Bah Weep Gragnah Weep Nini Bong!
A friend of mine named LaCharizard was once really excited about requesting movies for me to review, but I never really got around to any of them. I think what kept me from fulfilling her request for today’s movie is that I was worried about it ruining my nostalgia. I had been a big fan of this franchise when I was a child and didn’t want watching it in my adulthood to make me realize that it was actually a piece of shit as my ill-fated purchase of Bobby’s World on DVD had. Should I rather not just allow myself to believe I liked it and never find out if I still would? No! Mainly because LaCharizard was alphabetically next on my list and this movie appealed to me more than her other requests … and because she’s named after my favorite Pokémon. And that’s why I decided to watch The Transformers: The Movie, written by Ron Friedman, directed by Nelson Shin, and including the voices of Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Orson Welles, Robert Stack, Frank Welker, Lionel Stander, Chris Latta, Susan Blu, John Moschitta Jr., Scatman Crothers, Casey Kasem, and Corey Burton.
In the far distant futuristic year … 2005 … the giant robot Galactus rip-off named Unicron (Orson Welles) is roaming around the universe eating planets. The evil transforming robots known as the Decepticons (lead by Megatron [Leonard Nimoy]) leads an ambush on the Autobot city called … Autobot City. In the fight, Ultra Magnus (Robert Stack) gets off a signal to Autobot leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), who arrives to join the fight but is mortally wounded in the fight with Megatron. After the Decepticon retreat, Optimus passes the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, telling him that it will show them the light in their darkest hour. After passing on the Matrix, Optimus passes on himself. In deep space, Megatron is marooned by his second-in-command Starscream (Chris Latta), but is rescued by Unicron, who fixes him and turns him into Galvatron in exchange for the destruction of the Matrix. Can the Autobots stop them? CUE SHITTY 80’S MUSIC!
There! My childhood is ruined! Good work, LaCharizard! I am totally gonna sick LaBlastoise on you!! In truth, this was not a good movie but I don’t really feel as if my childhood is destroyed. I think I knew this movie would be cheesy, and I was right. Keeping my expectations low helped me to just watch this movie for the humor of it. Not the intentional humor, mind you. The best joke they could come up with was calling the Decepticons “Decepticreeps.” Good one, bro. I would’ve gone with Decepticunts, but then parents might have frowned on my choices. The story of this movie is pretty dumb, but pretty ballsy as well. They kill off so many Autobots in this movie, including Optimus Prime! That takes balls. I don’t really like it because Hot-Rod seemed like a tool and Rodimus Prime was Hasbro stealing my patented porn name, but it does take balls to kill your main hero early into your movie. And it took even more balls for them to resist the temptation to slap that “You Got the Touch” over the scene when Optimus died. Speaking of which…
This movie is the 80’s. I thought the soundtrack was supplied by Ratt, and every other scene of music was a person using his Casio keyboard as a punching bag. And what’s worse is that they really seemed to have no regard for the music that they chose to make sense or to sound appropriate for the situation where they were using it. Look at Stan Bush’s classic song “The Touch,” as later famously covered by Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. That song was in this movie! It was like a joke! What does that song have to do with Optimus Prime transforming?! I know the second line is “You got the power!” but what is he touching? And then they use “Dare to Be Stupid” during a big battle with a robotic Mongol horde in a junkyard. And they definitely did dare to be stupid, but it has nothing to do with the scene, and doesn’t even sound like appropriate music for a fight scene. That being said, I do love some Weird Al. I also feel like the animation of this movie doesn’t really hold up that well. It’s okay, but even Saturday morning cartoons nowadays look way better than this movie. And the sound mix of this movie never really seemed right. First of all, it seems weird for the giant, planet-devouring robot to make chomping sounds when it absorbs a planet. It should be Om Nom Nom or nothing! And at other points in this movie, it seemed like they just plum forgot to put sound effects in, like the whole scene when Optimus was giving the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus. Apparently, opening his chest and pulling a glowing orb out is completely silent. Who knew?
One of the most impressive things about the cast of this movie is that it was one of the great Orson Welles’ final performances. So Kudos to him. The voice cast of the movie did a good job. The only problem I had was with Frank Welker. I like Frank Welker a lot, but that Wheelie character was annoying as hell. Every time he had to speak, he had to rhyme. And I had to sigh. But there are plenty of problems with the characters. First of all, Megatron. He’s the biggest villain in the Transformers universe, surrounded by robots that turn into jets and diesels and dinosaurs and this guy … turns into a tiny pistol that is 1/10th his size. …And must be fired by one of his allies. What could ever be lamer than that? Oh wait … there’s an Autobot that turns into a microscope. Okay, you win. And of course, there are two Transformers that turn into cassette player boom boxes, just in case you forgot this was the 80’s. Truth be told, I’ve always had a soft spot for Soundwave for some reason, but his transformation is inarguably lame. Oh, if you did forget that this movie is in the 80’s, the kid in this movie rides a hoverboard. He probably used to use a pink one like a bojo until he got stuck over a lake, ‘cause those things don’t work on water unless you’ve got power. Also, the Decepticon Astrotrain turns into a train that looks awfully similar to Doc Brown’s train from Back to the Future 3. And Astrotrain is stupid. Not only because his name is stupid, but because the Decepticons were riding inside him fighting about who would take over with Megatron gone and he never thought to suggest the choice between them making him the leader or being jettisoned out of his ass into deep space.
The Transformers: The Movie might still be able to entertain children, but I even doubt that. The story is pretty simple, but if they have any love for the Transformers going into it, they’ll probably be bummed out by how many of their favorite characters are killed off, only to be replaced by someone that would call himself Rodimus Prime with a straight face. This movie is also horribly dated by the 80est of 80’s music that has ever 80’sed. But, thankfully, I did not find that this movie was able to destroy my nostalgic love for the Transformers. I just regarded it as a goofy movie that was fun to make fun of. But there’s still not much reason to watch it. The Transformers: The Movie gets “I’ve got better things to do tonight than die” out of “Did we have to let them detonate three-quarters of the ship?”
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