It has taken 30 years for director Nelson Shin’s 1986 cult classic Transformers The Movie (also known as The Transformers: The Movie) to journey onto North American shores with a widescreen high definition presentation. Unlike previous home video releases by other studios over the years, Shout! Factory approached this project with a fanatic’s eye who demanded nothing short of excellence for legendary leader Optimus Prime and his valiant Autobot warriors. The Transformers The Movie 30th Anniversary Blu-ray has the touch, the power, and everything in between.
I was turning 13 years old when Transformers The Movie made its theatrical debut and vividly recall watching it in a mostly empty cinema. Even at that age it was clearly obvious the film was designed to wipe current characters off the roster and usher in a new toy line. What caught everyone off guard is how emotionally jarring it was seeing Wheeljack, Ironhide and especially Optimus Prime so violently killed after having grown attached to them from the television series over the course of several years.
Transformers The Movie wasn’t a theatrical success and its struggles resulted in G.I. Joe The Movie never seeing a theatrical release. Over the years this mid-1980s symbol has refused to fade into oblivion. Bolstered by a voice cast including celebrities like Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Casey Kasum and Orson Welles in his final role, and complimented by an unforgettable soundtrack, Transformers The Movie is more popular today then when it first released.
Musically there is no soundtrack in existence that better encapsulates big 1980s arena rock than Transformers The Movie. Stan Bush hit it out of the park with ‘The Touch’ and ‘Dare,’ while Vince DiCola’s synthesized soundtrack is one for the ages. It’s unfortunate a new digital and LP soundtrack with DiCola’s full score wasn’t commissioned to coincide with the 30th anniversary and this Blu-ray as scores of fans will instantly want it after a single viewing.
Shout! Factory has heard the criticism about former Transformers The Movie home video releases and chose to go all-in for the 30th anniversary. The entire film was meticulously remastered with a 4K scan from the original 1.85:1 film. Rather than focus squarely on the original theatrical aspect ratio for the new high definition presentation, Shout! Factory is offering the new remastered version in 1.33:1 full frame on a separate disc to appease all tastes.
The results of this remastering effort are what fans have been clamoring for. Sharper and brighter colors, improved depth, solid blacks, and minimal specs on the print that lend themselves to the authentic nostalgic feel. This was all done without dreaded digital noise reduction (DNR) that would have artificially smoothed out the wonderfully detailed animation.
Because some have asked: Zero DNR was applied to the new TRANSFORMERS master. We used DRS to fix minor scratches and stains. But no DNR.
— Brian Ward (@BWard028) August 22, 2016
Shout! Factory could have pulled in a bevy of previously released extras for the 30th anniversary Blu-ray and called it a day. Instead they gathered together some of the film’s big personalities for a retrospective 45 minute-plus sit down and fun trip through memory lane titled, ‘Til All Are One. Neil Ross (voice of Springer and others) is especially entertaining and would be a fascinating man to share a beer or three with. Transformers: The Restoration is a fascinating look at how much improved the picture quality is, while Rolling Out The New Cover explores how the new cover art came to be and what alternate design choices were passed over. The other extras are carried forward from the 20th anniversary DVD release.
Here’s a complete rundown of the extras:
- NEW ‘Til All Are One
- NEW Transformers: The Restoration Featurette
- NEW Rolling Out The New Cover Featurette
- Audio Commentary With Director Nelson Shin, Story Consultant Flint Dille And Star Susan Blu
- Archival Featurettes – “The Death Of Optimus Prime,” “The Cast & Characters,” And “Transformers Q&A”
- Animated Storyboards
- Original Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots
You simply cannot find a better presentation of Transformers The Movie than you will on this new 30th Anniversary Blu-ray. It’s even debatable that the original theatrical presentation is surpassed by the Blu-ray as suggested in the bonus features. Only a time machine can solve that mystery and frankly it doesn’t matter. What matters is a fantastic film caught in a mid-1980s time capsule has finally received the restoration attention it rightfully deserved.
The standard edition Transformers The Movie 30th Anniversary Blu-ray was viewed for this release and also includes a downloadable digital copy. A limited edition steelbook edition is also available.
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