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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.69%
Average: 3.4%
Pretty Bad: 2.72%
Total Crap: 4.08%

3 reviews, 129 user ratings

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Transformers: The Movie
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by Marc Kandel

"The day the lasers started to hurt…"
4 stars

This was my first DVD, grounds for crucifixion on this site, but I confess, I never tire of watching it. This was essential viewing from my youth, a surprisingly satisfying offering from what was essentially a marketing ploy created to sell gobs and gobs of toys. Okay, I bought Aliens too, but the Fellini fans will probably still take offense. Eh. Fuck em'. Snobby, dead-arty-eye-tal-loving twats- don’t you judge me! Ahem… On to the review…

The plot: In the far off year of 2005, retreating from a crippling attack on the last of their dwindling strongholds resulting in the death of their commander, the Autobots must contend not only with their old adversaries the Decepticons, but must face an even more terrifying threat: Unicron, a planetoid that consumes other planets, on a direct course to their Decepticon-occupied homeworld of Cyberton. Now tell me “The Godfather, Citizen Kane and Casablanca” have anything on that. Go ahead. Try. That’s right. You can’t. Rick Blane, Sonny Corleone, Charles Foster Kane… Nobody’s got the skills to step up to such cinematic beatdown gods as Galvatron and Wheelie. True.

In my middle school and I’m not ashamed to say a goodly portion of my high school days, upon coming home, the TV went on and there was a solid hour of peace and contentment in my home to the exclusion of all else, unmatched even in my quieter moments today, focused solely on the adventures of groups of special elite commandoes and robots in disguise blasting the shit out of everything on screen yet never actually hitting anything. It was colorful, loud, cheesy, energized, and totally, unabashedly fun. Sure, character development was nonexistent, as were changes to status quo, and likewise, the plots never veered very far from a simple yet keenly effective formula- the bad guys have a plot, the good guys find out about it, and the two kick the crap out of each other for the last fifteen minutes until the baddies retreat. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I speak of GI Joe and the Transformers.

For the TV episodes, I have to say I enjoyed the Joes a bit more, as there was just a fraction more character development (mostly in the Cobra camp) on that show than there was on Transformers (the Megatron/Starscream rivalry just couldn’t match the crafty one-upmanship and backstabbing between Cobra Commander and Destro), who instead spent their couple of seconds away from the general plot wisely branding that catchy wharnk-wharnk-wharnk-wharnk transformation sound into my brain. But it was all good clean fun with some sterling animation for the time, nobody got hurt, and it made me happy, only stunting the loss of my virginity by roughly a year or two… or four.

Funny thing happened in 1987: Transformers got a movie, and all the rules got broke- big time. Appearing on the big screen suddenly had these guys sporting some bigger ball bearings and this friendly, quaint little adventure cartoon I had come to know as a kid turned into a giant robot snuff film; An honest to God Grand Guignol dispatching legions of anthropomorphic cars and planes with relish. Within the first ten to fifteen minutes of the film, we see an entire planet of cybernetic beings, including happy go lucky robot children (who will never grow u.. um, get upgraded and refitted to adult robots) completely obliterated (with neat crunchy sounds), followed by a vicious mow-down massacre of nearly all of the kind, personable, Autobots that comprised the bulk of the cast from the TV show that I would jump of the bus and tune in to watch every afternoon. And then Megatron kills Optimus Prime. Optimus. Prime. Optimus “so badass that I'm programmed with John Wayne’s voice” Prime.

Holy fucking shit, this film meant business.

Now mind you, up until this point, kids like me were used to watching dozens upon dozens of robots the size of small houses battling in environments littered with children, buildings, incendiary chemicals, trees, construction workers in really faggy yellow boots, etc., exchanging massive amounts of firepower, and occasionally if you looked hard enough some of the laser shots would bounce of the ground or a wall, leaving a timid curl of smoke, with little to no property damage, and certainly no casualties. As of “Transformers the Movie,” these gentle, playground laws of robot combat no longer apply. Within seconds, shots that would have had less effect on the average Autobot paint job than a key to the side door wielded by a disgruntled valet are now punching Mack tire-sized holes in our heroes, who spew fuselage and vomit death curls of black industrial smoke as their spark goes out forever.

