True ‘Transformers’ Fans Will Appreciate ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ 30th Anniversary Edition

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Hasbro Studios

It’s hard to believe but thirty years ago this year The Transformers: The Movie made its big screen debut.  The movie, which was essentially just a way for Hasbro to eliminate its original Transformers toy line and pave the way for a new line of bots, didn’t do too well in its original run.  However, it is gone on to become a cult favorite among the franchise’s fans in the decades since.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios Transformers fans can own the movie for themselves in its new 30th Anniversary edition.  There is a lot for fans to appreciate about the movie’s new release, beginning with its story.  That will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s new 30th anniversary edition presentation is another of the positives to note in its presentation. The various platforms on which the movie is available is just as notable but hardly least of note.  One could also make note of the cast’s acting, the movie’s artwork, and much more in considering its overall presentation.  All things considered, the new 30th Anniversary edition of The Transformers: The Movie is a welcome addition to any true Transformers fan’s movie library.

Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios re-issued the classic animated movie The Transformers: The Movie this week in a brand new 30th Anniversary Edition. The new re-issue is a presentation that will be welcome in any true Transformers fan’s movie library.  That is especially the case for fans that perhaps don’t already own the movie in its previous releases.  Its story is one of the reasons that audiences will enjoy it.  The story centers on the battle for control of Cybertron between the Autobots and Decepticons. As is discussed in the movie’s bonus features, the purpose of the story was essentially a way to eliminate Hasbro’s original Transformers toy line and introduce a new line of toys.  Even with that in mind, and the fact that the movie bears little to no connection to the Transformers TV series, the story is still interesting.  It eventually sees both the Decepticons and Autobots having to face the ultimate evil in Unicron, the planet devouring Transformer.  If that sounds familiar, it should.  Marvel Productions played a role in the movie’s creation. Marvel Productions was the film branch of Marvel Entertainment Group, the parent group to Marvel Comics.  Fantastic Four is one of Marvel Comics’ titles.  For those who might not know, the Fantastic Four faced a similar villain in its original comics storyline named Galactus.  Galactus had a herald called The Silver Surfer who would hunt out new worlds for him to devour. In the case of The Transformers Movie Galactus and The Silver Surfer were replaced with Unicron and Galvatron (Megatron reborn, so to speak).  What all of this means to say is that the story isn’t exactly original per se when one really analyzes all of the facts.  But it is still a fun story nonetheless, especially since it created new worlds within the Transformers universe as well as new characters.  To that end, the story is still an important part of the movie’s overall presentation.  It is just one of the movie’s key elements to note.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s 30th Anniversary Edition is just as important to note in examining its presentation as the movie’s central story.

The story at the center of The Transformers: The Movie is clearly an important piece of the movie’s presentation.  Considering all of the facts, it is not exactly an original story, as has been noted already.  But it is original within the Transformers universe.  To that end, it is just one of the movie’s key elements.  The bonus material that has been included in the movie’s new 30th Anniversary Edition presentation is just as important to note as its story.  The movie’s new 30th Anniversary Edition comes with some bonus material that despite originally having been recorded for the movie’s 20th anniversary in 2006, is still interesting for those who might have not seen it before.  That is clear both in the discussions themselves and in posters sitting behind star Susan Blu, who voiced Arcee for the movie. Audiences get to hear from Blu as well as cast mates Dan Gilvezan (Bumblebee), Gregg Berger (Grimlock), and others.  Audiences learn some interesting tidbits through the discussions provided through the bonus interviews including the revelation that when Orson Wells recorded his lines for Unicron, no one was allowed to be in the booth with him.  It is revealed here that Wells demanded to be alone when he recorded his lines.  That is just one of the more interesting revelations that are made through the bonus interviews.  The cast and crew also reveal that the movie got less than a warm welcome by fans when it killed off Optimus Prime.

One of the cast members reveals in the discussion on this topic that one young viewer was so devoted to the Transformers franchise that after Optimus was killed off in the movie, that unnamed viewer allegedly locked himself in his room for two weeks straight, mourning for the loss.  That viewer’s reaction wasn’t the only negative reaction.  The reaction was so negative in fact, that the creative forces behind the G.I. Joe Movie, which was released not too long after The Transformers: The Movie, made sure that Duke survived just to avoid the same negative reaction from audiences.  As if that isn’t enough for viewers, it is also revealed that the foul language included in the movie’s original presentation is also included here, thus providing the movie’s “PG” rating.  One of the instances in which that language is presented comes as Spike and Bumblebee are trying to escape the Autobots’ moon base 2.  Spike drops an “S”-bomb in that moment.  There is also a moment later in which another character drops the “D” bomb.  They are the only times throughout the movie in which any foul language is used.  But those instances combine with the movie’s themes of death and its violent content to clearly show why the movie received a “PG” rating in its original presentation.  The revelation about the use of that language and its inclusion here is just one more of so many examples of what makes the movie’s bonus material so enjoyable in its new re-issue, even if said material isn’t original.  Keeping all of this in mind, the bonus material that is included with the new 30th Anniversary edition of The Transformers: The Movie proves in the end to be. Again, just as important to the movie’s presentation as its story.  It is still hardly the last of the movie’s most important elements.  The various platforms on which it is available are just as important to note as its bonus material and its story.

