As a new multi-squillion-dollar Transformers movie directed by Michael (Pearl Harbor) Bay comes down the pipe, someone obviously thought a quick cash-in was in order. So here’s the old Transformers from 1986. On the upside: the voice talent is of the “well I never” variety. In what other film would you get Robert Stack, Eric Idle, Leonard Nimoy and Orson Welles all working together? On the other hand, just what the hell is going on? The plot is pretty much unfathomable – Welles described it as being about “a big toy who attacks a bunch of smaller toys”. The title music helpfully tells us the movie is about “Robots in disguise”, fighting Stunticons, Aerialbots and various other deadly shape-shifting things. Taking the fetishisation of metal beyond even the wild fantasies of Top Gear fans, Transformers: The Movie is just like the TV series that spawned it – a bewildering, crudely drawn cartoon battle set to a poodle-haired rock soundtrack (think Van Halen’s Jump without the catchy hook). Those dewy-eyed for anything 1980s will love it. Those hoping for a fitting epitaph for the creator of Citizen Kane – this was one of his last contribution to movies – should look elsewhere.
© Steve Morrissey 2007