In 1984, one of the most important, the most toy-selling-est(That’s a word, right) cartoons of the Eighties would invade the television screens of every awesome boy and girl in the Galaxy. The concept was simple, extraterrestrial robots, who transform into utility vehicles, and other cool things, to stay hidden in plain sight while fighting with the Decepticons on Earth, and beyond. Obviously it was successful, because thirty-plus years later, we’re not only still talking about it, but the franchise continues in many ways. Books, comics, cartoons, live-action movies, toys, clothes, and much more, continue to be readily available at almost every retail outlet. In 1986, all of that awesome took to the big screen in the form of Transformers: The Movie, and since 2016 marks the thirty-year anniversary, I figured a Blu-ray was right around the corner. I also figured that it would be a Shout! Factory release, since they have the home video distribution rights to the cartoons. What I didn’t figure is that this would be one of the best Blu-ray releases of the year.
With an epic intergalactic action-packed story, a catchy, and oh-so-Eighties soundtrack, and a star-studded(at the time) voice cast, Transformers: The Movie took to under a thousand screens, and became a $10 million dollar disappointment to Hasbro, forcing them to shelve future products, or in the case of G.I. Joe: The Movie, alter the release plans to exclude a theatrical exhibition. But hey, John Carpenter’s The Thing was a critical and financial disaster, so, those guys didn’t always get it right, and such is the case with Transformers: The Movie. Box Office failure aside, this animated feature stands the test of time, and it might even be a better experience as an adult. One of the things I’ve noticed, as the father of a five-year-old, and former pop culture obsessed child myself, is that children’s entertainment in the past was a lot more adult than it is now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, kids these days have hyper-violent PG-13 superhero movies, but the cartoons are a bit more age appropriate. And I don’t really mean things like swearing and violence, but the themes in movies like Transformers are much more “adult” than those I often see in new kids movies and shows.
Shout! Factory’s 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is a beautiful edition of the film, both in restoration, and in presentation. It’s a double-disc Blu-ray, one being the Full Frame version of the film, and the other being the 16×9 cut. It’s a 4K restoration, and there’s even a little featurette about as a bonus feature. I watched the Widescreen version, because every other time I’ve seen it, it has been in 4:3. This looks outstanding, and better than I could have even hoped for. You have two different audio choices as well, Both DTS-HD Master audio, one a new 5.1 mix, and the other the 2.0 track more representative of the original theatrical exhibition. Though I prefer the 2.0, since that is how it was intended to be heard, both are excellent choices. While the 2.0 is how it sounded originally, the 5.1 is used more as extra space to store sound effects and the synthy soundtrack. In the extras category is a beefy retrospective documentary titled ‘Til All Are One, with interviews with a host of people involved with the film. There’s also an audio commentary with the director, and the story consultant, as well as Susan Blu. There are some classic featurettes ported over from previous releases of the film, as well as story boards, and some old TV advertisements. Also included in the package is a digitally downloadable version of the film. Overall, it’s a very impressive package, and certainly the definitive edition of the film to date. Transformers: The Movie is on Blu-ray today, September 12, 2016. You can purchase your copy by clicking this link.