Western Animation / The Transformers: The Movie
aka: Transformers The Movie

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Killing all your favorite characters (except Soundwave) for the new Fall toy line!

Note: This is about the Generation One original animated film. For the live-action films, see Film.Transformers.

Beyond Good. Beyond Evil. Beyond Your Wildest Imagination.

"80's hair metal and Transformers is the perfect marriage."

The Transformers: The Movie (1986) is the first film to come out of the Transformers franchise. It is rooted in the Generation One plot centered on the original animated TV series and associated comics from the mid-1980s, and spawned major continuity changes in that timeline, including major series plot changes. It did not have as big of an impact on the comics, since the additional space-based elements were largely inspired by ideas from the comics that had not made their way into the series, which up until then had been a relatively simple children's TV show.

The plot of the film takes us 20 Minutes into the Future to the far-off Year 2005, where the battle between Autobots and Decepticons has moved back to the mechanical world of Cybertron, presumably thanks to the humans apparently wising up and adopting Autobot technology in the interim, allowing regular space travel back and forth to the Transformers' home planet.

The animated film introduces, for the first time, the biggest bad in the Transformers multiverse, Unicron, who is en-route to gobbling up Cybertron after stopping off for a snack on the way. In the course of battling him and the Decepticons, a lot of Generation One robots die to make room for a new line-up, traumatizing many youngsters who had gotten used to the lack of permanent death in the TV series.

This was also the last film to feature the mighty Orson Welles.

Shout! Factory now has the home media rights to the film and released it on DVD and Blu-ray on September 13, 2016, in time for the movie's 30th anniversary.

Spoiler notice: There are unmarked spoilers in this article.


The Transformers: The Movie provides examples of:

