It is the year 2005. Twenty-one years after the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons resumed their neverending war on planet Earth, the Decepticons have conquered the robots' home planet Cybertron. After a surprise attack by the Decepticons, both factions wage a gruesome battle at Autobot City. In the midst of the battle, Autobot leader Optimus Prime dies during his fight with Decepticon leader Megatron. The Autobot Matrix of Leadership is then passed on to second-in-command Ultra Magnus. Meanwhile, a badly-damaged Megatron is jettisoned by Starscream into deep space, where he encounters the planet-eating robot Unicron and is reborn as Galvatron, the new Decepticon leader. With Galvatron's reign on the rise and Unicron's imminent arrival within Cybertron's orbit, the Autobots must act quickly and protect the Matrix or face total annihilation.
Is there an objective definition of what is and isn't an anime, or does MAL's policy reflect the original Supreme Court ruling on pornography, "I know it when I see it"? This is a rhetorical question, I actually know the answer and this "anime" directly violates Article 1 section 1 of MAL's own rules of what constitutes an anime. The only thing Japanese about this movie is that it was partially animated in Japan, which is explicitly stated to NOT be enough! Now, I'm going to review a cheesy, nostalgic movie from my childhood! Why? Mostly because it doesn't actually belong on this
site. The fact that it is somehow here for me to review, kind of forces me to review it.
Firstly, we must ask ourselves the question, "What is anime?". The word anime is simply short for animation and is used by Japanese speakers to describe all animated shows including American cartoons, European cartoons, and the Japanese ones. Believe it or not, in a poll conducted by the large Japanese television network TV Asahi on the top 100 anime of all time, "Tom and Jerry" and "Wacky Races" actually managed to place in the top 100 anime! Hayao Miyazaki considered one of his favorite "anime" to be the Soviet children's film "The Snow Queen", whereas Akira Toriyama said one of his favorite anime growing up was "101 Dalmatians", which actually influenced his art style! However, outside of Japan the word "anime" is used to refer to Japanese animated programs made in Japan. Transformers was produced in the United States, written entirely by Americans, directed by an American, voice dubbed originally in English, and created to sell toys designed by an American toy manufacturer called Hasbro, which is located in the state of Rhode Island. Some of the animation was done in Japan, but if that was all it took to qualify as an anime then MANY old American cartoons would count as anime including: The old Hobbit Cartoon, Scooby Doo, JabberJaw, and Hong Kong Phooey! Japanese animators used to work for very cheap, so America would often outsource animation to Japan until around the late 1980s when we outsourced all our animation to the even cheaper Korean animators. Eventually even Japan started outsourcing to Korea, and now the majority of anime are actually animated primarily in South Korea along with the American cartoons. Sometimes by the same artists!
Now that we established the HUGE problem with defining anime as "anything drawn in Japan", which would actually make the original Scooby Doo an anime and Elfen Lied NOT an anime. I think it is obvious that anime should be defined as animated shows produced, written, and directed in Japan. Ergo, Transformers is NOT an anime and Calvin Johnson AKA "Megatron" is NOT a weaboo...at least not that I know of.
Story and characters:
The story is that our heroes the autobots must fight against a dangerous new threat called Unicron, which is a giant robot the size of a planet that eats planets. Did you know Unicron was "inspired" by the character Galactus from Marvel Comics? That was brilliant writing by Transformers, since the ripoff is NOT AT ALL obvious! If you didn't pick up my sarcasm in the last sentence please seek medical help. This movie doesn't have the greatest plot or character development, but it has a LOT of kickass action and some serious balls for a kids movie. They kill off a LOT of beloved characters, making this the 80s kids movie version of Game of Thrones. Some of these deaths like Optimus Prime were considered very sad by us children in the 1980s. Other deaths were...not so sad. Lol at Starscream getting killed literally 10 seconds after finally becoming king of the Decepticons! I don't think fiction has ever seen a henchmen quite as inept as Starscream. That guy could fuck ANYTHING up! He is composed of a special metal alloy comprised entirely of "fail".
Animation and Music:
This along with Flash Gordon has one of the most gloriously cheesy 80s soundtracks EVER! The only anime that could compete with Transformers in 80s cheese would be the infamous Cipher! The animation is admittedly quite good for its day, and is a big step up from the normal cartoon show. The color palette is much more varied and the movement is much smoother. Who did this excellent animation anyways? The answer: Satoshi Urushihara! The man un-ironically known as the "King of Breasts" and one of the most prolific hentai artists of all time! Seriously, that guy drew the Transformers movie!
