Transformers The Movie (1986)
The real ‘Transformers’ movie that everyone should see!
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 6th October, 2014
Remembering the film from the past that made me love the Transformers even in my late teenage years.
Warning: Although this movie has been around for nearly 30 years and pretty much everyone knows what happens, there are spoilers in this review.
There is no help with the plot for anyone in this film, you either know the Transformers or you don’t!
The plot is basically this. The Autobots and the Decepticons are fighting for control of Cybertron (and eventually the universe in the last series). They come to Earth looking for new energy sources. The Autobots are looking to live in peace with the human race, however the Decepticons just want the energy anyway they can.
At the start of the film the Autobots have lost control of Cybertron to the Decepticons and are preparing for a future attack, by gathering energy on Earth. This leads to the Decepticons to attack the Autobot base. This leads out to an all out war battle between both sides with huge causalities on both sides, including the death of Optimus Prime (leader of the Autobots). Just before Optimus dies, he passed on the Autobot matrix of leadership to Ultra Magnus, the new leader of the Autobots.
Megatron, the leader of Decepticons, is also badly damaged and dumped into space by his second in command, Starscream (who was always looking to betray him and become leader). Many other Decepticons are also dumped into space as well.
A planet-eating robot named Unicron comes across the dumped Decepticons. He awakes Megatron, and rebuilds him into Galvatron, and makes him new troops to command from the remains of the other Decepticons. All of this has been done on the condition that Galvatron destroy the Autobot matrix of leadership. Galvatron and his new army travel to Earth.
Unicron destroys the moons of Cybertron, which has Autobots Jazz, Cliffjumper, and Bumblebee with a human called Spike (wearing a robotic exo-suit) on. Before this can happen, they contact Ultra Magnus for help, to which they start preparing the shuttles to leave for Cybertron. Galvatron then makes his attack on Autobot City and divides the remaining Autobots into two teams. Ultra Magnus, Reflector, Blur, Arcee, Springer and Spike’s son, Daniel are in one ship, and Hot Rod, Kup, and the Dinobots are in another ship.
The Decepticons follow Ultra Magnus ‘s ship, after shooting down Hot Rod’s ship, which crashes on a plant called Quintessa. Eventually Ultra Magnus convinces Galvatron that the ship has been destroyed, by separating it in two. This leaves Ultra Magnus and the crew no choice but to land on the planet of Junk. Once there they proceed with repairs to the ship to make it more space worthy. Unicron tells the Decepticons that Ultra Magnus and the others are still alive. So they attack and destroy Ultra Magnus then take the matrix.
Hot Rod and Kup are soon captured and given a tried and sentenced to death by the Quintessons, with the Sharkticons as their muscle. Meanwhile as the Dinobots are searching for Hot Rod and Kup, they come across Wheelie who leads them in the right direction. The Dinobots free the others and Wheelie gets them a ship.
Springer, Arcee, and the others find Ultra Magnus destroyed and then are attacked by the Junkicons. Once Hot Rod and the others arrive, they all make peace and leave for Cybertron.
Galvatron attempts to make Unicron his slave but fails to open the matrix. Unicron transforms into a giant robot, swallows Galvatron then attacks Cybertron. The Autobots arrive just in time to see the attack on Cybertron. Hot Rod flies his ship into Unicron’s eye. Hot Rod confronts Galvatron, whilst Daniel rescues his father and the other Autobots from Cybertron’s moons.
As Hot Rod confronts Galvatron, he is easily overpowered. Hot Rod is almost destroyed, when he grabs the matrix and Galvatron is pushed away. Hot Rod becomes Rodimus Prime. He is now able to fight Galvatron and throws him into deep space. Rodimus then fully opens the matrix and destroys Unicron. The only thing left of Unicron is his head, which orbits Cybertron. The Autobots then celebrate on Cybertron.
I grew up watching the cartoon, I remember getting my first Transformer toy (which was Optimus Prime by the way) for my birthday (I think it was either my fifth or sixth). I loved watching it every weekend. So I’m a Transformers fan plain and simple. I still remember most of the names of the characters and what they transformed into.
I remember seeing it when my father rented it, and I loved it! Any transformers fan at the time did. Being an 8 or 9 boy, why wouldn’t I love it? Let’s face it the Transformers Movie was just Star Wars with Transformers. It had action and characters I knew and loved, but it had one really important factor, it was fun!
Now I don’t remember much of when I first watched, except that I enjoyed it. But how can any child have any decent taste in films?
I didn’t see the film again until I was about 17. I caught it on one of the Sky movie channels back in around 1996. I watched it again and I found it very fun to watch. The characters I knew, the animation I thought was fantastic, and the important thing was that Transformers actually died! Unlike the cartoon where no one ever died, which made it very boring!
The main thing I got from this time I watched it was that the film was really entertaining. There is nothing but action, with small times for the basic plot points. And of course the eighties rock music! Who wouldn’t love the cheesy power rock music that dominated this entire film?
Is the film perfect? No. There are very cheesy moments, especially any scene with Daniel (luckily these are generally quite brief), but what this film succeeds at is being fantastic entertainment. The characters all succeed in there roles, but also remember this is aimed at kids. The filmmakers in the documentaries about the film on the DVDs said that this was made for the fans. That’s why no attempt to explain who or what the Transformers are is made. This may cause a problem for new fans. But I knew everything about Transformers so I could follow everything, except the verdict of the Quintesson trial. That was something I never understood when I was kid and after I have grown up all I can think of was that they said it to fuck with them.
I believe the film follows a very Star Wars style adventure. It was being made during the aftermarth of Return of the Jedi. It was never going to be Oscar winning material. It was fun and good-natured, the classical good vs. evil battle.
I felt it was also more serious than the TV series was, mainly due to seeing all of the Transformers actually die for once. Admittedly this was due to the toy range being replaced with new characters, but from a story telling point of view it was pretty cool and exciting. It was very cool to see how evenly matched Optimus Prime and Megatron really was. This was hinted a great deal in the TV series but here we actually have a fight to the death, with both virtually destroying each other. If you have to get rid of these characters thanks to new toys then that’s the perfect way to do it.
The past ten years have seen the rebirth of the Transformers franchise, when the new movies came out. When I first heard about the idea of a Transformers movie I thought it would be a really cool idea, especially after seeing a Citreon advert with a car transforming into a robot. It looked pretty much what I had always seen as a kid when watching the Transformers cartoon. Oh boy was I disappointed… That will be for another time though.