Transformers the Movie
Review and Commentary by Blackjack
So, the 1986 Movie. As you may or may not know, I was introduced to the Transformers fiction via the 2007 live-action movie. A quick look through the ever-reliable Wikipedia revealed that, shock, there was a cartoon movie released nearly two decades ago! That's, like, old! Initially I wasn't convinced at watching it via YouTube, since it's quite a long movie. But by one way or another I was curious. Perhaps there was a way to see what the plot was without needing the hassle of stumbled upon a faithful transcript on some obscure fansite. It piqued my interest, so I broke down and hunted down a DVD of the movie. It took me nearly a year before I could locate one.
Was it worth the trouble? Well, the Movie was hardly that good. Yes, the animation and voice acting is a step-up from the cartoon series, but that's a given. While it is cool to hear Devastator speaking like he has six voices, and to see Starscream do that barrel-spinning thing, consider it as a mainstream movie at a moment. Instead of 'the movie' of an animated series centering on Optimus Prime and company, nearly all of the main Autobot cast of the cartoon series that the kids knew and love were either killed or otherwise forgotten within the first few scenes. The Decepticons followed suit, with those that survived the ax being relegated to cannon fodder and background characters. All in favour for a new cast. The plot is frayed, with parts of it being obvious padding—why do we need the Quintesson and Junkion scenes again? Compared to cartoons released by Disney around that time, like, say, the Great Mouse Detective (1986) or the Little Mermaid (1989), Transformers really lacked a proper plot to steal the audiences' heart, nor was it funny or quirky enough. Rather, it sits between the campy feel of the first two cartoon seasons and a darker tone, yet not willing to go all the way. Compared to its contemporaries, TFTM was not a good movie. I'll say that with a straight face. If it didn't have the Transformers brand or the crazy-awesome voice actors that they pulled into this (Judd Nelson? Robert Stack? Leonard Nimoy? Orson Welles!) the plot and animation would wash up as one of those random kiddie movies you can buy for 10 cents at a flea market.
Some people may justify the pretty poor plot quality by saying 'it's twenty years ago'! So were the Disney movies. It's not an excuse. Also, let's not forget to mention that the PG rating (because someone thought having Spike saying 'oh shit!' would be a good parental bonus) would deter more parents from bringing their kids to watch the movie, thus reducing the audience even more. No wonder it was a box office failure.
Harsh? Maybe. It's a good thing, then, that Transformers have a loyal and rabid (if ever-complaining) fanbase, and they lap up this chunk of nostalgia more than anything else.
Of course, from the viewpoint of a Transformers fan, I see a different story. Like when watching Revenge of the Fallen—which cannot be mistaken as a good movie itself, although the pretty visual effects and superior acting do distract from the fact that the plot is haywire—you can't help but be charmed at how fun the characters are on screen. Although there's no excuse for basically ignoring wherever the not-main characters disappear off to during the epic Unicron battle.
The many deaths... Ironhide gets the coolest death, and that's not even a heroic sacrifice. While people like Ratchet and the Insecticons are shot down and dumped away. It's a more mature, if callous, outlook. This is war, after all. Yes, it's bad marketing strategy but from the point of telling a story, some characters' deaths are meaningful. Of course seeing Wheeljack die offscreen and having Daniel get loads of screentime is pretty criminal...
Once you get past the fact that the old cast is there just to die, you can sit back and enjoy the movie. The animation is a pretty clean break from the original cartoon. And even stuff like Robots in Disguise and Armada are put to shame by the animation here. Backgrounds are always stunning, most notably the crash on Junk, the space battle, and anything involving Unicron. More characters can be afforded to occupy the same screen, with more complex animations. Just look at the Decepticons pouring out of their ship in the Autobot City battle, compare it with any scene of the Decepticons flying in the cartoon. Everybody flies in a certain direction, transforming at different times... and Unicron destroying Lithone is a gorgeous, gorgeous scene.
There are still animation errors, of course, but then it wouldn't be G1 without animation errors.
What about the story, then? Or the dialogue? Well, the dialogue has been pretty much quoted to death by the fanbase, but there's a sense of novelty when you hear Megatron say 'I still function...' for the first time. There are, of course, great action scenes, as well as classic, iconic scenes like seeing Optimus Prime die for the first time. You just can't help but feel nostalgic as you see your favourite characters duke it out, and for the new batch to appear. And the plot device, the Matrix of Leadership? It isn't so bad when you wrap your head around it. Story itself, it is pretty tame as far as Transformers stories go, and pretty fun as well. To a fan, this is a novelty and an enjoying experience, despite my earlier rant.
