Transformers: The Movie (1986) Review

Hey guys!  I just wanted to quickly share with you my latest Obscure Animation review.  This is a monthly series I do over on my youtube channel profiling an animated film that is less well known and why you should see it.  This month’s pick, Transformers: The Movie, is loved by many but I still feel like it counts as it isn’t as well known as say a Disney or Pixar film.

People might be surprised to see me praise a Transformers movie as I am not a fan of any of the recent live action versions by schlockmeister Michael Bay.  It’s frustrating because this film is actually a good scifi movie with emotion and heart which none of the Bay films have and I feel it is maligned by association when it shouldn’t be.

There are a lot of things Transformers: The Movie does right, which the live action films don’t do.  First of all, it gets us right into the action.  There is no origin story or lame humans finding the transformers.  This is a movie about transformers!

Spoiler alert! (It’s 30 years old guys. See it!)

It starts out with the Decepticons and Autobots fighting and Optimus Prime is battling Megatron to protect Autobot City. They battle and it is awesome but Optimus Prime is wounded in the fighting.  And then in an emotional scene Optimus Prime hands over the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Mangus and then dies.

It was a bold move to kill off your lead character but it is handled so well and creates an emotional tie to all the action throughout the rest of the movie.  It’s interesting because they had cynical motives of wanting to sell new toys so they killed off a bunch of characters to introduce new characters, but it works.  It creates real stakes behind the story and isn’t just mindless dopey action like Bay films.

So Megatron and the Decepticons end up getting gathered by a giant planet transformer named Unicron who makes a deal with Megatron.  He turns Megatron into Galvatron and in return he must get Unicron the Matrix of Leadership.

This starts our story (great start right!) and we get a ton of cool characters like Hot Rod, Kup, Ultra Mangus, Arcee, Springer, Perceptor.  There are only 2 humans in the film Daniel and his father Spike but they are treated just like any other characters and used sparingly.  It really is a scifi story and the story is taken seriously by all involved.

Director Nelson Shin does a wonderful job with the animation which is bright and colorful and the story by Ron Friedman is smart, keeps you guessing and has moments to breath combined with the great action. It’s a movie you can watch multiple times and get new things out of it on each viewing.

The voice cast is iconic with Leonard Nimoy as Galvatron, Orson Wells as Unicron, Judd Nelson as Hot Rod, and Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime.  And the music by Vince DiCola is intense and entertaining.

I feel like many reading will discount this movie as silly nonsense but I would encourage you to watch it with an open mind as it is a very good film. It has a good story with action, emotion, and fun. The animation is well done, and it has a nice message about leadership and finding your calling.  It dares to take kids seriously and challenge them with themes of death, loss, sacrifice and even war, but it still entertains them at the same time.

Give it a shot.  I think you just might like it

Overall Grade- A

(and if you feel so inclined I would love if you watched my video review and left a comment/thumbs up.  Thanks.  Also, if you have any suggestions for Obscure Animation let me know! Obscure animation doesn’t have to be unheard of but just less celebrated than the Disney or Pixar classics).

6 thoughts on “Transformers: The Movie (1986) Review

    1. I guess it depends on what circles you run in. It’s certainly is loved by many but I’d say it’s at least underappreciated by many so I wanted to give it a shoutout.

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