Transformers the Movie – G1 Transformers 1986
Heralded by the most loyal Transformers fans to date (most of them hate Michael Bay’s current rendition of the Transformers) as the greatest cartoon movie ever, Transformers the Movie (1986) was brutally brilliant in how it spared no expense in the Autobot/Decepticon battle.
Not a single Transformer was safe from potential demise – not even fan favorites.
In particular, watching it is a must for the younger generation of today that has only seen Optimus Prime through Michael Bay’s eyes, and has yet to see how the Transformers truly ended up in the original series.
Here, we have a complete summary of Transformers the Movie, from the opening scene to the final!
Transformers The Movie Summary
A large, distinctly alien ship approaches a planet bustling with activity, to begin the veritable cult classic that is Transformers The Movie (1986).
The scenes of mechanical life show a civilization devoted not just to science, but to cultural prosperity.
Little do the inhabitants know that all this is about to come to a terrifying end, for as the ship gets closer, we are able to gauge its massive perspective: amazingly, it is larger than the planet, itself.
The planetary-scale Transformer is Unicron, and is to the planet-bound Transformers, what the bogeyman is to Earthlings; except with one difference: Unicron is very real.
In the middle of his incredible form lies a glowing tractor-beam, which wrenches the very structure of the planet it’s approaching into its belly, taking buildings, robots and spaceships attempting a hasty escape. It draws them inexorably into Unicron’s maw, until the very foundation of the dying planet, itself, is crushed by metallic teeth bigger than most moons.
Nothing is spared.
Inside of the merciless machine, lasers and crushing teeth grind up the mass, using it power the machine in its trek through space. Our first introduction to the largest Transformer of them all is mind-numbing.
The Decepticon Menace in Transformers the Movie
Enter the Transformer home world of Cybertron, where the captive good robots (the Autobots) are currently under rule by the bad robots (the Decepticons).
However, not all of the Autobot robots have completely succumbed; a heroic few plan and scheme on secret staging grounds on two nearby moons.
Looking nothing like Michael Bay’s 2007 live-action film Transformers, the mighty Ironhide and Optimus Prime are posted up in a computer room on one of the moons of Cybertron, watching Decepticon actions through their screens.
The decision to embark on a dangerous trek to the planet is made, as the Autobots need more of the Transformers’ life-blood (a source of energy called Energon, which powers them and their machines and cities) if they ever wish to launch a full-scale assault on Cybertron, in an attempt to wrest control back from the Decepticons.
Optimus Prime, a human ally named Spike (Transformers The Movie was a continuation of the Transformers cartoon series, which had been running for quite some time by then; human beings and Transformers were very much involved in each other’s affairs) the Autobots Jazz, Bumblebee and Ironhide commence to undertake the trip planet-side.
Before this happens though, we see a Decepticon spy named Laserbeak, take off from the dark side of the moon and proceed to report back to the Decepticons.
Laserbeak had been listening to their plans the entire time, and we can reasonably assume that he’s on the way to inform his crew that the Autobots are making a run at resources.
The Decepticon spy Laserbeak, with its dragon-like form, also transforms into a tape cassette that can be played back by the Decepticon Soundwave. Unbeknownst to the Autobots, the Decepticons are now expecting their arrival.
Wasting virtually no time, as soon as Laserbeak and Soundwave finish playing back the plans of Optimus Prime and crew for the gathered Decepticons, they meet Bumblebee’s ship en route and tear through its hull, gaining entry.
The first battle has begun, and Megatron transforms into his special alt-mode, which consists of a huge cannon that Starscream has to fire to work.
Here, we see that despite his unquestioned leadership among the Decepticons, Megatron needs Starscream (his first lieutenant, since the controlling Megatron could never bestow a title such as “second-in-command” to anyone) in order to effectively fight in battle, using his strongest weapon.
The first noticeable thing in the battle is that the Autobots don’t seem capable of the same level of accuracy as the Decepticons.
Indeed; the former are mowed down with no losses on the side of evil, despite the numbers being similar.
The victorious Decepticons then take control of the Autobot ship, and now have the perfect cover for an assault on their moon bases.
There’s a shift to a scene of tranquility, with the Autobot Hotrod fishing with a human boy named Daniel, who is the son of Spike, on Moon Base Two (must be a VERY big moon, as there are trees, lakes and an atmosphere), oblivious to the oncoming storm.
They are made aware of the returning shuttle and rush to meet its fascinating landing from a high vantage point called Lookout Mountain.
Daniel is the first to notice something awry when he spots a hole in the underbelly of the returning ship.
Hotrod, wise to the persistent Decepticon threat, immediately deduces that there are no friendlies aboard-ship, and opens fire with his arm-mounted cannons in a somewhat foolish move, considering that he is now drawing fire to a small ledge on which there is a child.
But hey; it’s a cartoon movie, and military tactics probably weren’t a high priority. Nonetheless; Hotrod appears to be the first Transformer that can aim – he actually blows up the ship!
The Decepticons, who’ve always had the significant advantage of flying alt-modes – as opposed to the ground-bound characteristic alt-modes of the Autobots – escape the exploding wreckage and take to the skies under their own power, firing at Hot Rod and Autobot city as they swoop to the ground.