If you are looking for something awesomely nostalgic and REALLY cheesy, this movie will hit the spot. Is it a well written movie? No. Was it created entirely to sell toys as its star Orson Wells commented? Yes. BTW, you heard that last part correctly. Orson FUCKING Wells, the director of Citizen Kane himself, was so broke in the 1980s that he had to voice act in this movie, but died almost immediately after. Probably from the shame. Is this movie entertaining? Hell YEAH! That's why it earns a very goofy 4/10!
Fans of '80s anime are bound to like Transformers the Movie. It takes place after the original series and transitions to a new cast of characters (involved in the second season) very effectively. The storyline is great with a good mix of humor, action, and adventure. Even those who've never watched one lick of the original series can follow the storyline, though they may not be able to feel same the depth of connection with the characters many die-hard fans may, especially at one part when the leader of the autobots passes on the matrix of leadership, which invovles one of the best uses
of color for emotional effect. Still, the characters are easy to sympathize with and everyone has their favorites.
The dialog is witty in many places, which may seem unusual, but it makes it good enough to keep older audiences entertained, while the action and humor provide entertainment for the younger crowd. For me, this is one of those movies where the humor never gets old. In addition there's many wholesome themes throughout, if you look for them, including: respect for elders and learning from them, learning from past mistakes and accepting them, friendship, and never giving up.
The animation is good. Interspursed in many scenes, viewers will find classic '80s music and rock. There's also quite a star-studded English voice cast as well. Fans of the Orignial Star Trek will recognize Leonard Nimoy as the voice of Galvetron, and Orson Welles lends his voice to the planet-eating Unicron. Others adding their voice include: Judd Nelson, Eric Idle, Casey Kasem, Robert Stack and Lionel Stander, along with many of the original voice actors from the series.
Transformers The Movie is an epic story full of humor, drama, and action. It's fun for a large span of ages, and sure to be considered a classic. If you're a fan of '80s anime, any sort of mecha, or are just looking for a nostalgic, engaging story to delve into for a few hours, give this movie a try.
Some things I can say about this movie can be described in the following terms: dark and gritty, controversial, engaging and exciting, and some what revolutionary and ground breaking. And a lot of all of that had to do with the death of Optimus Prime along with other G1 characters such as Ironhide and Wheel Jack who really had no presence in the movie except being a corpse. But first I would like to talk about the controversial death of Optimus Prime. It’s interesting that amongst not just children, but the hardcore fanbase of all ages had emotions sparking within ourselves every time we see
Optimus die. He was a benevolent leader and never backed down from a fight. The robot died a true warrior’s death. Shit, even Peter Cullen was surprised at how much of an impact his character had on his fan base until that moment, along with a letter campaign to Hasbro over this controversial move. But also being a Wheel Jack fan, I really had a problem with him having an off screen death. I felt he deserved something more presenting and on screen for what he has contributed. But for Starscream, as much as I love him and him being my 2nd favorite character behind Grimlock, he had what was coming to him for a long time.
Sure it may have made kids and parents upset, but to the big wigs, it was their way of doing away with the old and making way for the new. Not just on the screen, but at the shelves at your local retailer to promote new toys. New characters introduced with the Autobots are Hot Rod, Springer, Blurr, Arcee, and Ultra Magnus. For the Decepticons, Megatron along with some of his wounded minions, they are rebuilt by Unicron with new identities to serve him. Megatron is now Galvatron, and the rest of his minions are just guys who turn into futuristic jets.
But anyway, I found it to be a very enjoyable joy ride that really went beyond what you could ever expect out of Transformers. The story is moderately paced. And I guess it’s understandable that not every character could have some form of presence, but for whatever characters presented, I felt they did their things to maintain and rejuvenate a friendly spirit in such a movie with dark and gritty qualities. I personally felt that the newer autobots didn’t really have the same presence as the first two seasons cast did, but what the hell, they’re trying to sell new toys, right?
