All star treat from HBO Asia with 'Transformers' in Bahasa

Optimus Prime (left), Bumblebee (right), the stellar voiceover talents and representatives from HBO Asia and Astro at a buka puasa launch recently. — File pic
Optimus Prime (left), Bumblebee (right), the stellar voiceover talents and representatives from HBO Asia and Astro at a buka puasa launch recently. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Epic action adventure "Transformers: Age of Extinction" will premiere on HBO Asia, this Hari Raya in dual languages.

Last year's highest grossing blockbuster has been dubbed in Bahasa Malaysia by multi-talented celebrities from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

They include Fahrin Ahmad as Cade Yeager, Singaporean Hisyam Hamid as Optimus Prime, Sharnaaz Ahmad as Galvatron, Radio ERA’s Ray (Shah Reza) as Hound, Izzue Islam as Drift, Radio ERA’s Haniff Hamzah as Ratchet, Akim Ahmad as Crosshairs, Hazama Ahmad as Lockdown and Nabil Ahmad as Brains.

It also features Faizal Ismail as Joshua Joyce, AyaiIllusi as Harold Attinger, Ayda Jebat as Tessa Yeager, Syafiq Kyle as Shane Dyson, Syazwan Zulkifly as James Savoy, Scha Al-Yahya as Darcy Tirrel, Elizabeth Tan as Su Yueming and FakhrulRazi from Brunei as Lucas Flannery.

At a recent media launch and buka puasa in the city, HBO Asia's sales and affiliate marketing head Jacelyn Kek said: “This is the first time HBO Asia, together with Astro, is dubbing a live action movie in local language, following the success with our celebrity dubs of past animations in Bahasa Malaysia.” Previous movies include" Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted" and "Despicable Me 2."

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" begins after an epic battle left a great city torn, but with the world saved. As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history... while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs.

With help from a new cast of humans, Optimus Prime and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet. In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world.

From director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg, the movie stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer and Li Bingbing, among others.

Astro's senior assistant vice-president, English language business, Junaidah Said Khan said: “This is our effort to offer more localised content featuring homegrown and regional celebrities, in line with Astro’s aim to reach out to Malaysians of all ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds by creating, aggregating and distributing the best of local, regional and international content.”

Malay Mail caught up with Hisyam, who was also the voice of Floyd in the dubbed version of "Despicable Me 2" last year.

Hisyam said: “When my manager informed me of a role in this blockbuster, I was thrilled and I jokingly asked — 'Optimus Prime right?'

“When she said ‘yes’, I jumped like a little boy,” he gushed.

“I have been following the 'Transformers' since its inception and Optimus is my all-time favourite characters. I feel honoured to be selected as its Bahasa Malaysia voice.”

On how he prepared, Hisyam said he always role-plays with his kids — from Sponge Bob to Patrick and many a times, Optimus Prime.

“So I just applied what I do with the kids to bring the character to life with my voice. The challenge was to do it in Bahasa Malaysia.”

The recording for Optimus was done in a day, over eight hours. However, Hisyam did need a two-hour break as his voice was beginning to crack.

In the sound-proof room at the studio, the voiceover talent has a script and a television screen playing the scene to be dubbed, while the director and editor remain in the console room.

“If the scene calls for me to roar out and stretch my hands I do, it helps get the feel of the script.”

“Although it was strenuous, I found it very enjoyable because the editing was done on the spot. So any changes were made immediately. The editors said they would mildly robotise my voice to match the role, but not too much. The end result is a real sense of achievement.”

Catch the premiere of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” on HBO Astro channel 411 and HBO HD channel 431 tomorrow at 9pm.

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