Another 1980s childhood nostalgia title is making a comeback.

Cast and Crew

Scatman Crothers as Jazz
Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime and Ironhide
Eric Idle as Wreck-Gar
Casey Kasem as Cliffjumper
Judd Nelson as Hot Rod / Rodimus Prime
Leonard Nimoy as Galvatron
Robert Stack as Ultra Magnus
Lionel Stander as Kup
Frank Welker as Megatron, Soundwave, Rumble, Frenzy, Laserbeak, Wheelie and the Junkions
Orson Welles as Unicron

Written by Ron Friedman.
Directed by Nelson Shin.

Complete information is available from this IMDB page.

Buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.

Premise

The war for Cybertron has tipped in favour of the Decepticons, who ambush the few remaining Autobots. A handful of heroes must protect their homeworld from the normal Decepticons as well as a set of Decepticons upgraded by the planet-eating Unicron.

High Point

Having the guts to push forward major changes. A number of characters do not survive the movie, some of whom are very significant.

Low Point

Almost no attempt is made to introduce most of the characters. This is a giant fight scene with rare calm points designed to link together two dramatically different seasons of the animated series.

The Scores

This is a bit original in terms of the magnitude of change the writers were willing to make. Very few series or movies aimed at children would kill off this many characters this quickly. Apart from that element, it’s a giant fight. I give it 4 out of 6.

The animation could get a little choppy, but when you look at the complexity of characters and backgrounds, you realize this was a huge undertaking for their time and resources. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is minimal. There is little or no attempt to properly introduce or reintroduce the characters. Hot Rod gets a little bit of development, but the rest of the team barely has their names revealed. This was about jamming characters on screen and shooting at each other more than anything else. I give it 3 out of 6.

The voice acting was well done, due in large part to hiring so many quality actors to fill the roles. With a cast as solid as this, it’s hard to go wrong, even with the varied and distinctive dialects and speech patterns some of these robots have. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is decent, but not spectacular. The emphasis is definitely on giving each of the toys its own chance to shine in an action sequence involving a transformation, and really pushing forward Hot Rod / Rodimus Prime. In other words, it looks more like a 90 minute commercial than a movie. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is not as strong for me as it might be for other readers. I didn’t get the chance to see this during the run of the original series, so I don’t have the nostalgia for the title others might. Watching it now, I get somewhat involved in the action, but since they never take the time to establish who these characters are, or why we should care about them, it would be a bland first exposure for most. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, this would be enjoyable in the context of the television series, but as a stand alone work, it doesn’t hold up. I give it 3 out of 6.

It total, Transformers: The Movie receives 25 out of 42.