On this day:At 8th August of 1986, the movie "The Transformers: The Movie" was released.
Many cartoons inspired in toy-lines where made in the 80's, but not many of them resisted the test of time. The original Transformers cartoon is one of those shows, that despite all the flaws that could have (It was, after all, a product of its time) was highly entertaining and had an interesting cast of characters, which were the most appealing element of this franchise, and made it survive among the decades.
Back in 1986 Transformers fans were treated to to what remains the greatest Transformers film of all time, The Transformers: The Movie. The film acted as a bridge between seasons 2 and 3 and offered fans a whole new perspective of their favourite robots in disguise with new characters introduced and old favourites killed off.
Transformers the movie is a retro 80's cult classic that not only took the original series forward in the animation department but also took the story forward in to the future with the next generation of Transformers. The plot is a recreation of the King Arthur legend of a young man trying to find his way without knowing that he is destined to rule his tribe one day. This movie is about the transformers, a group of intelligent, living machines with the ability to change into other machines by rearanging their external parts. The transformers are divided into two groups, the power hungry Decepticons, and the goodwilling Autobots.
Set in 2005 – twenty years after the events of the first two seasons of the television show – the evil Decepticons have taken control of the Transformers’ home world Cybertron, leaving the Autobots to set up base on Autobot City: Earth. Unicron (voiced by legendary filmmaker Orson Welles, whose work was completed mere days before his death in 1985), an enormous planet-shaped robot, attacks and destroys a defenseless world before drifting away into the vastness of space. Meanwhile a strike team of Autobots including Ironhide, Prowl, Brawn, and Ratchet assemble near Cybertron’s moons in preparation for a counter-offensive. Unfortunately the Decepticons intercept a transmission to Autobot City and ambush the shuttle, leaving no survivors.
On Earth, Spike Witwicky’s young son Daniel is enjoying a fishing trip with Autobot Hot Rod when they notice a shuttle returning to Earth. Setting off in pursuit they realise the shuttle has been hijacked by Decepticons, who soon launch an all-out attack. The Autobots – led by Ultra Magnus alongside other new faces including Blurr and Arcee – transform Autobot City into a fortress as the Decepticons lay siege to the stronghold. An S.O.S. is sent Optimus Prime, and the Autobot leader arrives with the Dinobots just as the Decepticons look to gain the upper hand.
A huge battle ensues as Prime cuts through a number of henchmen en route to a deadly showdown with arch-nemesis Megatron. Prime ultimately manages to defeat Megatron but is left mortally wounded from the confrontation. The Autobot leader soon perishes, passing over the Autobot Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, and promising that “one day an Autobot shall rise from our ranks and use the power of the Matrix to light our darkest hour”.
The Decepticons retreat aboard Astrotrain, but after arguing over a shortage of fuel the scheming Starscream convinces them to abandon their wounded, including defeated leader Megatron, and eject them into space. As Megatron and his fallen comrades drift away they soon encounter Unicron, who promises to provide new bodies in return for the destruction of the Autobot Matrix – the only threat to Unicron’s domination.
Megatron reluctantly agrees and is transformed into the warrior Galvatron, who soon disintegrates Starscream and resumes command of the Decepticons. Back on Earth, the Autobots receive word that Unicron has consumed two of Cybertron’s moons, and when the Decepticons launch another attack the weakened and out-numbered heroes are forced to flee.
Galvatron pursues the Autobots and confronts Ultra Magnus, stealing the Matrix and intending to draw on its power to defeat and enslave Unicron. Arriving near Cybertron, Galvatron fails to open the Matrix and merely enrages Unicron, who transforms from his planet-shaped form into a giant robot and begins to attack the Transformer home world. Galvatron proves little match and is consumed by Unicron, while the Decepticons try in vain to defend their planet.
The Autobots soon arrive on the scene and join in the battle. Hot Rod crashes his shuttle through Unicron’s eye and inside the young Autobot encounters Galvatron. A fight ensues with Hot Rod proving he has “The Touch” as he reaches out for the Matrix and unleashes its power, transforming him into Rodimus Prime and destroying Unicron from within. With the giant defeated, the remaining Decepticons are forced to retreat leaving the Autobots to reclaim Cybertron as their own.
As usual of Transformers, the characters are the main stars. The new characters introduced are extremely likable from their very first uttered line, thanks to a great mix of an engaging script and professional acting. A good measure of Character development, which usually takes at least a couple of episodes in the TV series, is present here and is very well handled with none of the characters coming across as bland or uninteresting. The script is as emotionally charged as ever, and its characters portrayed as humanly as possible, that its tragic climax would bring a tear to any one's eye.
The most obvious jump in quality would be in the art and animation department. Battle damage, metallic sheen, complex shadows, vivid colours and other little details make this movie very spectacular to look at. Such art details stand the test of time and would even be able to measure up to the art standards of today's anime movies. Despite the sky high levels of the art detail, the animation does not suffer one bit. Every scene is fluid with hardly any short cuts used, characters are always in motion and so are some of the backgrounds; again a rarity among anime TV-series-to-movie films.
The fight scenes are superbly storyboarded utilizing all the right shot angles, close-ups or wide pans, and lighting effects to add to the impact and cinematic feel of each battle. Unfortunately there are a number of animation goofs here and there; minor instances of wrong coloring in the background. Those mistakes however are not easily spotted until repeated viewings. They are not jarring and does not distract from the film at all.
To top it all off, there is the roaring electric guitar and rock soundtrack, a huge improvement over the bland musical cues of the original series. It is a huge improvement over the bland musical cues of the original series and really complements each scene very well; truly the icing on a great tasting cake.The vocal soundtrack, however, is really up to personal preference, featuring a number of songs by Stan Bush, NRG and other big 80's names.
The Transformers: The Movie was released to mixed reviews and was considered a flop at the box office, collecting only $5m during its opening weekend. Criticism was levelled towards its animation style (now highly regarded by Western audiences), dark tone and high body count, with the death of beloved characters such as Optimus Prime having a profound and disturbing effect on young children (indeed the furore surrounding Prime’s fate led to Hasbro altering the fate of Duke, leader of G.I. Joe, who was originally supposed to die in 'G.I. Joe: The Movie', released straight-to-video the following year).
While the decision to kill of many of the better known characters lay with Hasbro – who wanted to make room for the next range of action figures – it remains a bold and daring move and something that would be inconceivable for studios today. Added to this are the excellent action sequences, perfect soundtrack, and a cast that includes the aforementioned Orson Welles in addition to Leonard Nimoy, Judd Nelson, Robert Stack, Eric Idle, Scatman Crothers (also in his final role), and voice-over legends Corey Burton, Peter Cullen, Casey Kasem, and Chris Latta.
On a whole, this movie is a real treat for all transformers fans, and an entertaining watch for the casual anime fan as long as one is able to keep up with the various characters. The plot never slows down, yet never acts an excuse to tie on action scene to the next. Both a major turning point in the ongoing Transformers storyline, and an important milestone in animation, 'Transformers: The Movie' is a timeless classic which introduced a new level of maturity into what was once solely a children's toy franchise.#Transformers #TransformersTheMovie#80sMovies #Movies#AnimatedFilm #Animation#AdventureFilm #ActionAdventure#ActionFilm #Autobots#Decepticons #Onthisday #MovieReview