“The Transformers: The Movie” stars Peter Cullen, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, Frank Welker, and Orson Welles. Released on August 8, 1986, the film has the Autobots fighting against the Decepticons and a planet-consuming Transformer in the year 2005.
The film is directed by Nelson Shin, and it is based on the 1984 animated series of the same name, which in turn is based on the toy line of the same name created by Hasbro. Since the brand’s inception, the Transformers have delighted many fans of all ages. From the popular toy lines to the animated shows to the live-action summer blockbusters helmed by action maniac Michael Bay, the robots in disguise are showing no signs of running out of gas. I had been watching some episodes of a few Transformers shows, including the most recent one, Robots in Disguise, and the 1984 Transformers animated series, but to be completely honest with you readers, there’s just one piece of Transformers media that I haven’t seen yet until now, and that’s the 1986 animated Transformers film. It is classified by many fans as the “best Transformers film ever” compared to Michael Bay’s take on the popular toy line, and since the latest Transformers sequel is coming out next month, I decided to check this film out for the first time before I move on to the live-action versions. Why? Because I’m doing this for you die-hard Transformers fans.
The film’s story is set twenty years after the show’s second season, where the war between the Autobots, lead by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), and the Decepticons, lead by Megatron (voiced by Welker), still rages on. Wow, after all these years, they still hold a grudge against one another? When Optimus is killed off by Megatron, a new team of Autobots step in to protect the Matrix of Leadership from the clutches of the Decepticons and a giant planet-eating Transformer known as Unicron (voiced by Orson Welles). If you’re going into this movie expecting an Oscar-worthy screenplay or a powerful story about the consequences of war, then you, my friend, will be extremely disappointed. I felt that this film is only made for die-hard fans of the 1984 Transformers show, as well as some newcomers, in terms of the animation, the action, and the characters. As a first-time viewer, I thought it was actually quite good. Most of the cast did a great job voicing their characters, especially Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime and Orson Welles as the film’s main antagonist. The animation in the film was made by Toei Animation, and it still looks good after 30 years of release, especially the detailed visuals and the action sequences. It doesn’t match the animation standards of Disney and Pixar due to its usual 1980s animation style, but for an animated Transformers film, it looks really nice. The action sequences are very entertaining, mostly because that’s what the Transformers do throughout the entire film. They fight, fight, fight until everyone is dead (not really). While it delivered what most Transformers fans wanted, it might become a nuisance to those who want storytelling to be as important as the action. The film is also known for its rocking soundtrack, which consists of synth-based incidental music and metal music. In my opinion, I thought the music was very catchy and fun to listen to in the midst of the robot-vs-robot battles. There were also some parts that felt a bit rushed, especially the film’s ending. While necessary for a film like this, it didn’t really give any time for me to fully connect with the characters. Many of the Transformers fans won’t have any problems connecting with them, but for those who aren’t, well, they might as well start binge watching the 1984 animated show.
Overall, my first experience of watching “The Transformers: The Movie” was pretty darn fun. While not a perfect animated film, I would say that it’s a solid animated Transformers film. The film’s animation, voice performances, and action sequences are enough to overcome its story issues and rushed pacing. It’s an entertaining robot-vs-robot matchup that die-hard fans will cherish for another 30 years or so. If you’re getting into the Transformers films for the first time, I would say give this one a try before checking out the Michael Bay versions.