Brawn, Doc Ratchet, Wheeljack, Prowl, all the old gang I used sit back and have a chocolate milk to in the afternoon, attempting to cling to something that wouldn’t have me prowling the corpse littered halls of my school with the smoking .44 in my hand, all are wiped out ruthlessly and efficiently in seconds. The point blank head shot Megatron delivers to a broken, slumped Ironhide is particularly memorable and heartfelt. This then is tragedy, grand opera of the highest order.

I was stunned at how good this movie was. The pace is unrelenting, the stakes and tension palpable. The protagonists are dealt setback after setback, loss upon loss and must constantly keep moving, threats closing in from all sides, pausing only to add in a few insanely distracting kid-friendly scenes such as the introduction of an obnoxiously obvious kid-character named Wheelie (who yes, I did use in the opening paragraph for comedic effect- I hate him, but am not above using him for a quick yuk) and a horrifying Weird Al Yankovic musical number, neither having any place in this masterpiece, serving only to foul the magnificent through-line of action and pathos.

I know, I know, the intended audience is actually ages 5-12, but gad how I hate compromise. Otherwise, the film is riveting as our Autobot friends must deal with not one but two formidable threats, separation, death, and as I said, Wheelie, who is 500 times more annoying than Jar Jar, Dobby, and even Bumblebee could ever hope to be. How, in a movie where dozens of hardened Autobot and Decepticon ass kickers and name takers get logged off, does this irritating, appeals-to-kids-in-the-minds-of-corporate-drones-whose-last-interaction-with-a-child-was-probably-on-one-of-those-secretive-Thailand-trips-to-satiate-his-dark-boy-hungry-lusts, fop manage to survive? How, I ask?

But Wheelie hatred aside, this film’s a damn good time. It also features some really excellent voice work from various players. We have Leonard Nemoy as the arch-villain Galvatron (a rebooted, upgraded Megatron), who takes care to impart every sentence with brutality and malignancy. We have Robert Stack as Ultra Magnus, whose best moments are not driving the Autobots into battle, but wrestling with his inadequacies as a leader- it’s a damn cartoon, but this man does his job and you’ll believe a robot can regret. Of course we cannot forget that this film is the final cinematic offering of Orson Welles, voicing Unicron, the planet killer. It’s a worthy, fine effort, and somewhere in heaven, atop a never-diminishing pile of Mrs. Pell’s frozen fish sticks, the blazing spirit of Orson Wells sits, contentedly munching away and looking over all of us, swelled with pride (and fish sticks) in this, his finest moment as a performer. His last gift and legacy to all of us: Unicron.

And yes, though there are numerous plot holes you could drive Omega Supreme through (20 years and the people of Earth are still ignorant that their planet is populated by GIANT ROBOTS), ridiculous gaps in logic (Ultra Maximus gets drawn, quartered, and then reassembled and restored while a piece of shrapnel to Prime’s gut flatlines him?), and of course, Wheelie, the film still soars above mediocrity by never letting up on the action, providing an exciting ride for the viewer.

One could say that this movie represented the passage of childhood into adolescence, where a once friendly, playful environment grew teeth and started to change into a place where actions led to very real consequences, and we found that childhood comrades would not be with us forever, and that change was inevitable, but not necessarily a bad thing as through change, we might grow stronger, you know, like Hot Rod. One could also say that Hasbro, sensing the bottoming out of a toy line that was starting to show its age in an increasingly competitive market after 3 or 4 years, wanted an event to launch the newest toys and cartoon seasons and this was a profitable way for them to clean the slate, and get kids buying the next wave of transforming toys.

Reason dictates that it’s probably the representation of this latter motivation. But who knew they’d be so stunningly ruthless and delightfully sadistic in their efforts and actually turn out a respectable, exciting cartoon to do it?

Certainly not this boy. But 2005 has come and gone, and alas, no final wars, no Golden Age of Cyberton, and I’ve yet to see even one construction worker wearing those curious sunlight yellow booties. Just a shitty Beast Wars show and a truly shitty Transformers Armada, utilizing that bane of coherent thought, Anime, the Barney and Friends replacement to fourteen year olds searching for something to have some inexplicable fascination with bordering on fanaticism, to further despoil, castrate and raze this band of once formidable metallic warriors in disguise. Sure, we finally got our Unicron toy, but alas, my interests veered away from giant robots and toy soldiers to important things, like internet porn and Marvel Legends Action Figures.

