28 June 2007

Transformers the Movie 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVD Review

The movie poster
How I came to own this Special Edition DVD is one of life's pleasant surprises. A Marketing firm from the US came across my blog and wrote me asking if I would be interested in doing a review of the 20th Anniversary Transformers DVD. Do I ever! So a DVD was sent over to me. [Actually, I nearly failed to receive a copy because one was sent to me last year (2006 was the 20th anniversary) but not having received their package after about 3 months, they decided to send me another. Whew! Post office people... where's the first DVD!?!]

Anyways, that weekend I watched the movie in both widescreen and full screen versions including the special feature where snippets of trivia are displayed while the movie is playing (called easter eggs). And then I watched the bonus features. Is it obvious that I was hyped when I got hold of the DVD? I hope not. haha.

First off, the packaging is cool. The front design was a "holographic" (I don't know how to call it) photo. View it from an angle and you see Optimus Prime and allies; from another angle you see Rodimus Prime and friends. See the difference between the cover below and the one at the left? The cover is actually a small poster you can display anwhere else. Nice bonus item.

It is essentially, a representation of what the movie is all about: a transition from Gen 1 to the new characters.

The restoration done on the movie is awesome. The colors are brilliant, the picture sharp. It's like seeing the movie in a new light, versus the VHS copy (which I have, but I suspect molds have gotten to it already). The death of Optimus Prime is still as heartbreaking today as it was when my younger self first saw this movie.

“…one day, an Autobot shall rise from our ranks, and use the power of the matrix to light our darkest hour.” - Optimus Prime


It was Transformers that broke the unwritten rule that nobody dies in American cartoons. Or is it a reflection of its Japanese heritage, where death is not uncommon in anime? At any rate, its effect on the 80s generation is recounted a number of times in this DVD. Many kids cried in the cinemas, others left without finishing the movie, the publisher got a barrage of complaints and letters of outrage from kids and parents alike. It was indeed a very daring move for the famous Transformers series at that time.

I learned later on in the bonus section that this public reaction affected the way the G.I. Joe movie ended, where a leading character was also supposed to die.

Speaking of the bonus section... it's a treasure trove for Transformers enthusiasts on facts, interview, and fun trivia. It was, for example, interesting t0 learn that Mr. Orson Welles (the voice behind Unicron) died a few months after he lent his voice to the movie. His role as a planet-eating planet was ultimately going to be his last role for the movies before moving on. Another interesting trivia I learned was that G.I. Joe and Transformers, two of the high-ranking cartoons at that time, shared talents. For example, StarScream and Cobra Commander of G.I. Joe had the same voice actor. An episode aired only in Japan also showed a transition of sorts from the TV series to the movie, something that was never aired on American soil, but is now included in the DVD.

Lots, lots more to discover in the bonus section, including toy commercials and TV spots for the movie.

The advertisements for the toys really brought back a lot of childhood memories. Saturday Fun Machine would not be complete without the American kids playing with these action figures and it would make you really, really want to own one.

Overall, the Transformers 20th Anniversary DVD is a must-have for Transformers enthusiasts, for people from the 80s, for toy collectors, for kids today who appreciate their cartoon history, for those who will watch the Michael Bay film starting today, for those who want to own a piece of animation history, for the kid at heart. It's one adventurous ride!



Get your DVD from Amazon.com
Movie poster photo credit: Soundtrack Collector

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:46 am

    Hi, Nice stuff. I found a cool news widget for our blogs at www.widgetmate.com. Now I can show the latest news on my blog. Worked like a breeze.

    ReplyDelete
  2. if you like the 20th anniversary special edition, you'll like the latest movie even more (that's if you haven't seen it yet).

    bumalik ako sa pagkabata hehehe and it was, i think, the best summer movie this year (biased ako hehe). :)

    OT: i have a hard time accessing your blog in the office, it was being blocked/filtered, news advocacy org daw, ewan ko ba, pero i hope maayos na. ;D

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  3. waaahhh..gusto ko rin ng dvd nyan...hehehe.

    regards kay tina.

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  4. waaaah! inggit ako... i'm an 80's kid din, at nahumaling sa transformers, g.i. joe at thundercats dati...

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  5. gusto ko nyan

    wala ba extra copy? :)

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  6. Zherwin: yeah napanood ko na. first day. excited! haha. Ha? Bakit naman na-block blog ko? Sana nga maayos naman...

    Ann: Buy na! hehe. Sige ipapaabot ko kay wifey.

    Lino: Pareho lang tayo ng generation! Ang saya nung time natin ano? Sa sobrang saya, nirerecycle nila yung mga cartoons today.

    Tutubi: Ayun, nasa post office. hehe

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  7. Swerte mo naman. Can someone ask me to review a Canon EF 70-200mm 2.8/F IS USM lens please? Hehe.

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  8. oh, so you mean dapat namatay talaga si duke sa gi joe movie pero dahil maraming nagalit sa pagkamatay ni prime, ginawang "comatose" na lang sya?
    ^ ^;

    i didn't know that. you learn something new everyday on nick's blog. and knowing is half the battle!
    :p

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  9. I hadn't even realized there had been an earlier Transformers Movie before, so I looked it up. I guess it was a huge flop, and perhaps "ahead of its time?" That's always a good excuse, eh? Plus, it came out at the end of the summer '86 when I was still stationed in Japan and not all that concerned with silly stuff like that.

    Well, now I'm retired and I've got plenty of time for silly stuff! I've seen snips of the new Michael Bay version and it seems pretty cool, not Japanese cartoonish at all. I'm a huge non-fan of anime type productions so I'm glad this isn't.

    Good review bro!

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  10. Abaniko: Aba, sasali rin ako dyan!

    Meowok: Yeah, si Duke nga. I remember seeing the G.I. Joe movie pero only because it was so violent! in the Transformers DVD feature, they said there is a phone call at the end of the movie with the news that Duke is ok.

    Phil: It was indeed barraged by complaints because of the death of Optimus Prime. And it had rock music for its entourage of songs. Thanks Phil!

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  11. my inaanak is so pogi!

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  12. Dessagirl: kanino kaya ito nagmana? hmmm

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