4 million years ago, on a far away planet known as Cybertron, war
rages between two factions of robots: the good Autobots and evil
Decepticons. Spilling out into space, both factions board their
ships: the Autobots in the Ark, and the Decepticons in the Nemesis,
in search of precious energy. Continuing battle forces members of
both groups to crash land on pre-historic Earth: with the Autobots
crashing their ship in the side of a volcano, and the Decepticons
within South America. After thousands of centuries with no on-board
functionality, the Autobot ship's support system Teletraan I kicks
in during a moment of geological activity: scanning sentinent vehicles,
and re-constructing the disabled Cybertronians to the specifications
of those blueprints. After an adjustment period, Autobot leader
Optimus Prime [Peter Cullen] led his Autobots against the sinister
faction, the Decepticons, and their power hungry leader Megatron
[Frank Welker] from depleting Earth's energy supply by converting
and hoarding it into raw "energon" cubes.
to their re-construction, both Autobots and Decepticons had the
ability to "transform" or shift chassis parts from robot
form to another form: typically a land-based vehicle for the Autobot
side (of whom in general could not fly - sans a few exceptions),
or various object and jet forms that were typical of the Decepticons,
whose thrusters made them capable of flight. Most famous are Optimus
Prime's transformation into a red and blue tractor-trailer; whose
a trailer that would literally appear out of thin air after transforming.
It housed "Rolller," his tiny scout vehicle. Also notably
famous is Megatron's transformation into a Walther P-38 pistol.
Strangely enough, his body decreases in size by a vast amount after
the transformation is complete, and is only useful when a fellow
Decepticon is there to wield him. Starscream, a red, white and teal
F-15 fighter, played loyal to Megatron - yet pounced at any opportunity
to overthrow him and become Decepticon leader.
long line of characters were presented in the cartoon series, representing
virtually every major vehicle. Viewer favorites, such as Devastator,
were composed of the transformed result of many robots forming one
super robot (in this case - a team effort of the green and purple
Constructicons). This feat was later accomplished by its Autobot
counterpart - Superion, who was formed by the team effort of the
Aerialbots. Another icon and fan favorite was Soundwave [Frank Welker]
and his ejecting cassette tape minions: Laserbeak, Ravage, Rumble,
Buzzsaw, Ratbat and Frenzy, with the ability to eject multiple transforming
tapes at a time. His eventual Autobot counterpart was the red and
yellow boombox Blaster, and cassettes: Steeljaw, Ramjet, Eject and
a combined idea between Autobots Wheeljack [Chris Latta] and Ratchet
[Don Messick], dinosaur bones were scanned and used to create the
Dinobots for added muscle against the Decepticons. They included
leader Grimlock - a Tyrannosaurus, Sludge - a Brontosaurus, Slag
- a Tricerotops, Snarl - a Stegosaurus, and Swoop - a Pterodon.
Filled with personality and complete with caveman-like accents,
the dim witted Dinobots were an ingenius addition to the Transformer
cartoon and toyline.
in Autobot Headquarters (merely, the remnants of their crashed Ark
ship and the alcove it created underneath), the Autobots gained
human friends: oil rig worker Sparkplug, and his young teenage son
Spike, after rescue from a Decepticon attack. Although nearly worthless
against Autobot efforts to fend off Decepticons, both men assisted
to the best of their abilities. Dr. Arkeville, a sinister scientist
who specializes in mind contol (and resembles "Dr. Wily"
from Mega Man to an extent), sided with the Decepticons to create
"hypno-chips," capable of taking over any person who wore
one behind their ear.
8, 1986 brought forth "Transformers: The Movie," a full-feature
movie later to be released as a syndicated television special (generally
shown in parts), which created a great divide from the traditional
and popular Generation 1 series of robots. Following the Decepticon's
eventual control of home planet Cybertron, the movie begins with
an epic fisticuff battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron - with
Megatron being the victor. Later, Optimus - sensing his inevitable
demise, grants Rodimus Prime the possession of the Autobot Matrix:
a sphere of light and symbol of power, ultimately "dying"
immediately afterwards. This particular scene merged the "robot"
existance with the "human" ideal of death and dying. The
movie faced backlash from critics for projecting the subject of
death to its young audience. The remained of the 1986 movie followed
Megatron's rebirth as Galvatron, whose quest was to destroy the
after the Transformers movie, the extreme changes seen within the
cartoon series - including a much different "world" than
that seen in the earlier series, along with brand new characters,
brought about a gradual disinterest in Transformers overall. Season
4 concluded on November 11, 1987, and continued on in Japan as the
"Headmasters." The series later re-aired in 1992, presented
by the "Cybertron Cube," a Rubik's Cube resembled myriad
of television screens that would rotate and present Transformers
re-runs (which was more obnoxious than anything else, since it would
rotate the screen every 15-20 seconds).
Transformers, however, gained iconic status as a legendary toyline,
an integral part of cartoon history, and a focal part of 80s pop
culture; making characters such as Optimus Prime and Megatron become
household names...not to mention the show's tagline "More than Meets
the Eye," and Optimus Prime's famous battlecry "Autobots...Transform,
and Roll Out."
began releasing the "Transformers" television series on
DVD in 2003.