"Transformers: The Movie" 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray Review
On September 13, 2016 Shout! Factory released its 30th Anniversary edition of "Transformers: The Movie", the 1986 animated adventure that changed the "Transformers" universe forever. This Blu-Ray release is the first time the film has been released in this format in North America. In celebration of the film's anniversary it has been completely remastered and it is full of supplemental material new and old. This is one of the most complete releases of this film to date. This write up will focus on this release of the film. Special thanks to Shout! Factory for providing Ben's World of Transformers with a review copy of this Blu-Ray for this review.
Before this review kicks off, you can check out my original review of the movie itself here. This review will focus on this release.
The centerpiece of this release is the remastered film. Starting with original film reels, Shout! Factory embarked on a lengthy and painstaking process to bring this film's visuals to a new level. The original film was scanned, then cleaned up all for this release. You can see a clip from the featurette below that takes us through the restoration process. I will say that Shout! Factory did an amazing job with this release. As I watched the film I kept thinking "No this wasn't this smooth and sharp before!". Some have remarked that this print seems like the restoration process only darkened the film, but it actually brought down the brightness that drowned out detailing. This is most evident in the scene where Megatron becomes Galvatron. The glowing lines in previous releases were so bright they washed out a lot of the detailing. I was also happy to see attention paid to the coloring in this restoration. Mention is made that the team doing the restoration actually went back to look at original animation cells to get the colors as close as possible to the originals cells. Nowadays we often hear the terms "remastered" and "restored" so it's cool to get a look at just how this is done. This film has never looked more beautiful and I am very happy with how well it turned out.
Another standout feature is 'Til All Are One, a documentary looking back at the film with members of the cast and crew including Flint Dille, Gregg Berger, Susan Blu, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, Stan Bush, Vince DiCola and more. This is a really great look at the movie and addresses many topics from what made the movie significant, working with Wally Burr and how the Transformers were more than just toys to many people. There are also some fun anecdotes about Orson Welles and his unique style of recording. I was surprised to find a portion of the documentary focused on Stan Bush and Vince DiCola. While emphasis for cartoons often falls on voice actors, animators and writers the musicians who work on them are not often acknowledged. Not so here. Both artists get to talk about their memories and how surprised they were by fandom's response to them. If you already own other copies of this movie and a restoration does not impress you, this documentary should tip this release in favor of joining your collection.
If you skipped the 20th Anniversary release of this film, you're in for a treat. Several of the featurettes from that release have made their way into this release. This includes interviews with producers Tom Griffin and Joe Bacal, interviews with the likes of Flint Dille and Sue Blu and a look at the affect of killing off Optimus Prime. Perhaps the most significant feature from the 20th Anniversary release that has been brought into this release is the commentary by Dille, Blu and Nelson Shin, who directed the film. In concert with the documentary produced for this set you get a very well rounded picture of what went into the creation of this film.
For those looking for a hit of nostalgia, this release also includes several trailers and commercials for the film in all their grainy, 80's glory. Those are worth a watch just for the time trip!
This is an absolutely beautiful release of the film. The remastered version of the film looks gorgeous and the extras are a treasure trove for fans to dig into. I geeked out quite a bit over them and seeing the film again was exciting and nostalgic in all the right ways. If you're a Generation One fan at all, this belongs in your collection. Own this set and help support BWTF.com by purchasing your copy on Amazon.com.