  • Acid Pool: Unicron's body has giant acid vats that can melt a Transformer down in mere seconds.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Massive introduction of new backstory, continuity, and other worlds, to a series that had been about 'bots blowing each other up in the US outback.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Arcee is introduced here as the first prominent female Autobot. Unlike Elita One and the other female Autobots seen in the show's episode "The Search for Alpha Trion", Arcee goes on to become a major character in the cartoon.
  • Agony Beam: Unicron causes Galvatron unimaginable pain through their link whenever Galvatron fails him or steps out of line.
  • Agony of the Feet: Starscream's foot gets stuck while Autobot City is transforming. In order to free himself, he's forced to shoot his own foot.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: The Junkions get their entire culture from intercepted TV shows.
  • All There in the Manual: Where were Omega Supreme and the other combiners? The 2006 comic adaptation reveals that they were fighting each other outside the Ark. Also in this adaptation are the deaths of Shockwave and Beachcomber (though he lives in the cartoon). For the combiners, this can be justified since they didn't exist when the script was written, and if Omega Supreme was there, there'd be no drama!
  • Almost Dead Guy: Both Megatron and Optimus are left barely alive after their battle. Optimus gasps out a last message before expiring, and Megatron is unceremoniously booted out of Astrotrain by Starscream and left for dead, whereupon Unicron finds him and reformats him into Galvatron.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Autobot Matrix of Leadership is the receptacle of the power of the Primes and is the one thing in the entire universe that Unicron fears.
  • Animation Bump: The film easily contains the highest quality of animation out of the entire G1 series. In fact, the animation is so high quality that it was reused for the commercial for Transformers Armada Unicron 17 years later, and the scenes from the movie were better looking than the actual footage of Unicron from Armada.
  • Anyone Can Die: Done intentionally to clear the decks for a new round of characters/toys in the franchise. This proved a bit startling for a generation of latchkey kids used to worshiping Optimus Prime, and to their parents who were used to animated TV shows where nobody dies. The full list of characters who are confirmed to die or are reformatted beyond recognition in the movie is Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Prowl, Ironhide, Brawn, Ratchet, Wheeljack (debatable, as the Japanese extension of the G1 series was ignorant of this and accidentally had Wheeljack reappear alive and well in a continuity error), Windcharger, the Insecticons, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Gears, Shockwave, Bluestreak, and Huffer. That's almost half of the cast. More deaths were planned but left out including Red Alert and Smokescreen.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The opening scene featuring the destruction of an entire planet by Unicron. There are baby robots down there!
  • Arc Words:
    • "Light Our Darkest Hour", first said by Optimus, is the mantra by which the Matrix is finally opened.
    • More humorously, the 'Universal Greeting' - "Bah Weep Grah Na Weep Ninny Bong", first used by Kup in a failed attempt to befriend the Sharkticons, is later used successfully by Hot Rod to befriend the Junkions.
  • Art Evolution: Toei Animation's finest work in the series after their big break with Fist of the North Star's film adaptation in the same yearnote , and it shows. Afterwards, Toei worked part-time for this series after the movie.
  • Art Shift: A fairly minor (and possibly also intentional) one. During Starscream's coronation on Cybertron, he, Astrotrain and Ramjet are drawn in a style not to dissimilar to that of a series like Blue Comet SPT Layzner as opposed to the other Decepticons, who are drawn normally.
  • As Lethal as It Needs to Be: In some scenes Transformers die from one hit by pistol-sized laser guns, but in other scenes they are just knocked down (like Starscream during the battle for Autobot City) or even simply shrug them off (like Optimus Prime in the same battle). Hand Waved by the fact the Decepticons are fully powered with Energon, and grow progressively weaker as they fight.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • After shoving an injured Megatron into space, the Decepticons promptly have an all-out brawl to determine who gets to be the new leader. Starscream apparently wins, but then Galvatron takes the job by showing up and atomizing him. Word of God is that Starscream "won" by hiding quietly in a corner while all the other Decepticons fought, then shot the exhausted winner of the actual brawl in the back.
    • This also appears to be the way of the Sharkticons. When it becomes clear they can't beat the Dinobots, they relent, and obey Grimlock instead of the Quintesson magistrate.
      Magistrate: Sharkticons, execute them!
      Grimlock: [re: the Quintessons] Me Grimlock say execute them!
  • Autobots, Rock Out!:
    • Plenty of rock music when the Autobots are kicking ass, best exemplified by "The Touch".
    • Inverted during Megatron's assault on the Autobot shuttle, when the Decepticons annihilate its occupants while "Instruments of Destruction" plays in the background.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: "Oh shit, what're we gonna do now?!" Hilariously, this one was done so the parents would have to accompany their children to the film and know which toys to buy their kids. Didn't matter in the UK where the film got a U certificate anyway.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Galvatron, upon first being created from the body of Megatron.
