It’s hard to believe but this year marks 35 years since the landmark presentation, The Transformers: The Movie debuted. In celebration of the anniversary, Shout! Factory re-issued the movie again Aug. 3 on separate steelbook and Blu-ray/DVD presentations. The re-issue, which in fact comes five years after the release of the company’s 30th anniversary re-issue of the movie, is sadly a disappointing presentation. That is due in large part to its featured bonus content, which will be discussed a little later. For all that said content does to detract from the presentation, it does have at least one positive to note in its restored look. This will be discussed shortly. The one other positive worth noting is the re-issue’s pricing. It will be discussed later, too. Each item plays its own important part to the whole of this re-issue. All things considered, they still make the presentation sadly a disappointing new offering from Shout! Factory that does little to further the legacy of The Transformers.
Shout! Factory’s recently released 35th anniversary of The Transformers: The Movie is sadly, a disappointing offering from the company. It is another example of how far the company has fallen from its former place as the leader in home entertainment. It is not a complete failure, though. The most notable of its very few positives is its look. As noted on the presentation’s packaging, it is presented this time out in a new, restored look thanks to a 4K scan of the original film. The restoration’s impact is clear right from the movie’s outset. The rough, hand-drawn anime look from the original movie is still evident here. At the same time, there is a certain definition to that look. That is not to say that the charm of the original hand-drawn look is gone by any means. Rather, it is just that evident that said look has been improved upon without losing the look of the original cut. Yes, it is an aesthetic element, but it in itself makes the re-issue worth watching at least once.
While the newly restored footage of Transformers: The Movie is a positive that viewers cannot ignore, it is one of very few positives to this set, next to its pricing. That item will be addressed later. The bonus content featured with this re-issue detracts considerably from the presentation. According to information provided late this summer, this latest re-issue features a handful of so-called new bonus features. In reality, there are three new bonuses: new feature-length storyboards, new deleted and alternate sequences, and a new interview with singer-songwriter John Bush, who provided much of the music for the movie’s soundtrack. This all sounds great on paper, but in reality, it collectively does little if anything to enhance the viewing presentation. The interview with Bush for instance finds him talking about how the song, ‘The Touch’ was created. There is no real insight into its connection with the movie. Along with the discussion, audiences also get an acoustic, in-studio performance of the song as well as a performance of ‘The Dare,’ another of the songs featured in the movie’s soundtrack. The storyboards and deleted scenes are just that. The deleted and alternate scenes are essentially one in the same. Just as concerning (if not more so) is that there is no sound in the storyboards, which are their own presentation and the deleted/alternate scenes. As a result, audiences have to essentially guess as which scenes are alternate and deleted. If any one good thing can be noted here, it is that these same “bonuses” are featured in the movie’s 4K UHD and Blu-ray/DVD combo packs. Even that is not enough to offset the negative of the content or lack thereof. At least the more enjoyable bonus content from the movie’s 30th anniversary presentation is featured in this re-issue. Keeping all of this in mind, the “new” bonus content featured in this 35th anniversary re-issue of The Transformers: The Movie is more burden to the presentation than boon.
For all of the concerns raised by the “new” bonus content in this presentation, there is at least one more positive for the most devoted fans of The Transformers. That positive is the pricing. Speaking more specifically, the pricing for the BD/DVD combo pack is that positive. The average price point for that platform is $15. That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Books-A-Million, and Shout! Factory’s store. It was not listed through Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Target at the time of this review’s posting. By comparison, the average price point for the 4K UHD set is $22.19. That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Books-A-Million, and Shout! Factory’s store. The movie’s steelbook presentation averages at $24.73. This is all important to note because the only thing that separates the three platforms is their box art. Yes, that’s it. Each platform has the same content right down to the bonus content. To that end the most devoted Transformers fans will do well to save themselves some money and just get the standard Blu-ray/DVD combo pack if they get this 25th anniversary presentation of The Transformers: The Movie if they buy it at all. Noting again, the lackluster bonus content against the slightly better look of the film, there is little motivation for most audiences to buy this set if they already own the movie’s 30th anniversary re-issue.
Shout! Factory and eOne’s recently released 35th Anniversary re-issue of The Transformers: The Movie is a surprisingly disappointing new presentation of the classic animated feature. It is not a total failure, though. Its restored 4K scan is a noticeable improvement on the look from the movie’s 30th anniversary edition without losing the warmth of the movie’s look from that re-issue. The major shortfall for this movie comes in the form of its “new” bonus content. Said content is anything but a real bonus. That is because of how little it does to enhance the viewing experience in comparison to the bonus content carried over from the 30th anniversary re-issue. It will appeal primarily to the most devoted fans of The Transformers overall. Considering that the overall content is featured in each of the re-issue’s three separate platforms (yes, three), it makes the pricing for the movie’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack positive in its own right. That is in comparison to the pricing for the movie’s separate 4K UHD/BD set and steelbook set. Keeping all of this in mind, this latest re-issue of The Transformers: The Movie proves itself a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience.
The Transformers: The Movie’s 35th anniversary re-issue is available now. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available along with the company’s latest news at:
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