In the ensuing battle, Hotrod and another Autobot team up to destroy two Decepticons before burning rubber (with the boy Daniel in tow, of course) to Autobot city, where it is obvious the bulk of the Decepticon threat has taken the fight.
Autobot City is under heavy attack, and the Autobots Ultra Magnus, Perceptor, RC (the first visible female robot-warrior), Blurr, Springer and Blaster form a rush together to plan a counterattack consisting of alerting Optimus Prime for reinforcements, transforming Autobot City, itself, and engaging the Decepticon menace to hold them off for the time being.
Under heavy bombardment from Starscream, Autobot City is transformed into a nigh-impenetrable fortress, with heavy metal doors closing over vulnerable parts.
The Decepticons, however, seem prepared for this, and have brought along the Insecticons, a branch of bad Transformers that are capable of eating through anything.
Even as they begin to rapidly chew through the walls, Hot Rod, Daniel and another Autobot use the holes they made to get into Autobot City, destroying the Insecticons in the process.
As the battle rages on, with a protected Autobot City under bombardment by the entire force of present Decepticons, the Autobot Blaster tries to send a message of help to Optimus Prime, who is on Moon Base One. Unfortunately, on the orders of Megatron, his minions attack the exposed transmission tower, breaking in and attempting to intercept Blaster’s call for help.
Although Perceptor aids Blaster in fending off the marauding foes, they fear the message may not have gotten through to Prime, and the antenna is now destroyed Blaster was using to amplify his alt-mode was destroyed by Ravage (a minion of the Decepticon Soundwave).
Blurr, RC, and a few of the other Autobots on Moon Base One continue fighting the assembled Decepticons; the situation progresses to looking even more hopeless as the enemy releases the Constructicons – five individual Decepticons that come together to form the huge and mighty Devastator Transformer.
Far bigger than even Megatron, Devastator has the strength to simply beat through reinforcements of Autobot City, and further, is invulnerable enough to withstand their best missiles and cannons.
The situation is bleak, as this ultimate robot weapon rends the Cybertronian metal walls apart and exposes the inside of the city.
Help could not arrive any later, as Optimus Prime’s arrival affirms that Blaster’s last-ditch transmission reached Moon Base 2.
Approaching in a ship full of reinforcements, the first Autobots Prime releases into the midst of the battle are the Dinobots, which are four Transformers that have a very special purpose: they can transform into gigantic robot counters to Devastator.
The Dinobots succeed in temporarily downing Devastator, as Optimus joins the battle in full form, shrugging off blasts while forging ahead. Showing that awesome fighting ability for which he was known in Michael Bay’s modern incarnation of the Transformers, Optimus downs upwards of 6 Decepticons all by himself by the time he lands! They are all cannon-fodder on his way to meet his arch nemesis Megatron in single combat.
The tide of battle ebbs back and forth between the evenly-matched adversaries, with Prime finally gaining the upper hand.
Megatron pleads for his life, giving Prime just enough pause for the Decepticon leader to grab a nearby hidden cannon, with which he shoots the great Prime several times, finally felling him.
As he goes in for the killing shot, Optimus gives one last valiant blow, sending an already battered Megatron to his near-death far below.
He would have died, if left to Starscream, who kicked the greatly-weakened Decepticon leader, but loyal Soundwave would not abandon him, and carried Megatron with him in the Decepticon retreat. As fate would have it, Optimus would succumb to his wounds; but not before passing the Autobot Matrix of Leadership on to Ultra Magnus.
The fleeing Decepticons make their way to Cybertron, but not before the overburdened spaceship demands that they jettison some weight. True to evil-robot-form, Starscream dumps the injured bodies of his Decepticon brothers (after a vote to let survival-of-the-fittest decide who remains). Starscream even dumps Megatrons still-alive form out into the vagaries of space, despite his pleas.
Despite the vastness of the interstellar medium, Megatron and the remaining battered Decepticons are spotted by a lurking Unicron, who uses that fearsome tractor beam to pull them in, stopping short when his circuits identify the one defiant robot as Megatron.
After much haranguing, Unicron offers – more like demands – that Megatron seek out and destroy the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, in return for a new and more powerful body named Galvatron, as well as new troops and accessories to aid him.
With their newfound armor, weapons, spaceship and purpose, Galvatron and crew take to the planet Cybertron.
Galvatron arrives in the midst of Starscreams coronation, where Galvatron wastes little time turning into an even more powerful variant of the cannon he transformed into as Megatron, and blasting Starscream into oblivion and death.
The momentarily stunned Decepticons quickly regain their composure (and sense), and the cry goes up in unison: “Long live Galvatron!”
This and many such scenes is why Transformers the Movie is such a bada$$ film – major characters bit the dust in it.
Unicron apparently has little confidence in his minions, as in the next scene, he is seen attacking Moon Base One, apparently killing Cliffjumper and more than a few other Autobots in its giant metallic maw. The fate of the others is unknown at the moment.