So what do I hate? Well, the random usage of rock music during scenes. It is bloody irritating. I mean, once or twice I can get — when 'the Touch' and 'Instruments of Destruction' were used, they were appropriate and added somewhat to the feel of the scenes, but the rest? Do we need a song for whirling around a Sharkticon pool? Still, the background score is pretty well done. Nowhere near the quality of movies nowadays, of course, but it fits the retro-techno tone of the movie.
What is irredeemable about the story is the conclusion. Hot Rod reaches the Matrix, turns into Rodimus Prime, and blows away Galvatron and Unicron within seconds. There's no sense of conclusion, no spectacular climax, and it pretty much falls flat, especially the scene where Unicron blows up. There's also no closure, only Rodimus saying 'til all are one!' What happened to the Decepticons, to Shockwave and Cyclonus and all the rest? How did they retake Cybertron? Things like that. And Galvatron tumbling into space? It's stupid. Homage, yes, but what about the whole 'reluctant slave' bit? What about Cyclonus and Scourge and the other Decepticons?
We also jump around quite fast, in order to introduce as many toys as possible. What use is introducing Wheelie, for example? Not that I'm a Wheelie hater, but he's of no importance to the movie's plot.
Also, Daniel Witwicky is annoying, irritating and pretty ugly. His whiny voice doesn't help matters any bit.
Other than those three factors, though, the movie is very enjoyable. Hot Rod is your classic bland, brash, young Luke Skywalker hero. Kup is the mentor, Ultra Magnus is the uptight superior, Arcee is the girl, Perceptor is the phletobium-speaking scientist, Blurr and the Dinobots are the quirky ones there for the laugh... Wheelie and Wreck-Gar, they co-star. Don't really make an impact to me. As for the bad guys, well, Galvatron is pretty entertaining, but Cyclonus and Scourge don't get any characterisation other than being Galvatron's new henchmen. Orson Welles' nonchalant performance as Unicron is commendable, as this distant being seemingly bored at the universe before him, like some eldritch, disinterested god. And that is with Welles hating the role... The old guard, Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream and all that, all shine. Arguably 'wanna bet' is cooler than everything Starscream's ever done in the cartoon. It's filled with these kinds of classic scenes from the days when Transformers was a silly kids franchise. Now it's a big, silly kids franchise with a massive network of fanboys and buttloads of fiction. And this movie, hate it or love it, played a big role in moving Transformers into the franchise it is now. Till all are one, indeed.
So as long as you know what to expect, you won't be terribly disappointed. It's like a new reboot in preparation for a new series. It's not an adaptation starring Optimus, Megatron, Starscream and Bumblebee. But rather it gives way to a new set of characters. Do I like it? Yes, I do. Arguably not a good move, but once you settle yourself in and watch it, you'll find yourself enjoyed if you're a Transformers fan.
If not? Well, what are you doing in a Transformers site?
The first appearances of Hot Rod, Rodimus Prime, Unicron, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge, Kup, Blurr, Ultra Magnus, Springer, Arcee, Wheelie, Wreck-Gar, Daniel Witwicky, Ratbat, Steeljaw, Eject, Rewind and Ramhorn. As well as the Quintessons, Sharkticons, Allicons and Junkions. Autobot City would later be revealed to be Metroplex, and Slammer cameos during the transformation scene.
TFTM introduces many concepts that would be repeated numerous times over the many series. Even without quoting TFTM, here are concepts introduced:
-Optimus Prime dying in a heroic sacrifice.
-Megatron being upgraded into Galvatron.
-Unicron as the big bad.
-The Matrix as a mystical physical object in contrast of the program that the Marvel comics originally introduced it as.
-Cybertron has two moons.
-Characters dying and staying dead. And turning gray when they die.
-"One shall stand, one shall fall."
-"I still function!"
-"Till all are one!"
Some objects introduced in the Movie won't be named until much, much later. The Decepticon ship that Galvatron uses would later be named 'Revenge' by IDW. The Junkion ship is named 'Minnow II'.
IDW would also christen Wreck-Gar's right-hand Junkion (the one with viking horns beside his head, UK Marvel comic readers will recognise him as the Junkion that talks to Death's Head) as Junkyard. Hasbro would christen the other 'main generic' Junkion with a goggle-eyes 'Scrapheap'. All the other Junkions, whose models are mish-mashes of Wreck-Gar, Scrapheap and Junkyard's models are all given names by IDW.
When Sludge gets haymakered by Devastator, his eyes pop out, Looney Tunes style.
The way Kup does his storytelling sequence seems to be inspired by the novel Of Mice and Men.
There are some things that are only seen here. The transforming exo-suits never show up in the cartoon. Cyclonus never transforms into Galvatron's personal gunship in the cartoon as well. Scourge never lifts up his head to talk in alternate mode (look at 'you want me to gut Ultra Magnus...' if you don't know what I mean).
Cybertron seems to have more than two moons, after Unicron chows on the two Moon Bases, tiny objects similar to them could be seen for an instant.
Gundam enthusiasts will be able to note that the robot debris inside the Quintesson jail are those of the mobile suits RX-178 Mk II Gundam and the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
As with the cartoon, some Star Wars effects are used. Every single time a Decepticon jet needs an engine sound effect, a variation of the Millennium Falcon engine burst noise is used. The sound of a deactivating lightsaber is used for the Quintesson ship's ramp extending and clashing lightsabers as Unicron fires eye-blasts.
Not to mention that Megatron wields a lightsaber during his battle against Prime. Admittedly to avoid legal problems the blade never comes out a straight line, but still it's obvious!
Speaking of Star Wars, there are many parallels you can draw. Arcee's helmet is a shout-out to Princess Leia's cinnamon bun hairdo. The way Optimus' disembodied voice speaks to Rodimus is like Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice speaking to Luke Skywalker. Unicron is the Death Star that transforms. Galvatron tumbling into space is similar to Darth Vader at the end of the original movie. Springer is pretty much Han Solo.
Star Trek voice effects are used as well. The sliding door sound effect is used when Wreck-Gar pulls out his mini-TV. Daniel's exo-suit also uses Trek sound. effects.
The Junkions speak in pop culture quotes. Alongside generic phrases like 'operators standing by' and stuff, we have a bunch of references:
-'You check in but you don't check out' is a parody of the tagline for Roach Motel insect traps.
-'Don't look behind door number two, Monty!' is a reference to Monty Hall's game show Let's Make a Deal.
-'Ger-der-ronny-ron-ron-ronny-mo!' is a homage to the 'geronimo' cry.
-'Happy motoring' is the slogan of gas company Esso.
In some versions of TFTM, Spike's 'oh shit' and Ultra Magnus' 'damn it, open!' lines are edited out. Also, in some edits the opening credits is replaced with a Star Wars-style rolling credits to provide background information
The proof that I'm obsessed with these sort of things: go to the scene where Rodimus Prime opens the Matrix, slow it down. It's hard to see because of the disco ball effect, but the Matrix shell halves and the glowing interior are held together by a thin string. So it doesn't get lost, I suppose.
Finding the Cameos
Gears? Gears was in the movie? Where was he? Well, never fear! This section deals with those pesky split-second cameos of characters without lines. Gears, for one, appear very early in the movie, when Optimus Prime says 'ready the shuttle for launch!' Gears is sitting beside Ironhide. Since he's in Moon Base One, if he didn't go with Optimus and the Dinobots to Earth he's Unicron chow. Despite having all of three seconds of appearance, Don Messick is credited with voicing Gears.
At a casual watch, Reflector seems missing from the Decepticon ranks, but he actually appears for several blink-or-you'll-miss-it scenes. After the Insecticon scene, a Reflector flies towards the top right screen, although he's miscoloured as Ironhide. A correctly-coloured Reflector is seen afterwards briefly when the Decepticons run in and assemble after Blurr says his line. He's running beside Dirge, blink and Dirge will cover him from your sight! Flec is seen once or twice watching Devastator along with the others. During the coronation scene, Reflector can be seen during the panning shot beside the not-dead Skywarp and Shrapnel. And then again when Cyclonus flies in.
Grapple can be seen in the background when Perceptor fires at the Decepticons.
One of those generic purple Seekers from the first season actually make an appearance in Ironhide's screen at the beginning of the movie, right before Starscream flies past.
Snarl is without a doubt the most notorious disappearance, since the other four Dinobots appear. He does get a few scenes in, however, standing in beast mode and replacing Swoop from the Dinobots when the Autobots on Earth receive the SOS from Jazz and company. He later runs away from Cyclonus' fire. Snarl is very briefly seen in robot mode in a split-second view of the interior of the Quintesson ship as it lands in Junk.
