"We didn't know that he was an icon... to a generation."
-Flint Dille on writing the death of Optimus Prime

How many times have I seen this movie?  It's difficult to even estimate.  I remember telling people that I had seen it 7 times in the theatre when I was a kid.  Sure, there were probably years, when I might've watched it only once.  But I think back, I can remember times after it came out on video, where we'd watch it once a week on average!  I'd be surprised if I have seen it any less than a hundred times.

Could I recite pretty much every line as the movie plays? This thing is so ingrained in my psyche, I bet I could recite darn near every line from start to finish, without the movie playing!  Do we already own a copy of TFTM?  Between us bros, we probably have a dozen different copies.  One released in Japan, Early U.S. versions, late U.S. versions, VHS, DVD... You name it. 

Considering all the above, the real question is:  Is there really that much to get excited about, for a movie we know so well and already have more than a few copies of anyway?  The answer, a resounding, unanimous, YES! 

We here at unicron.com were fortunate enough to get our hands on an advance copy of the upcoming Transformers the Movie, 20th Anniversary Special Edition.  (It's a tough job but someone's got to do it! :)

The truth is, I really don't know where to begin.  There are so many things to talk about with this release!  

I think back to the first time I saw this film. I was in my toy buying age prime (pardon the pun).  Although I've grown up (a little), it still ignites an excitement in me from the very first moments see Unicron have his snack then the 80's big-hair-band style theme song starts rollin'...!  Yeah, I "got my geek on!", sat down with an ice cold beverage of choice, a few munchies and relived some childhood memories, in all of it's digitally re-mastered glory!

My intent was to watch, then quickly crank out this review.  The trouble is, after I watched it once through with the trivia balloon feature on, then I had to watch it again more than halfway through with the fan commentary on.  I wanted to get a little idea of what Flint Dille (story writer/consultant), Susan Blu ( the voice of Arcee) the film's director Nelson Shin had to say in their commentary.  I thought I'd just watch a bit of it.  I couldn't stop!  I wound up watching it again from start to finish!  I was a good two and a half times through it before I finally made it to the special feature menus... Holy wow.  Next thing I know, I'm exhausted and can't figure out why? Oh, because it suddenly 3 o'clock in the morning!

I really enjoyed the Dille/Blu/Shin commentary feature a lot.  Flint is hilarous!  

"yeah, in this part, we just ignored science."  referring to scene where Starscream has to dump Megatron and to jettison some weight, while in outer space with no gravity...

"Wheelie was one of those weenie little characters.  What can I say, you can't love all your character's equally!"

He talked about parents groups voicing their concerns about Transformers and their kids watching too much violence on television. That they were ~"worried their kids were going to start stealing F-15's (military plane) and start flyin'm around or somethin'!  So Turtles came out and to mommy all she saw was a cute turtle, and what the kid saw was the ninja sword, and people getting wailed in half! And so everyone was happy!"  He also talked about upset parents writing about their kid's sorrow to see Prime die...  ~"What they didn't know is that we already had an episode in the works to bring Optimus back as a zombie, then kill him all over again!" 

Susan Blu adds a unique perspective as the film's lone female, and Mr. Shin added insights I had never heard or thought of before...  Awesome, awesome stuff.  Does this film ever get old?  As a wise Autobot Leader once said, "NEVER!"  So yeah, even though one would think there's nothing else to see/learn, I found myself glued to the set for hours and loving every minute!

Okay, so lets talk about picture quality.  I remember a few years back, fan attendees of "Botcon" were treated to a theatrical viewing of the film.  I remember the reaction of many fans, including myself, who were freakin' out noticing things in the film that they hadn't seen in the hundreds of times they had seen it on VHS.  A couple of items in particular I recall, remember Starscream's inauguration scene?  Did you ever notice that when the 'camera' flashes back to Starscream after he shoots the Constructicon trumpets, that Ramjet is on on his left side with weapon ready?  It wasn't until the theatrical showing that I noticed that because it was largely cut off in the full screen VHS version I had.  Also, remember in one of the film's intro sequences, "...but from secret staging grounds on two of Cybertron's moons..."  Here in this scene you see a weapons factory in operation.  What I never noticed in lower quality VHS versions were the Dinobots, in robot mode working the machinery...

Watching this high resolution, digitally remastered picture quality, reminds me of that theatrical viewing.  All the details that jump out at you, one after another.  It's a sheer joy to behold!  There were actually quite a few little items that I need to go back and check.  Are they on previous versions?  If they are, then I didn't notice them, probably because of image quality... for example: in the intro, it seems there are different angles seen of Cybertron's moons, that I don't recall in earlier versions.

Is it perfect?  Close, but not quite.  There was some cropping of the top and bottom of each screen to achieve the "theatrical widescreen version".  So, yes we do see a little more of the left and right sides than previous versions, unfortunately, we also see a little less of the top and bottom.  I also would add that super die-hard fans, may find a few of the trivia baloons a bit too basic.  But even I learned quite a few things and greatly enjoyed the feature overall.

Suggested retail is about $22.  I found it on Amazon.com for $15.39.  Honestly, with all its features, quality picture/sound, interviews... I would say it's a must have for die-hard fans of Transformers even if the price were triple that.  What a great way to relive some childhood memories and perhaps share the experience with a whole new generation of fans!