The Transformers: The Movie

is my favourite family film, but I can't imagine gathering the family around to watch it. Sure, it offers useful lessons in loyalty and inspires self-belief, but this is one dark, far-from-cuddly movie.

The action is bludgeoning, relentless, violent - mostly feuding robots tearing each other to shreds.

As a 7 to 8-year-old, Transformers was probably the closest thing to an obsession I had. I watched the TV series religiously, bugged my folks to get me the toys and when the movie came out on VHS, watched it more times than I can remember.


Everything seemed magnified in the movie. The scale was huge. Its Big Bad was Unicron, an immensely terrifying robot planet with an appetite for devouring other planets.

Along with the expanded scope, the movie raised the emotional stakes, providing the most traumatic twist any young Transformers fan can think of: the death of Optimus Prime.

As the noble, valiant leader of the Autobot clan, Optimus stood for all those heroic, invincible qualities you'd want from a male role model at that age. His defeat at the hands of Megatron dealt a crushing blow to this notion.

It's one of the most mind-blowing animated deaths ever, matching the loss of Bambi's mother for sheer devastation. When the lights went out in Optimus' eyes, you felt like you had just lost your father.

Revisiting the movie now is a bizarre, but no less interesting experience.

Certain things boggle the mind as an adult, like the cosmically surreal voice talent (Orson Welles, Scatman Crothers, Robert Stack) and the perverse, psychedelic intensity of the imagery.

Others don't change: Stan Bush's "The Touch" remains a perfectly triumphant climactic theme song.

My hair stands on end every time it kicks in from the giddy sense of nostalgia that overwhelms you when you watch a favourite family film.

- Aaron Yap, contributor