Sometimes I do actually take a quiet moment from my mania, sit back, and marvel that I ever was able to get my dick wet. Thank God for hookers. And chloroform.

Transformers the Movie is science fiction fun of the first water, an entertaining piece of ballsy nostalgia with solid animation and voice work backing up a good, simple story. And Spike the human says “shit” in the third act. Now what could be better than that?

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originally posted: 03/04/06 15:46:42
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell has not aged well i checked out after the 3rd one 2 stars
9/10/11 b0SamueL0b +z$8frZdyL%68pSU/:>w<:E3.lG-!XIB 4 stars
6/22/09 Jeff Wilder Not art by any stretch of the imagination. Dated yes. But fun and entertaining, 3 stars
7/28/07 Wee Todd Didd Not too bad, liked the older toons better, too much product placement iin the movie. 4 stars
7/18/07 Not Blindly Nostalgic Just watched it again the other day. Superb when I was 8. At 28 it is incoherent. 2 stars
7/03/07 Lazybluedress It was spectacular, violent for a cartoon with carnage ahead of its time. 5 stars
7/01/07 William Goss Appeal is understandable: constant action, surprising twists, awful music. 3 stars
1/27/07 Booksworm Fucking awesome movie.No arguments.Anybody says different can take it up with Galvatron. 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych The TV series was much better, the movie has lost something with age. 3 stars
8/18/05 ES Loved this movie as a kid, lost a little something since then 3 stars
11/01/04 Neil Smiff Takes Me Back To My Childhood. TRUELY MAGICAL! 5 stars
6/21/04 Steven This is one of the most amazing movies of all time, no questions asked. 5 stars
3/09/04 Sean McLean Action-packed and fun as hell - the best toy-based movie ever made! 5 stars
1/09/04 Allison I'm a girl and I loved it. Ultimate piece of 1980s nostalgia! 5 stars
1/03/04 KR I love it, but those of us who loved it as kids are biased. 5 stars
9/23/03 Sugarfoot Much better then what critics made out... 3 stars
8/08/03 3man A decent movie but it aint better than Space Battlship Yamato. 4 stars
7/29/03 Boomer My childhood at it's Pinnacle...just gimme a CGI Live Action movie now and I can die! 5 stars
7/13/03 snabald See all your childhood heroes get MURDERED. 5 stars
6/12/03 Travis Sharpe Great film. Flawed characters made for a better story than the series. 5 stars
6/06/03 Char Aznable I grew up on this stuff and it still rocks today! 5 stars
5/10/03 Mike Ertle Someone please create 5 websites saying that this is the best movie ever, so I can complete 5 stars
12/30/02 Jeffrey Dube' This is the GOD of all films 5 stars
10/18/02 Shams Huque Love it for the fact that Prime DIES! 5 stars
8/30/02 Joey The BEST animated movie ever!.... superb! 5 stars
4/24/02 maximal01 When "Transformers: The Movie" was released in 1986, I SHIT myself. See it NOW!!! 4 stars
3/28/02 NeuroManson Orson was a planet sized eating machine, and then died as a planet sized eating machine 4 stars
3/09/02 High motu This is the greatest work of ilm ever, modern film society should look to it as inspiration 5 stars
3/09/02 Rick Absolutely amazing, best film ever!!!! 5 stars
1/08/02 Till All Are One YOU GOT THE TOUCH BABY! 5 stars
12/22/01 NDW it has inconsistencies you could fly unicron through but i love it anyway 4 stars
12/14/01 Peter Herman violent & corny at the same time 5 stars
11/26/01 andrea freaking awesome (i wanted to watch my language) 5 stars
10/19/01 Ryan Hey Mike Fuck off a good Movie if i say so myself 5 stars
9/23/01 Rampage ABSOLUTE KICK-ASS MOVIE! Hey Mike, go shoot yourself! 5 stars
8/09/01 Jay Khwaja It made me want to crush the bastard Descepticons when we were robbed of Prime's death. 5 stars
6/26/01 T_RatV Good movie, Unicron Rocked, Voices are great, good animation, Soundtrack is fun & original 4 stars
6/23/01 GI JOE eat your heart out. Well maybe partially. "It's a real film Jack." 5 stars