      Galvatron: I'll rip open Ultra Magnus, and every other Autobot, until the Matrix has been destroyed!
    • Unicron, to Galvatron, when announcing the punishment for attempting to betray him.
      Unicron: You underestimate me, Galvatron...*transforms into a gargantuan Tranformer around Galvatron* For a time I considered sparing your wretched little planet Cybertron. But now you shall witness... its DISMEMBERMENT!
  • Big Damn Movie: This was much more epic in scale than the majority of the cartoon.
  • Big "NEVER!": The conclusion to Optimus Prime and Megatron's fight, when it looks like Megatron would be the winner:
    Megatron: I would have waited an eternity for this! It's over, Prime!
    Optimus Prime: (throwing a two-handed punch) NEVER!!
  • Big "NO!": Galvatron's horrified reaction to Unicron declaring that Cybertron is now on the menu.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Unicron's forehead ridge resembles something along these lines.note 
  • Bookends: Stan Bush's "The Touch" plays twice in the film. It first plays during Optimus' fight with Megatron in the beginning of the film and plays again during Rodimus Prime's fight with Galvatron near the end of the film.
  • Bullying The Dragon: Galvatron gloats right before Unicron that the tables have turned and he will use the Matrix to reduce the Planet Eater to little more than his slave. But, the Matrix doesn't open....Well this is awkward.
  • The Cameo: Huffer, Sunstreaker, Bluestreak, Hound, Gears, and Grapple appear in quick crowd shots. Wheeljack and Windcharger's dead bodies are seen on the ground. Reflector appears in three crowd shots but, due to an animation error, has Ironhide's colour scheme in one of them.
  • Catch Phrase: The Junkions are full of recycled catch phrases from other TV series and commercials. ("Kill the grand poobah! Eliminate even the toughest stains!")
  • The Cavalry: Who's there to save Hot Rod and Kup on Quintessa? The Dinobots!
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Over a dozen bite the dust. One of the most jarring was tough old Ironhide, who gets his head blown off by Megatron.
  • Citadel City: Autobot City transforms into one when the Decepticons launch their surprise attack. Since the 'cons were so close to the city by the time they were detected, the defenses were only partially effective. That said, it did let the Autobots hold out throughout the night, long enough for reinforcements to arrive.
  • Combat Breakdown: During Optimus Prime's final battle with Megatron, both combatants take damage and are clearly exhausted by the end of the fight. After knocking Megatron off the battlements Optimus can't even stand due to his (fatal) wounds, while Megatron is forced to beg Soundwave to get him to safety.
  • Color Failure: Upon death, Optimus Prime's body fades to a charcoal gray color- as does Starscream about a second before he completely disintegrates after being shot by Galvatron.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The comic book by Marvel adapted the film to a three-issue miniseries that was based on a non-final draft, though the films' events were only canon to the UK version of the comic book. Much later, IDW Publishing would publish a four-part miniseries adaptation of the final version of the film (with some minor changes) in honor of the film's 20th anniversary, which was titled Transformers: The Animated Movie to avoid confusion with the live-action Michael Bay movie.
  • Cool Old Guy: Kup, who shows up out of nowhere, is an ancient Autobot who's Seen It All and is not shy about telling everyone.
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • Orson Welles was in poor health (it was a few months before he died) and couldn't really deliver to his full potential (plus, he didn't really like the role). His bored sounding voice combined with the works of the sound engineer however, makes his bored sounding voice work.
    • As per tradition, Soundwave also speaks with this.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Averted in post-production; as originally animated, Ultra Magnus was supposed to have been pulled apart by the Sweeps. The final movie shows them shooting rope-like lasers, cutting to Ultra Magnus being gunned down and exploding into pieces when he falls. The (original) comic adaptation depicts the storyboarded drawn-and-quartered scene.
  • Cult Soundtrack:
    • The synthesized score by Vince Di Cola, and notable songs such as "Dare To Be Stupid" (by "Weird Al" Yankovic) and "The Touch" (by Stan Bush) have received a certain cult status among pop culture.
    • The resurgence of Transformers popularity in the 1990s helped renew interest in both Vince DiCola and Stan Bush. Both have publicly expressed gratitude to the fans' support and make regular appearances at Transformers conventions.
    • Lion is best known for the movie's theme; though they signed with Scotti Brothers soon after its release, they soon faded into obscurity.
    • And you won't believe where "The Touch" showed up after that...
  • Darker and Edgier: Unicron destroys an entire planet with virtually all of its occupants in the opening scene. Ironhide, Prowl, Ratchet and Brawn are killed a few moments later, and it doesn't exactly end there. And this movie was based on a kid's show.
  • Deadly Euphemism: see Not Quite Dead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Unicron is unimpressed with Megatron's boasting, and lets him know this in a disinterested, almost casual way.
    Megatron: Nobody summons Megatron!
    Unicron: Then it pleases me to be the first.