About the same time in another sector, Galvatron and crew are attacking the Autobots on the remaining Moon base; they are able to escape the initial bombardment by boarding the shuttle and blasting off the planet.
Galvatron, however, isn’t to be dissuaded so easily, and the Decepticons give chase.
With few options remaining, the avenue with the most reasonable chance of escape for the Autobots is to detach the ship once the Decepticons fire on it, giving the appearance of their demise, while, in fact, 25% of the ship leaves the blast zone relatively unscathed.
It works; Galvatron is certain that they’ve all been killed; Ultra Magnus with the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, as well. It is not so, and the Autobots land on a nearby planet for repairs.
It turns out that Hot Rod and the grizzled veteran Autobot aren’t dead, but escaped Unicron’s tractor beam and landed on a planet full of robot piranhas and other earth-inspired metallic constructs.
Whether or not they will be rescued or meet up with the remaining Autobots of their own accord, is to be seen, in this movie with so many Autobot deaths.
On separate worlds, the two different Autobot factions take steps to repair themselves.
Hot Rod puts Gar back together again, and Ultra Magnus, RC and others encounter more than they bargained for in an alien scrap heap.
Indeed; the same thing happens to Hot Rod and Gar on their alien planet, where they are taken captive for not giving enough gifts (you’ve got to see it to believe it).
Back to the other crew of Autobots, even as they’re repairing their ship with scrap metal from the planet Junk, they are attacked by Decepticons, who’d been given their location by Unicron.
The blitz destroys the damaged ship completely, and Galvatron hunts down Ultra Magnus and actually kills him, taking the Autobot Matrix of Leadership as Magnus explodes. With it, he voices his plan to enslave Unicron, itself.
Back on the hostile planet, Hot Rod and Gup are sentenced to death-by-mechanical shark.
They manage to hold off these monstrosities for a time, but are eventually overwhelmed and nearly meet their demise, until the great Dinobots enter and completely turn the tide of battle.
There is finally some good news for this merry band of separated bots, as they are able to corral a spaceship with the help of a new robot friend, Wheelie who’d also been stuck on the same planet (who looks nothing like the modern movie version).
They finally reunite with the other Autobots by flying to them, just in time to aid in battle against yet another hostile alien species of robots.
A changing of hands of some Energon from Hot Rod to the leader of the aliens not only settles all notions of battle between them, but the aliens also revive Ultra Magnus!
The Autobots should have brought Optimus Prime’s body with them…Nonethless, despite the merry cheers, the Autobot Matrix of Leadership is still gone, and they resolve to go find Unicron and stop him from destroying Cybertron.
Transformers the Movie is taking an ever-darker turn as heroes fall and monsters rise unchallenged. Will there be no one to stop Galvatron and his liege Unicron?
We find Galvatron gloating and reveling in his glory, standing before Unicron and threatening him with the Autobot Matrix, which was the only thing Unicron seemed to fear throughout the movie.
Much to Galvatron’s surprise, Unicron transformed in response, becoming an impossibly-scaled robot and smashing down on the cities and structures of Cybertron.
The response is futile, as the Decepticon blasts bounce off ineffectively against the gigantic robot.
The Autobots arrive in their ship and are swallowed by Unicron, jist as the Decepticons were.
Inside of the giant space-robot Unicrons belly, there are all sort of trouble from the many species native to his mouth and belly.
While fending them off, young Daniel (donning a Transformers fighting suit and into Spike and HotRod) finally finds his father and the other Autobots that were swallowed by the Decepticon ship after the destruction of Moon Base 1.
All this time, they had been held captive inside the belly of the beast, and readied for a dip into acid as a final goodbye. But Daniel was able to use his Transformers the Movie exoskeleton suit to blast the vat of killer fluid closed, saving both his long-missing father Spike and HotRod.
Battle scenes between Galvatron and Hot Rod are next, as well as the DinoBots attacking Unicron.
The Dinobots have consistently shown the ability to break through very tough hide that holds up even against cannon-blasts; and, this is no different: the DinoBot Grimlock succeeds in tearing a gash into Unicron first.
The rest of the Dino Bots follow, but realize that even though they can hurt Unicron, he is simply too big for this course of action to be efficient. They fly off to regroup.
The fight between Galvatron and Hot Rod is pivotal, and the upper hand shifts between the two.
Galvatron eventually looks to deliver the finishing move by strangling Hot rod to death…but then; something strange happens:
Hot Rod is able to activate the Autobot Matrix of Leadership he’s been holding all this time, and it turns him into Rhodimus Prime, making him more powerful than Galvatron, whom he literally throws off the planet and into space.
It becomes clear then that, in Transformers the Movie 1986, the only reason Ultra Magnus was killed by Galvatron (despite holding up the Matrix of Leadership and pleading it to power-up) was because he wasn’t the natural successor to Optimus Prime.
As for Unicron, the end isn’t pretty. As Rhodimus Prime unhinges all the energy of the Autobot Matrix, it bursts through Unicron, tearing many holes into his tough hide.
The Autobots hastily make their way out of the massive planet-eater as the rest of his body succumbs to the primal energies of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
The Autobots gather on their planet Cybertron, and scream the Autobot code for all to hear: