Calm App "Transformers" Sleep Story Review


Disclosure: Calm provided Ben's World of Transformers with a temporary membership to Calm in order to write this review. BWTF offers its sincerest thanks to Calm for its consideration.

In early February 2022 it was revealed that the Transformers brand would be joining the Calm App. For those unfamiliar, the Calm app is (according to their PR) "...the leading mental wellness brand with the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation, designed to help you manage stress, sleep better and live a happier, healthier life. With hundreds of hours of original audio content available in seven languages, Calm supports users in more than 190 countries."

At first glance this may seem like a very incongruous combination. Transformers are known more for their exciting, pulse pounding adventures than lulling one into a deep sleep. However that is exactly what this story is intended to do.

Imagine one night you are getting ready for bed and suddenly a group of vehicles pulls up to your house and they ask if they can stay there for the night to rest. Not passengers, not drivers but the vehicles themselves! You grant them permission and as thanks, the leader of the Autobots himself, Optimus Prime decides to talk to you while his Autobot warriors rest. He expresses his gratitude and reminds you that you are a good person and then proceeds to explain just who and what he and his Autobots are. It is interesting how the Autobot/Decepticon conflict is talked about, but not in great length. After all, talk of war and thousands (if not millions) of Transformers dying on Cybertron is not exactly the kind of thing that would put most folks to sleep. After introducing all the Autobots present, Optimus Prime meanders into a story about traveling the roads and once encountering a drive-in movie theater, so this is more than just the origin of the Transformers. It also talks about some of their time on Earth.

To voice Optimus Prime, Calm brought in none other than Peter Cullen himself. The actor has voices Optimus Prime on and off since the 80's. His usually delivery involves a lot of energy and bombast. For the purposes of the Calm app, he takes it to a different place. Yes, he uses his distinct "Optimus Prime voice", but he uses a smooth and quiet tone. He speaks as if he is trying to talk to you but not wake all your neighbors up (which may actually be part of the idea). Whether or not it works for you will vary from person to person. I can tell you that I was cooking and doing dishes as I listened to this story and after an initial period of getting used to the delivery, I did find myself in a more mellow state of mind as a I went about my chores. I could easily envision someone falling asleep to this story.

As Optimus speaks to you, there is very calm music playing in the background. Listen carefully and you will pick up touches of both the live action movie and Transformers Prime soundtracks. Instead of being fast paced and exciting, the music is more new age, slow paced and peaceful.

While Cullen voices Optimus Prime, the story was written by Ryder Windham who has authored over fifty Star Wars books, so he is no stranger to science fiction and fantasy. What I found very smart about the story is that it starts with positive reinforcement. I mean, who wouldn't want Optimus Prime thanking you and telling you that you're kind of awesome? Then the story being told starts with a laser focus of telling the Transformers back story but then slowly drifts from one tale to another. This takes the listener along on a ride and helps their mind wander as well. While I found the narrative engaging, I also found it calming at the same time.

For those fans wondering about continuity, there is a section of this story where Optimus describes his warriors to us. Among those in the roll call are (not shockingly) Bumblebee and Ironhide, but also Windblade. So this could easily be any one of many "Evergreen" type continuities such as Cyberverse. This is definitely not a purely G1 continuity as Ironhide is described as transforming into a pickup truck, Ratchet's alt-form is described as a Fire Department rescue vehicle and Windblade is said to be from Caminus and called out as a Cityspeaker.

The Calm app (and web site) provides much more than just a Transformers story of course. There are all sorts of programs for meditation, sleep and self-improvement that you can explore. There is even a free trial period if you just want to poke around and see what they have to offer. If you do sign up, an individual membership is $69.99 but you can also purchase a lifetime membership for $399.99. They also have other plans you can check out on their web site.

This is the first of two planned Transformers entries on Calm, so keep an ear out for more in the future. I found this to be one of the more unique Transformers experiences in my time and I think it is worth exploring a free trial membership to see what Calm has to offer.