I celebrated Christmas by watching the 1986 animated Transformers movie. It was the first time I'd seen it in about twenty years, and, despite having viewed it multiple times as a kid, almost none of it seemed familiar. Without that nostalgia to guide me, I found it nigh unwatchable. It was a film with almost no redeeming qualities. The animation was crude, the hair metal soundtrack grating, there was barely any trace of a story, and the non-stop violence was simply exhausting. I could easily picture the geeky creators servicing themselves as they put together this nihilistic explosion of robotic excess.
I couldn't see how even franchise fans could have enjoyed such a film, having to watch all of the marquee characters annihilated in the opening battle, to be replaced by random new Transformers voiced by "stars" I'd never even heard of--people like Judd Nelson and Robert Stack. It was unreal. Ultra Magnus, once among the most prized of the toys, turned out to be a ridiculous fool. Some well-written dialogue and a surprisingly menacing performance by Leonard Nimoy as Galvatron may have been the only good things in the film.
Even though I recalled none of the details of the movie from my childhood, I did still remember watching with rapt attention whenever the babysitter ran the VHS tape to keep us kids occupied. Thinking back to those times, that kid feels like a stranger to me. That said, I at least enjoyed the experience of watching such an unbelievable piece of trash. But I can't possibly pretend that the movie itself was any good. I have to believe that the TV series was better, but, right now, I'm too afraid to try and find out.