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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > Robots > Science Fiction > Toys > Theatrical Film > Transformers – The Movie (1986 Feature Film/Madman Entertainment Blu-ray)

Transformers – The Movie (1986/Madman Entertainment Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: B+     Film: B-



PLEASE NOTE: This Blu-ray import is Region Free and should operate in almost any Blu-ray drive/machine worldwide, including its extras in PAL (some machines will play it, others not at all and some only the audio) analog format and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.  The cover art included with this review is ©TV-Loonland AG.



With the success of the Michael Bay films increasing the demand for anything Transformers, Madman Entertainment delivers with Transformers: The Movie on Blu-ray.  The Region 0 formatted Blu-ray finally brings the classic 1980’s animated film to the masses; though not an official NTSC release, fans will be pleased to snatch up this classic in any way possible.


The film, in all honestly, does not hold up as well as I would have hoped; but it is far from being the worst of the animated debacles of my childhood.  After years of successful marketing with toys, clothing and everything else they could slap the Transformers name on, the TV series also spawned a 1986 feature film.  The film uses the classic Autobots vs. Decepticons format as the Autobots attempt to reclaim the planet from the evils of the Decepticons.  The Autobots are lead by Optimus Prime and the Decepticons by Megatron.  After a fierce battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, Megatron is badly injured and subsequentally ousted by his fellow minions.  This event creates a chance for the story to…well…transform.  At first the film utilizes the classic Transformer characters, but then quickly shifts to focus on a host of new characters.  So instead of continuing the established Transformers storyline the toymakers, I mean creative writing staff, decided to jump to the year 2005 to allow new characters to be utilized *cough* marketed *cough*.


Besides the fact that new characters like Kup, Hot Rod and Blurr are introduced the same basic premise of the Transformers saga is continued without hesitation.  Good versus evil and so on and so forth.  In a somewhat odd decision the creators decided to integrate a ton of stereotypical 1980’s pop-rock singles; from bands you never heard of or most likely wanted to forget.  The likes of Lion and Spectre General all appear throughout the film and who could forget the powerful Transformers Movie anthem “The Touch” by Stan Bush.  You got the touch…You got the…


Enough of that I suppose.


The film is not the best but it is well animated and remains surprisingly enjoyable.  I even was shocked by one scene when a character utters the word “shit;” and you thought this was just for kids.  Obviously the Region 0 version, did not unjustly censor the film like previous horrible releases had.


The technical features are by no means amazing and still need some work.  The many editions of this film on home video have left audiences confused across the board. Each new release claims to be the ‘best’ or the ‘true’ release; from the full screen television version to the original 1.4 X 1 theatrical release, each has its merits, but what the true intended rendition is can become mind boggling.  In the case of this release all I can say is what is presented and go from there.  The picture is presented in a 1080p MPEG-2; 16 X 9 1.85 X 1 Widescreen that has its issues, but overall has a crisp image, bright colors and consistent detail.  There are grainy moments here and there, as well as the opening and closing credits being a mess.  The characters colors are still not truly consistent and at times the image does blur.  As previously mentioned the Blu-ray is far from perfect, but it is the best the film has ever looked.  The audio is less impressive than the image as the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track only minimally uses the surrounds, has poor directionality and lacks the ‘oomph’ this feature should have.  To be fair the film has always sounded like crap; it was a horrible sound mix then and it is just as bad today, coming off of the Dolby A-type analog stereo which was their oldest sound reduction system.  I don’t know what can help it give or take if sound effects, music and dialogue stems exist separately and have been preserved properly (or even survived), but it isn’t here yet.


The extras include “Scramble City” exclusive Japanese bonus issue; Interview with Story Consultant Flint Dille; Q&A with voice of Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen); 80’s toy TVCs, TV spots and theatrical trailer; “The Touch” film clip (by Stan Bush); Character, voice-actor and musician biographies; Commentaries features and extras; Deleted Scenes; Animated Storyboards; Bonus Episode of Transformers: Beast Wars.  All I can say is wow!  After years of studios ripping us off Madman Entertainment delivers hardcore with exciting and re-watchable bonus features.  Granted some are better than others, but between the interview with Peter Cullen and the old TV spots; I was in heaven.  Some of the extras are dry and you could take ‘em or leave ‘em, but all in all I am just glad they are there.


I don’t think it is the best Blu-ray we will ever see of the film, but it is a start and Madman Entertainment has done their homework.  It is the best the film has looked to date and it is definitely time to transform your Blu-ray collection.



As noted above, you can order this Region Free Blu-ray import set exclusively from Madman at:





-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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