Transformers The Movie

Would you like to beg for your lives? It sometimes helps... but not often.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * · · · )

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I know what you are saying. Movies based off of a toy franchise itself basically the result of the random mutation of what kids like generally can't suck enough. Trying to trace back exactly where something like this is created is frankly just too damn hard. Kids like cars and robots. Suits make toys of cars that turn into robots. Suits come up with ridiculous story behind it while working on a diseased liver one martini at a time and begin to reap profits (car, house, kids, mistress). Than suits have to take this ridiculous story and actually turn it into a movie. What are the odds that it won't suck? Pretty slim. Well guess what, they came through this time. Let me try to explain what it is that I see in this movie. The original cartoon based off of that ridiculous story made to sell toys pretty much sucked. Every week you had some new story with a moral in which two sides of this robot war fought it out while trying not to reveal their presence to the indigenous species of the planet they ended up on, Earth. It sucked because every week began and ended like every other week. I call this "Gilligan's Island" syndrome. Basically, keeping the status quo is the only thing keeping the show alive, so they can't change it. Evolution would kill the story. Well, Transformers the movie was a huge evolutional story (Is that a George W. word?). Instead of basically an hour and a half version of the TV show, they broke just about as far as you could away from it. Instead of being in the present, it was about 25 years ahead (actually set only four years from now ironically). The wars had migrated quite a bit. One side won over a planet outside the moons of Earth, the other had built a city on Earth itself. A giant cybernetic organism named Unicrom threatens the entire universe by eating it one planet at a time. The story, instead of being the same crap they dished out to 12-year-olds on TV, evolved at a huge pace in just the one and a half hours. Old characters, you knew and loved for years, die very quick and powerful deaths. Entire new races are discovered. Enemies are mutated into a powerful army of villains far worse than before. We are given glimpses of societies far outside those we ever saw in the show. These are all signs of a truly good science fiction story, rather than simply a movie based on toys. An all star cast is paid off to play the voices, which impressed me at the time, but now frankly pisses me off. It is a cartoon for Christ's sake. I don't need Mel Gibson in order to enjoy the show, and frankly all I do is think about the fact that it is Mel Gibson instead of the character. Still, having Matt Damon.

The DVD was pretty disappointing, but kind of expected. It is in 4x3 instead of any kind of widescreen transfer, but it does have a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is a mildly interesting documentary with one of the musical producers, but that is it for extras.

Ok, this is more nostalgia than anything else for me, but when compared to some of the crap that comes out in animated movies, this was really powerful for the time. It was a lot closer to Heavy Metal than it was to Pokemon, and that in itself is something to be praised.