For millions of years, a race of military like robots have been locked in a brutal war. The two opposing factions are the heroic Autobots lead by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons lead by Megatron. After years of fighting, both sides are facing extinction due to low energy reserves. Seeking a new power source, the Autobots plan a recon mission. But, their ship is invaded by the Decepticon force, which causes their ship to crash into a volcano on earth. 4 million years later, they awaken from their dormant state to continue the war, with earth's resources being the ultimate prize and deciding factor of the war.
In the year of 2005, the Decepticons finally conquered Cybertron and drove the Autobots off the planet. Now, with a city on Earth and on two of Cybertron's moons. The Autobots are planning a full scale attack, but lack the energy to carry out the mission. Meanwhile, Megatron has a plan of his own to wipe out the Autobots once and for all. The situation only gets worst as a planet sized, world devouring machine called Unicron suddenly appears.-summary
Written by Bob Budiansky, who also happens to be the writer of the original Transformers comic book series by Marvel. Which is also now being re-released as the graphic novel Classic Transformers. Transformers: The Animated Movie is a re-telling of the original animated movie which came out back in 1986. This graphic novel is published by IDW (Ideas + Design Works), and it contains all four volumes of the series, which were being released individually beginning in October of 2006. It was released in conjuction with the re-release of Transformers: The Movie, as part of the movies 20th anniversary. This series was first rumored, then it was later billed as the version that contained scenes that were cut from the original movie.
Those who saw the original movie will more than likely remember that it received quite a bit of negative feedback. Besides the fact that the movie depicted graphic character deaths. It left many other popular characters fates up in the air, with many of them disappearing to never be heard from again. Well, I'm sorry to break the news to the long time fans out there, but don't expect to learn much about what happened to those robots from this book. If your only reason for being interested in this book is to learn the fates of numerous fan favorites such as: Autobots - Mirage, Hound, Red Alert, or even Bluestreak. Then you're not going to get that. However, you're going to learn the fate of Decepticon Shockwave, and the identity crisis concerning Decepticon Cyclonus is finally cleared up.
The book is an accurate re-telling of the movie indeed. It maintains the serious tone, dark setting, and atmosphere. The robots are really trying hard to kill each other, and the action is pretty much non stop. The plot is still the same, and it contains all of the deaths from the movie, as well as those who were seen dead. But as a long time fan, I feel this book was almost a complete waste of my time. The writers of the original movie claimed that they cut many scenes due to most of the viewers being children. This made sense 20 years ago, but not when this book was released. All of those children who locked themselves in their rooms for weeks are grown ups now. Therefore, I see no reason in toning down the violence, and leaving the attack on Autobot City with such a truncated finish.
I wouldn't be so harsh on the book had it stuck to being an exact re-telling of the movie. But they went on ahead introducing new material. For example, the whereabouts of the Autobot and Decepticon combiners is revealed. Why? Seriously, who cares about that? We learned their fates back then, because they all appeared in the new seasons alive and well. Why go this route if you're not going to show more? Fans wanted to know exactly what happened to their favorites who didn't make it into the later seasons.
Transformers: The Animated Movie is clearly meant for those who have vast knowledge of the series. In other words, this book is only for fans. The book does not hold up well as a stand alone for non fans at all. There is almost zero character development, and the plot is more choppy than the movie. For instance, characters already seem to know the names of enemies and potential friends before their names were even mentioned. I can't think of any reason why a non fan should even bother with this.
The only thing that I was able to get into was the artwork by Don Figueroa. The character designs are awesome all around. But then again, it should be no surprise anyway, because IDW has been making some noise in the artwork department concerning both Transformers and G.I. Joe. The action panels have some cool moments as well, with the robots taking some very clean shots. I can just sit back and admire the artwork alone. The writing style has its moments and it can be both campy and dark at times. However, some of the original dialogue has been altered with classic lines being removed. Such as Megatron's final words to Ironhide before killing him in the space shuttle.
The writing format is worth mentioning also. There are things mentioned such as Energon, which is explained in the side panels. This is obviously meant to provide an explanation to those who are unfamiliar with the Transformer Universe. The dialogue bubbles are also very well placed, and it's easy to know whose talking. The robots also mention each others names frequently with the purpose on not keeping non fans in the dark. But I have a hard time believing non fans would actually care anyway.
Transformers: The Animated Movie can only be valuable to a die hard fan. But as a fan, I was very disappointed with this. I came into it hoping to see everything that the movie left out, only because it was mentioned that it would be here.
In closing, I definitely don't recommend this to non fans. Instead, I recommend either the TV series or the Classic Transformers graphic novels. To die hard fans, I honestly recommend going on the wiki page, and looking up the names of any character you can think of. You will learn far more there, then you will ever learn with this book. The book contains 95 pages, with the original cover art for the separate issues located at the end.
Pros: -Fantastic artwork -Accurate re-telling of animated movie
Cons: -Adds almost nothing new for long time fans, is worthless to non fans
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