Beachcomber, or at least a robot coloured like him, is seen in the smelting pool scene, in front of Spike and Bumblebee. Look at when Daniel shouts 'how?' Since he doesn't escape... Add Beach to the death tally.
A yellow Autobot of similar build to Bumblebee and Cliffjumper but is neither of them shows up in the smelting pool scene as well, behind Cliffjumper when they fall down. Some fans have dubbed this Hubcap or Bumper (Bumblejumper) but it is neither, since none of them had any official character models.
It's G1. A one-and-a-half hour of animation in G1. Of course it is chock full of animation errors. -deep breath- Let's do this thing.
When the Lithonians go 'look, it's Unicron!', Unicron's ring is placed in front of a building, making him look like part of the foreground and thus tiny. Next scene, Unicron dwarfs the entire planet.
The Lithonian inside the ship that Unicron eats is supposed to be Arblus, but uses Kranix's model.
When Jazz reports his security status, Cliffjumper is twiddling knobs that aren't present.
When Cliffjumper does the countdown the area around his head is coloured blue like windows instead of red.
When the Decepticons blow a hole in the Autobot shuttle it's a clean, empty hole. The next scene had Megatron tearing wires apart so he could get in.
Scavenger's head is entirely gray when he ducks from Prowl's shot.
Starscream is always holding Megatron during the battle against Ironhide and company, but at one point Starscream is seen firing his shoulder cannons alongside the Constructicons. Presumably this is supposed to be Skywarp or Thundercracker, miscoloured as usual.
The miscoloured-as-Starscream's wings are red as well when he fires at the Autobots.
When the Decepticons assume command of the Autobot ship, the Autobot corpses have all moved positions. Brawn is on his back instead of on his chest, Prowl is face-down instead of face-up, and the holes in Ironhide and Ratchet's chest disappear.
When Shrapnel is eating the door, his left horn is not drawn to simulate it being on the other side. But when Shrapnel chews his way through, revealing the other side, his antenna is still missing.
As mentioned above during the panning shot of Decepticons flying in and out Reflector is miscoloured as Ironhide.
When Blaster does his 'zap, ow!' line, a first-season Seeker flies past his window that is coloured like blue with yellow wings like Dirge.
After Blaster says 'look out and shout!' his forehead is red instead of white. After he transforms it's like that again.
Again for Blaster, when he says 'cover your receptors' a laser blast in the background zips in front of him.
When the four Cassettes transform after being ejected, both Rumble and Frenzy are coloured like Frenzy.
It's nothing compared to Eject and Rewind, though. Look this: Blaster ejects a blue cassette, who transforms. Halfway through he turns black. The second cassette is also blue, but turns black almost immediately after leaving Blaster's chest, then for a split second turns blue before returning to black. And when the two attack the Decepticons? Both are coloured as Eject as they run across the screen.
When Perceptor punches Frenzy he flies and disappears into an indecipherable dot.
Wheeljack's body is miscoloured red and black, somewhat like Sideswipe, when Springer first enters the room.
At one point during that scene Springer's face is green.
When Devastator merges the winged chest-piece is green instead of purple.
When Devastator hammers the walls, Shrapnel is gray where he should be black.
'Let the slaughter begin!' Megatron's hips are gray instead of black.
When kicking Grimlock, Devastator's Mixmaster leg is suspiciously thin.
When Optimus Prime transforms into vehicle mode his Autobot insignia is missing from his trailer as we pan across him.
When Optimus enters the battle, Blitzwing's helmet can't decide whether it wants to be the correct shade of tan or to be purple.
Several times during the OP/Meg fight scene Megatron's back cannon is coloured black instead of gray. There's a fair bit of background and dust effect clipping into each other as well.
The gun Megatron uses to kill Optimus is purple and white, but when he says 'fall! Faaall!' it is black.
Megatron's gun effects alternate between purple and orange.
After Megatron hits the ground, Hook runs in of nowhere. Literally. While the others run in from offscreen, Hook just pops up.
Optimus' antenna are gray after knocking Megatron down.
'How do you feel, mighty Megatron?' Starscream's entire nosecone is orange instead of just the cockpit.
Immediately after Optimus removes the Matrix, there is a second, empty Matrix shell underneath it. In the next shots it is gone.