I have to say that the quality of the animation and the depth to the art is just fascinating. I really loved the coloring and the resolution. It really reflected the dark and more mature atmosphere the movie has in comparison to the TV series. I thought the TV series was something, but the movie takes it to a whole new level, which went beyond the quality of something theatric. The articulation, background, and shadowing is much more detailed and stunning, and the action is just intense and breath taking. Never in my life could I say a fight is a work of art whether fiction, in the ring, or in the streets at times, but the Optimus and Megatron fight was definitely something. Despite being machines, it still came across as raw and brutal as if they were two people out for each other’s blood. And the detail and emphasis put into the battle damage was quite captivating itself.
The movie consists of an all-star cast with its newer characters, especially when Unicron is played by a legend himself, Orson Wells in which this was his last role to date. He was menacing and intimidating, and yet charismatic. And other all-star names are Judd Nelson playing the young and ambitious Hot Rod, Robert Stack as the voice of Ultra Magnus, and Leonard Nimoy as the voice of Galvatron. And don’t worry, the characters from the TV series who appear in this movie have their original actors as well and still do their parts with excellence in their delivery. But don’t respect the cast for the names, but respect them for their great talent that they bring to their characters as well. I felt they all brought out the necessary qualities each character had to have out.
And along with that comes many iconic and memorable lines. Such as the universal greeting, till all are one, and the bad ass opening dialog between Optimus and Megatron. It’s just so fucking sweet. And let’s not forget Ultra Magnus yelling Damn It, and Spike screaming shit, which was always in the original script. The staff justified it by saying, anybody in that kind of situation would say something that explicit, so it was never an intention to really shock anybody, and that comment was what I found was more shocking than just that usage of the word shit alone. So I can’t elaborate any further than that on the voice acting.
The music is highly soundtrack given by 1980s rock and yet is accurately placed with the mood and action which makes it immersing, and entertaining. And Stan Bush’s featured songs such as Touch and Dare just easily suit the movie, and just his presence just played a huge part on why it's such an awesome movie.
Well, as much as some of us don’t want to admit it, the sad truth is, despite how much of a cult hit this movie is with all of the qualities I went into and more, it was always intended to be a glorified toy commercial written by very smart writers who toyed with our emotions with the death of some characters, and blew our minds away with high quality animation which I find is superior to many animated works today around the world. Did I go out and buy these toys? Well, probably not. I was only a kid not legally able to get a job yet, but I just find the experience of watching something has its own kind of value to it. Whether it’d be for personal entertainment, or finding something to gauge my emotions. Not for the sake of buying the product it’s trying to sell. And the ability of the Transformers Movie to engage my emotions and amaze me with superb animation and a wicked soundtrack is why I give it an overall recommendation that it's a must see for all animation lovers.
To preface, I watched the English dub for this film.
It's a small part of a larger war. Anyone watching this film won't get anything like character development, political agendas and strife, or really any semblance of care towards the events taking place. That being said, it's still pretty cool. Unicron is humblingly dreadful, his influence over Megatron is sinister, and the events the Autobots experience during the adventure are all fun and exciting. Despite the terrible pacing and constant action, the story never feels boring or uninteresting. It's just fun.
Pretty good animation. No real issues here. I thought the settings looked lively and immersive while
also looking otherworldly and mysterious. The flow of combat looked fairly decent and, thankfully, my eyes were never strained during the flashy laser beam sequences. Some old animations like to strobe effect laser beams and, thankfully, this just uses bright steady lights instead of strobes. No seizures here (Don't quote me on that!)
Voice acting work was pretty excellent, but the rest of the audio was kind of annoying. The music is hokey (going so far as to play Weird Al's 'Dare to be Stupid.') and, at times, seemingly uninspired. It kinda just shows up, plays an entire song, then disappears as the scene transitions. I found it a bit annoying, but it never got in the way of my total enjoyment of the film.
Also, what the heck? Did I just hear the S word?
Simple easy basic stuff. No real spectacle here. I don't even think I can call the characters tropey considering the film doesn't really get into any sort of tropes. That said, it doesn't get bogged down my not having any sense of character defining traits in any way, shape, or form. The film works with what it has, and I was surprised that this didn't bother me.
I had a pretty good time. It's fun, and while it's so absurd, there's something oddly attractive about the Transformers lore. It's just neat. I can see myself watch a lot more Transformers stuff beyond this.
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Just about everyone on this site is familiar with Japanese Animation (anime), but what about their next-door neighbors across the ocean? In this article, we’ll take a look into the development of Chinese anime, from its beginnings to the present, and some examples to check out.