4/25/01 J OK its good to mantain your opinion but could I please smack guys like spetters please? 5 stars
4/24/01 Spetters I hated this, when i was young and I still do now!!! 1 stars
4/22/01 Hog THIS WAS A KICK ASS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/11/01 Mog the animation was shoddy, the story thin, but it was Transformers dammit... 5 stars
4/04/01 joel Little this is my favorite movie 5 stars
3/29/01 Mike These ratings are an attempt to get a shitty movie in the top 20. GET A LIFE 1 stars
3/21/01 M.C.A One of the best movies ever. 5 stars
3/21/01 shawn williams go snake 5 stars
3/18/01 msd23 best animated cartoon ever with a sweet soundtrack 5 stars
3/18/01 Zorg Screw you if you say this is Crap 5 stars
3/18/01 Zorg Screw you if you say this is Crap 5 stars
3/14/01 Harinder Raju Excellent film. Great music, great plot, great animation. Very stylish. 5 stars
3/04/01 Nick it is the greatest animated movie of all time 5 stars
3/04/01 Corbin Dallas Excellent film in the manner of The 5th Element, Independence Day and The Matrix 5 stars
3/01/01 Cornwiggle This movie rocks! 5 stars
2/28/01 Soggy Bottom Boy OK for the under-10 crowd, but other than that... 1 stars
2/27/01 loki robots that cus, come on how good does it get 5 stars
2/19/01 Steve in Prague goddamn this is a GREAT movie..words cant describe it 5 stars
2/07/01 Suhail Asrar Never be another like it 5 stars
2/07/01 Macarthur Student Homer and mike can lick me this was excellent. 5 stars
1/31/01 Gigan One shall stand, one shall fall. The best line in history. 5 stars
1/31/01 Shamus I liked Starscream 5 stars
1/21/01 Homer Fucking sorry excuse for a movie 1 stars
1/03/01 Mark Damnit, where's Hound? 5 stars
12/29/00 Unknown until further noticed. #^@# mike this is indeed a 5-star film. 5 stars
12/27/00 fifu this is a classic in it own time and still to some. 4 stars
12/21/00 Mike Wow this was a stuipd movie 1 stars
12/21/00 Gabe I've been watching it for almost 15 years now. What happened to Blaster? 5 stars
12/20/00 Matt Totally adequate for fans. Puzzling to everyone else. 5 stars
12/06/00 Brian This movie was AWESOME!. The sound track was great, and the movie had a wealth of one liner 5 stars
12/01/00 iceman I love your enthusiasm but why are you giving away the crucial plot lines!! 5 stars
11/26/00 Jim This movie rocks! 5 stars
11/10/00 jon i think this movie rocks 5 stars
11/09/00 Nick A Decent film fot all generations!!! 5 stars
10/28/00 Stanley Eldridge Superb! Fantastic! unquestionably the greatest movie ever. 5 stars
10/25/00 paul palik the best film ever 4 stars
10/13/00 The Dude Fucking aCE 5 stars
9/21/00 Richard Willis I think this movie put the transformers on the global map it is not just a cartoon any more 5 stars
9/08/00 Jed Despite some flaws this is quite possibly one of THE most underrated movies ever! 5 stars
8/29/00 Andrew Gouldstone Wonderful movie. I cried when Optimus died. 5 stars
8/26/00 Skottoman The Transformers Movie was possibly the best I've ever seen. Starscream rocks ass 5 stars
8/12/00 Richard Bohince This film is one that i can watch over and over again and never get sick of it. 5 stars
8/07/00 The Brother BEST MOVIE EVER!!! 5 stars
8/04/00 DREDD I loved transformers as a kid.. and the movie is still great.. 5 stars
7/27/00 Richie Saturday morning nostalgia - pure bliss. 5 stars
7/26/00 usman javaid the movie is great and iam one of the bigest fans of tf and i love the soundtrack 5 stars
7/16/00 Chris McCracken This is one of my favorite movies and like he said i grew up with it 5 stars
7/14/00 Primus Maximus It was one hell of a movie! Totally radical dudes!!! Definitely worth watching!!!! 5 stars
7/14/00 cragg76 The best film ever and cragg mean ever. 5 stars
7/10/00 sean lockyer orson welles last film! what else can i say ? a cult classic!!! 5 stars
6/28/00 Robert Rage A true masterpiece unlike crap like Pokeman!!! 5 stars
6/23/00 Crimsonswordsman disappointed that many characters were killed and others didn't appear, it was awesome! 5 stars
