Transformers — The Movie Nelson Shin

Sometimes nostalgia is best left alone. With the advent of DVD reissuing, what once seemed like the greatest thing ever is constantly returning years later as an embarrassing reality check. Like every other eight-year-old boy at the time, I devoted every waking moment to anticipating Transformers — The Movie and as I expected, it was awesome. But that was 20 years ago and this anniversary edition of the animated film proves my idea of what constitutes good filmmaking has drastically changed. Evolving the Transformers storyline from the beloved television program, this feature set in 2005 (boy have we failed in advancing technology!) concerns the greater good of the Autobots, who are pulled into a war with the Decepticons for their home planet of Cybotron. But creeping up on the galaxy is Unicron (voiced by Orson Wells, in his last role), a monstrous planet eating abomination that takes control of Megatron in a bid to destroy Cybotron. In a desperate attempt to save life as they know it, the Autobots look to their Matrix of Leadership to stop the impending threat. As you can likely tell, Transformers unravels in a series of mind-boggling events that as a grown adult leaves me consistently scratching my head. Ploys to simplify it only make things worse, especially through the overwhelming robotic machismo, the dude-ish language from the Neanderthal Dinobots (if I never hear a sentence begin with "Me Grimlock” it will be too soon) and a lot of "roboticide,” which reveals that robots aren’t actually that tough, unless they’re the popular ones, of course. Surprisingly, the only saving grace for me was the heroic soundtrack of power rock, which is laughable, but also very uplifting in its bid to accompany such an overblown action film. A fan commentary, which made me want to yell out "Nerd!” in full Ogre disgust, is actually useful at times. The nerds, I mean "experts” (who all maintain Transformers tribute sites, fittingly) help clarify certain sequences (but not really) while dropping all sorts of trivia along the way. Also of assistance is a separate "pop up” feature that appears whenever something interesting occurs in the film, like pointing out who is voicing which robot. It’s the geeky things that make this DVD satisfying, not the nostalgic fulfilment or the film itself. Plus: director commentary. (Sony BMG)