Anime Review | The Transformers: The Movie - Limited Edition, 30th Anniversary Steelbook (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 10.12.2016

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The Transformers: The Movie - Limited Edition, 30th Anniversary Steelbook (UK Rating: PG)

For children of the '80s, there were plenty of cartoons to pledge allegiance to. They had the battle with GI Joe or have the power with He-Man; they might solve a mystery with Ducktales or work overtime with M.A.S.K. One of the biggest and best was certainly Transformers. With the popularity of the series at a fever pitch, a feature-length movie was a certainty, but no-one quite expected what it would bring. Now, 30 years on, Shout! Factory has given a new lease of life to the much loved film and UK fans are getting to see it, too, thanks to the great people at Manga Entertainment, with it being released on 12th December.

With so many iconic films of the '80s, there has already been a fair few anniversary remasters out recently, yet none look quite as great as this. It's unbelievable just how good this film looks. It's not just good, it's ridiculously good. Shout! Factory invested a great deal of time and effort in ensuring this not only looked better by cleaning up the art and animation for crisper lines and smoother action, but it also went deep into the colours on screen, looking at original designs and animation cels from the original movie to perfectly capture the characters. Even hardcore fans will be blown away to suddenly see new depths in the art and new shades in the colour in this 4K release. It's simply amazing.

As great as it looks, this is still the same movie and although fans of the series will always adore it, it's indisputable that there are some major flaws. It received an awful response when it launched and suffered from some horrendous reviews with good reason. The story wraps up the TV show so those who hadn't watched it will be more than a little confused, not to mention the strange disjointed storytelling, which feels utterly chaotic at points. The reason for the movie was quite sinister. Toy giants Hasbro and Tomy were ready to transform and roll out a fresh catalogue of toys and they decided to use this movie to end the story of some of the familiar characters. What better way than to produce a 90-minute showcase of fan favourite characters getting slaughtered? From the first moments, characters are gunned down in severe graphic robotic detail. It's unlikely anyone who has any interest in the series will not have seen it by now, but just in case, there won't be a roll call of the fallen here. Suffice to say there is a considerable death toll for Autobots and Decepticons alike.

It's a move that gave the film cult status; the audience built up a connection to these characters and few expected the sudden culling, evoking a hell of an emotional response along with some genuine tension and surprising moments. It wasn't just the huge slaughter, though; the cult status was also enhanced by Stan Bush's music, busting out power rock ballads at every turn.

There was a 20th anniversary release with some comprehensive special features, but this release adds a brand new documentary with some brand new stories and some cast members who were missing from previous features. This new documentary, entitled "'Til All Are One," contains cast members who were absent from the previous documentaries, Grimlock's voice actor Gregg Berger, and the daring musician who still has the touch, Stan Bush. For those who didn't pick up the 20th anniversary release, there are some repeated features here, plenty of trailers, storyboards, and the audio commentary track from Director Nelson Shin, Arcee voice actress, Susan Blu, and story consultant, Flint Dille.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
Nostalgia goggles are slightly required here as The Transformers: The Movie is just as riddled with flaws as Michael Bay's abominations. This is The Room of '80s cartoon movies; the fans know the flaws but love it despite them, possibly even because of them. The power ballads booming, the graphic deaths, and the horrible characters all add to the charm. This is, without doubt, the best version of the original movie to date. It looks gorgeous and gives fans a chance to re-experience the traumatic trip to the cinema they experienced three decades ago. A must-buy for every Transformers fan out there.

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