The story at the center of The Transformers: The Movie and its bonus material are both key elements in the movie’s new 30th Anniversary Edition.  The story, while not exactly original, stands apart from the series and the bonus material is enlightening and entertaining for audiences that might not have seen it before.  It provides quite a bit of extra insight into the movie, and in turn appreciation for the movie, too.  For all of the value that each element brings to the movie’s presentation, there are still plenty of other elements to note including the various platforms on which the movie has been made available in its new re-issue.  It has been made available on DVD, Blu-ray, and special edition steelbook.  For the sake of this review, movie’s Blu-ray re-issue will receive the attention.  The Blu-ray re-issue presents the movie in both letterbox and full screen.  It also includes a code for a digital download of the movie so that audiences can take the movie with them everywhere that they go.  The movie’s availability on Blu-ray for this presentation also marks the first time that the movie has ever been available on said format.  It is also the first time that it has been made available on a digital platform, too.  To that end, Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios have covered al of their bases in presenting the movie in its expansive Blu-ray presentation as well as its DVD and steelbook presentation.  It allows audiences across the board to be able to enjoy the movie regardless of whether they have a Blu-ray player or a DVD player.  When this positive is set against the movie’s central story and its new bonus material, all three elements join together to show clearly why The Transformers: The Movie is welcome in the home library of any Transformers fan’s home library in its new 30th Anniversary re-issues.

Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios’ new 30th Anniversary re-issue of The Transformers: The Movie is a welcome addition to the home library of any of the franchise’s true hardcore fans.  That is evident in the movie’s story, which holds its own against the franchise’s TV installments.  It may not exactly be an original story, considering Marvel Productions’ role in its creation.  But it is still a story that holds its own. The bonus material that is included in the movie’s new re-issue adds even more entertainment and appreciation to the movie’s presentation.  The various platforms on which it is available in its new re-issue are—collectively speaking—just as important to its presentation here as its story and its bonus material.  These elements, as important as they are to the movie’s presentation, are hardly the movie’s only key elements.  The movie’s artwork, its soundtrack, and so many other elements can be noted just as easily as the elements discussed here.  All things considered, the new 30th Anniversary Edition of The Transformers: The Movie is a welcome addition to the library of any true hardcore Transformers fan’s movie library. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct online via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:










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WHV Finally Gets It Right On Its Latest Peanuts DVD Release

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Warner Home Video has struggled quite a bit in the past year or so with its home releases. The 2013 releases of Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4, Taz-Mania: Season 2 Part 1, and Hats Off To Dr. Seuss were all troubled with their own problems. 2014 hasn’t exactly been off to much of a better start thanks to the release of The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock. That release presented only the main Flintstone Kids shorts minus the companion Captain Caveman and Son and Dino shorts. That alone took off major points from that set. But now WHV has finally started to pick up the ball and get things back on the right track thanks to the brand new release of This is America, Charlie Brown. This brand new double-disc has officially made its own spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for families and children. The primary reason for that the features included in this set are both entertaining and educational. Another reason for the set’s enjoyment is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate each “lesson.” The last factor to examine in what makes This is America, Charlie Brown a success is its packaging. Each of the noted factors by themselves, play important roles in the success of the set. Together, they make this brand new release one of the year’s best new box sets for families and children.

The first and most important factor in the success of This is America, Charlie Brown is the combination of both entertainment and education. The eight features spread across the set’s two discs educate viewers in such fashion that it doesn’t even feel like viewers are being taught. Thanks to the legacy of the Peanuts gang, it feels more like viewers are going on a fun field trip through America’s history than just learning about history from another documentary. There are even some fun little pop culture references that parents will appreciate along the way. One of those references is to the command module of the Apollo 10 being named Charlie Brown. Lucy comments on this saying that she doesn’t know where such a name could have come from. The kids also see their own comic strip hanging in the Smithsonian Museum of Art. The little reference there is just as funny. On a more subtle level, audiences that know anything about animation history will appreciate Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Garfield & Friends) as the voice of a number of characters here including Wilbur Wright in “The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.” Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, Aahhh!!! Real Monsters, G.I. Joe) joins Welker as the voice of Wilbur’s brother Orville. This isn’t the only feature to which Berger and Welker offer their talents, either. Lou Rawls joins them in “The Music and Heroes of America” and makes the journey all the more enjoyable even as being an educational journey. It serves as one more example of how the combination of education and entertainment is such an important factor in the success of this set. It isn’t the only important factor to the set, either.

