Texas Animator One-Ups Michael Bay

No doubt Michael Bay's gargantuan flick Transformers will move all sorts of merchandise off the shelves, but we’d like to draw your attention to a significantly shorter, significantly lower-budgeted film that does a much, much better job of selling the toys in question. On the Prowl was conceived of as the pilot for a series of stop-motion Transformers shorts by Texas-based animator Ruben Martinez, who makes his films the old-fashioned way, by painstakingly manipulating the toys in question by hand. The results are both charmingly lo-fi and gratifyingly inventive. Martinez started putting the shorts up on his MySpace page earlier this year, and the response was so great that he now has a deal with Stop Motion Pro software, which means that he’ll be able to produce more of these hilarious, winning little flicks. We’ll take Ravage getting flattened by a truck over Bay’s megamillion dollar CGI hysterics any old day. —Bilge Ebiri