Megatron has found a way to harvest dark energon from the Earth’s core, but doing so brings an ancient prophecy to life about the return of Unicron who is the core of planet Earth. Can Optimus Prime and the Autobots stop Megatron and his Deceptions’ plan which could destroy human life?
I’ve never watched this series before. The latest DVD collection – One Shall Stand collects seven episodes of the series, an entire season. They are presented here without any break as a 154 minutes movie. The writing on this series is tight and good. The plot involves a lot of common Transformers’ lore seen throughout the years in various series but mashed up into an engaging plot that’s easy to follow. You will not be disappointed if you are a Transformers’ fan.
What it does best is take a lot from the mythology from the three blockbuster films and add more layers. The core team featured Bulkhead from the Transformers Animated cartoon series, old perennial Autobots such as Arcee, Bumblebee and Ratchet. On the Decepticons’ side, you have the treacherous Starscream and Soundwave. I’m not familiar with some of the other Decepticons. And of course, you have Optimus Prime versus Megatron. As with many Transformers’ series, there are the annoying humans that one wonders why, but seem to steal one third of the airtime. It seems that Hasbro paired the humans with the Autobot toys, thus had to feature them. I find them redundant and really annoying. That several storyline centered around them was even more annoying. I mean, want to see giant robots ducking it out. I don’t care about sidekids with spiky hair trying to act tough instead of getting out of the way before getting stumped on by a Transformer.
While the team building and characterisation of the Autobots was spotless, the Decepticons’ handling left a lot to desire. Sure, Black Arachnia had her treacherous moment and confrontation with loyal Soundwave, but it wasn’t enough. This series also seem to favour the generic Decepticon soldier who transforms either as a car or as a jet as the footsoldier of Megatron’s army instead of favouring distinct characters. In the old series, while several Decepticons (and Autobot) were the exact same toy model, they each had different names and personalities. That’s why it would be a travesty to say that Thundercracker is just a blue Starscream. He was not. He was Thundercraker and even if he had about as many lines as Skywarp, the other original Decepticon jet, they were totally different characters. The focus on the bad guys in this series just wasn’t to the standards of old Transformers, cartoons. Starscream was there for a while, but briefly exited.
Now the animation was often good but I often had a feeling that there was no weight to the characters. When Megratron lifts his huge arms and his fusion cannon, it doesn’t feel like it’s a heavy piece of hardware. It felt very light. Past 3D Transformers’ cartoons had poor shading and no shadows – remember Beastwar? In this series, the textures are much better. I like the rusted look on Optimus Prime’s armour. You can feel he’s been in several battles. The animation was good too, although I felt the transformation sequences were too fast and we didn’t get to see how the Transformers changed from one mode to another. That’s part of the appeal of the Transformers usually.
The epic itself is just good and carried the story nonstop. There are a few extras like an chat with the writers of the show. I would have liked to see more about the 3D animation process which is a huge part of this series’ success, but there were none.