This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.
... View More
I saw this movie for the first time as a 7 year old, maybe younger, in the early 1990's and it was an amazing experience for a kid my age. I remember the sounds, the colors, the shapes, everything about the animation and the audio brings me back to that place. The soundtrack by Vince DiCola is fantastic and has not aged a day. What I really love about this movie is that is does not have that "dated" feel at all, every time I have watched it as an adult it still impresses and intrigues me. The voice of Unicron played by Orson Wells is really a treasure as he passed away shortly after the film was released. The new Transformers movies have nothing on this classic. The 1986 Animated Transformers movie inspired kids all over the world and provided awesomeness to everyone who ever watched it.
... View More
If you were a kid in the 80s, you likely heard about this film even if you didn't ever see it. It's definitely a nostalgic 80s cult classic. I can't say enough good things about it. I loved it as a kid. My kids love it today, and I can appreciate the level of story telling and animation on a whole new level now as an adult. The soundtrack isn't for everyone,(mainly 80s rock and roll) but when I hear it, I'm instantly transported back to my childhood with a warm fuzzy nostalgia rush. Seriously, Stan Bush is a genius. You don't need to have a strong working understanding of the Transformers universe to enjoy this film; the story can stand on it's own. A small appreciation for sci-fi, explosions, rock 'n' roll and the 80s will be an asset to your enjoyment of the classic.
... View More
Perhaps it's due to time and perspective, but the Transformers 1986 animated movie is a big breath of fresh air - compared to the Michael Bay films, of course. Yes, this film is noisy and busy and it has a bunch of characters who, if you're not previously familiarized with them, may go by at times in a blur. And actually, no not kidding, there is a Transformer named Blurr by the way, who of course is the fast-talking robot. But besides the point, this is a movie that is very naked about it being from a TV show, itself taken from a line of toys. It's not there to be very deep and doesn't pretend to be, though it has a couple of oddly ballsy moves that I'll get to in a moment. It's there to entertain boys ages 5 to 10. And that isn't one of those trivial points; the age distinction should be listed on the side of the tape like on the side of an action figure or video game console.The plot... oh sheesh. So the Autobots have to fight the Decepticons (duh), and this time there's a, also no kidding, a giant Transformer that is basically a giant, spherical AI that eats planets. Or maybe Unicron IS a planet, or a planet made of artificial intelligence, I don't know, but this thing is coming after, well, everything, and it becomes a thing where even Megatron, the ostensible villain, is groveling at Unicron's, uh, not-feet. So the movie becomes a series of action scenes to string along this thin story, also involving a Transformer named Hot-Rod, who we can kind of distinguish because there's a little boy (the only human I think in the film) who is by its side when an attack happens on Earth.This is thin stuff, but it shouldn't be about the plot, right? The downside of course is that there IS a lot of exposition to get through, not at all times but frequent enough, and while, unlike in the Bay films, I can tell the robots apart visually I got lost when it sometimes came to just remember such-and-such's name. Of course the gaggle of celebrity voices does help things, and some of them are character actors (very memorable ones to boot): Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Lionel Stander (ever seen Cul de Sac?), Scatman Crothers and, wait, Casey Kasem was in this too(!) You can remember who some are since they are so distinctive, and Nimoy actually does a really memorable job as Galvatron, the "upgrade" for Megatron. I think, anyway.The one that makes the film almost notorious in a weird way is Orson Welles. This was the end of the line for the man who started in movies as Charles Foster Effing Kane. It's been said that it's the sort of bottom low for someone of his stature to hit by the (what wasn't known as) the end of his career at the time. And yet, call me crazy, but Unicron was one of the most fascinating parts about the whole movie. Yes, it's a kids movie involving fighting robots in space - and all the better that it barely takes place on Earth - but the concept of a gigantic robot, so massive that it has the impending doom of the Death Star from Star Wars, is a cool and curious piece of intelligent 'what-if'-ness.Though it's ultimately put to use for a 'Transformation' by the climax, I liked the idea that other robots, all robots, and worlds, would have to submit to this giant force, or what's called in psychology and philosophy as the "Big Other." It also just looks cool in the movie, and has depths and dimensions and designed parts that make it wholly stand out from most of the Transformer characters, who all have blank faces. At least Unicron, for as much as you might mock the name or its purpose to just consume, is distinctive and fits that out-there, science fiction cum comic book ideal. And Welles, albeit with an added post-production growl to his voice, does the character a deadly kind of presence that works as a performance.If only I could actually care about some of these situations, or if the script was just a little more focused; the section with Optimus Prime early on is the exception, which seems to come as a big 'Oh Wow' moment story-wise - taking out one of your main characters for what one almost assumes could be the end of the movie (all scored to "You Got the Touch" in epic fashion). It should be noted this was a 'bridge' between seasons 2 and 3 of the show, so this might have been an even bigger deal if one was attached to the cartoon. Just taking the movie on its own terms, it's a fairly bold move - maybe too bold considering the scope of the rest of the production.What else does one remember after the fire and fury of a movie like Transformers? Maybe the Sharktocons (sic) who have an appearance that brings out chuckles? Or how it's unmistakably Eric Idle as the one Transformer with a mustache and, of course, doing improv? Or the soundtrack (80's hair metal glory). A lot of this story is so light that it just barely makes up like three or four episodes connected of what the show would be, and the quality of the animation varies between having genuinely impressive and creative designs and effects, and looking just on level with all the other 80's animation of the period (Ninja Turtles and, to an extent, X-Men come to mind). But here, again, because of how the Transformers are designed, you can't exactly get too wrapped up in any of their features, just their voices. It is what it is, though it carries a certain charm I can never say the new Paramount productions carry.
... View More
The Transformers The Movie is a loud attempt to reboot the series, but destroyed the originality and spirit of the original show. SPOILERS: The Transformers Movie manages to kill off almost every notable character from the show in the first 30 minutes. Actually, the Death count in this children's movie is so enormously high, it's insane. To top things off, Optimus Prime (The Flagship Character of the Franchise)is killed before the plot really gets going, a choice that haunted the franchise for years to come. It's completely obvious that the filmmakers and studio execs wanted to eliminate as many characters as possible so that they could sell new ones for new toys. In this way the film is defining, as it shaped the series for better or worse, but at the same time completely destroyed it.