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Transformers: The Movie Reconstructed DVD Review

Transformers: The Movie Reconstructed

February 20, 2006

Director: Nelson Shinn,
Starring: Norman Alden, Jack Angel, Michael Bell, Gregg Berger, Susan Blu, Arthur Burghardt, Corey Burton, Roger C. Carmel, Victor Caroli, Regis Cordic, Scatman Crothers, Peter Cullen, BJ Davis, Paul Eiding, Walker Edmiston, Ed Gilbert, Dan Gilvezan, Eric Idle, Buster Jones, Stan Jones, Casey Kasem, Chris Latta, David Mendenhall, Don Messick, John Moschitta Jr., Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Hal Rayle, Clive Revill, Neil Ross, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, Frank Welker, Orson Welles, ,

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DVD Review

Transformers fans rejoice! The movie has been released for the third time on region 2 dvd, but this time it’s different. It’s a new version of the movie boasting 5.1 dolby sound and more visible picture than has ever been seen before and a brand new transfer from the original negative. Transfans are expecting something special, from Metrodome who have been releasing the original tv series on dvd, and here it is. Is this the definitive special edition of the beloved 1986 movie?

No.

Bridging the massive gap between seasons 2 and 3, the movie is set in the year 2005 and sees the evil Decepticons on the verge on winning the war against the heroic Autobots, until the greatest Autobot of them all, Optimus Prime, makes one final stand against Megatron leading to shocking and lore changing results. Cue the first appearance of the biggest transformer ever, Unicron – a planet. Unicron eats other worlds and is heading towards the transformers home planet of Cybertron. The only thing that could possibly stop him is the Autobot Matrix of leadership, the problem is, only the chosen one can open it and light the darkest hour. The Autobots are clueless to who their new hero is and the Deceptions will stop at nothing to obtain the Matrix.

This is the holy grail of animated movies, star power, action, adventure, positively wild script, excellent animation, Transformers: The Movie never puts a foot wrong. There are some heavyweights providing voice talents such as Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Eric Idle (Monty Python) and also the last ever role for Orson Wells (Citizen Kane) as the voice of Unicron, all of which fit perfectly in with the usual voice cast from the TV series who reprise their roles for the movie. The direction is overly inventive and stylistic, especially when compared to the tv series, and mixed with some awesome 80s hair metal, you can’t help but to be drawn into this world of shape shifting robots in disguise. The script is always throwing something at you, destruction of planets, amazing laser gun battles, hand to hand combat, tense perilous scenes and new characters taking centre stage as old ones get killed off.

So what’s the problem – why is this not the wonderful disc that was expected?

First the extras are disappointing. Questionably the film is the US edition and not the preferred UK version. However the changes are minor and make no real difference to overall film. Then the fabled widescreen format that was initially planned had to be constructed from the original negative. In a complex messing around with 35mm film and aspect ratios, the results are a 1.33 image within a 16.9 ratio, which gives an irregular side curtain rather than a top and bottom curtain. This makes viewing uncomfortable to begin with but is easily adapted to. The picture is brighter and clearer than ever before, on the odd occasion too bright. The creation of a 5.1 soundtrack has also resulted in the odd effect sounding different from what fans might be used to.

This reconstructed version on the movie could swing either way, especially for hardcore transformer fans, either it will be the ultimate presentation or it will be a sad money spinning excuse of a release.

The animation errors of the series have gone, and we have the first look of new characters such as Hot Rod, Ultra Magnus, Arcee and Galvatron. If you don’t own any of the previous versions of the movie then this is absolute must have. New fans, old fans or anyone looking for a nostalgic trip down memory lane will do no better than this highly entertaining piece that easily rivals most sci-fi and animation of today.

Special Features

Looks good on paper but a bit weak in practice. No interviews or commentaries. There is a welcome showing of both the US and Japanese trailers for the movie and the alternate UK footage that was originally seen in the other releases of the movie. The US television spots and adverts show their age but will be a delight to fans. The booklet is wonderfully produced with an explanation of how exactly the movie was reconstructed, a transformers timeline, history and some nice words from Transformers fans and what the movie means to them.

The extras and the booklet are also used to promote the highly anticipated forthcoming release of Metrodome’s next Transformers product: The Takara Collection – Headmasters, a Japanese series. The first episode of Headmasters can be seen on the extras and for the first time with English subtitles.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 84%

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