Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

As we near the day for celebrated Hollywood director Michael Bay’s super huge summer blockbuster ‘The Transformers’ which is being anxiously awaited by numerous fanboys and other types world wide, I decided to lift a copy of, on VHS no less, from 1987, ‘Transformers: The Movie’ to see what Prime and them were up to twenty years ago.

For just a little history, I’m not one of those anxiously awaiting ‘The Transformers’ live action movie, though my supreme standing as film-critic in waiting should guarantee me a seat at a screening. As I told some of colleagues of whom I’m a few years older than, I was fifteen years old when The Transforms made its animated debut in 1984, and though I certainly wasn’t a sophisticated fifteen year old by any means, the kiddie things that had taken up space in my brain that remain to this day is stuff like the Evil Knievel toys, Hot Wheels, Johnny Sokko, Ultraman, Superfriends, The Fantastic Four and comics in general. The things of our childhood usually grab control of you before the age of twelve. At fifteen our priorities tend to change. For instance, I was participating in all of the organized sports, I was completely vexed by girls and clothes, and ‘Miami Vice’ and ‘The Cosby Show’ had just began their lengthy runs. Lisa Bonet and Olivia Brown? Hello? ‘The Transformers’? Yeah, I remember watching the show in passing, but other than Prime, Megatron, StarScream and that damn theme song I can’t remember much about them. So what better way to refresh the mem than to pop in a twenty year old VHS tape, though I’m sure it’s on DVD somewhere, and see what the fuss was all about.

As we visit our robots in disguise at this point in time, things aren’t going so well. The Decepticons are now occupying planet Cybertron, but the Autobots let by the erstwhile big rig Optimus Prime (Voiced by Peter Cullen) are planning an offensive to retake

their home planet from Megatron (Frank Welker) and his evil brood. Even that turns out all messed up as Megatron gets advanced word of the attack and thwarts the plan, killing quite a few Autobots in the process and launching an all out attack on their moon base operations. The Autobots manage to get a distress signal off to Prime who arrives just before the moonbase was about to fall and Prime and Megatron lay it on the line in a battle to the death, Prime had Tron pretty much defeated, but an impetuous Hot Rod (Judd Nelson) intervenes forcing Prime to sacrifice his own life to save Hot Rod. Tron himself is mortally wounded as well and when the Decepticons retreat, StarScream kicks Tron out of the ship into the blackness of space and declares himself the new king of the Decepticons.

Bigger problems lay ahead in with the ominous presence of the planet devouring robot Unicron (The late Orson Welles) who rescues Megatron, transforms him into the even more powerful Galvitron (Leonard Nimoy) and dispatches him to retrieve the Matrix, a cosmic jewel which when given to the right ‘chosen’ Autobot, will solve everything for the struggling Autobots including obsolescence and rust. It’s also the only thing that can stop the otherwise unstoppable Unicron. Now led by Prime’s right hand Ultra Magnus (Robert Stack). It will fall upon these remaining Autobots, Dinobots and the like to stop Unicron and bring stability back to the universe.

I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed this wacky ass marketing machine of a cartoon. It certainly was filled to the brim with action, maybe even too much action as there was always something getting blown up, all kinds of new characters being introduced like Sharkicons and those trash dudes (Garbagacons?). This film was fairly brutal too considering all of the death and destruction that was going on. What Galvatron did to StarScream was just plain wrong. I’m sure 8 year olds in 1987 are still scarred from seeing that. I don’t even remember this movie even existing, but I had tricked my way into college in 1987 so I REALLY wasn’t into cartoon action figures anymore. Another question I have is why there are female Autobots? I mean do these things like… mate? No disrespect to my sisters out there but if we can’t mate with them what purpose do they ultimately serve? Other than providing the world with joy and glory with their mere existence and infinite wisdom?

‘Transformers: The Movie’ also had an impressive voice cast, I mean sure Judd Nelson might not impress you in 2007, but in 1987 dude was a fairly hot commodity. If they could have landed Don Johnson and Malcolm Jamal Warner… Man that cast would have been smoking! NOTE: I was trying to thing of a really hot actress back in 1987 and decided to Google it, but the thing that came up the most was Christy Canyon. Who the hell is she?

In preparation for your sleepover in front of the theater to check out the live action ‘Transformers’ movie, grab your portable DVD and this disk and geek out with the rest your lack of life possessing homies and relive the times when animation was suspect and life was simple. More than meet the eye Bitch!

Real Time Web