'The ayes have it!' Bombshell's chest is a blob of gray mess.
Astrotrain's door area is yellow as Starscream pushes Megatron out, and the correct gray shade immediately afterwards.
The extent of damage on Megatron's chest changes between frames during the bargain scene.
Coronation trumpet scene: Starscream and Hook has both sprouted Silverbolt lips, and Hook has two eyes instead of a visor.
Also, while it looks cool, stop and consider how massive the shoulder thingies are on Starscream on his coronation character model. Compare it with Ramjet next to him.
When Cyclonus fights the Autobot shuttle, at one point he flies offscreen and his laser blasts come from
When Magnus asks Perceptor to find a place for them to land the yellow bits on his helmet is black.
When he whistles Daniel's lips don't move.
During our first view of Wreck-Gar, notably the close-up ('offer expires while you wait, operators standing by') he only sneers and his mouth doesn't move.
'Spare me this mockery of justice!' Kranix's gray forehead suddenly become a bit long as he covers his face.
When he lands on Junk, Shrapnel's lower legs are white instead of black. That, alongside the whole 'dead' thing.
As Cyclonus and Galvatron land on Junk the debris that splatter away are highly detailed in contrast to the dull background feel of the ground.
The Sharkticon that Hot Rod punches until his teeth fall out has his left eye cracked. When we pan away and back, the Sharkticon's broken eye is whole. Teeth are still missing, though.
The generic block-headed Junkion that Arcee throws off his bike turns into the Junkyard model as he falls down and transforms into vehicle mode.
Sludge and Blurr are missing during the 'Dare to be Stupid' scene.
During his transformation, Unicron uses his early model with an orange mohawk and a beardless chin, as well as completely white hands. All other scenes have him with a completely golden helmet, a goatee and golden knuckles on his hands.
Dirge is eaten by Unicron twice.
As Hot Rod falls off the spike in Unicron, his lower body's layering is messed up.
As Hot Rod gets up after falling from said spike, his insignia is missing.
Directly after Galvatron recovers from 'of course, my master' the Matrix's glow effect is on his face instead of his chest.
At one point Unicron shoots purple optic beams instead of green. Right before the Dinobot scene.
As the Dinobots fly around Unicron, his left eye is intact.
Rodimus Prime opens the Matrix several times.
The green glow is immediately behind Rodimus during the close-up as the Autobots spot him, but it's at the end of the hallway in the next shot.
The hole in Unicron's left eye disappear as we pan away during his death scene.
The level of detail, particularly on Unicron and on Junk, disappear and reappear as we pan in and out. Particularly jarring on Unicron.
While in real life there's the excuse that the Movie was developed before the characters were released, there is technically no excuse fiction-wise for the absence of the other combiner teams. Menasor, Bruticus, Superion and Defensor all show up after the Movie, so it can't be because they went to whatever limbo Trailbreaker and Skyfire and the other Autobots went. Omega Supreme is absent as well deespite his 'last line of defense' shtick. The IDW adaptation twenty years later adds a scene where Omega, Superion and Defensor defends the Ark from Menasor and Bruticus, somewhat justifying their absence.
Stunticons, Combaticons and Buzzsaw aside, the Decepticons are more or less complete. However, many, many Autobots are missing in action without any explanation.
Also, Snarl is absent with no rhyme or reason from the Dinobots.
Many Autobots also pop up without explanation. While people like Hot Rod, Springer and Blurr could easily be believed to be soldiers fighting in other planets who we never see until now, it's hard to believe nobody ever mentioned Ultra Magnus, a high ranking officer with the potential to become the leader.
More inexcusable is where the moons came from. In all shots of Cybertron in the cartoon, even when Cybertron is teleported to Earth, there were never moons.
In previous episodes Brawn can shrug off Megatron's fusion blast with no problem, even taking a shot to the face in an early G1 episode. Here a shot to the shoulder kills him. Yes, it tears all the way through him, but still...
Another power inconsistency is Scavenger. In the first scenes, one shot from Scavenger's gun tears Prowl's chest so badly he coughs out orange smoke as he dies. He never displays this strength any more, even later in the movie.
Swoop runs across the scene (well, his lower body) about a minute or two before the Dinobots arrive.
Despite Sunstreaker being with Kup's roadblock group, he is later shown piloting the shuttle with Optimus Prime and the Dinobots.
