Transformers: The Movie (1986)
Menu Animation & Audio
Music Video-Touch-Stan Bush
TV Spots-Pre Movie Toy Lines; Post Movie Toy Lines
TV Spots-Toy Promos; Movie TVCs
Gallery-Creation of the Cover Art; Transformers: The War Within
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-DBZ Movie #7 Super Android 13; Spirited Away; Robotech
Trailer-Gundam Wing; Gasaraki
Easter Egg-Alternate Main Menu
|Year Of Production||1986|
|Running Time||84:37 (Case: 86)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (33:43)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Nelson Shin|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, to some the whole film would classify!|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Decepticons and Autobots have been at war for a millennia, but now they have a common adversary in Unicron, a giant planet-sized robot that eats moons and space stations for breakfast (a role very suitable for Orson Welles). The only thing Unicron fears is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, a mysterious device handed down from leader to leader and prophesised to help the Autobots in their darkest hour. Unicron recruits some Decepticon manpower to try and capture the Matrix, thereby ensuring his own survival. The mission is a success until a new Autobot leader steps up to the plate, wielding their ultimate weapon.
Featuring the vocal talents of Leonard Nimoy as the evil Galvatron and Judd Nelson as Hot Rod, it is Eric Idle who stands out as Wreck-Gar, the leader of a motorcycle gang from a junk planet, who befriends the Autobots and fights Unicron alongside them. Sadly, this was to be one of Orson Welles' last performances on film.
I recall seeing this at my local theatre back in the 80s when this was a major event among my friends, highly anticipated and tied in with the TV series. I especially loved getting to see the action on a big screen, and it had a profound effect on my future taste in cinema.
Fans of Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights will be intrigued to see the hilarious original music video of the cheesy 80s song Touch by Stan Bush, which was discovered by Anderson on the soundtrack CD for this movie.
This video transfer can only be described as sub-standard, and disappointed me greatly. Granted, this film is seventeen years old - but it is clear that the best possible transfer for this DVD release has not been secured.
We have been given a 1.33:1, pan & scan transfer of this film, and it would not surprise me if this is the same transfer that was released on VHS many years ago. The original theatrical aspect ratio of this film is 1.85:1, made even more obvious by some action being awkwardly cut by the pan & scan process. There is also a minor error in the DVD packaging, which incorrectly lists the aspect as "Full Frame Pan & Scan".
I've been watching quite a bit of recently produced anime of late, and sadly this feature looks more than double its age. Sharpness is considerably lacking, the entire transfer being dominated by a blurry, undefined appearance. Much of the movie is overly darkened, making it difficult to recognise characters and even follow the action on screen at times. There is no low level noise.
Colours were not as bold as I remember them at the cinema and looked considerably washed out. I am interested to know where the screen captures on the cover are from, because their colours are beautifully vibrant. A bit misleading, don't you think?
There were no MPEG artefacts present, and aliasing was nowhere to be seen. Some telecine wobble exists during the film and in the closing credits, but is not overly dominating. A large number of film artefacts appeared, in the form of very obvious white specs, and considering most of the film is set in outer space, these stick out like you wouldn't believe. Similarly, during lighter scenes many black specs were also evident and quite distracting.
Reel change marks (cigarette burns) are present in the transfer at 16:04, 33:43, 54:34 and 67:02. They are slightly cropped by the pan & scan process, but are obvious all the same.
There are no subtitles available on this DVD.
This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer transition placed at 33:43 in a black, silent moment in the feature.
This is a surprisingly good audio transfer. It seems very strange to me that this release has received a remixed six channel soundtrack, but not an equally impressive video transfer.
There is one audio track available, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).
The dialogue is synthesized for Autobot and Decepticon voices, and is relatively easy to comprehend. Some characters are a little harder to understand than others. The Autobot character Blurr speaks so fast I usually only caught every second word of his sentences. Audio sync was consistently accurate.
The film's synthesized score is credited to Vince DiCola and roots it firmly in the 80s. Many other contributions are made to the soundtrack from artists such as Stan Bush, N.R.G., Kick Axe and 'Weird Al' Yankovic. The well known More Than Meets The Eye theme is given a hard rock treatment by 80s glam metal band Lion with great results.
Surround channels were aggressively used for everything from ambience and subtle sound effects to off screen voices and gunfire. I was particularly delighted to hear the transformation sound effect come from all directions during the battle scenes. Rear to front panning was used for passing cars and jet engines very effectively, I constantly felt as though I was in the midst of all the action.
The subwoofer kicked in occasionally to lightly accent explosions and the voice of Unicron, but was not overly present in the soundtrack, possibly due to the age and limited fidelity of the source.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a lot of extras here for die-hard fans, but casual viewers will find some of these a bit tedious.
Presented in an aspect of 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, a voiceover sells the film as being widescreen, leaving no doubt as to the film's intended aspect ratio. There are also some shots here that I don't recall seeing in the film.
Very corny, very dated and very laughable. Presented in 1.33:1, full frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
TV Spots - (24)
Highly repetitive and of nauseatingly bad quality, if you intentionally watch these more than once you qualify as an insane Transformers nut. Available with a play all function for your navigating ease.
This covers a selection of good and evil characters, reiterating details we already learned in the film.
Orson Welles, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Frank Welker and Peter Cullen.
Vince DiCola, Stan Bush, N.R.G., Kick Axe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic and Lion.
Trailers for the brilliant adventure Spirited Away, Dragonball Z Movie #7, Robotech, Gundam Wing and Gasaraki.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 2 release has a 1.85:1 non-16x9 transfer. According to some screen shots I have viewed, the transfer appears to have the top and bottom cropped, and it is unclear at this stage if this is the same print that was shown theatrically.
Region 4 misses out on (from Region 1):
...and from Region 2:
Although we have a lot more Bios and TV Spots than other regions, I'm going to leave this open. The Region 1 has a superior transfer, but we have a very active 5.1 audio track.
The video transfer is a big let down, being pan & scan and looking like somebody's dusty old VHS tape.
The audio is a great, immersive 5.1 soundtrack.
The extras are comprehensive, but contain some items that only the most mental fans will appreciate.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|