Review Summary: This "soundtrack" is too dependent on other artists to make the film popular, making it one of the only reasons why this film is notable in the first place. But let's face it, there are some really fun tracks.
The Transformers television series is probably one of the biggest targets for nostalgia lately. It’s cheesy and sometimes really stupid approaches ironically made the series so enjoyable in the first place. A lot of kids enjoyed the toys and the show and of course, Hasbro decided to make a movie based on the TV show and the result: a feature length toy commercial with notable voices such as Leonard Nimoy, and Eric Idle, and a “soundtrack” filled with different artists that practically play the same genre of music, that would ultimately be the one of the only reasons why people even know about the film in the first place.
Now before I go on I just want to say this: I’m not dissing or criticizing the film in any way (even though I just said it was a feature length toy commercial). I know that there are a lot of people that enjoy this film, particularly those who are fans of the original G1 Transformers cartoons, and I’m sure that people may think that I’m a cold and heartless A-hole for not giving this soundtrack a high rating. I’m reviewing the soundtrack, not the movie (obviously since this is a website for music reviews, duh!). I’m also not saying that I didn’t enjoy the film or soundtrack. I actually enjoyed both, but they have their flaws that I want to point out in this review.
Those who remember this film obviously know about the Stan Bush songs, “The Touch” and “Dare.” Being honest, I do think that these are the most fun to listen to, with “Dare” being my favorite out of the two. But the lyrics are pretty cheesy with the songs being those, “Never give up” or “You have the power to defeat evil” kind of songs. I actually enjoy these two songs on my iPod rather than in the film, the reason being that both of these songs are unnecessarily repeated twice in the movie for some strange reason. Oddly enough, “The Touch” was supposed to be in a Sylvester Stallone film titled “Cobra” and I honestly thought that Stan Bush would’ve been better off with that film because “Cobra” was such a huge success at the box office at the time, even though it was a critical failure, while “The Transformer: The Movie” only made about a million bucks within its first weekend and its audience mostly consisted of fans of the TV show. If you can get past the cheesy lyrics of these two songs, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. “Dare” is well performed with an excellent keyboard solo that makes me keep coming back to this song.
However, most of the other songs aren’t really memorable. You may recognize “Instruments of Destruction” performed by N.R.G. as it was heard in the famous scene of the film where the Autobots actually get killed. It’s not that bad actually. The guitar parts are played pretty well, though the vocals do kind of suck; it’s like their trying to impersonate Megadeth in a weird way. The Spectre General songs are…okay. Again, they aren’t really memorable and you’ll probably only listen to the song for the first minute are so before you change the song. Weird Al Yankovic’s “Dare to Be Stupid” is probably the absolute strangest choice to be in a film such as this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun song, but…why is it this film. It’s just so random. As for the theme song and in my personal view, I despise the idea of trying to make theme songs “epic” or “fun,” or for that matter, adding a theme song in a soundtrack in general. The Transformers theme song, performed by the short-lived band “Lion,” is one of those cases where I don’t really want to listen to it too much. It’s the opposite of the Stan Bush songs, that is, I’d much prefer listening to a theme song on a TV show or a film rather than on a soundtrack. Aside from that, it’s repetitive with the vocalist constantly singing “Transformers, more than meets the eye/robots in disguise” and it does get kind of annoying pretty quickly.
However, I think that the best part of this soundtrack are the Vince DiCola tracks, and let me tell you, that they are some of the best songs I’ve ever listened to out of any soundtrack I’ve heard, but hey, it’s not like Hans Zimmer in any way. My favorite and probably the best track is the Unicron theme song. It has such a laid-back but real sinister sound to it that it fits the character really well (who by the way is voice by Orson Welles in his very last role of his life). In fact, this song is so badass that it was reused in “Rocky IV” which, although wasn’t a great movie, it does show that this song definitely deserves to be noticed. The song “Megatron Must Be Stopped” is such a fast-paced, blood pumping track that will get into your head for several days. Probably my least favorite Vince DiCola track is “The Death of Optimus Prime.” You just know that this song is really trying to make you feel sad, or heck, maybe even get you to cry, but it tries WAY too hard to do it, and I also think that it sounds too fake. I’m sure the first time kids saw the scene when Optimus Prime dies (which I’m still surprised that the writers had the balls to do considering that Prime was such a popular character) they definitely did cry, maybe more than once, but it was for the scene and I don’t think the song really helped that happen, it just really lacks depth.
So overall, the “soundtrack” is a fun listen, but only those who are big fans of the overall franchise or the original cartoon will only love this. I would put in this in the compilation category, but at the same time I don’t think I should. There are more songs by other artists rather than tracks by one composer, but just because the film has different artists doesn’t make it a compilation either. There are some really good tracks but there are also some unmemorable and lackluster tracks as well. Overall, it’s fun and does bring a lot of that nostalgia to you, at least if you’re a fan of the franchise that is.
Megatron Must Be Stopped (Parts 1 and 2)