Transformers: The Movie (Blu-ray)

In ten Words or Significantly less
The childhood-shattering animated classic gets a clean-up

Reviewer’s Bias*
Loves: Generation 1 Transformers
Likes:
Dislikes: Michael Bay Transformers
Hates: Not possessing all my original toys any longer

The Story So Far…
The feature-length animated Transformers movie was hugely anticipated in 1986 by fans of the Television series, and when it hit theaters it promptly crushed youngsters watching by killing off a number of well-known characters in a film far a lot more vicious than the series it emerged from. It remains well-liked amongst Generation 1 fans however, and has received a quantity of house-video releases, which includes a DVD in 2000 from Rhino, a region two DVD and a 20th-Anniversary DVD from Sony in 2006.

The Movie
It’s challenging to clarify just what it felt like to sit in a theater as a young Transformers fan in 1986, all wide-eyed and excited to watch your favourite cartoon robots do battle on the large screen, only to uncover your self horrified by a junior-varsity Tarantino-style take on the Autobots and Decepticons. It is unlikely any person would unleash such an experience on youngsters these days, but back in that easier time, moviemakers whose core aim was satisfying the plans of a toy organization willingly sacrificed animated heroes in the name of new solution introduction. And in the process, they created a memorable mix of massive-name voice acting, ‘80s-era rock and explosive action.

Though The Transformers: The Movie technically follows the series’ second season, understanding of the show isn’t hugely necessary (even though emotional investment in the characters is definitely suggested). Exposition is the only aim at the outset as the characters and their situations are speedily established. The film takes place in the far-flung future of 2005, exactly where the Decepticons have taken more than the Transformers’ house planet of Cybertron, pushing the good-guy Autobots to bases on the planet’s two moons and on Earth, with the war between the two sides nonetheless continuing. If you didn’t know this wasn’t going to sunshine and lollipops, the fact that the poor guys have been winning need to clue you in.

Issues just get worse when an try by Optimus Prime and firm to collect supplies is cut off by Megatron and his henchmen, leading to the slaughter of many of the heroes and the death of Optimus Prime, in one of the most shocking moments in action cartoon history (and probably a massive purpose the film remains beloved.) This complete sequence, which comes early on in the film, was and remains stunning when you contemplate the film was building off an following-school cartoon. The film is loaded with material that’s inappropriate for the little ones who would want to see it, from confusing morality to the use of genuine swear words that wouldn’t be permitted in network primetime. But it is the violence–unrelenting and graphic–that is the most striking element in the film. The look on 1 dying robot’s face is basically haunting.

With Prime out of the image and the Matrix of Leadership (a mysterious secret weapon with a prophecy attached to it) passed on to soldier Ultra Magnus (Robert Stack), the story refocuses on Hot Rod (Judd Nelson), a young Autobot struggling with maturity and expectations. With his side decimated, Hot Rod should step up to fill the void, aided by a group of lesser-recognized Autobots, as they do battle with Galvatron (Leonard Nimoy)–the new type of Megatron–following the villain is reconstituted and enhanced by living planet Unicron (Orson Welles, in, like Scatman Crothers’ Autobot Jazz, his final performance ever). A series of battles and chases (featuring more and a lot more new toy possibilities) make up the bulk of the film when Prime is dead, rarely ever letting up, outside of an odd musical moment featuring Eric Idle and a song from “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Speaking of music, there could not be a a lot more defining ingredient to this film (other than all the death and darkness.) If you know any song from the film, it really is undoubtedly Stan Bush’s anthemic “The Touch” (memorably recreated by Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights) but there’s a load of great hair metal all through, from Lion’s amazing take on the franchise’s iconic theme song to “Dare”, another great Bush tune. The score picks up where the soundtrack ends, providing each battle the correct energy and every single moment of emotion a increase of power, as effectively as a healthy ‘80s glaze.

Does the story wrap up in a satisfying way? Possibly. It’s surely thrilling (and proof you can do insane, up-close battle sequences between giant robots without entirely confusing the audience–you just need to use a tiny color.) But it really is also a bit abrupt, to the point exactly where the final freeze-frame virtually feels like a mistake. Can you actually ask for a lot more of the movie than you would of the series it really is based on even though? If you liked the way the show capped every single episode, you won’t really feel slighted by the movie’s finale. Even so carrying over the fade-outs in between scenes from Tv, as if commercial breaks were about to be shown, could surely have been eliminated.

The Discs
The Transformers: The Movie arrives on two Blu-ray discs in a normal Blu-ray keepcase with a double-sided cover featuring sweet art on both sides, as properly as a slipcover that repeats the far more modern day comic art. The mildly animated menu, featuring that terrific Lion theme cover, provides the option to watch the film, pick scenes, check out the unique attributes and adjust the set-up. Audio possibilities contain English DTS-HD Master Audio two. and five.1 tracks, whilst English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available.

