Transformers Animated: Season One – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Let’s see now, the Transformers debuted back in 1984 with toys, comic books, and the original animated series. After that came a few Japanese only series including Transformers The Headmasters, Transformers Super-God Masterforce, and Transformers Victory. Transformers Zone lasted only one episode so it’s really hard to consider that even a series at all. In 1993 we got Transformers Generation 2 which in turned coined the “Generation One” nickname for the original series. Then of course there was Beast Wars, another Japanese exclusive series, and then the Unicron Trilogy of series. 2007 saw the first ever live-action film dealing with the giant transforming robots. That apparently made us forget they were ever a cartoon because now we have…Transformers: Animated.

After the live-action film came and went, the Transformers needed to get back to their roots and get reanimated. The storyline of the series comes mostly from the film as it sees the Autobots and Decepticons on Earth battling over control of the Allspark. They have taken up space in a futuristic Detroit and both want the Allspark for different reasons. The Decepticons want it because of the great power it possesses to bring power to any mechanical object or device. The Autobots want it simply so that it does not fall into the hands of evil. Leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, is joined by the likes of Bumblebee, Ratchet, Prowl, Bulkhead, and Ultra Magnus. Megatron is again the leader of the Decepticons and by his side are of course Starscream, Soundwave, Lockdown, and a few others.

It’s an interesting series in that it follows up to the story from the live-action film; but a lot of the original series is thrown in as well. The Autobots are as always on the look-out for the Earthlings in that they want no innocent lives lost. Their war with the Decepticons has spilled over onto a planet that is not theirs, but must be used as a battleground and Optimus wants to make sure that casualties are kept to a minimum. One of the things reappearing in this series that I love seeing is Starscream’s whininess. He is once again complaining about how he could lead the Decepticons and would be a much better leader then Megatron. Soundwave coming back into the fray is awesome as well, and I sincerely hope he makes it into the second live-action film.

This is definitely not the series I grew up with as a kid, but it’s also not too bad for being a new version of that show. It all begins with the theme song which is not too bad at all and actually stays pretty true to history. A big difference I found is how the Autobots come across. They aren’t always a team and don’t get along all the time like everything is hunky-dory. Here they’re more like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in that they fight and like to sometimes do things their own ways until they realize that their strength comes most of all from being a team. I really like some of the new characters and enjoyed how lessons were not the main focus of the show, but came across subtly. It’s not the same as Generation One, but nothing is ever going to be. I feel this is a series that can bring in new fans to the world of Transformers while not alienating old school fans from the eighties.

Unlike Transformers Cybertron inevitably did.

Episodes

Disc One:

Home Is Where The Spark Is
Total Meltdown
Blast From The Past
Thrill Of The Hunt
Nanosec
Along Came A Spider
Sound And Fury

Disc Two:

Lost And Found
Survival Of The Fittest
Headmaster
Nature Calls
Megatron Rising Part One
Megatron Rising Part Two

The episodes are shown in Full Screen format and the animation is not the greatest in the world, but it isn’t too bad. As for the transfer to DVD, the colors are very bright and edges are sharp making for a fine looking series.

The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound and it more then does the job here, but it would have been nice having some surround sound for the explosions and battle scenes.

Season 2 Photo Gallery Sneak Peek – A bunch of sketches and drawings from the second season. There are some action scenes along with a lot of profile shots of the different Autobots and Decepticons.


Had something, anything, else been given in the special features then this DVD set would have received at least a three and a half or possibly a four. The series is really good after you sit through the first one or two episodes and get used to it. What takes getting used to the most is the animation, but once you’re over that hump; it’s quite enjoyable all around. The story is nothing new and probably never will be considering that anyone who veers from the Autobots versus the Decepticons in anything involving the Transformers will probably be stoned to death. Transformers Animated may have a really stupid name for a series, but it kind of makes sense. It’s letting all those who jumped back on the big robots’ bandwagon with Michael Bay’s film know that things are back to their animated ways. And with this first venture back into the cartoon side of things; I see a good bit of hope for The Transformers franchise.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………




Hasbro presents Transformers Animated: Season One. Starring (voices): David Kaye, Corey Burton, Bumper Robinson, Tom Kenny, Tara Strong, and many more. Running time: 286 minutes on 2 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: August 19, 2008. Available at Amazon.com