Tomorrow marks the official release of 1986's The Transformers: The Movie on Blu-Ray! (Though is is filtering out to stores now!) Shout! Factory was nice enough as to provide us with an advance copy, and RAC shares his impressions of the set here. Short version? It looks great. Keep reading!
The movie is offered in two formats on two separate discs: widescreen (as matted down for theatrical release in 1986) and fullscreen (the 4:3 aspect ratio image as the movie was originally animated). While the widescreen version looks a little bit cleaner and more vivid, this may be a side-effect of the fact that HDTVs are going to be giving you a closer look at the image than it can for the 4:3 edition. That said, both discs look excellent, and better by far than any previous US release of the films have looked.
While the color remastering is impressive, and extremely bright and lively, the foibles of hand-drawn animation from the `80s are always going to be there. As you might expect, some scenes are just better animated than others - but it's far easier to tell that now. But where the new master really shines is in the backgrounds. There is a wealth of hand-painted detail in the backgrounds that most of us have not seen clearly since 1986 - if then! (The theatre I saw TFTM at was having some serious focus problems.)
Another aspect of the set that's impressive is its collection of trailers for the movie. While you've likely seen them all on previous releases of the movie, the quality of the commercials is downright surprising for TV ads for a 30 year-old movie. Having not been remastered to the standards of the feature presentation they also provide a valuable before/after quality to the set.
The one place where I feel the previous 20th-anniversary release from Sony wins out is in extras. You won't be finding collections of old TF toy ads here, nor the first US release of Scramble City. All of which is a pity, but the quality of the feature itself will likely make up for it for you.
Unless you see yourself switching over to an enormous 4K television at some point (and Shout! has made it clear they've created a 4K master to future-proof the movie), this is probably the last time you'll ever need to buy TF:TM. I can't see the picture quality being improved much further beyond this - and the amount of detail you've never seen clearly before is definitely worth checking out.
If, in 2026, an outtake reel containing Ultra Magnus' original death or some other heretofore footage is unearthed, I can see needing a new version of this. Otherwise, I'm comfortable calling this the definitive presentation of the movie.
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