The Transformers: The Movie (1986)

transformers“You, who knows not of mercy, now plead for it?” – Optimus Prime

This is the real Transformers movie, the one that helped the craze, a clever toy campaign that evolved into an excellent film, and an average series from Marvel Comics. To many, the film is only good on a kitschy level, but the film still manages to pack a punch as one of the few variations of the mythos that’s pretty violent in its ways. Characters die, robots destroy one another, and there’s a pretty  complex plot to it. This film was introduced to me as a child way back before DVD’s ever entered the scene, and it’s still a film that’s rather entertaining and filled with thrills in spite of the animated format. “The Transformers” is not just all about nostalgia.

This is where it all started, and it’s still a damn good film with a theme song by rock band Lion, that sounds fucking great blasting on your stereos. To this day, it still gives me chills. From Judd Nelson as Hot Rod, to Orson Welles, to Eric Idle, to the incomparable John Moschitta Jr. as the speedy Blur; those of you within their mid to late twenties may remember John as the spokesman for the Hot Wheels toys. “The Transformers” has a lot of surprises for its audience, and works as a great introduction to the wide universe Michael Bay will just barely skim on in his film. “The Transformers: The Movie,” takes place in a world where the transformers are now co-existing with humans and have become a part of life on Earth as well as their own home planet, and are citizens in the futuristic world set in the year… 2005!

Gasp! Aw hell, that’s the charm of this film isn’t it? The fact that we’re here in 2007 with gas guzzling cars, while they’re in 2005 on hovering skateboards? Unicron, a robotic world eater in the vein of Galactus named Unicron has something wicked up his sleeve, watching the Autobots battle the Decepticons from above. As Earth is re-constructed thanks to the help of the Transformers, humans and scientists alikeare also pushed into the middle of a never ending war, that takes the life of the Transformers leader Optimus Prime, who hands down a powerful cell named the Matrix onto his second in command, Ultra Magnus. Through this death, the transformers now have to travel across the galaxy, with the Decepticons on their tail and now more powerful than ever, and bring the Matrix home.

But when Ultra Magnus is destroyed, and the Matrix is stolen, the Transformers have to grab it before the new incarnation of Megatron tries to over throw Unicron with it. “The Transformers,” made as a bridge film for the series, is much more of a darker incarnation, and that is in essence, why the film has managed to somewhat regain a cache of its own beyond the television series. Where as the series was much more child oriented, “The Transformers” is still a film for the young kids, except of a much darker atmosphere that often helps the drama and psychedelic sequences bring it above mere family entertainment. I mean sure at the end of the day, this is a movie where the main villain turns into a cheesy gun, and we have a transformer who is a giant boom box, but that’s what’s kept the film a consistent cult favorite.