Top Banner

He Said, She Said Review Site
Transformers: The Movie

Transformers: The Movie

The Last Dragon

What He said:

I don’t think I ever realized this as a kid, and if I did I have completely forgotten it as an adult, but this movie takes places 20 years after season 2. Season 3 had almost an entirely new cast of characters and this movie bridges the gap between seasons 2 and 3. It makes total sense because Spike (one of the human characters) is an adult in this flick and has his own kid now. I haven’t seen the show in years and was always confused about this. Again, I found myself wondering about this, but it was clarified when I read the plot summary on Wikipedia.

So anyway, the year is 2005 and an enormous mechanical planet is making its way through the universe and is up to no good. This mechanical planet is a life form known as Unicron. Not much is known about him other than that he likes to eat other planets and is a generally unpleasant being.

Transformers: The Movie

Meanwhile, the Autobots (the good Transformers for you novices) are planning an attack against the Decepticons (the bad Transformers), who now control Cybertron (the Transformers home world). The Autobots have set up bases nearby on two of Cybertron’s moons.

Before they can do that though, they need more “fuel” for the attack. Transformers run on a substance called energon. If they don’t get enough of it, they stop functioning. So in order to be at full capacity for the attack, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) sends a bunch of his troops to Autobot City on Earth to get some.

Transformers: The Movie

 Unfortunately for these Autobots – because every single one of them on the ship dies – the Decepticons intercept the transmission between them and Optimus and decide to follow them to Earth and thwart their plans. The Decepticons overtake the ship and plan to use it as cover to infiltrate Autobot City. A young Autobot named Hot Rod – along with the help of Spike’s so Daniel – sees the ship is damaged and alerts his friends. Autobot City takes a beating, but fortunately for them, they were able to relay a signal to Optimus and the remaining Autobots on the moons of Cybertron and they arrive just in the nick of time.

The battle begins again, but this time it’s for all the marbles. Optimus and Megatron (the Decepticon leader) engage in the fight to end all fights. One last battle between these two legendary warriors ensues and boy is it a doozy. Because this is a movie, the creators decided to up the ante. As I mentioned earlier, several Autobots already died, which is something that never happened in the show. But that is only the tip of the ice berg. Optimus and Megatron (Frank Welker) kick the snot out of one another. Optimus wins, but barely. He actually dies as a result of the fight. Megatron survives, but he’s in terrible shape.

The Decepticons flee after the battle in one of their ships (who also happens to be a Transformer named Astrotrain). Astrotrain warns them that they are carrying too much weight, so Megatron’s opportunistic second in command – Starscream – throws him and the rest of the Decepticons damaged in the fight out into space.

This is exactly what we have all come to know and love about Starscream. He’s such a little weasel. He is absolutely terrified of Megatron, and would never challenge him directly, but would gladly stab him in the back if it meant he could take over as the leader of the Decepticons. Chris Latta (RIP) brought this snake of a character to life in only ways he could. His voice lent itself perfectly to this kind of character, just as it did with Cobra Commander in GI Joe. This guy was such an incredible voice talent and died far too young.

Transformers: The Movie

So anyway, Megatron and the rest of the discarded Decepticons are picked up by Unicron (nope, they didn’t forget about him).  Unicron makes them offer.  He will rebuild their severely damaged bodies if they become his minions and agree to destroy the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.

The Matrix is a mysterious object of great power that stored inside the current leader of the Autobots. Optimus removes it from his chest as he is dying and passes it to Ultra Magnus (Robert Stack) and orders him to guard it until a new leader emerges. It is the only thing Unicron fears.

Megatron takes orders from no one, but Unicron is extremely powerful and tortures Megatron until he agrees to become his servant. He rebuilds Megatron and the rest of the discarded Decepticons. Megatron is now known as Galvatron (and is now voiced by science fiction legend Leonard Nimoy).

Galvatron immediately begins his mission to get the Matrix and bring it to Unicron. He stops at Cybertron to not only reclaim his spot as the leader of the Decepticons, but get a little revenge on Starscream. This was one of the many mind-blowingly awesome scenes from this movie. As I said earlier, this is a movie and really upped the stakes from the TV show.