    Megatron: You have nothing to fear. I have crushed Optimus Prime with my bare hands!
    Unicron: You exaggerate.
  • Deal with the Devil: Unicron offers to rebuild Megatron in return for servitude; thus is born Galvatron. note 
  • Defiant to the End:
    • When Megatron, standing amidst the corps of several Autobots talks of how he is going to wipe out the Autobots on Earth, a nearly dead Ironhide is still trying to stop him.
      Megatron: When we slip by their early warning systems in their own shuttle and destroy Autobot City, the Autobots will be vanquished forever!
      Ironhide: NO!
    • Megatron stands over the fatally wounded Optimus Prime, about to deliver the finishing blow.
      Megatron: I would have waited an eternity for this... It's over, Prime.
      Optimus: NEVER!
    • On Quintessa, when Hot Rod and Kup are facing the Quintessons' Kangaroo Court, and either verdict results in execution.
      Hot Rod: (facing execution) I have nothing but contempt for this court!
    • When Galvatron confronts Ultra Magnus, and it is clear that the latter is outnumbered and about to be killed. Ultra Magnus is deliberately echoing Optimus' earlier Big "NEVER!", but since he isn't The Chosen One, it falls short.
      Galvatron: Magnus, I want the matrix.
      Ultra Magnus: NEVER!
  • Demoted to Extra: Several characters have this happen to them. Bluestreak, Sunstreaker, Huffer, Thundercracker, Skywarp, and Bombshell appear in cameos with no lines, Shockwave appears in two scenes and is implied to die, Shrapnel and Kickback are reduced to Butt Monkeys and then rebuilt, Mixmaster, Scavenger and Long Haul do not speak, Blitzwing gets one scene for himself, Ironhide, Wheeljack, Brawn, Prowl, Ratchet and Windcharger are killed off and Sludge, despite being a major character, has no lines. Spike and the three major Autobots who survive the movie (Bumblebee, Jazz, and Cliffjumper) have more minor roles. Perceptor and the four other Dinobots (Snarl mysteriously receiving this treatment) are the only pre-movie characters to do much of anything in the post-Autobot City scenes. Even Optimus Prime is only around for the first half of the movie. Plus, some characters don't appear in the movie at all, leaving their fates uncertain.
  • Determinator: Optimus Prime wipes out the remnants of the Decepticon army by taking them out singlehandedly, starting with the line "Megatron must be stopped, no matter what the cost."
  • The Dog Bites Back: Given the utter glee with which the Sharkticons go after the Quintessons when Grimlock tells them to, one gets the idea that the Sharkticons didn't like the Quintessons very much.
  • Doomed Hometown: Any planet that Unicron devours; a survivor of Lithone is encountered (briefly) on Quintessa.
  • The Dreaded: Unicron. While the Cybertronians have no knowledge of him, he's apparently feared through the rest of the galaxy as his approach to Lithone is met with cries of "It's Unicron!" and Kranix manages to relate the tale of Unicron to Kup and Hot Rod.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Optimus Prime's continuous deaths in every Transformers continuity begins here. After landing on Earth as the Decepticons are laying siege to Autobot City, he utters eight words that sets up what is going to be his most epic outing in Generation One.
    Optimus: "Megatron must be stopped. No matter the cost."
    • At which point Prime plows through three or four Decepticons and comes under fire from a host of others. He launches himself into the air and takes them all out with his rifle, and then confronts Megatron, leading to another of his classic lines, as well as a classic exchange with Megs himself.
      Megatron: "Prime!"
      Optimus:"One shall stand, one shall fall."
      Megatron: "Why throw away your life so recklessly?"
      Optimus: "That's a question you should ask yourself, Megatron."
    • Cue Prime and Megatron having a knock-down drag-out fight where they're throwing everything they have into it because they know it's their final confrontation no matter what. One way or another, this is it. The fight isn't entirely shown on screen, but given what they do show us, this is the most brutal they have ever been in the G1 cartoon continuity, especially given the way we see how badly mangled and damaged they are by the fight's end. Prime ultimately wins, and dies shortly afterwards. What makes this truly badass is that in defeating Megatron, Optimus singlehandedly repels the entire Decepticon invasion of Autobot City. Stan Bush's now cult classic song The Touch plays throughout the entire sequence, which just adds to the entire thing. Many fans who've seen the film can't hear this song without thinking of this scene.
  • Dying to Be Replaced: Optimus Prime is yesterday's toy. Arise, Rodimus Prime! Oh, and don't forget Megatron, Starscream, and Ironhide!
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • Galvatron knows how to do it. Fly in so low that the whole crowd runs for cover. Leap from your insertion aircraft (which conveniently transforms into a buddy your size who can stand behind you menacingly). Throw a Pre-Mortem One-Liner. Blow away the guy you came to blow away. Claim the prize.
    • The Dinobots aren't too bad at it either, busting in to break up Hot Rod and Kup's aborted trial and flattening the bailiff in the process.
      Slag: [to bailiff] Excuse me!
  • Eaten Alive:
    • This primal fear of what Unicron can do to your world, along with EVERY man, woman, and child on it, is what makes him so scary.
    • The Sharkticons appear to devour Transformers alive.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The Quintessons' home planet, Quintessa, is filled with robotic wildlife that attacks anything foreign.
  • Evil Gloating: Galvatron is even better than Megatron in showing pure pleasure over killing Autobots.
    Galvatron: (while strangling Hot Rod) First Prime, then Ultra Magnus, and now...you. It's a pity you Autobots die so easily, or I might have a sense of satisfaction now!
