August 8 2016, marks the 30th Anniversary of Transformers The (Animated) Movie, and while I was hoping to have gotten up to the movie in Transformers ReVisited, I had to get ready for my next year of school, so I figured to make up for that, I’d share with you my experience of watching Transformers The Movie, and by proxy, how I got into Transformers.
It all started around 1996, one of the first Transformers action figures I ever had was a Beast Wars Happy Meal toy, Panther. I remember my uncle mentioning Transformers The Movie, immediately my interests started to peek, I wanted to know about the Transformers. Two years passed the Beast Wars cartoon was on TV, I lost Panther, and pretty much forgot all about that day. And then, me and my uncle watched one episode of Beast Wars, but this was no ordinary episode, this episode was a direct crossover with the Generation 1 Transformers cartoon/movie, “Possession”.
In the episode, Starscream’s spark takes over Waspinator’s body, and begins to start taking over the Predacons. This reignited my curiosity on the original Transformers cartoon. So finally I began to ask questions about the franchise, who were they?, how do the toys work?, who is Unicron? He explained that Transformers were just like Beast Wars, but instead of turning into animals, insects, and dinosaurs, they turned into cars, trucks, airplanes, etc. The most memorable part of his explanation of Transformers was Unicron was a powerful Transformer, that could turn into a planet. He then referenced Transformers The Movie, I just had to see this movie, I asked if he could get on tape, and he said he’d try. So as I waited the only thing to hold me over, was Beast Wars, and his copy of the Transformers movie soundtrack on cassette (which was a little wonky).
Finally in Christmas 1999, I finally got the movie, (which I didn’t know at the time was the UK version of the movie, with the exposition crawl, and closing narration), and two days later I watched the movie, well, the last 20 minutes of it, I’m sitting with my Uncles wondering, “What the hell is going on here? Who’s Galvatron, is he Megatron’s brother?” So, see Hot Rod fighting Galvatron, Daniel saving his dad, and wondering why a human is hanging around with alien robots, and then I see Hot Rod become Rodimus Prime, Unicron’s awesome death scene, and Victor Caroli telling the audience that Optimus Prime will return. But I’m wondering “Where IS Optimus Prime?” So, he rewinds the tape, to the point where Prime goes to fight Megatron for the last time, I finally get to see if all the legends Optimus Primal and the Maximals kept saying were true, and they were.
Finally, on my birthday, I watched the movie from the beginning, and I immediately loved it, and every chance I had, I watched it again and again until the tape finally wore out in 2002, I watched it more times the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie. When I saw the tape was broken, I wondered if I’d ever see the movie again, but thankfully I had Transformers Robots In Disguise (the 2001 series), and a year later the Unicron trilogy (for both the good and the bad) to hold me over, and then in 2006, I heard that a new two disc 20th anniversary DVD release. I had to get it immediately, so my dad just happened to doing some online shopping on Amazon, I asked for the movie, and I waited for weeks to see this movie after all these those years, it finally came and it wasn’t the 20th anniversary DVD, it was basically my old VHS, but with color correction, and some bonus footage, and it didn’t have the crawl and end narration. It wasn’t the 20th anniversary DVD, but I didn’t care, also I got this back into 2007, when Transformers Mania was at its peak, and the live action movie was coming out in a six months. And to this day, I still have the DVD.
So after all these years, I like the movie, I watch it ever year (on Black Friday for some reason), when I first saw the movie, the extensive deaths of all the characters didn’t really bother me that much, mostly because I had no clue who they were, so I wasn’t as attached to the characters, as the kids of the 1980’s were when they first saw the movie, it also didn’t help that at the time of getting the movie I was still reeling over the death of Dinobot. I thought it was cool hearing Leonard Nimoy as Galvatron, he and Robert Stack really stole the show, and Orson Wells despite his declining health, was great as Unicron especially when he delivered his last lines. The animation looked amazing, I mean there were a few errors here and there, but it still holds up, so much so in fact, that Hasbro reused a few two scenes from the movie, for the Unicron action figure commercial in 2003, and the Transformers Armada video game, pretty much used dialog from movie, seriously watch all the cut scenes most of the dialog is from movie. The one thing I didn’t expect to see in the movie, was hearing characters curse, when I heard Ultra Magnus say Dammit while trying to open the Matrix of Leadership, really caught me off-guard. And when I got the DVD, I really didn’t expect to hear “Oh S###!”. And it had the coolest soundtrack, it’s not as great as the Robotech movie soundtrack, but it had some of the catchiest songs ever written in the late 80’s, plus it had “Weird Al” Yankovic, and you can never go wrong with “Weird Al”.
So, Happy Anniversary Transformers The Movie! Here’s Lion to play us out.
Next time, we look at the new Ghostbusters movie.
Till all are one!