Astrotrain's line 'jettison some weight' technically
makes no sense, since there is no weight in space... but 'jettison some mass' doesn't have the same ring to it.
Unicron creates an 'Armada' for Cyclonus out of either Skywarp or Bombshell (most clues point to Skywarp being the Armada). While the showmakers intended Cyclonus to have lots of clones like Scourge's Sweeps, this was not to be, and the Armada disappears after a couple of shots, being replaced by a fourth Sweep. The IDW adaptation years later had the Armada perish in the subsequent battle in Autobot City.
Skywarp, Thundercracker, Shrapnel and Kickback all show up in the coronation scenes even though they should've been reformatted by then. Shrapnel even gets a whole scene with Scavenger in Junk tormenting Daniel. While the Insecticons could be excused because of their cloning powers — either the ones turned into Sweeps and Cyclonus are clones, or the ones running around afterwards are clones — it does not excuse the Seekers.
If you slow it down you'll see that Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker all join the Coneheads in the bomb-run of Unicron's head when they should be dead.
Galvatron is shown here to be able to kill Starscream with a single shot. He never displays this kind of power again, although this may be because he's still serving Unicron at that time and draws power from him.
Where all the extra Sweeps came from is never explained; only five minions are shown being created.
Cyclonus' Armada disappears after the reformatting scene.
Why didn't anybody notice Unicron coming until he's close enough to bite onto Moon Base One? Decepticons and Autobots alike?
Blaster exits stage left after the Decepticons arrive on Autobot City.
Kup has bubbles coming out of his mouth for no good reason.
At Quintessa Hot Rod and Kup run out of Energon goodies, yet Hot Rod has one to give Wreck-Gar when they get to junk.
Ultra Magnus clearly blows apart, but the Junkions recover solid pieces easily reassembled.
In the smelting pool, the Autobot behind Cliffjumper ('Bumper'/Hubcap) disappears with no reason. We're assuming Beachcomber, by virtue of being in front of Bumblebee, is melted down.
Springer shouldn't be able to spin his rotors when they fly out of Unicron's eye. It's space, remember?
Even assuming that they didn't get killed by the blast, how did Rodimus and the other car Autobots survive the plummet to Cybertron? Lest we forget, Unicron is as tall as a planet.
Apparently the chief reason Rodimus Prime was able to open the Matrix is because he inserted his fingers into the finger-holes.
As usual, there are scale issues. Three of the most jarring: Astrotrain's shuttle mode alternates between being just about the right size for the Decepticons to cram into and being spacious enough for Devastator to form. Sludge's leg is unnaturally large as he stomps on the Sharkticons. Unicron, being a planet, means scale takes a vacation. By logic, if Unicron is the size of Earth (since Cybertron is about Earth's size) then when the Dinobots or Galvatron fly around him, they are the size of continents.
There are a lot, but here are the ones that very nearly made it into the final script, and could be seen on other material such as the Marvel adaptation:
-To destroy Lithone, Unicron would've used a red mist to destroy and liquify the planet. This red mist would later be used to threaten Megatron with death. The former was eschewed into Unicron simply chowing down, while the latter was changed into vague red streaky lines.
-The Lithonians, Kranix especially, would've transformed into spaceships and it was ready in their character models. Probably because we already have many other transforming alien robots (in addition to the Transformers, we have Unicron, the Junkions, the Sharkticons...) this was dropped.
-Arblus would have dialogue, telling Kranix to run before the mist dissolves him.
-Ironhide would be the one to suggest the Autobot City mission, not Optimus.
-Instead of perching outside the base, Laserbeak would've hidden in tape mode unseen before flying away.
-Prowl, Ironhide and company would've ran into some asteroid problem, where Ironhide would be absorbed with navigating the ship, and boasting about it until something slams onto it. Prowl mocks Ironhide, who remarks it isn't an asteroid... cue Megatron. This explains how the Decepticons got the jump on them.
-Brawn would've been blasted into half. Ironhide and Ratchet would've been fused together by the Decepticon firepower before being torn apart.
-Autobot City was supposed to be made clear that it's a massive energy-gathering city with solar panels, wind turbines and stuff. In the final product it's just a big metallic city.
-Daniel to tell Hot Rod they weren't supposed to go to Lookout Mountain, and Hot Rod would've called him 'chromochicken'.
-Some scenes with a more stylised version of Autobot City were actually animated for the promo, with an additional shot of Blitzwing divebombing Arcee and Springer that didn't make it into the final cut.
