HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Transformers: The Movie
HTS Overall Score:79
The “Transformers” franchise is something that is almost as epic and long lasting as “Star Trek” has been. Originally a kids cartoon back in the early 80s it morphed into the movie we have here before us, as well as splitting off into a myriad of different cartoon series (which are actually surprisingly good), and then the live action messes from Michael Bay (which actually has garnered more money than some third world countries have available to them). Fans of the original series have LONG awaited a U.S. release of the seminal film and most have had to make do with the old DVD (that was decidedly subpar) or import the Australian or U.K. Blu-ray (which left a little to be desired in terms of quality). Now Shout Factory has been able to get the rights to the film as well as access to a brand new 4K master which breathes new life into the aging animated film.
2005. Yes, that’s right, 2005. Back in 1986 2005 seemed like such a jump into the future, but it makes for a chuckle worthy experience similar to how people view “Back to the Future 2” and its predictions of humanity’s future. Well, In this little alternate tale humanity and the autobots are living side by side. The autobots have formed a city called autobot city while the war on Cybertron is continuing on. Megatron (Jose Santa Cruz) has taken over the planet and shoved Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and the rest of the native autobots off onto the surrounding moons. In an effort to regain control of their home world, Megatron finally kills his arch nemesis Optimus only to suffer near mortal wounds himself.
While the autobots reassemble and lick their wounds, Megatron is taken in by a giant world crushing transformer who calls itself Unicron (Orson Welles) and is given a new form. Galvatron (voiced by Leonard Nimoy). It seems that Unicron has had his eye on the autobots for a while and wants the matrix of power that Optimus transferred over to Ultra Magnus (Robert Stack) destroyed, and he will do anything to make that happen. Now the remaining autobots have to survive the assault of Galvatron and his decepticon forces long enough to regain their strength and strike back. Aided by the human Daniel Witwicky (David Mendenhall) and the young autobot Hot Rod (Judd Nelson) they may just have a chance, even if that chance is razor thin.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79562[/img]“The Transformers: The Movie” was unique for a kid’s movie back in the 80s. Back then the animated series followed the age old policy of never letting a major character die. This was the very first time in “Transformers” history that a main character died, and a BIG one at that. To those of you who grew up in the 21st century this may seem a little old hat, but back in the 1980s, us children were gasping in shock and horror that they would kill off the most beloved character in the series. It was so “adult” to my 11 year old brain at the time. Looking back it seems a lot more fitting considering they had thought the show would end with the movie, but no one could predict what a cultural icon the series and spinoffs would become.
The movie has a few flaws, despite my rose colored glasses of 80s awesomeness. The first act is much like the TV series, and brings in the cybertron wars to a close, but the second act is where things get a little bizarre. Instead of focusing on Ultra Magnus after he is transferred the Matrix of Power, the film really aims in on young Danny and Hot Rod in their effort to escape the devastation that is Galvatron. The Junk Planet is one thing that I personally feel to this day should have been left out, even with the whacky craziness that is Eric Idle from “Monty Python” it just feels awkward and fillerish. Unicron (voiced by Orson Welles) is the saving grace of the film, adding in a ton of new powers for the autobots to fight against and creating a terrifying villain that did way more than just fuel a war between the autobots and decepticons.
Rated PG by the MPAA, Parental Guidance suggested
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79570[/img]It’s been a long time coming, but “The Transformers: The Movie” has been given a full 4K restoration and rescan of the original elements, including a touchup on the color timing to boot (ironically there’s a bit in the extras where someone mentions that it was originally a 6K scan, but I can’t confirm or deny that since every bit of information released to the press so far has stated a 4K scan). Not only that, but both the 1.85:1 wide screen edition is housed on one disc, while the second disc in the set is the open matted 4x3 version that was released back on TV. Both discs appear to be identical with the same extras on each, just with the choice of wide vs. full screen. Now to get back to the image. There is some print speckles and some flickering here and there, but the Blu-ray is a MASSIVE leap forward over the old special edition DVD I had lying around. Much less brown and the colors look well saturated. The color timing is definitely tweaked, and has caused quite a divide in many of the forums as we all argue over what color was what originally (something which is actually rather hard to do since very few us can remember back to 1986 and remember what everything looked like in the theaters). However, in the extras, it was discussed how the DVD didn’t look accurate to the original source and this new Blu-ray rectifies that issue. Blacks are inky and deep, and the animated detail looks quite good. Overall I’m VERY impressed with how it turned out.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79578[/img]Housed on the disc are two differing DTS-HD MA lossless tracks. The first is the 2.0 track (which is the theatrical one), and a mixed together 5.1 track as well. Each one of the tracks have their pros and cons, with my personal taste leaning towards the theatrical 2.0 mix for purist reasons. The 5.1 track does a good job at upmxing the audio, but there is limited surround support, leaving much of the heavy lifting to the front three speakers anyways. The one limitation that is a bit frustrating is how thin the original mix is, with a fairly narrow dynamic range. The audio is busy and hectic as all get out with explosions and an 80s rock score (that really makes the movie almost an 80s music video at times), but the LFE is fairly anemic and laid back. It’s nothing against Shout’s encode, but rather how the video has always been, dating back to the original DVD version.
• Til All Are One: Looking Back at "The Transformers: The Movie"
• Transformers: The Restoration
• Rolling Out the New Cover
• Audio Commentary
- The Death of Optimus Prime
- The Cast and Characters
- Transformers Q&A
• Animated Storyboards
• Original Theatrical Trailers
• TV Spots
Fans of the classic movie can rejoice, as this two disc edition houses both the full screen 4x3 and the wide screen version of the film as well as sporting a VERY nice and shiny new transfer. While I have to objectively look back at the film as an adult and say that it was not a shining masterpiece (let’s face it, Hasbro created the series AND the movies to sell toys. A feat which they accomplished with much aplomb), it still is a classic for a reason. The movie has never looked better, and it’s with sad joy that I look back at my childhood and remember that Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us and that Michael Bay is left with the reigns for our “Transformers” future. The extras included on this release are fantastic, and well worth digging into if you’re a fan of the movie. Definitely recommended.
Starring: Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack
Directed by: Nelson Shin
Written by: Ron Friedman
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC / 1.33:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Shout! Factory
Runtime: 85 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Buy The Transformers: The Movie On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy The Transformers: The Movie Steelbook Edition On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Good Watch
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