After years I decided to watch the 1986 Transformers movie, and for all that is holy is that thing dark.
Let me first set up this thing for you. I am not in any way a sensitive man. Really, at my age after serious amount of crap I’ve been through, I remember crying about 3 times. I have had a tear in my eye now and again, but actually crying, it was 3 times. When my dad had a heart attack, and fortunately survived without problems, but that was a scary day when you come to the reality of the mortality of one you love. Another time was when my dog, Chewie, died after being with me for 11 years. But the first time I remember I was probably 9. Transformers came to my country a bit later than in the USA, and I loved that show. When I saw the movie back then, and Prime died, I cried. I clearly remember that. So, this movie was always a sad memory for me. It was something that unlike the series that I occasionally went back to, I never revisited until last week. So, after watching it again I decided to review the Transformers The Movie with a new perspective.
First of all, that movie has flaws, it’s a 1980’s animation movie so we all know what that can mean. But other than that, it is a pretty good film to this day. It is better than any of the Michael Bay movies hands down. You know why? It is about freakin’ Transformers, and the majority of the action is about Transformers.
When I was a kid I didn’t really appreciate what was in this movie but I do now.
It’s actually very straightforward considering the idea was to do a cleanup of the toy lines from series 1 and 2 and give way to a new set of bots for the future. Autobots are planning to take back Cybertron from the Decepticons. The Decepticons make a preemptive strike on Earth’s Autobot City, there is lots of fighting, death, transformations both physical and structural, and above all, there is a planet Transformer that eats other planets and transformers called Unicron. Everything ends well. Sort of...
If you haven’t yet, watch it. I don’t want to spoil it anymore than I did already.
Ah... 80’s music, something I love so deeply. Just the right amount of good and bad, guitar and keytar, cheesy and... well, cheesy. Stan Bush’s “The Touch”, is the most dominant song of the film. I don’t know how many times it plays but it is a lot. And all of them are perfect for it, as it usually soundtracks action scenes. A curious fact about this is that it was originally written for Sylvester Stallone’s “Cobra”, but for some reason it ended up here. I don’t know why but it works perfectly, so I’m happy it did. The rest of the soundtrack blends well into the action and the scenery of the film, it’s basically the same style as the series, it would be difficult to go wrong with that. It also has a “Weird Al” Yankovic song called “Dare to be stupid”, not as good as “The Touch” but not bad.
There is a lot of death in this movie. And I don’t remember the series having so many deaths, or any at all. As I said it is understandable because the producers wanted a new line of toys and couldn’t just keep the main characters around, but still… holy crap dudes. The death count in the movie is 1 Decepticon to 7 Autobots that we see on screen. I am talking about on screen deaths of known characters such as Optimus Prime, Ironhide and Starscream. Some are in the first 5 to 10 minutes of the movie. This doesn’t mean that more of them don’t die, whole planets of Transformers are eaten by Unicron, that amounts to a few hundred thousand at least. I could say that in a way some of the other Decepticons also die, but I don’t count regenerations as deaths, although that moment when the Decepticons decide to dump their wounded from Astrotrain is really cold. Almost as bad as the onscreen deaths. But Decepticons will be Decepticons…
This is where this movie goes over the top. The voice acting is great, and the people who actually were cast for it? What could I expect from Peter Cullen, Robert Stack, Casey Kasem, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, John “Motormouth” Moscita Jr. and Orson Wells. Really, Orson Wells! That Orson Wells. He did the voice for one of the characters in Transformers the Movie and it was his last role just before he died. That is beyond awesome!
Overall the movie is still good after all these years. Even though it was made with the purpose of cleaning the slate for the discontinued toys in the line, it holds pretty well. Actually if someone has Michael Bay’s address can they please send him a copy so that he can try to understand how to make a good Transformers movie? A hint, it should have Transformers mainly.
Two extra doubts that if anyone can help me I would really appreciate:
- Holy crap there was a female Autobot called Arcee? I did not remember this, was she the only one like the Smurfette?
- What the hell happened to Snarl? The original series had 5 Dinobots: Grimlock (Tyrannosaurus) , Slug (Triceratops), Sludge ( sort of Brontosaurus which I think is not a thing anymore), Swoop (Pterodactyl) and Snarl (Stegosaurus). But Snarl is nowhere to be seen in the whole film, at least that I noticed. Did he die?