-The Japanese trailer adds even more unused scenes, one with a larger Decepticon armada, Skywarp being shot down, and footage of Bluestreak and Mirage.
-After Hot Rod shoots Starscream there was supposed to be a reaction scene with Starscream and Megatron arguing about their cover being blown.
-Starscream would've pulled his feet out with a shoehorn from his wrist.
-Magnus was supposed to reprimand Hot Rod after they enter the city.
-Blaster would've manned a turret and blasted the Insecticons.
-Blaster's cassettes were originally Bolts the robot, Stinger the scorpion, Cubbie the lion and Stripes the tiger.
-The Decepticon troops would've dogpiled Optimus before he got to Megatron, which explains why Optimus looks like he's just standing up when the two face each other.
-'I'll rip out your optics' was supposed to have Megatron extend claws from his fingers.
-During the bout for leadership Blitzwing would've challenged the others using his triple changing abilities as candidate. Dirge would've said his signature 'death comes to anyone who crosses me' line afterwards.
-Starscream would've hidden in a corner until the others are exhausted before taking out the survivors. In another draft he would've joined the battle with the Coneheads at his side.
-Ultra Magnus would've asked Perceptor if their shuttle can take off, upon which Perceptor delivers his usual long winded answer and Springer goes 'go for it!'
-Astrotrain would've fired on the Autobot shuttles as they tried to escape. The Autobot shuttles would've then slowed the Decepticons down by blasting asteroids to block their path after a trick on Beta Four that Kup (and later Galvatron) remembers.
-Kup telling a story had a different dialogue in the promo trailer as well.
-Kup and Hot Rod's shuttle would've crashed because some lobster claw from Quintessa's ring slammed onto their ship's cockpit.
-The piece that Hot Rod left up while repairing Kup? That was supposed to cause Kup to become double jointed, allowing him to escape his bonds while falling to the Sharkticons. Instead of the bond randomly disappearing.
-The Quintessons' original motivation was to punish all those who escaped Unicron's wrath. This was unfeasible, obviously, and was dropped.
-A Quintesson would've fooled the Dinobots into walking to a trap-filled road, explaining why there are spikes in a random hole that Slag almost falls into. Also explains Wheelie's 'look behind' line.
-In a backstory only present in the character bio, Wheelie was a survivalist whose parents were killed in the crash. He had a necklace of Sharkticon teeth.
-The most famous one was that Ultra Magnus was supposed to die with the Sweeps quartering him, i.e. Using energy beams to rope his limbs until he blows apart. Evidently the scene was animated with quartering in mind, see Magnus struggle against imaginary bonds? Must've been cut for the rating.
-the Junk planet itself was supposed to be a large spaceship. When Unicron blew it apart, the Junkions' speedy repairs would've made tiny ships out of the halves.
-Unicron would've killed Shockwave by crushing the tower he was in. The IDW adaptation has Shockwave's death by eye blasts instead.
And here are the ones that exist only on storyboards and very early draft scripts:
-Devastator was initially going to be brought down by Ultra Magnus, Red Alert, Sideswipe and Tracks. Red Alert would've died in the process.
-Trailbreaker's dead body would've been shown as we pan over the battlefield.
-Mirage would try to sneak up behind Bombshell, but shot down by Megatron.
-Bluestreak would've sliced Thundercracker into two.
-A group of Anibots would be unleashed upon the Constructicons during the Autobot City battle, with alternate modes identical to what will be the Predacons.
-In a particularly early script, Wheeljack and Sunstreaker would have a sub-plot which involved them facing off against Scourge and Cyclonus on Earth over its resources.
-Blurr and Daniel would've speedily repaired parts of the shuttle on Junk with salvaged parts.
-Gears would've died on-screen during the 'to the shuttles' scene, so would've Windcharger.
-Unicron's robot mode was originally named Ingestor. He was also originally supposed to be much, much bigger. One of the tiny globes on Unicron's ring was supposed to be the size of Earth!
-One of the first pitches was to have the Transformers discover that Cybertron was actually a real gigantic Transformer.
One of the final draft scripts could be seen here: http://www.tfarchive.com/cartoons/info/movie/draft.php
Some deleted storyboards could be seen here: http://www.tfarchive.com/cartoons/in...e/storyboards/
| Scramble City | Transformers Episode Guide | Season 3, Part 1 |