Unicron, being the gigantic planet-eating being that he is, gets hungry and decides to attack the two moons of Cybertron. If you remember, the Autobots have their bases set up here. Spike, Bumblebee, and a few other Autobots are under attack as Unicron consumes the moons like they were nothing.

The Autobots back on Earth get a distress signal and immediately head out to rescue their friends. They split up into two ships. Hot Rod (Judd Nelson) and an old veteran named Kup (Lionel Stander), and the Dinobots are in one ship. The banter between the young Hot Rod and Kup is hilarious by the way. Talk about an odd couple. In the other ship is Ultra Magnus, Daniel (Spike’s son), and the rest of the remaining Autobots. Hot Rod and Kup are shot down while passing over the planet Quintessa and must deal with the insane rulers of this planet. Ultra Magnus and company are pursued by Galvatron’s forces to a neighboring planet called Junkion.

I’ve got to be honest. I’ve never been a huge fan of this part of the movie. Things get a little sidetracked here. It seemed pointless and did nothing but delay the final conflict between the Autobots, Decepticons, and Unicron. Plus, there’s a really bizarre and out of place musical number. Yes, a musical number.

Transformers: The Movie

After maybe 10 or 15 minutes both groups of Autobots escape their respective predicaments. Not before Galvatron can steal the Matrix from Ultra Magnus though. Galvatron’s got that old Megatron spirit in him and is nobody’s slave. He tries to use the Matrix against Unicron, but the Matrix is a weapon of good and does not respond to his attempts to use it. This pisses Unicron off and the last thing you want to do is piss off a planet-eating creature. He decides this is a good time to sever ties with Galvatron, so he decides to attack Cybertron. The Autobots and Decepticons decide they have to put aside their differences for the time being or none of them will make it out of this alive. Even then, it’s questionable whether they can actually stop Unicron.

I’ve mentioned a few times now, but the studio decided that they really wanted to kick things up a couple of notches for this theatrical release. I think this was a wise decision because if you are going to take something from the small screen to the big screen, the stakes have to be raised. And boy-oh-boy were they. The Autobots got their asses handed to them in this movie. Mainstay characters were dropping left and right and nobody was safe, not even Optimus. It was a huge deal that they killed him. Some people did not like that, but I thought it was a gutsy move that paid off. It brought a sense of urgency that didn’t exist in the show (and made lots of little kids cry in the process). Optimus is a great character, but sometimes characters have to die for the sake of the storyline. This was a good example of that.

It could be argued that several characters were killed – and new ones were introduced – so that new toys could be released. I wouldn’t disagree with that, but at least they made the storyline work. Even though the show has four seasons, it’s really two different chapters, and the movie served as the transition from one into the other. So yeah, they might have wanted to sell more action figures, but they at least took the time to craft a proper story around it.

Aside from the part I mentioned above about the movie getting off-track for a little bit, it’s a solid movie. It’s some all-time greats as far as voice work goes: Orson Wells, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Corey Burton, and Chris Latta to name a few. I always loved Scatman Crothers’ Jazz too. Jud Nelson and Leonard Nimoy aren’t known as voice actors, but I thought they were both quite solid too. Nelson had the chore of bringing a new leader to life and I thought he did well with it. Nimoy had just as big of a challenge in taking over for Frank Welker’s legendary Megatron as the character evolves into Galvatron.

Transformers: The Movie

The movie also has great action. The fight scenes are taken to a new level. There’s a much bigger sense of urgency here. The Decepticons are simply ruthless in this movie.

There are also a couple of legendary scenes in this movie. The fight between Optimus and Megatron is pretty much one of the most famous scenes to anyone who was a kid in the 80s. That scene was a big deal. It also features Stan Bush’s song, The Touch, which might be the only thing people remember more from the movie than the fight itself. For the most part, the movie has an awesome soundtrack, but thatsong is the one everybody thinks of first. The death is Starscream is also epic and hilarious all in the same moment. You loved watching him and Megatron go at it for years and watching Starscream get his comeuppance was bittersweet. This movie also has the distinction of having the only curse word in the entire series! I told you the upped the ante for this movie.

Of all the cartoons I grew up watching, this movie and the show it’s based on, hold up the best.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This review was written for your reading pleasure on July 9, 2014.