COUNTDOWN: 20 big mistakes in the 1986 Transformers movie (part 2)

If you’re a Triple Takeover fan, you’ll know we’ve recently been hugely focused on the 1986 Transformers movie! In fact, as well as a bumper 50th episode extravaganza, we’ve explored further topics in greater detail, including the music, script development and deleted scenes!

However, as much as we love this film, it’s not without its mistakes, many of which are relatively evident throughout. So today, we’re casting a critical eye on some of the more egregious errors found during the movie’s runtime and seeing what they’re all about!

Be sure to catch part 1 first, in case you haven’t already!

#10: Devastator’s chest

Devastator’s transformation during the battle of Autobot City is a very memorable moment, especially for the fear it instils in Daniel and Kup as they bear witness. It remains an incredible sequence even after you realise a glaring animation error is prominently on the screen for all to see! As the Constructions transform and slowly combine into their gestalt form, the giant robot’s chest plate is clearly the wrong colour, displaying the same green as the rest of his body instead of its signature purple. The mistake is corrected as the camera changes, but it’s surprising how hard this one is to spot, given it’s so prominent.

#9: Disappearing Matrix

The Matrix is the ultimate McGuffin in the 1986 movie, repeatedly changing hands until chained around the neck of the new Decepticon leader, Galvatron. He memorably makes a trip to visit his master, Unicron, specifically to threaten him with it. However, things take a turn for the unexpected as the Chaos Bringer reveals his true self in retort. What’s less obvious about this scene is how the Matrix rather bemusingly disappears as soon as Unicron has transformed, failing to appear around Galvatron’s neck on no less than three separate occasions. Strangely, it’s back in place by the time Hot Rod and Galvatron have their big showdown in the belly of the beast, though!

#8: Hot Rod’s shoulders

This one is a straight-up case of incorrect colouring, as during the Sharkticon brawl, Hot Rod’s shoulders briefly switch from pink (yes, pink) to grey, just like the inner sections. It’s not particularly noticeable, but it’s hard to ignore once you see it, especially as it takes place during the fan-favourite teeth-punch moment.

#7: Hot Rod’s black insignia

Similar to the moment above, here’s a hard-to-spot error from later in the film, just after Hot Rod, Kup and the Dinobots arrive on the Planet of Junk. As our young protagonist extends the hand of friendship and offers the Universal Greeting to the Junkions, the Autobot symbol on his chest inexplicably changes from red to black for a brief spell. At least it’s nicely drawn!

#6: The Autobot City wide shot

The battle of Autobot City is one of the more awe-inspiring segments of the 1986 film, not least for the large volume of characters who enter the fray at different points! One particular wide shot of the action shows the city in full as various Decepticons sweep past the camera, giving the suitable impression of a vast army in full attack mode. However, closer inspection reveals some dubious inclusions, although arguably, it’s open to interpretation which of these are true errors and which are just a bit iffy, continuity-wise. Shockwave showing up feels strange, given he’s never shown as having left Cybertron in any other scene, and Rumble being visible is indeed odd, given that he’s deployed from Soundwave’s chest in the very next scene immediately following this. However, eagle-eyed viewers might be surprised to find the (currently deceased) Autobot Ironhide zooming into view, which is definitely a mistake! It makes more sense when you realise this is actually Reflector’s animation model (one of three times he appears in the film, no less), but even then, it’s still in the wrong colours!

#5: Optimus Prime’s missing insignia

Optimus Prime’s last stand is one of the most iconic sequences in the entire film, as he transforms to truck mode, mows down a whole row of Decepticons and then heroically leaps back into his humanoid form and finishes the job. So some fans may be dismayed to discover a glaring error in not one but two prominent shots, as the good guy’s classic Autobot logo is very clearly missing from the side of his trailer in truck mode. It’s absent in the first few moments he changes into his alternate form, reappears for the wider shot on the bridge, but then disappears again for his triumphant transformation at the end. Still, there’s little doubt about which team he’s affiliated with!

#4: Jazz’s missing insignia & weird colours

As in the above, Jazz seems to have forgotten where his loyalties lie on occasion. His Autobot insignia is conspicuously absent for several shots at the film’s start, including the classic shot of him talking to Optimus on the big monitor. Equally, the red stripes on his chest disappear in some moments too!

#3: Blaster’s red head

As great as the entire Autobot City battle sequence is, it’s not without its errors! Here’s one example I remember being quite obvious even during childhood, as Blaster’s head mysteriously changes colour from white to red during a key moment. You can see it as he flips a switch and turns his control chair around before Perceptor pops up. However, it’s not the only mistake to be found in this scene…

#2: Blaster’s cassettes

By comparison to the above, this error is much harder to spot, although once you do, you’ll never look at the sequence quite the same ever again! In a standout moment, Blaster hits his buttons and brings his four previously-unseen cassette minions into play, as Steeljaw, Ramhorn, Rewind and Eject all transform in quick succession. However, it’s impossible to determine which of the two humanoid Autobots is which because they both switch colours as they transform! The first to appear starts off as blue in cassette mode, suggesting it’s Eject, but he weirdly morphs to black as he transforms. Equally, the second to appear (presumably Rewind) starts as black before quickly switching between blue and back to black no less than two more times during his transformation! It’s bizarre but made even more egregious by the following clip, which shows two blue cassettes tackling their Decepticon counterparts, with one leaping to tackle Frenzy and the other running on from the left to shoot Ravage. You’ve heard of RIBFIR but what about the Autobot equivalent?

#1: Unicron’s outer ring

The opening scenes of Unicron devouring Lithone are among some of the most ambitious and not to mention shocking of the entire film! It’s a memorable way to start the story and instantly leaves us in awe of the Chaos Bringer’s awesome might. Yet there’s always been one part that has been a little unfortunate, especially given how hard to ignore it is once you spot it! As the Lithonians race to a monitor to witness Unicron’s impending arrival, it’s instantly clear that the planet eater isn’t layered correctly in the scene, with his outer ring sitting on top of one of the background buildings instead of behind it. It’s not enough to ruin the scene, but it does take the sheen off this one moment just a smidge!

So that’s our list. What other errors can you spot?

TTFN

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About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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