I LOVE Transformers: The Movie. That I won't bother to keep a secret. It's the best animation to come from Generation 1, has the best story to come from Generation 1, is a cult-classic, was the single, biggest turning-point in the history of the G1 franchise etc. In a nutshell, it rules. And this is quite a graphic novel way (bad joke, I know) to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the film, by releasing a graphic novel adaptation of the cult classic.
This whole thing is put together by IDW, the current holders of the licence to produce Transformers comics. And there are so many nice things here. First and foremost, is obviously the artwork, which is done by the phenomenally talented Don Figueroa, the artist from such recent Transformers comic hits like Beast Wars: The Gathering and Transformers: Stormbringer. From start to finish, Figueroa's art remains consistently astounding. The highlights definitely being the opening scene with Unicron, the final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron, an awesome two-page spread featuring Omega Supreme and the Special Teams, the birth of Galvatron, the death of Starscream and the final battle. But as I said earlier, it's all beautiful and faultless from start to finish. The gorgeous colours enhance Figueroa's work even more, so the graphic novel gets high marks already.
Another quality about this adaptation is that it's written by Transformers Legend, Bob Budiansky. Having established and created so many of the original, groundbreaking concepts for Transformers, Budiansky is naturally a guy to be revered and praised. He writes the adaptation here rather nicely in comic format, and it's all faithful to the cinematic masterpiece. He also includes an absolutely brilliant additional scene which features Omega Supreme, the Aerialbots, Protectobots, Stunticons and Combaticons, that explains (plot-wise) why they weren't in the actual film. I wasn't expecting it and as a result, it's a truly wonderful surprise and one of the best things about this graphic novel.
So, it has the artwork, it has some nice extra cover sketches, it has the already epic story to begin with, a really cool new scene and the result is a rather faithful adaptation. But I do agree with the biggest, natural problem regarding this adaptation, and adaptations in general. The fact that it sticks almost entirely to the movie's script (and has to for that matter), means that there's very little that's refreshing and original. It DOES also feel quite rushed, certainly, and over before you know it. Even though it's nice for Budiansky to write this and he does a good job, I firmly believe Simon Furman could've done even better, given how this very film inspired his legendary and epic Galvatron and Unicron sagas during his runs on the UK and US Transformers comics.
Problems aside, this is certainly one of the best graphic novel adaptations of a film I've read. While not an essential Transformers purchase, it remains nice and is (generally-speaking) a faithful companion to the Ultimate Edition DVD. And at quite a good price, I'd call this a grand little bargain.