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Review: Transformers The Movie (R2 UK) DVD

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on November 29, 2001 | Reviews |


It seems like we’ve waited forever for this, an eternity almost, and now it’s finally here. But is it worth the wait? We were hopeful for widescreen, by some online retailers such as Blackstar and Play247 we were promised widescreen but it has not materialised. So is this DVD release worth the money without it, particularly if you already own the region 1 US version on import?

Well, in a word… yes.

The mockery of justice with the cover misprint (a PG certificate with a Universal description) nearly delayed the release, but in the end proved unimportant and in all honesty may actually help. You see there are only 20,000 prints of this first run and the second run will have the cover altered. This original cover with the classification mistake will become something of a collector’s item!

And what a cover! We’re biased because it’s our artwork, but we really prefer this to the badly rendered VHS cover and the American Ultra Magnus artwork. This was the original face of the movie way back with the Video Gems release, and for cinema posters here in the UK. This artwork was also picked by readers of TheTF.Net as their favourite, that’s why it was used. People Power!

When you put this long awaited DVD into your player you’re greeted with the introductory footage from BBC’s I Love 1984. This features interviews with comic writer Simon Furman. This provides a nice little backdrop to Transformers if you’re unfamiliar or are trying to brainwash a colleague, spouse or child – I know from experience, it works.

There is of course the famous mistake in this program where Paul, bless him, talks about Soundwave whilst the good old Beeb cut in some footage of Blaster. Don’t blame Paul, it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t edit the thing, the BBC did and he feels really embarrassed about how dumb they made him look. Apart from that inexcusable error the interview with Simon Furman is great.

Once this footage ends we go straight into the animated intro sequence… and there’s no season 3 intro on a season 1 DVD here (as Rhino did with Ultimate Doom!). This intro rocks.

The words Access Granted adorn the screen, allowing us into the Transformers vault. Shots of the movie flash up in a very slick, well put together montage with the thumping sounds of Leon’s ‘The Transformers’ theme. This evolves into the main menu, with a matrix (Keanu, not Creation) animated backdrop. You can just make out the Autobot logo scrolling down on the left.

Special Features
Let’s talk first about the features, not what isn’t on it but was is!
Your first choice in the menu offers the film, the scene selector, the trailer and the special features. It is the features that we made a bee line for.

There are two special feature in this section, the first being the Takara episode: The Four Soldiers From The Sky’ which is also included on the recent VHS release. The quality is obviously superior here, but the dubbing still bad.

The second feature is something new, a moving picture gallery with music. This is the reason the disc carries a PG certificate. The music featured is a new remix by NRG of their track Instruments of Destruction and it uses samples from the movie of Spike’s infamous line. The remix is great, and is sure to soon be available on many web sites for download.

It should be noted that this mix was part of some work NRG were hoping to finish in time for the 2001 Botcon convention, but unfortunately were unable to do so. Luckily we have a chance to enjoy it here.

The gallery images themselves are all from the movie, which helps… Rhino take note! They are in fact from the Marvel adaptation from 1986 – Transformers the movie comic/poster. This is the comic that TheTF.Net provided for use on the cover art.

The obligatory animated scene selector
Every decent DVD needs animated chapter selectors, particularly if it’s an animated film. This DVD is no exception, and this time the chapters on the cover are spelt correctly. For those that don’t know, the original print of the cover had a spelling mistake that we here at TheTF.Net noticed and caught Maverick just in time to prevent an embarrassment.

Interesting version?
This version of the film on this DVD is quite unusual, it’s neither the U.S. uncut version or the UK version. It is in fact a hybrid of the two. It features the UK scrolling text and voicover, yet still has the swearing intact. This makes it unique, if not unusual. Is this the best version available?

Theatrical Trailer
For me this is the prize of the features, for although it doesn’t say it on the cover it is actually in widescreen! here are some screenshots to prove it. A 4:3 version of this trailer is downloadable in our video section now, but this widescreen version on the DVD is a beautiful sight.

The Film Itself
OK, OK, no widescreen. I know. Sunbow said that it existed and that they’d found it, but they didn’t come forward with it. This is very frustrating and annoying, particularly considering that the trailer has been unearthed in widescreen. This just wets our appetites even more. Never mind, one day the widescreen print will light our darkest hour… or at least our DVD players, I’m sure of it.

As the film itself, I don’t know if it’s just me but the actual transfer looked a little dark. I thought the same about the VHS version, maybe I’m just picking holes. This film also features a 5.1 sound mix that was created at great expense by those chaps in the USA.

I have to say that I feared the worst with this release. We’d waited so long with so many promises, disappointments and false advertising by retailers that I just felt we were in for a big let down. Those fears however were dispelled with the intro sequence of the disc. It was slick, stylish and professional, far better in my opinion the the US region 1 version from Rhino.

The extras from there were like a candy flavoured topping. The widescreen trailer, ooh bliss. The Takara episode, the NRG remix with my images (ego trip) and even the BBC intro footage. This DVD made my day, I just hope that Maverick’s efforts to please the fans don’t backfire on them with people feeling cheated, because you won’t be. believe me.

The really great thing is that with this epic project out of the way, Maverick can now focus on the next Transformers release. A DVD containing five episodes from season 1: SOS Dinobots, Fire in the Sky & The Ultimate Doom parts 1,2 & 3. This they hope will be out by December 31st.

Now if you want this DVD, and you know you do, it’s only available in the UK.
If you’re in the US or any other country for that matter you can order it online and import it, GAME will ship to foreign turf. Bear in mind though that there is a US region 1 DVD of Transformers The Movie already available, if you’d rather that check out Amazon. If you’re unsure which one you want, check out our review of the US region 1 version here.

That’s it, the DVD is out, I’m off to bed to dream of Transformers and a time when, well, all are one.

’til then?

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