  • Evil Laugh: The Quintesson judge, after issuing the first verdict we see, laughs with each of his five faces in succession as the hapless "innocent" is fed to the Sharkticons.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Galvatron's voice is deeper than Megatron's, reflecting his more pure evil, and Unicron's voice is a resonating, almost disinterested bass, reflecting his incredible age and malevolence.
  • Expansion Pack World: The show to this point had featured only Cybertron and Earth as significant locations. The film adds Quintessa, Lithone, and the planet of Junk, and implies that the universe is teeming with robotic lifeforms.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Even more so than the cartoon's theme. The extended version of the movie theme over the ending credits pretty much sums up the whole of the movie.
  • Eye Lights Out: The concept of a Cybertronians' eye's blinking out as they die was first introduced in the film, along with the idea that they would lose their coloring and become grey (though only Optimus does it here).
  • Eye Scream: Hot Rod crashes a spaceship through one of Unicron's eyes; later, the Autobots collectively drive through his other eye.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner:
    • Kranix makes a final defiant gesture before judgement is passed, exclaiming "Spare me this mockery of justice!"
    • Hot Rod, when he and Kup are also on "trial", is threatened with contempt of court, and retorts, "I have nothing but contempt for this court!"
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Most of The Transformers first two seasons' cast is killed in graphic ways, not counting those who die offscreen.
    • Unicron eats a planet on-screen that contains millions of robotic lifeforms.
    • Scavenger shoots Prowl, the blast going inside him and reaching Prowl's insides, causing him to effectively burn from the inside out with fire blazing from his mouth endlessly and his optics glowing with the light of the flames. Directly at the camera.
      • In the Japanese dub, Prowl screams in agony as he is shot.
    • Ironhide has his computer-brains blown out execution-style by Megs.
      • The Japanese dub also has Ironhide screaming when Megatron shoots him.
    • Red Alert was also supposed to die by being shot in the back by Devastator, but that scene was never animated. However, Wheeljack and Windcharger look as though this is what happened to them judging by the damage to vital areas on their chests.
    • Optimus gets blasted and stabbed a dozen times (supposedly the fatal wound was due Megatron repeatedly shooting him right in the wound on his abdomen) while Hot Rod is held hostage.
    • Megatron is beaten to a pulp by Optimus Prime, takes a fall which shows that he visible internal damage and then left to die in space by Starscream - and probably would have died if Unicron hadn't found him.
    • Starscream takes a direct hit from Galvatron's cannon mode, burning him to a cinder with a look of agony on his face, before disintegrating.
      • The Japanese dub has him screaming during the entire sequence.
    • Kranix and his friend Arblus are fed to the Sharkticons. Although mostly offscreen, we still get to hear him screaming in agony as he's eaten alive.
    • Ultra Magnus gets blown to pieces (originally was going to be drawn and quartered) by the Sweeps, although put back together shortly after.
    • Shockwave was supposed to be stomped by Unicron, but they cut out the shot.
    • The Conehead Seekers get chomped by Uni's robot form. (This one ends up being a continuity error)
    • Gears and several other captured Transformers inside Unicron are dissolved in an acid bath.
    • Unicron himself is blown to shreds from the inside by the Matrix's power, until the pressure finally causes him to implode. Since the climax takes place inside the planet eater, we even see his innards being blown apart.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge:
    • Optimus Prime trashes the Decepticons who are attacking Earth, complete with Theme Music Power-Up. He leaves Megatron crippled.
    • Rodimus Prime gets an identical treatment upon his Matrix-fueled promotion, curb stomping Galvatron in the process.
  • Forced Friendly Fire: When Blitzwing (in tank mode) has Hot Rod in his crosshairs, Kup jumps on top of him and pulls up his turret. This causes the shot to fly wild, striking Shrapnel square in the chest.
  • Foreshadowing: When Optimus tries to pass on the Matrix, it drops out of his hand and Hot Rod is the first to grab it. Not only that, but the Matrix glows when he holds it. All this is proof that he was destined to be the new Prime from the get-go.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Unicron. Later episodes and adaptations would explore his backstory and motivations, but the movie itself doesn't make him anything other than being the biggest threat the Autobots and Decepticons have ever faced.
    TFWiki.net: Unicron is given no backstory (until season 3) or justification; he simply exists, is very dangerous, and is afraid of the Matrix, all for no adequately explained reason.
  • Hot-Blooded: Hot Rod, true to his name, gets in a lot of trouble due to his impulsiveness, including being indirectly responsible for Optimus' death.
  • Hulk Speak: The Dinobots all speak in third person.
    Grimlock: Me Grimlock want to munch metal!
  • I Want My Jetpack: Technology has advanced considerably since the release of this movie, but fans everywhere are still waiting for their jet-powered hoverboard.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: An unusual inversion. Even though the Autobots killed in the shuttle ambush are given enough time to turn around and start firing, none of them can hit anything. Even more unusual, the Decepticons, who in the previous series were the ones with the really bad target perception... are now able to score direct kills upon Autobots with only a single shot in some instances.
  • The Juggernaut: Blowing up a moon inside Unicron's maw doesn't even slow him down. He's not lying when he says that only the Matrix can stop him.
