By David Yeh
Today, August 8th, marks the 30th Anniversary of Transformers The Movie. For any kid growing up in the ’80s, there was no animated film quite like it. Transformers The Movie was a game changer, and not because it was badass, although it was. It was because it was a film that really pushed the boundaries of expectations, as well as pushing the nerves of parents across the nation.
To really look back, one must understand that the only great animated films at the time were classic Disney movies. To put it bluntly, Disney films in the 80’s weren’t very good (though I have a soft spot for The Great Mouse Detective). This was years before the Disney Renaissance that begun with The Little Mermaid. It was also the first generation of kids to grow up with cartoons geared at selling toys. The story of Transformers The Movie was to do just that: kill off the old characters and usher in the new.
As a child, it was hard to understand why fan-favorite Optimus Prime died; it was a moment that stayed with us. For kids growing up in the ’40s, it was Bambi’s mother. For the kids growing up in the ’80s watching Transformers on television, season after season, there were no casualties of war… until Transformers The Movie.
Language also played an interesting role, shaping how we see PG movies. For in Transformers The Movie we learned about “damn it” and “oh shit”.
Transformers The Movie changed us. We had to cope however we could but lived with it… and couldn’t wait to see it again and again. Looking back, Hasbro learned a lot from their attempt at ending the old guard, making a last minute change in GI Joe The Movie that allowed Duke to live after all of the outrage from parents and kids alike.
While Transformers The Movie might be turning 30 years old today, the film’s legacy lives on stronger than ever. Come September 13, 2016, Shout! Factory will introduce fans new and old to a remastered Blu-ray edition of the movie with all the bells and whistles one would expect for such an anniversary edition. I can’t wait to watch it again.
By David Yeh