Monday, 9 May 2011

Why Transformers: The Movie (1986) is one of the greatest films of our time....

"'Til all are one."- Fucking A

I know that plenty of people already agree with me on this one, but let's take all the points one at time to reach the inevitable conclusion. That being that this film is awesome and not only shits on the new films but most other films as well.

If you haven't seen the film this will include spoilers, but I'm going to assume you've all got some knowledge of the movie.

Plot- The film has an airtight tried and tested plot. The 'threat to the universe' thread that underpins the entire film acts as a stage for the growth and development of the main characters. There's a classic growth and redemption arc for the main protagonist Hot Rod, but this growth also extends to other characters such as Daniel, Ultra Magnus, and the Dinobots.

This structured character development also extends to the bad guys with Galvatron surpassing his alter ego of Megatron.

Character Deaths- When this film came along there had been two full series of the TV show. All of the characters at the start of the film were established. Then in the explosive opening half hour a load of good guys get wiped out, notably Iron Hide and Optimus Prime.



What other motion picture kills off the lead good guy? This is a massive plot point. Everyone watching for the first time can't believe that Prime dies. It's genius, and just like the autobots the audience feels lost.



To top this Megatron and Starscream also get whacked. No one saw it coming, I doubt you'll ever see it again.



Soundtrack- Take a bow Stan Bush. Three important set pieces during the film are complimented and elevate by the perfect backing soundtrack. 'The Touch', used perfectly to denote Prime's importance and skills. It's also used later when Hot Rod releases the power of the matrix. Again it fits perfectly. 'Dare', an uplifting piece carrying many important messages to the audience perfectly encompasses one of the first action sequences of the film.

It's easy to not look any further than Stan Bush when looking at the soundtrack, but it's important that we do. Vince DiCola oversaw the soundtrack creating most of the original score. You'll notice a similarity between the Transformers score and that of Rocky IV. Vince DiCola was a man on top of his game in the 80's and the Transformers soundtrack is certainly a feather in his cap. His driving synths complementing the action perfectly. He played synths before they were cool for any hipster piss wizards that happen to be reading.

Action Sequences- Every one of these sequences are designed to emote. There's plenty of them. From the sombre outcome of Prime's big fight, so the fist pumping dicking that Hot Rod dishes out to Galvatron, the action sequences are what makes this film.



Let's be fair it's a film about big transforming robots with guns. It would have been hard to get it wrong, but getting so right is what transcends this film from good to great.

Cast- In the mid-eighties a cast including Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, and Orson Welles would have been quite the cast. The fact that it slipped under the radar makes it all the more impactful. This, arguably, great cast did nothing to take away from the film itself. Not something that all films could say.

This was Orson Welles final project before his death, and although it won't be remember as his greatest role the brooding authority he brought to Unicron cannot be overlooked.



Other Points-

Piffling human interaction: For some reason producers and script writers feel the need to tie humans into these films. I'm sure it's to give us some point of contextual touch point. It's a waste. This film acknowledges our existence but doesn't waste time in bothering to really involve us. I've said it before and I'll say it again- Robots + Guns = Win

Feelings evoked: How many times did you punch the air whilst watching the Kings Speech? Exactly.

How it works on the big screen: In 2006 I was lucky enough to go to a screening of this film at a west end cinema. I got to see Transformers: The Movie as it was originally intended. I'll admit that I was surrounded my like minded geeks for the most part, but for a magical hour and a half I was enthralled by how a cartoon can blow so many filming conventions out of the water, and remain credible.

Never before has a film made me want to get drunk to celebrate its existence, Transformers: The Movie is that film.

Remember, dare to be all you can be-










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