  • Kangaroo Court: Even if you're innocent, the Quintesson magistrate is dropping you in the Sharkticon pit. Primus only knows what they do to the guilty. (It's actually the same thing either way, they just like to taunt the victim first.)
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The door landing on the prosecutor as part of the Quintessons' Humiliation Conga.
    Slag: (after crushing the prosecutor) Excuse me.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Unicron, due to being a planet-devouring colossus bent on destroying everything, brings a much more serious tone to the franchise.
    • Megatron also counts due to being played more seriously than he was in the cartoon's first two seasons. He kills a good deal of the Autobots in the beginning of the film. Things only get worse after he becomes Galvatron.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Done when the Autobots at Autobot City start to retreat the Decepticon attack.
    Arcee: Stay close to me, Daniel!
    Hot Rod: And you better stay close to me!
    Arcee: (pins Hot Rod against wall) No, you better stay close to me.
  • Large Ham Announcer: The absurdly overenthusiastic announcer for the (barely-seen) trailer. THE MOST INCREDIBLE ROCK AND ROLL ADVEN-TURE IS HERE!
  • Laser Blade:
    • Hot Rod wields one while sparing with an Auto-Combatant.
    • Megatron uses a very similar weapon, that he finds lying on the ground, against Optimus Prime in their duel.
  • Last of His Kind: Kranix tells Hot Rod and Kup that he's the last surviving native of the planet Lithone, which Unicron devoured in the opening. He is executed by the Quintessons, reducing that number to zero.
  • Left the Background Music On: During Starscream's coronation, the trumpet fanfare is cut off when he gets impatient with the ceremony and blasts them.
  • Literal Ass Kicking: Grimlock attacks Unicron in the rear immediately after declaring he'll kick butt.
    Grimlock: Me Grimlock kick butt!
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Between clearing out the old Transformers toy line (ahem, cast) and introducing an entirely new cast, the film does rack up an impressive character count.
  • Magical Security Camera: Unicron somehow has monitors showing the same footage the audience just saw of the Matrix being handed off.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Unicron is this to Galvatron. From the Autobots' perspective, they only know that Galvatron is a powerful Decepticon and have no idea until the climax that he's in league with the planet-eater that took out both of their moon bases. The Decepticons don't even know the details about Unicron so this trope applies even more directly to them.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: Besides Earth, all planets seen in the film have robotic life.
  • Mentor Archetype:
    • Optimus' death serves as a call to heroism for the other Autobots, and in particular Hot Rod. He also manages to stick around in spirit thanks to the Matrix.
      Optimus Prime's voice: (from the Matrix) Arise, Rodimus Prime.
    • Kup, being a mentor of Hot Rod.
  • Messianic Archetype: Optimus Prime rescues the Autobots from certain death at the hands of the Decepticons, dies for his trouble, then passes on the mantle in the form of the Matrix of Leadership, wherein he resides in spirit.
  • Merchandise-Driven: As noted above, in one of the more extreme examples, due to Executive Meddling by Hasbro, a large number of characters are killed off or reformatted for the new assortment of characters and toys.note 
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Megatron massacring all the Autobots to the tune of "Instruments of Destruction!" is followed by a quiet, peaceful scene of Hot Rod and Daniel fishing at a lake. And then the Decepticons show up and trigger the battle at Autobot City, which is more or less a typical battle out of the animated series, with character quirks and silliness like Starscream humiliating himself ... but then we see Wheeljack and Windcharger burnt and lifeless, and suddenly we realize this is just as serious as the battle on the shuttle, and more familiar characters are going to die before it's over.
    • Of course, we then get Optimus Prime's death scene, which is then followed by Starscream throwing Megatron and other injured Decepticons into space — which is then followed by a comic scene where Starscream, Soundwave and his cassettes, and the Constructicons fight over who is going to be the Decepticons' new leader. And then we have Megatron's meeting with Unicron and his conversion into Galvatron, followed by the ridiculousness of Starscream being 'crowned' in an absurd cape and crown. Galvatron shows up, and the scene becomes dark as he shoots Starscream and Starscream crumbles to dust!
    • The rest of the movie also has plenty of Mood Whiplash, with Kup and Hot Rod's being attacked by the Sharkticons (and the resulting 'demolition derby'), followed by a rather silly sequence with the Junkions featuring "Weird Al" Yankovic's 'Dare to Be Stupid', and then the final confrontation with Unicron in which a few unnamed captured Autobots and Decepticons are dropped into a vat of acid (Bumblebee, Jazz, and Cliffjumper are saved, as is Spike), Unicron is destroyed, and the film abruptly ends with Rodimus making a speech on Cybertron (the Autobots apparently taking control of it off-screen).
    • The sad fate of Kranix is immediately followed by a goofy scene with the Dinobots and the introduction of Wheelie. But at least that was a different scene. There's Mood Whiplash in the same scene when Kranix's friend Arblus gets killed: he hasn't even finished screaming before Hot Rod quips "We need a new travel agent."
    • There's Mood Whiplash from the very beginning: Unicron shows up and devours Lithone as its inhabitants scream and try vainly to escape...then the camera pans away to the opening titles and the upbeat, over-the-top theme song starts up. Uh...yaaay?
  • The Movie: Right there in the title.
