The Transformers: The Movie ★★

While I’ve always enjoyed the Transfomers range of toys (it almost goes hand in hand with being a child throughout the 80s) I have never been the biggest fan of them. I was more of a LEGO kid. Transformers were great but they were great when everything transformed smoothly, not when something stuck and you ended up breaking an essential piece of the structure just to try and get your car back into Autobot form. I never watched the animated TV show and I never watched this movie, that many fans view as a bridge between the second and third seasons of the TV show, back when it was first released. Finally watching it now, I’m glad I didn’t waste my time with it back then.

I can’t help but agree with the great Orson Welles who described his role as a big toy battling lots of other small toys. That’s all this movie is. Admittedly, there’s a great vocal cast that includes Welles, Leonard Nimoy, Scatman Crothers, Peter Cullen, Eric Idle, Casey Kasem, Judd Nelson, Robert Stack and Corey Burton. That’s a real mix of very famous names alongside some very prolific voiceover artists.

I wish I could offer praise for anything other than the cast list but, sadly, this just isn’t possible. The plot of the movie has some other hokum in there but is, essentially, just another brawl between the Autobots and the Decepticons. There are few concessions made for newcomers and you either warm to the characters or you don’t – no room or time is given to develop the robotic personalities that populate the film.

Written by Ron Friedman and directed by Nelson Shin (remember the My Little Pony movie? He did that), this may well please kids and fans who remember every character name and trait but it won’t please anyone after anything resembling an actual, well-crafted, movie. IF you are somehow forced to watch the thing then I suggest the following ways to pass the time: enjoy the sound FX and the use of the cheesy rock greatness “Nothing’s Gonna Stand In Our Way” by Kick Axe, laugh at the way in which the mighty Megatron engages in battle by . . . . . . . . . . . transforming into a gun and putting himself into someone’s hand (say what you like about the Michael Bay movies, the decision to change the form of Megatron was a sensible one) and try to identify just who is fighting who in most of the action sequences.

Believe me, after watching this animated mess you may actually appreciate some of the Michael Bay movies a bit more. I’m scoring it as highly as 4/10 because I admit that some of the animation was enjoyable and that cheesy rock tune was fab. Oh, and let’s not forget the opportunity to listen to that great cast.