DVD Review: Transformers Prime - Season One (2010 - 2011)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Wednesday, November 26, 2014 0 comments

"Transformers Prime - Season One" is an computer generated animation action series and yet another adaptation of "The Transformers".  This series starts off with two Autobots (the goodies) named RC and Cliffjumper whom are searching a lonely desert for some much needed Energon (the stuff that fuels Transformers).  Cliffjumper finds some Energon but isn't alone as Cliffjumper is ambushed by some Decepticons (the baddies).  Cliffjumper fights hard but not enough as he is captured by the Decipticons and gets himself brutally murdered by none other than Starscream.  RC is upset and takes cover in a town only for a teenage boy named Jack who was trying to ride her.  That's not the bad part as the bad part is that some of the Decepticons have followed RC and thus she is forced to run off with Jack on her back.  Sadly this means that RC has revealed her true form to a human making this war much more dangerous as there are now humans involved.  Jack isn't the only human to get dragged in as his friends named Miko and Raf get involved due to witnessing a huge battle between Bumblebee (an Autobot) and some generic Decepticon goons.  The children are taken to Autobot HQ for protection and thus we meet the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime.  Optimus explains the history of the war and why the Decepticons are such a threat to the Universe.  Meanwhile back at Decepticon HQ we find Megatron (Decepticon's leader) experimenting with a new form of Energon that will change the face of the war all in the Decpticon's favor.  Will the Autobots save the day and bring Earth to peace?  (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The storytelling in this show is mostly episodic but there is a loose storyline that tries to hold the series together and build up an epic finale.  Did it pay off? I don't wanna say as that would be too much of a spoiler.  As for the stories that took place during the series I was very satisfied with them as they were well told and drew me in.  The drama was well done and the action was great as it's mostly Autobot fighting Decepticon and not lame rejected "Ben 10 (2005 - 2008)" baddies that they forced into the first two seasons of "Transformers Animated (2007 - 2009)" (third season was great though).  When you do get human villains in this series you'll find that they fit in well as and they were used in a way to where they made sense being part of the show.  The human villains also have a strong "G.I. Joe (1983 - 1986)" vibe to them to where I was expecting Cobra (Coooooobbbbbrrrrraaaaaaahhhhh) to turn up.  The action in this show is also a little more brutal compared to the other series as in this series you will actually see Transformers bleed out oil when they get badly damaged.  The sight of the blood is nothing that will scar you for life or ruin your childhood as it's violence more on the same scale as "Transformers: The Movie (1986)".

Speaking of characters as the Transformers themselves were handled well as characters as the Autobots have that classic heroic vibe and fight strategically while the Deceptions are evil and menacing and will go through anything and anyone to get their way.  The human characters started off feeling a bit forced into the show but in only a few short episodes they really grow on you and feel very natural to the Transformers universe.  While the characters and story were very well done I did find some parts of this show to be a little cheesy and I was a bit worried that the show was going to go off road and turn into a cruddy show, this wasn't the case though as the show has a good habit of recovering and putting the show back on track...  But still, there's a few cruddy scenes here and there.  Another neat thing about this season set is that this show opens up with a feature-lengh film titled "Darkness Rising" and it was pretty good and strong which made for one heck of a way to kick-start off the season.

Artwork in this show uses 3D computer generated graphics and it looks really good in this series as they weren't going for an overly detailed look nor an overly simple look either.  I was a bit worried that all the Transformers were going to have designs based on the live action films but behold as while some of the Transformers have designs from those films you'll find that they also picked designs from all of the past Transformers shows.  I was a huge fan of this as it felt like that they picked the best of the best and they all worked really well in this show and yes that even includes designs from the live action films.  I liked the designs of the human characters but they weren't anything original and they do look a little bit like some of the characters from "Meet the Robinsons (2007) but not creepy (yeah I said it). I didn't see much variety in the backgrounds as you mainly get space and desert but it didn't bother me at all as they all looked very good.  There is a downside and that is that the quality of the designs vary from episode to episode as you'll get a really stunning looking episode followed by an above average looking episode but even then it's not that bad of the downside and I can even picture this show aging really well in the next ten years.

Animation in this show is pretty smooth and it is like that throughout the whole series and the animation also does justice to the action scenes.  I did like the lip movement of the Transformers in this show as it had a very mystical liquid metal look and it feels like that it makes sense with the Transformers as they are living robots so the organic movements worked.  Voice acting in this show has it's ups and downs as some characters could've had a bit more feeling but there were some characters the did their parts really well and not to mention that they got Peter Cullen and Frank Welker to reprise their roles as Optimus Prime and Megatron.  If you are confused as to why those two actors are important then prepare to have your minds blown as they were the original voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron from back during the original "Transformers (1984 - 1987)" and they just steal the show.  Music in this show has a serious vibe to it and while it does work with the show you won't find the tracks to be very memorable as they sounded generic.

There's a very small amount of special features that can be found in this set and while not much you'll find them cool nonetheless.  Included in this set are mini-making of montages that shows a background and/or character starting off as concept art and slowly evolving into how they looked in TV show.  The other features are entire episodes in concept sketch form, they were very cool to look at and interesting spotting the different between the old versions and how the final version turned out.  All of the special features were worth at least one viewing but don't expect to watch them over and over again.

Overall this is a surprisingly good show and is (arguably) the best 3D animated television series in the past fifteen years.  I recommend this show to those of young and old (well, guys in their mid-twenties - early-forties at least) and do not turn your nose to this just simply because it's in 3D or because some of the Transformers have the designs from the live action films.  Modern day classic.

Title: Transformers Prime - Season One
Animation/Production Studio: Digitalscape, K/O Paper Products, Hasbro Studios, Polygon Pictures
Genre: Animation/3D, Action, Drama, Comedy, (Some) Horror, Science Fiction
Running Time: 100 minutes (21 Episodes + 1 Film)
Distributor: Madman Entertainment
Rating: PG (Mild animated violence)
Price: $39.95
Recommended: Yes


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