  • Mugging the Monster: The Quintessons really have no idea what they're up against when it comes to Hot Rod and Kup. Sure, as long as the two are kept from transforming using those stasis ring things, they can push them around all they like. Their fatal mistake was setting the rings to deactivate once the two were dumped into the Sharkticon pool, because the second the two Autobots can transform, it becomes alarmingly apparent that this execution is not going to go according to plan...
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The original trailer is 4 minutes of footage that was deleted or changed. Nothing in the trailer makes it into the movie without some change made to it.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Had Galvatron just given the Autobot Matrix of Leadership to Unicron as ordered, the story would have ended with the planet eater's victory. Furthermore, as mentioned previously in Badass Boast, had everything gone according to plan, Unicron was planning on giving Cybertron to Galvatron (or at least not making it a meal). The dominoes that brought about their mutual defeat were knocked down by the backstabbing.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Post-movie episodes of the cartoon feature an almost completely different cast of characters in a vastly different setting. The show doesn't even look the same anymore—pre-movie episodes were usually animated by Toei Animation, while many post-movie episodes are the work of Korean studio AKOM. The Japanese dub branded the post-movie episodes as a sequel series.
  • Not Quite Dead: A number of the defeated Decepticons are clinging to the edges of life after they escape in Astrotrain, and are cast adrift to "lighten the load".
    Megatron: ...I still function!
    Starscream: Wanna bet?
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Even before he becomes Galvatron, Megatron proves he's not incompetent by killing several of the Autobots in the beginning of the movie.
  • Off Model: Much like the series it spawned from, the movie has a fair amount of errors present. Some minor (Coloring errors are very common) to those that affect the plot rather seriously (The robotsnote  who were turned into Galatron's soldiers appear throughout later parts of the film).
    • Drawing errors are somewhat prevalent at several points, with Unicron and Devastator alternating between two different designs during scenes (The former's beard and latter's chest plate being the obvious differences).
    • as mentioned above, Starscream's design changes during his coronation scene to a much more detailed and somewhat exaggerated versionnote . Considering this happens for the whole scene (With everyone else drawn normally), this was likely an intentional decision by the animators.
    • As is per the series norm, size issues are just as prevalent as always. See Your Size May Vary below for more information.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As mentioned under All There in the Manual, the battle between Omega Supreme and the Autobot gestalts versus the Decepticon gestalts is pretty amazing.
  • Oh Crap!: Both Ultra Magnus and Galvatron attempt to open the Matrix at pivotal moments in an attempt to use it against their foes. In both cases, they fail, because they aren't The Chosen One. In Galvatron's case, this prompts Unicron's decision to destroy Cybertron.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Unicron's purpose is to eat everything in the universe. Depending on which canon continuity you follow, he was either created to fulfill that role in a cosmic duality with Primus (who doesn't appear in this film) or chose it for himself. Or was designed to do it by an egomaniac scientist who wanted to remake the universe from scratch.
  • The Omniscient: Unicron seems to know what's happening in all corners of the universe as it happens. Comes with the territory of being a Physical God.
  • One-Hit Kill: Galvatron reasserts his leadership of the Decepticons by vaporizing Starscream. More generally, Transformers (Autobot and Decepticon alike) die easily from single shots, whereas they had been very resilient in the cartoon.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: No Decepticons, even ones established as blindly loyal to Megatron such as Soundwave, object to having him Thrown Out the Airlock to lose dead weight, and instantly make their claims to his spot afterwards. It's particularly glaring with Soundwave, who went to the trouble of going back for Megatron and carrying him aboard in the first place.
    • According to Word of God, Soundwave fought to become the new leader so he could force the others to go back for Megatron.
  • Pep Talk Song: Stan Bush's uplifting and inspirational theme song "The Touch", which serves as the theme song of the noble and heroic Optimus Prime and later Rodimus Prime.
  • Planet Eater: Unicron is a planet that eats other planets to fuel his cosmic rampage of destruction.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Megatron is forced to beg Soundwave not to leave him after sustaining heavy injuries in his final battle with Optimus Prime.
  • Precision F-Strike: The movie is particularly infamous for Spike Witwicky blatantly saying "shit" in one scene in spite of this being an animated film based on a children's show.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Rodimus Prime, who had (as Hot Rod) been getting choked to death by Galvatron, tells him in no uncertain terms that the tide has turned before throwing Galvatron out into space.
    Rodimus: This is the end of the road, Galvatron.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Megatron, before putting Ironhide out of his misery:
      Megatron: Such heroic nonsense!
    • Galvatron, to show how much he's changed, doesn't waste any time confronting Starscream upon his return.
      Starscream: Megatron? Is that you?
      Galvatron: Here's a hint!
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Unicron talks very slowly and deliberately, but some of his lines stand out.
    Unicron: But now. You shall witness. Its DISMEMBERMENT!