The Top quality
The film was animated in complete-frame and released in a reframed widescreen format, so Shout! Factory has supplied each versions, each and every on their personal Blu-ray disc. Per a single of the extras in this set, a clean original damaging was scanned at 6k in order to generate these new higher-definition presentations. The 1.85:1, 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer (which recreates the theater encounter), looks terrific for significantly of the film, with vibrant, vibrant colour and excellent detail, permitting the work in the animation (especially in terms of the drawing and color) to clearly show (to the point where a few missing lines genuinely stand out.) Black levels are deep, grain is consistent and there are no notable troubles with digital distractions, however, for as much perform as was place into producing this transfer, it’s far from ideal, with a handful of rather obvious bits of dirt all through, a jittery opening production credit and some odd moments of softness here and there. General, the film looks excellent, but one particular wonders why it does not appear as pristine as 1 would hope.

In listening to the five.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, it really is difficult to miss how present the bass is, even if you are not acquiring a continual sense of thudding in the mix. Alternatively, there is an oft-present heaviness to the sound, which underscores the hair-metal music and the clash of the giant robots, generating the sound mesh nicely with the visuals. The rear and side speakers serve mostly to amplify the music, with some light spillover of the dialogue (with occasionally discreet placement in the sides.) Even though the sound won’t stand up to comparison with a lot more contemporary blockbusters, it does the trick of putting you in the middle of the battle without having sacrificing clarity in the voices.

The Extras
Disappointingly, a very good deal of the extras found on the 20th-Anniversary DVD did not make the reduce on this release, which includes the fan commentary, the pop-up trivia track, the art gallery, the Cinex test, the Japanese episode (with fan commentary), the Easter eggs and the vintage toy and Japanese cartoon commercials. We do get to hear the commentary from story consultant Flint Dille, actress Susan Blu and director Nelson Shin. Shin’s language barriers lead to quite a bit of repetition and a reduce profile on the track, which is dominated by Dille, who acts some thing like a moderator and has a lot to say about the franchise, in a somewhat sarcastic Jason Sudeikis-like voice.

A trio of featurettes were also carried more than from the 20th-Anniversary disc, including “The Death of Optimus Prime” (5:02), “The Cast and Characters” (10:02) and “Transformers Q&ampA” (13:03). As these are constructed on interviews with Dille, Blu and Shin, there’s a lot of repetition from the commentary, but these are a few added tidbits of info (mostly in the somewhat silly Q&ampA section) and the presence of two producers adds some additional perspective (which includes speak of the expletive and the film’s effect on the G.I. Joe film.)

The archival material wraps with a trio of “animated storyboards” (12:05 in all), which is a bit of an exaggeration for what is primarily a slideshow of storyboard sketches accompanied by dialogue, music and sound effects. 1 sequence (the battle amongst Prime and Megatron) contains additional battle beats that were deleted, which wa a wise selection. There also a pair of theatrical trailers (three:05) which do a weak job of promoting the film, and seven Television spots (five:52)–a hype-heavy reel of slightly varied ads, as nicely as a sweepstakes promo and a tie-in toy ad.

There are a few new pieces of bonus content material, such as the 46:32 “Til All Are One particular”, an impressive appear back at the film, featuring a number of members of the cast and crew (none of the big names are on board even though.) They go over the production effort, share stories from the recording booth and reflect on the film’s legacy, in a piece that animation fans will without having a doubt take pleasure in, though amongst the commentary and featurettes, you’ve heard some of it before. That doesn’t take away from the top quality of the piece itself, which is effectively-produced and fan-friendly.

“Rolling Out the New Cover” (four:49) features comic artist Livio Ramondelli, who at present draws the IDW comic book series. He supplied the new artwork for this release, and here he walks you by way of how he drew the art, from the idea to the illustration and the coloring, giving a peak at some rough drawings. It’s a excellent pairing with “Transformers: The Restoration” (7:16) an additional approach piece, which walks you by way of how the folks at FotoKem cleaned up a 30-year-old animated movie, from the scan to the clean-up. Examples of the modifications are offered to show how distinct this new transfer looks.

Also in the package is a code for a download of the film.

The Bottom Line
For a film that was motivated by toy sales much more than any inventive impulse, the results had been surprisingly great, as the film loads up on the huge robot battles as nicely as the peril to the heroes, which created it really feel various than any other cartoon of the time. If the good guys could be massacred, then the villains are that significantly scarier and something could come about. It is nevertheless not fine art, but it is certainly a good time. Shout! has carried out a nice job of giving the film a polish, producing it appear better than ever (even if some blemishes remain) and have delivered a few strong new extras (even though no one must get rid of their 20th-Anniversary DVD.) Fans will want to add this to their collection, though the existence of a 6K scan all but guarantees a UHD version is coming down the pike someday.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Extended Islander, where he functions in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Verify out 1106 – A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter


*The Reviewer’s Bias section is an try to aid readers use the overview to its very best impact. By knowing exactly where the reviewer’s biases lie on the film’s topic matter, 1 can read the evaluation with the correct mindset.

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