When I was young, there were two specific dates that I was waiting for. The first being 1999 and the second was the year 2005. The former would be the year when the SDF-1 would crash into the South Ataria Island, which would launch the events of the Macross saga. The latter year would be the year when the events of Transformers: The Movie takes place. Right now, I’ll be reviewing the Transformers movie that fans actually respect.
By the way, I may give some SPOILERS during this review. But, hey, it’s a 25 year old movie!
Transformers: The Movie takes place in 2005 (which was the way, way future when it was released in 1986). The Decepticons have managed to take over Cybertron but the Autobots have set up bases on the planet’s moons. The Decepticons take over a couple of Autobot ships bound for Earth and a huge battle ensues, leading to huge casualties on both sides. Unicron, a huge sentient planet, takes this opportunity to get the Decepticons to destroy the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, which is the only thing that can defeat Unicron.
The animation for the entire movie is great, especially if you’ve watched the original Generation 1 series. There’s this shadow effect that was used to make the robots look larger than life. There are errors, such as some of the characters having the wrong color and characters who are supposed to be dead appearing in later scenes. I actually didn’t notice them before as I was totally engrossed in the story.
Speaking of deaths, there are a lot of them! Practically every character from the television series got wiped out during the first 15 minutes of the movie. They also killed off Optimus Prime and Megatron, which was a pretty gutsy move, considering they’re the most popular of the Transformers. I remember watching the death scene of Optimus Prime and really feeling sad.. even though the person dying was a damned animated robot!
One thing that I sort of didn’t like when I initially watched it were the Quintessons. I wanted to see more of the Autobots and Decepticons fight each other. Little did I know that they were actually the creators of the Transformers. This fact was only introduced much later, during the television series after the movie. I think they could have done a better job explaining this during the movie itself. They could’ve explained that there’s a legend that the Quintessons created them.
The voice cast for Transformers: The Movie is pretty phenomenal, getting big names like Leonard Nimoy and Orson Wells to play some of the new characters! While this kind of thing may not seem like a big thing nowadays, getting real actors to lend their voices to an animated movie was a big thing in the 80’s!
The music of the movie is also incredible! Although if you do listen to it now, there’s no mistaking that this was made in the 80’s but, for me, that just adds to its charm. All of the songs used fit each scene perfectly. I guess out of all of the songs in the movie, Stan Bush’s “The Touch” is the one that most people will remember, of course. It’s the one that was playing when Optimus Prime makes his dramatic entrance to do battle with Megatron!
Does the movie hold up today? Honestly, it’s hard for me to judge since I can only look at it with happy nostalgic love for the movie. I can say that Transformers: The Movie does a lot of things right. There is solid voice acting and the animation is definitely amazing, even if it is a 25 year old cartoon. The music may feel really old by today’s standards but, since they work so well with the movie, I can hardly call it a bad thing.
My honest take: I would definitely watch this over the crappy Michael Bay films. No contest!
If you want to watch this awesome movie… well, thank the YouTube gods that it’s actually readily available there!
Heck, if the above link isn’t available, you can do a search for it in YouTube. It’s one of those movies that’s just always there. If you have around 90 minutes to spare and in the mood for a good ol’ fashioned animated movie, you can’t go wrong with Transformers: The Movie.
If you have any memories of this movie or other movies that stick out in your mind, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!