6/10/00 Howard Brashier JR. THe movie was outstanding!! I loved every minute of it. I have seen it at least a hundred t 5 stars
6/08/00 DREDD very smooth, great music and action.. 5 stars
6/06/00 Optimus The best film eva! 5 stars
5/27/00 Urthworm This movie is the single greatest human acheivment of all time. 5 stars
5/17/00 Tunnel Rat OK, Transformers, awesome cast and best yet!! KUP and UNICRON <Gotta love Unicron>!! 5 stars
5/12/00 Kurly I'm not asking you, I'M TELLING YOU...SEE THIS FILM!! 5 stars
5/11/00 Pedro Baez This is the best cartoon movie I'v ever seen 5 stars
4/25/00 Shaun Pendergast A classic movie that is must see for any fans of the show. 5 stars
4/18/00 Brian Baumgartner I loved the movie. I wish they had a sequel! 5 stars
4/10/00 Andrew Quigley Absolute Genius (except Kup) 5 stars
3/14/00 Kurt Williams Just because transformers are in it doesn't make it cool. Lots of plot holes, bad pacing,et 2 stars
2/21/00 The Gentle Pothole This is a great movie. Cool story, great soundtrack and great animation. Give it a try. 5 stars
1/13/00 James Palsrok Actually Awesome. Written for kids? obviously. Good plot,Interesting characters,good anime 5 stars
1/11/00 Eric Eddy I still watch it. I will always watch it. Prime and Megatron battle is the shiznit! 5 stars
12/23/99 Don Turksniper This is the fucking greatest movie with the greatest soundtrack of all time 5 stars
12/21/99 Nick "God Of Guitar" ( Best Movie Ever All you "intellectuals" should get off your high horse. 5 stars
12/19/99 JEFF STEELE ( It was the best TRANSFORMERS' epic--EVER!!! I'd watched it 17 times. 5 stars
12/14/99 Daniel L. Newhouse Grow up people, the only good feature is the soundtrack. 2 stars
11/27/99 Dave Harrower It was awesome in 1986 when I was 4 years old and it's still awesome today! 5 stars
11/22/99 strike I never understood this and I probably never will because of my intelligence! 1 stars
10/16/99 Russell Wilson Best movie ever, Forget TITANIC, forget South Park, forget the Sick Sense! 5 stars
10/10/99 John Howard The best damn american animated movie to appear. Way better than anything Disney puts out. 5 stars
10/08/99 Sheldon Wynne An animated masterpiece. So if you don't like, go and watch the fucking Care Bears. 5 stars
10/07/99 Manny Gonzalez They made my childhood, I always looked forward to their morning cartoons 4 stars
10/03/99 Joe Schmoe Amazing as hell! 5 stars
9/30/99 Aaron Sauter I loved it wsih it was out so I could buy it. 5 stars
9/15/99 Renato Rivera I loooove it!!! 5 stars
9/07/99 funkwater I saw this movie the night it came out. 5 stars
9/07/99 Farrokh Kouchekpour My favourite film from childhood( yes even better than star wars) 5 stars
8/19/99 Joey Burba One of the greatest films of all time! 5 stars
7/21/99 Joey Leake One of the best movies ever. Has a PLANET that transforms into a giant freakin' ROBOT! 5 stars
7/07/99 Bart McCoy the best flim every in history I'll will never get sick of transfromers 5 stars
4/13/99 Jon Jackson I love this movie. But why did all the classics have to die?It's not fair!Take me instead! 4 stars
1/20/99 BBQ Bob Still a great animated movie. 4 stars
12/07/98 Shadow Raider Best cartoon movie ever. Why don't they make a Beast Wars movie? That would be cool. 4 stars
11/24/98 Fred Death in a cartoon movie? Is this Japan? I love this fucker. I can still watch it. 5 stars
11/17/98 Gray Whitten The Touch is the greatest song from a movie ever. I want a rocket board. 5 stars
10/24/98 Ash Best god damn animated movie ever next to Toy Story,Suprisingly Violent and Emotional.COOL 5 stars
9/09/98 PyThomas Fast-paced to the point of confusion... but still a kick-ass film 4 stars
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  08-Aug-1986 (PG)
  DVD: 07-Nov-2006



Directed by
  Nelson Shin

Written by
  Ron Friedman

  Norman Alden
  Jack Angel
  Michael Bell
  Gregg Berger
  Susan Blu
  Arthur Burghardt

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