Bah weep gragnah weep nini bong! On August 8, 1986, kids ran crying from movie theaters across America, shrieking in disbelief that Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, had been brutally murdered by Megatron. And on top of that traumatizing experience, Transformers: The Movie also marked the first time that most kids—at least those who had never seen Heavy Metal or Fritz The Cat—heard cartoons exclaim “Oh shit” and “Damn it.” (Spike’s profanity was excised from subsequent f.h.e video releases). Shout! Factory—who else?—is bringing the 1986 animated film to Blu-ray for the first time this September, newly mastered from a 4k transfer that is the sharpest the film has looked in 30 years. You can have a look for yourself in this new trailer.
Transformers: The Movie is notable for—as compared to the Michael Bay-produced films of the same name—featuring a story that actually concentrates on the giant robots duking it out for the fate of the galaxy, as opposed to boneheaded humans and poop jokes. Picking up 20 years after the oddly serialized second season of the television show, the film is a sci-fi take on the hero’s journey (read: Star Wars knock-off) with Hot Rod (Judd Nelson) evolving from a “turbo-revvin young punk” to the fearless leader of the Autobots and taking on a planet hungry planet voiced by Citizen Kane himself, Orson Welles, and a new Decepticon leader, Galvatron, voiced by Leonard Nimoy. Hot Rod is joined by new allies that include the host of Unsolved Mysteries, the guy from the Micro Machines commercials, and a member of Monty Python as they engage in an epic battle between good and evil set to a hard-rock soundtrack featuring N.R.G, Spectre General (a.k.a. Kick Axe), and “Weird” Al Yankovic.
The cynical fan will point out that the brutal deaths of both heroes and villains in the film was nothing more than a marketing ploy to introduce new characters (and new toys), but young fans needed to know the real consequences that soldiers faced in the Cybertronian wars. Transformers: The Movie is not only a marked improvement on the syndicated television show, featuring a more sophisticated story, superior animation and dialogue (“I’ve got better things to do tonight than die”), and a more adult sensibility than many PG-rated kids flicks. The sequence in which Optimus Prime takes on Megatron has more heart than anything in the five live-action messes, featuring a Vince DiCola score that sounds like it could have been lifted from a Michael Mann movie.
In addition to both widescreen and full-screen transfers of the film, the new Blu-ray will also come packed with featurettes, a brand-new, comprehensive documentary looking back on the making of the film, ‘Til All Are One, and a commentary track with Director Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille, and star Susan Blu. The two-disc set is chock full of extras for fans of heroic nonsense and bad comedy.
You can pick up Transformers: The Movie on September 13, no matter the cost.