The Transformers: The Movie Blu-ray Review
One shall stand, one shall fall.
Despite the cold, commercial decisions dictating its plot twists, this Transformers has far more heart than anything Michael Bay has added to the franchise.Upon its release, the likes of The Transformers: The Movie and G.I. Joe: The Movie left an indelible impact upon the minds of the kids of the time, arguably scaring - if not scarring - them with the often violent deaths of many of their most beloved toy-based cartoon heroes. With Transformers, toy manufacturer Hasbro's desire to introduce a new toy line to their ever-popular run of innovatively transformable action figures saw the 'loss' of many of the first generation characters, including arguably the greatest two of all time - superseded by a new class of transformer which would obviously necessitate new purchases for the fans. Unfortunately, the newcomers would find it hard to fill the shoes of their more memorable predecessors, both in terms of toys and in terms of characters in the movie.Yet despite the behind-the-scenes machinations that propelled this particular plot direction, ultimately the narrative choices, primary character deaths, and large-scale world-destroying apocalyptic tale of The Transformers: The Movie elevate it to an undeniably high point in the overall franchise - including the live-action features. It's something of a classic right down to the cheesy 80s musics that defines its action sequences, and the presence of an eclectic band of misfit voice actors ranging from Judd Nelson to Leonard Nimoy to Orson Welles! However many times Bay has tried (it feels like about 9), he doesn't seem capable of replicating the energy, urgency and heart which has kept something as ostensibly simple as a children's animation in borderline classic territory thirty years on.
Picture QualityThe Transformers: The Movie celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a new 4K transfer of the original film elements, delivered with 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentations in both 1.85:1 widescreen and 1.35:1 fullscreen on two separate discs.
There's no doubt that the movie looks better than it ever has before
There's no doubt that the movie looks better than it ever has before, but it is - and likely will always be, given that some of the elements here were even transferred at a 6K resolution - inherently flawed in terms of source material. The thirty year old animation suffers with dirt and scratches that have clearly slipped through the restoration process, and optical issues involving overlays and dissolves, which to be honest were always a mainstay in the movie. Nonetheless clearly defined lines and strong primary colours make the feature pop far more than before, with richly painted backdrops and fine shading, and a broader, more cinematic look in its widescreen guise.
Sound QualityThe Transformers: The Movie is delivered with dual tracks - a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix which most authentically replicates its original format, and which the disc also defaults to, and also a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that attempts to disseminate the material in a slightly more immersive manner.
These are solid audio options as well
Dialogue remains prioritised across the front and centre channels, but has to contend with the punch and at times oppressive presence of the other elements - most notably the insistent 80s synth score which overwhelms more than underpins the track. Effects are given some breadth across the array, and it is certainly an action-packed affair, and these are solid audio options, with the 5.1 mix slightly preferable to the more authentic but also more restricted 2.0 mix.
ExtrasThe Transformers: The Movie 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition comes in a Special Limited Edition Steelbook with plenty of additional features. It's headlined by an Audio Commentary with Director Nelson Shin, Story Consultant Flint Dille and star Susan Blu, who chat about the production, but the arguably more engaging piece is the brand new Documentary, 'Til All Are One, which spends over 45 minutes looking into the project, with interview snippets from the cast and crew who reflect on their experiences working on the film. Transformers: The Restoration looks behind cleaning the film up for this release, and The New Cover even looks at the artwork for the package - a particularly interesting little Featurette which looks at the artist behind said artwork who, ironically showcases some outstanding art designs he did for the comics, despite the fact that the end result on this steelbook is distinctly unmemorable and arguably a little bit shoddy.
The Anniversary Collector's Edition comes in a steelbook with plenty of additional features
A series of older Featurettes look into key aspects of the production: The Death of Optimus Prime; Cast and Characters; and Transformers Q & A, and we get Animated Storyboards for three sequences, including deleted elements for one. The set is rounded off by a series of Trailers and TV Spots.
Blu-ray VerdictIt's a wonder that Bay can't replicate the energy, urgency and heart in something as ostensibly simple as a children's animation
The 30th Anniversary 'Special Limited Edition' steelbook of The Transformers: The Movie boasts strong 4K-sourced video and decent audio, as well as a selection of extra features, some of which are new and pretty good. It's also nice to have the option to watch the movie in both aspect ratios, and, overall, this makes for a great little set for fans of the film.
You can buy The Transformers: The Movie on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.99
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