Really That Good - TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE (1986)

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Welcome to a NEW kind of film-criticism series, built around the radical premise that just because "everyone knows" a movie is a classic doesn't mean it stops being worth a deeper look.

TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE debuted in 1986 to scathing reviews and a less-than-transformative box office performance - after all, it was essentially a 90 minute toy commercial whose target audience was already getting its fix on TV for free. But home-video and regular TV play, combined with the enduring popularity of the TRANSFORMERS brand and the shocking (however marketing-driven) decision to kill off many of the most popular original characters made it a pop-culture staple for a whole generation of fans; many of whom today regard it as a cult classic... but is it?

Where some merely see a cynical feature-length commercial highlighted by oddball voice-casting, inconsistent animation and some of the cheesiest 80s heavy metal ever recorded; many devout fans insist it all (somehow) adds up to something more - and its enduring popularity suggests they might have a point: There's a thousand things "wrong" with TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE; but if a whole generation still claims to be sincerely captivated by its strangely-hypnotic bizarre visual aesthetic, caught up in its surreally-serious sci-fi melodramatics and moved to tears by the death of Optimus Prime... are they wrong?

Where does authorial intent (in this case: to make a toy commercial) give way to audience-perception in determining which creative works get to "matter?" Is TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE... Really That Good?

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