your kids loved them.
I remember every day after elementary school, there were some shows that you could just not miss: "G.I. Joe," "He-Man," "Thundercats," "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" (I'm so ashamed of that one), "DuckTales" (ok, two guilty pleasures in a row), and of course "Transformers." Robots in disguise!!!! So you know how geeked I was when I heard that Michael Bay was bringing one of my all-time favorite cartoons to the big screen. I was even more jazzed (pun intended) to learn that I would be covering this year's MTV Movie Awards, and part of my assignment would be to write about some of the Autobot cars from "Transformers" that would be on display at the big show. What's next? Lunch with Mer-Man and Evil-Lyn at Castle Grayskull?
Like most of the MTV News team, I've been in Hollywood the past few days getting ready for our event on Sunday night, and today it felt like Marty McFly picked me up in the DeLorean and took me back to 1984 when I first started getting enthralled with "Transformers." What a story...what a saga. A team of good robots come to earth and battle it out with a squad of bad robots and get this, all the soldiers in both armies have the ability to turn into some of planet's most loved objects from almost any type of vehicle or aircraft, to even boom boxes and cassette tapes (word to Radio Raheem!).
The MTV News team had our walkthrough earlier this afternoon, and the first Autobot we would see right before we hit the red carpet (the carpet isn't exactly red this year, but you haven't heard that from me) was Ratchet. Back in the day, Ratchet used to be an ambulance, but over two decades later he's been updated to a Hummer. What killed me was the Autobot logo on the side door and on the back of it. I almost started to nerd out, but I managed to keep my composure, especially after a female security guard warned me not to touch him under any circumstances.
Next up, we walked a few feet down the carpet where Jazz was parked. It almost brought a single tear to my eye my as I thought about the late, great Scatman Crothers who used to voice the cartoon character of Jazz during the "Transformers" initial TV run. The 2007 Jazz -- probably the car I'd be most likely to rock out of all the ones I saw today -- was a gray Pontiac Solstice...and a two-seater at that. A few steps away, Bumblebee -- probably the most popular Autobot besides Optimus Prime (is that not a great hero name or what? It sings badass!) -- sat there being attended to by some handlers. The movie version of Bumblebee is a Camaro Concept, and when my good friend Bill Sloyer (who works in Production Management) told me he literally had to move the car three inches, you don't think I was going to let the chance of getting behind the wheel pass me by, do you? I didn't. I even got to hold a Bumblee keychain that read "Bee-Otch" on the front and "Transformers" on the back.
My last stop on the carpet was the all-black truck known as Ironhide. Imposing. This truck looks like he's going to tear things up in the movie and it even has a shiny exhaust pipe in the back. Unless you are 6'7" or better, you actually have to climb into this truck; the body is over five feet off the ground. Amazing. 'Hide probably has the best upgrade out of any Transformer going from beloved, iconic TV show to Summer Blockbuster film...he's a GMC Topkick when he used to be a shabby old van.
Hollywood is good. I saw Rihanna and Jay-Z rehearse "Umbrella" after the walkthrough and yesterday, I ran into Dennis Rodman in the John, drank Sprite and shared stories about Cambria Heights, Queens with Mike Epps, and even went to the Lil' Mama and Avril video shoot for the "Girlfriend" remix.
My friends in Chicago have been calling me "Sha Rock Obama" all spring, but I've adopted a new alias for Cali, especially in light my afternoon with the Transformers. Just call me "Sha-R LaBeouf."
MTV News Hip-Hop Editor