    Unicron: Destiny...You... cannot... destroy... my... destinyyy!
  • Pyrrhic Victory: While the Autobots ultimately drive the Decepticons away from Autobot City amidst heavy casualties. The Decepticons return a short time later and force the Autobots to abandon the city to the stars.
  • Recycled In Space: Film critics at the time tut-tutted the movie as "Star Wars with Giant Robots", since, although a number of sci-fi, anime and comics had re-introduced Space Opera, planet-eaters and the like into relatively simple stories, Star Wars was basically the Trope Codifier in the 80s. Forgotten somewhat, since now, everybody does it.
  • Remember the New Guy: Ultra Magnus is Optimus Prime's old friend, who was never seen or mentioned before. Kup comes off this way too, considering he's supposed to be such an "old-timer."
  • Robot Kid: New Kid-Appeal Character Wheelie. He looks like a child, speaks in rhyme, and even has a slingshot.
  • R-Rated Opening: To show this is Darker and Edgier, the opening has a planet (with robotic children, no less) being eaten by Unicron. Shortly thereafter we have the Decepticons boarding the Autobot shuttle, which has the most brutal on-screen deaths in the movie (Prowl's death in particular is gruesome, as his insides seem to explode and smoke pours out of his eyes and mouth).
  • Sacrificial Planet: At the beginning of the movie, Unicron devours Lithone, a planet full of robotic lifeforms before threatening to do the same to Cybertron.
  • Say My Name: Megatron to Starscream when the latter leaves Megatron for scrap.
    Megatron: Wait, I still function!
    Starscream: Wanna bet? [Dumps Megatron out of the airlock]
    Megatron: STARSCREEEEAAAAAARRRGGHHHHHHH!
  • Scavenger World: The Planet of Junk appears to be the trash heap of the universe, where the aptly named Junkions make their home and use all the stuff to build spaceships and such. There is no indication of how all the trash gets there in the first place.
  • Scenery Porn: All of the set pieces in this film are varied, bright, vibrant, and exquisitely detailed. Whether it be in space, The Planet of Junk, the beautiful forest shots seen early in the movie, or the murky yellow and brown underwater segment with Hot Rod and Kup later in the film, your eyes will never get bored.
  • Scenery Gorn: Pretty much any scene involving Unicron eating a planet.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: The apparent death of Ultra Magnus and theft of the Matrix doesn't stop the Autobots from having a dance party as soon as they make peace with the Junkions.
  • Seen It All: Pretty much any situation they're in reminds Kup of some old war story, much to Hot Rod's continued annoyance. This is Played for Laughs for most of the film, until they see Unicron standing astride Cybertron.
    Hot Rod: Doesn't this remind you of anything, Kup?
    Kup: (quietly) Nope. Never seen anything like this before...
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Perceptor, enough that even his fellow robots get fed up with it.
    Perceptor: Gamma waves in this sector of space create marginal navigation probabilities, however...
    (Ultra Magnus leans on the console with his head in his hands looking frustrated and bored)
    Perceptor: Ahem... Yes, I think I can.
  • Sham Ceremony: Galvatron certainly thought this of Starscream's short-lived Awesome Moment of Crowning.
  • Shark Pool: In a world with oceans full of robot sharks, the Quintessons also have a more traditional pool filled with those same sharks for dramatic executions.
  • She's a Man in Japan: In the French dub of the movie, which used a very different dub team from any regional French dub of the TV series, both Starscream and Shrapnel were turned into women.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Smurfette Principle: Arcee, the only female Autobot to appear in the film.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Much of the dialogue. "Me Grimlock say you full of cesium salami!"
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Dare To Be Stupid".
  • SpaceX: Take any normal word and add "-ion" or "-ticon" to the name, and you've got a Transformer "species".
  • Space Opera: Although the premise was always there, this was the first time they extensively used it.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Wreck-Gar and the Junkions speak entirely in 20th century Earth advertising lingo.
  • The Starscream: Starscream gets his wish, finally getting rid of Megatron and being crowned Leader of the Decepticons... for about 20 seconds, before Galvatron shows up and vaporizes him. Then Galvatron plays the same role against his new master, Unicron.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker:
    • Wreck-Gar and the Junkions speak entirely in 20th century advertising lingo.
    • Wheelie speaks exclusively in rhyme. Though it's sometimes hard to tell with all the post-processing done to his voice.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: Ultra Magnus is given the Autobot Matrix of Leadership upon Prime's death. However, it's Hot Rod who truly winds up taking up the role of Prime.
  • Technology Porn: Unicron's transformation and Autobot City's transformation.
  • That's No Moon!: That's no ginormous, weird-looking planet — it's a Transformer!
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "The Touch" by Stan Bush is played during Optimus' and Rodimus' finest moments. Other contenders are Dare to Be Stupid for the Junkions, and Instruments of Destruction for the Decepticons.
  • This Cannot Be!: Unicron's reaction when he's finally beaten.
    Unicron: Destiny... you... cannot... destroy... my... DESTINY!!!
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The original trailer proudly boasts, "The final confrontation between Optimus Prime and Megatron." (Of course, given the initial reaction to said confrontation, fans assuredly thought it would play out far differently.)
    • Commercials for the movie had the narrator say "Does Prime die?" over footage of Optimus getting blasted, followed by Megatron's line: "It's over, Prime!" Some viewers may have thought "Like You Would Really Do It",invoked but...
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Unicron is one of the few cases in which this trope is justified; he's so massive, it's not like any of the Transformers could do anything about his Transformation Sequence. Galvatron tried to subvert this after having an Oh Crap! moment but failed miserably at it.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: "It is the year 2005." The movie came out in 1986. Interestingly, most of the new Autobots' alt-modes are considered futuristic Earth vehicles, even though they resemble Cybertronian vehicles.
  • Verbal Tic:
  • Villain Decay: In the series, the Insecticons were portrayed as powerful wild cards, loyal only to themselves (and even requiring Optimus and Megatron to team up to defeat them at one point). Here, they are full-fledged members of Megatron's forces, and end up suffering crippling injuries during the battle of Autobot City (Shrapnel gets the worst of it, being brought down hard no less than three times during the conflict).
  • Villainous Breakdown: While being blasted apart by the Matrix, it is clear that Unicron does not take his defeat well.
    Unicron: Destiny....you cannot destroy....my....destiny!
  • Villains Want Mercy: Megatron begs Optimus to spare his life when he's seemingly been cornered and Optimus has a gun trained on him. Subverted, as he was just trying to distract Prime while he reaches for a blaster that is just out of sight...
  • The Voiceless: Prowl, the Seekers (with the exception of Starscream), Bombshell, and Ratchet appear with no lines, and Sludge never speaks at all despite being a major character.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The encounters with the Quintessons and the Junkions mainly serve to keep the film from being too short.
  • War Is Hell: Almost as if apologizing for trivializing an affair as tragic as battle with the TV-Series, this movie dragged an entire generation of children kicking-and-screaming by the ears into visceral horror, death and sorrow that is actual warfare. Special mention goes to a scene featuring Arcee pointlessly dragging the blackened corpses of Windcharger and Wheeljack to safety.
  • We All Die Someday: Galvatron invokes this to try to coerce Hot Rod out of hiding. Hot Rod's response? "Not today, Galvatron!"
  • Wham Episode: The first battle scene shocked an entire generation of moviegoers with the fact that Autobots could die.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Cyclonus's "Armada" (really just one guy) is only seen being created, and is replaced by another Sweep for the rest of the movie. Blaster vanishes after receiving Jazz's transmission, and Ratbat appears in only one scene.
    • What happened to Sunstreaker, Snarl, Hound, and Grapple? (The deaths of Bluestreak and Huffer were retconned in the "Dark Awakening" episode)
    • A number of characters introduced in Season 2 were nowhere to be found due to the script being written concurrently. The IDW Publishing comic based on the film retconned this with the Combiners in the Autobots' side facing Decepticon combiners.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Considering Unicron is a planet (and then a planet sized transformer), the Matrix's energy wave that cripples and ultimately destroys him qualifies as one of the few times this is a good thing.
  • Your Size May Vary: Scale and Transformers have never mixed well, but when you bring in a guy the size of a planet...
    • Unicron tears the scale of things asunder; no matter what he is interacting with in planet mode, it's about the same size as his mouth, be it a planet, a moon, a shuttle, or just Megatron on his own. Once he transforms, a spaceship carrying a dozen characters goes through one eye, and just fits. Its dozen crew transform to ride out the other eye one at a time, and they just fit as well.
      • And that's before comparing him to Cybetron. Going from being as big as it in one scene, to being able to stand on top of it in another.
      • Another such example happens when the Dinobots attack him, where they each start off as being about half the size of his hip (And being able to cause some serious damage), to becoming incredibly tiny when he tries to crush them.
    • Astrotrain carries the entire lineup of surviving Decepticons (including a fully formed Devastator) comfortably inside his space shuttle alt-mode.

Till All Are One!

Alternative Title(s): Transformers The Movie

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie?from=WesternAnimation.TransformersTheMovie