TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE (30th Anniversary Edition)
- RELEASE DATE: Available on Blu-ray September 23RD (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
- WRITTEN BY: Ron Friedman (but really Flint Dille)
- DIRECTED BY: Nelson Shin
- STARRING: Orson Welles, Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker
In the bucolic town in which I spent my monstrous misspent youth; it was a safe bet that unless a flick was a full on blockbuster it wouldn’t be playing in our “mammoth” 2 screen theater…at least until around the summer of 86 that is. That magical year brought with it the “weekend matinee”; for two showings each weekend we rambunctious rascals were treated to all manner of cinematic awesomeness that would otherwise not grace our silver screens, including a film that would mark a real turning point in my life (as crazy as that may seem to some of you); TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE.
Before we get into how this flick affected me; let’s start with a lil’ summary action, shall we? It is the amazing future year 2005 (yeah, yeah…), and the war between the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons over dominion of their home world of Cybertron rages on. After a brutal attack on an Autobot shuttle by the Decpticon leader Megatron and his minions (where our heroes are gunned down in cold blo…blood doesn’t seem right…oil? Yeah, let’s go with oil). Anyway; big M rides that damn shuttle right down to Autobot city on Earth (Trojan horse style); and proceeds to unleash unholy hell there as well; even managing to kill the Autobot leader (and series star) Optimus Prime in the process. Before long the remnants of the Autobots flee on a desperate mission to not only escape the clutches of the Decepticons, but also rescue their friends from the larger (literally) menace of the planet eating robot Unicron (who incidentally resurrects the fallen Decepticons as all new robots).
As you can surmise from the above description, a veritable shit ton of beloved characters are absolutely destroyed (many permanently) during the runtime of this film. Five minutes in, all semblance of anyone being safe is completely obliterated; and when Prime buys the farm a short time later, you get the feeling that this could all go incredibly wrong for our previously indestructible heroes…which stands in sharp contrast to the two seasons of the TRANSFORMERS television series that preceded this film. During the TV show, I was absolutely certain that everyone from Cybertron had not clue F’n one on how to actually operate any sort of firearm correctly (which is saying something as Megatron turns into a fucking gun!!!); but by 2005 these badass bots must have joined some sort of outer space NRA, ‘cuz they are blasting each other with pin-point accuracy and wild abandon.
This was mind-blowing stuff for a child; and as nerve-wracking as it was; it was absolutely exhilarating, “edge of your seat” material…with one exception; the death of Optimus Prime. For a lot of kids, especially those with somewhat strained relationships with their fathers, Prime was the ideal “father figure”; strong, kind, and attentive to those he leads. When Prime expired I remember thinking for the first time “what will it be like when my father is no longer here.” Years later I would find out as I stood by my father’s side as he lay on a hospital bed, much like Prime, as his life faded away after a life of heroism (in this case living the life of a fireman). I know, it’s only a cartoon; but that image was the first to come to mind during the darkness I experienced at the time…and that speaks volumes as to the quality and worth of this film.
But all isn’t grimness here fiends; as a few super fun elements contributed to the uniqueness of the film as well; namely the headiness of the dialog and the incredible use of hard rock music in the score. In regards to the dialog (delivered by a bevy of big name stars and top-notch voice actors); this is the type of children’s film where characters randomly spout Shakespearen style soliloquies while relating tales of ancient cosmic wars, delivering nonsense word greetings, and full-on swearing. It’s absolutely insane for any film let alone one based on a top-selling toy line aimed at kids. Now, when all of the surrealist fun mentioned above is combined with guitar shreddin’ hard rock (you know what you are in for sonically the minute Lion’s version of the main theme from the series rips from your speakers) and anthemic stadium rock (in particular the now legendary work of Stan Bush) you have an irresistible energy that sets the tone of a robot war to perfection!
O.k.; so the movie kicks ass six ways to Sunday, (and looks better here than ever thanks to the new 4K transfer from original film elements) but what about the special features? Well, for starters you get an all new in-depth documentary about the film’s production from the perspective of the cast and crew (which in all honesty makes this release a “must-own” for any Transformers fan). Also included are the commentary, featurettes, trailers, storyboards, and TV spots from the 2006 20th Anniversary release of the film. Rounding out the package are new featurettes on the creation of the box art for this release as well as the film’s restoration.
TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE has been one of my favorite films since the day I first saw it in a darkened theater in a tiny town on a hot August afternoon in 1986; so personally I would have picked this one up even if it contained nothing new from previous releases just to own it on a superior format; but thankfully it has plenty to offer…from the amazing beauty of the transfer, to the fantastic new documentary; this gets the highest possible recommendation from your’s cruelly. Thank you Shout! Factory; this one means the world to me and so many other Transformers fans…