The Transformers landed their first movie in 1986. Somehow, it made more of an impression on other members of my generation than me. Some of that has to do with this was the one cartoon I didn’t enjoy as a kid. While I had some of the merchandise, it wasn’t a ton of it. Hell, I’d say I had more Go-Bots than Transformers. Most of that had to do with the fact that the only robots I cared about where Droids or that little guy from Buck Rogers.
What we enjoy as children takes on weird standing as an adult. Given that most studios, IP powerhouses and other things are designed to force franchises down our throat from cradle to grave, I’m not sure how much to blame on others. But, that’s just where we are. Generation after generation trying to convince the other that the thing we loved has greater importance than their stuff.
Naturally, I expect to get grief for my views on the film, as people defend their loves stronger than most relatives. That’s because the need for community and shared interests overpower a certain group of people. Read into that what you will, but people love feeling like they belong.
What was Hasbro thinking with this movie? I get that the original iteration of the show had hit all of those major syndication numbers. But, that doesn’t mean you kill all of the characters that kids have grown to love. While reading through period and current pieces about the film’s reception, it stuns me. Nobody thought that much gruesome cartoon death would hurt Transformers: The Movie?
Hell, even if you were a kid back then…think about everything that came out after this film hit theaters. What has had the staying power of Transformers G1? Maybe Beast Wars, but that feels like more of a cult thing. Whether it’s the Michael Bay movies or what you remember from childhood, you remember those original robots in disguise.
As a fan of pop culture history, it’s interesting to read the series writers not understanding what killing Optimus Prime would mean. I mean, why does it feel so strange to hear cartoon writers think of these as nothing but story points for toys? Dille and others mentioned that they thought they were making room for new toys. Honestly, it makes sense to me. But, you’ve got to know your audience.
Anything becomes a cult classic anymore. All it takes is time and enough weirdos coming together to inflate a giant toy commercial that got slapped together by multiple influences. We’re at a point where the Monoculture has become so diluted that anything with even the tiniest fanbase is a cult film now. I remember a time when it took more than people remembering when the Transformers died to make a cult following.
Shout Factory brings Transformers to 4K UHD with a killer steelbook. You get a ton of special features that were seemingly cobbled together from past releases. The 4K restoration for the 2160p transfer is brand new. However, I see a ton of print damage at points near the opening. It gets better, as things move on. However, it’s quite noticeable.
You also get a new 2016 performance by Stan Bush and some feature-length storyboards. The film is still the film, but it’s neat seeing production notes and people trying to remember everything that surrounded the movie. However, that doesn’t make Transformers into a great movie. It’s an oddball film that has a special place in the hearts of a select few.