The combination of entertainment and education in the features that make up This Is America, Charlie Brown is a solid foundation for the mini-series in whole. Just as important to the set’s success is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate and advance each story. Kids will be entertained by the hand drawn animation. And parents that grew up in the days of true animation will appreciate the original animation style of this Peanuts presentation. Those behind the mini-series balanced the animated segments with just enough historical photos to help drive home the stories in each feature. They even included some vintage video to help advance each “lesson,” too. And that video is just as balanced. The resultant effect is a presentation in each feature that will keep viewers of any age fully engaged from start to finish. It’s one more aspect of the whole mini-series that maintains the set’s value.

The visual presentation of the mini-series’ features and the ability of the features to entertain and educate without being too outright about their educational purpose are key to the success of This Is America, Charlie Brown. There is still one more factor to examine in the set in considering what makes it worth the purchase and the watch. That factor is the set’s overall packaging. Both of the discs in the set are placed on their own spindle inside the case. On one level, this protects the discs from scratching one another, thus increasing their life span. On another level, it minimizes the size of the box used to contain the discs. The bigger picture of this is that it conserves space on any viewer’s DVD rack. So not only is the mini-series in whole educational and entertaining, its case is ergonomic. Sure, there’s little else to the set whether extrinsic or even intrinsic. It’s a bare bones presentation. But these factors together make This Is America, Charlie Brown a much needed win for Warner Home Video and for fans that have waited so many years for this mini-series to get a proper release.

This Is America, Charlie Brown is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online from the WB Shop at To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

New Steve Martin Box Set Is One Wild And Crazy Retrospective

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory has proven time and again throughout 2012 why it is one of the leaders in home entertainment.  With releases of so many classic Nicktoons and even the entire original G.I. Joe series alongside the release of the horror classic, They Live, and so many great music releases, one can only wonder what Shout! Factory will do next to top itself.  What to do?  What to do?  How about a triple disc DVD box set profiling the early career of entertainment legend Steve Martin?  Bingo!

“Steve Martin:  The TV Stuff” is the latest release from Shout! Factory’s stable of top notch releases.  Anyone who is a fan of this veteran comedian/actor/musician/author (heck, just call him a jack of all trades), will find this to be an invaluable addition to their own home library.  The triple-disc set follows Martin’s career from 1978 – 2005.  While audiences won’t find much in the way of his work on Saturday Night Live, they will love seeing his 1978 stand-up act taken from HBO archives.  This nearly hour-long performance is funny.  There’s no arguing that.  But audiences should also know that it isn’t meant for younger audiences due to language and other content.  That aside, it’s still a great piece of nostalgia for any comedy fan or fan of Martin himself.  Some of the best moments in this performance include his banjo playing and his magic (yes, magic) act.  On a similar note, audiences will really enjoy the commentary included on each disc. 

The commentary included on this first disc of the set includes some history from Martin himself.  He explains how he eventually came to work in front of the camera versus behind it.  He explains that he originally wanted to be a magician when he was growing up.  That would account for the addition of the little magic act in his original 1978 stand up set.  He also adds some interesting other tidbits such as how he started his early television career writing for very famous television shows including:  The Smothers Brothers, Sonny & Cher, and The Cher Show.  There’s even mention of where is now famed bit with the fake arrow through the head came from.  Each disc contains its own commentary from Martin.  This is just a tiny sample of what audiences can expect.  And as this reviewer has pointed out so many times before, factors such as this are more proof of the importance of bonus features on DVD’s and blu-rays.  This is one of those cases where the bonus commentary adds so much more to the entire viewing experience.  So kudos once more to Shout! Factory for this inclusion.

His 1978 HBO stand-up act and the commentary are just a couple elements that make this box set enjoyable for any Steve Martin fan.  Also included in the set are his NBC television specials.  Those specials include many of the skits from throughout the years that he’s done.  Fans will love the likes of “Turtle Boy.”  And hearing country legend Johnny cash discussing astrophysics with Steve in his Steve Martin Variety Show skit is hilarious.  There are even appearances by Martin’s SNL cast mates in one of his later TV specials. 

“Steve Martin:  The TV Stuff” may only be comprised of three discs.  But in those three discs, Shout! Factory has managed to compile so much footage from Martin’s career.  Whether it be the skits, the interviews, the standup material, or even the bonus commentary by Martin, this triple-disc set is a wonderful retrospective on his career on the small screen.  The new set will be available in stores and online tomorrow.  It can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s website at

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