Taglines: Beyond good. Beyond evil. Beyond your wildest imagination.
This theatrical movie based on the television series (which was also based on a popular multiform robot toyline) did not go over very well at the box office. The movie takes place in 2005, twenty years after the television series, and chronicles the efforts of the heroic Autobots to defend their homeworld Cybertron from the evil Decepticons.
Both factions are seething with anger, and that hatred has blinded them to a hideous menace headed their way. That menace is the colossal planet named Unicron, who has been ready to consume anything that stands in its way. The only thing that can stop Unicron is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, which is possessed by the Autobots and which the Decepticons, through Unicron’s orders, plan to take away from them.
The Transformers: The Movie is a 1986 American animated science fiction action adventure film based on the animated TV series by the same name. It was released in North America on August 8, 1986 and in the UK on December 5, 1986.
The film was co-produced and directed by Nelson Shin, who also produced the original Transformers television series, and features the voices of Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Casey Kasem, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, John Moschitta, Jr., Peter Cullen and Frank Welker. It also marked the final roles for both Orson Welles, who died the year before its release, and Scatman Crothers, who died months after its release.
The story takes place in 2005, 20 years after the events of the TV series’ second season and serves to bridge into the third season. After the death of Optimus Prime during a devastating assault on Autobot City, the remaining Autobots are pursued by Galvatron, the regenerated form of Megatron and servant of Unicron, a planet-devouring Transformer who sets out to consume Cybertron.
Set to a soundtrack of synth-based incidental music and hard-driving metal music, composed by Vince DiCola, the film has a decidedly darker tone than the television series, with detailed visuals in Toei Animation’s typical anime film styling,[original research?] and Decepticon villains that are more menacing, killing without hesitation. The film features several grand battles in which a handful of major characters meet their end.
About the Story
In 2005, the war between the Autobots and Decepticons has culminated in the Decepticons conquering their home planet Cybertron, while the Autobots operate from its two moons preparing a counter-offensive. Optimus Prime sends an Autobot shuttle to Earth’s Autobot City for Energon supplies, but the Decepticons, led by Megatron, commandeer the ship and kill the crew, consisting of Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl and Brawn.
Travelling to Earth, the Decepticons attack Autobot City, slaughtering many Autobots and leaving only a small group alive including Hot Rod, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Arcee, Springer, Blurr, Perceptor, Blaster, and the human Daniel Witwicky. The next day, Optimus and the Dinobots arrive as reinforcements. Optimus single-handedly defeats the Decepticons and engages Megatron in a climactic battle that leaves both of them mortally wounded. On his death bed, Optimus passes the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, informing him that its power will light the Autobots’ darkest hour, and dies.
Elsewhere, the Decepticons jettison their wounded from Astrotrain, including Megatron at the hands of his treacherous second-in-command Starscream. The wounded are found by Unicron, a gigantic sentient cyber-planet who consumes other planets. Unicron offers Megatron a new body in exchange for destroying the Matrix, which has the ability to destroy him. Megatron agrees and is converted into Galvatron, gaining new troops from the other Decepticons present. Going to Cybertron, Galvatron crashes Starscream’s coronation as Decepticon commander and destroys him, before travelling to Autobot City to eliminate Ultra Magnus. The surviving Autobots escape in separate shuttles which are damaged by the Decepticons and crash land on different planets.
Hot Rod and Kup are taken prisoner by the Quintessons, multi-faced tyrants who hold kangaroo courts and execute prisoners by feeding them to the Sharkticons. Hot Rod and Kup learn of Unicron from Kranix, a survivor of Lithone – a planet devoured by Unicron. After Kranix is executed, Hot Rod and Kup try to escape their own trial, aided by the arrival of the Dinobots and the small Autobot Wheelie, who helps them find a ship to leave the planet.
The other Autobots land on the Junk Planet, where Galvatron kills Ultra Magnus and seizes the Matrix, intending on using it to control Unicron. The Autobots reunite and befriend the local Junkions, led by Wreck-Gar, who then rebuild Magnus. Learning Galvatron has the Matrix, the Autobots and Junkions fly to Cybertron, which Unicron, discovered to be a gigantic Transformer also now in robot form, begins to destroy.
The Transformers: The Movie (1986)
Directed by: Nelson Shin
Starring: Orson Welles, Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy, Jack Angel, Michael Bell, Gregg Berger, Norman Alden, Roger C. Carmel, Scatman Crothers
Screenplay by: Ron Friedman
Film Editing by: David Hankins
Art Department: Del Barras, Peter Chung, Floro Dery, Jim Gomez
Music by: Vince DiCola
Distributed by: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release Date: August 8, 1986