Looking Back on ’86: Transformers: The Movie

I grew up with Transformers. Sort of. I came into it with the Generation 2 show, as well as Victory, the anime that they would show on Mexican TV. Then later, I watched Beast Wars. So I wasn’t really disconnected from it, and I enjoyed it enough to seek out the toys, although I never collected them in the way I would collect other toys and action figures. Since then, I separated myself from the franchise. I did watch the first two Transformers movies and that was all I needed in order to realize those movies were not for me. That separation also led me to not seek out any other work, old or new, related to the Transformers franchise. So I had never watched Transformers: The Movie. And following the Looking Back on ’86 series, I decided it was to sit down and watch it. So, how does it hold up, especially for someone like me who no longer considers himself a fan? Not too well.

The movie takes place twenty years after the second season of the show, and in short, deals with both the Decepticons and Autobots fighting against Unicorn, a sentient planet-eating planet, who is after the Matrix of Leadership, the only thing that is capable of destroying him. The first thirty minutes or so of the movie are fun, with a few surprising twists that I’m sure made many kids cry back in the day. Characters die, allegiances change, there are betrayals and tension rises between all of the characters. All adding up to an engaging start.  The animation is pretty solid, and the voice acting is great, featuring the likes of Leonard Nimoy, Peter Weller and Orson Welles.

In that regarding, it’s disappointing that the movie doesn’t end up taking things further. Most of the movie is composed of wall-to-watch action and chase sequences that grow tiresome after a while. And all of a sudden, the movie is over. The sort of excitement and humor found at the start evaporates, and what’s left is just a flashy, colorful carcass of what started out as a pretty fun movie. But these impressions may all be on me; it could just be that the movie requires a bigger connection with the characters that only those familiar with the series could have. But overall, the movie stopped being surprising and this made it far duller than it should be. There’s also the non-stop soundtrack that ends up becoming meaningless because of its overuse, and sometimes, the song placement feels outright misguided. All this just leads me to conclude that the movie is only for fans of the 80s animated version of this franchise. I will say, though, that Transformers: Age of Extinction missed a huge opportunity by not having Mark Wahlberg sing “The Touch” in that movie, to tie in perfectly the Transformers franchise with Boogie Nights.

 

Oscar Moreno
Oscar Moreno
Mexican. Writer. Filmmaker. Lover of good laughs and good food.

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