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Transformers: Season 2 part 1 DVD Review

Transformers: Season 2 part 1

May 1, 2012

Director: Jay Bacal,
Starring: Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Charles Adler, Jack Angel, Michael Bell, Gregg Berger, Arthur Burghardt, Corey Burton, Scatman Crothers, Dan Gilvezan, Casey Kasem, Chris Latta, ,

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DVD Review

For those of us old enough to remember the Transformers first time around, yet young enough to still care about them, we’ve fond memories of great cartoons with heroic characters and an unbeatable toy line. Of course the kids of today have that awful Pokemon inspired excuse for a Transformers show that spends most of its airtime focusing on annoying kids when it should be showing huge Transforming robots battling with each other. Thankfully, because of the medium of DVD, we don’t have to put up with Transformers Armada to ignite the fires of old TV shows. Now we’re getting the original series’ of the Transformers released set by set in great feature packed DVD box sets.

We have had to wait some time for this season 2 part 1 though, due to the distribution rights changing hands. The first season was released by the small UK company Maverick Entertainment as Hasbro had leased out the rights to what seemed like all of their properties, GI-Joe, My Little Pony, Action Force and of course Transformers. They were somewhat surprised when Transformers was actually popular again, and quickly acted to fix their mistake. Now Metrodome Distribution, through the umbrella of TV Loonland and with Sunbow themselves involved the Transformers are finally being released again after what seemed like an eternity’s wait.

Metrodome have really listened to fans input on this first DVD box set release, one which mirrors the region 1 release by Rhino Home Video by having the first twenty-four episodes from season two. Let’s say that again because it’s a darn impressive point, twenty-four episodes from season two. That’s a lot of episodes for your cash, particularly when some websites are selling the box set for under £18.

For those that are in the know with Transformers, the episodes featured on this set are the remastered versions released by Rhino, as opposed to the slightly older versions that Maverick used for the first season. This means crisper colours, better picture but with strangely added sound effects. Most people won’t even notice or care about this though.

The episodes themselves are from what many consider to be the best series of the Transformers. There were more characters in season 2, thus more merchandising potential, yet all of the original characters were still here. In season 3 everything changed as the post movie characters came in, and Optimus Prime was replaced by the lacklustre Rodimus Prime. But this is Season 2, and it features some of the best Transformers had to offer.

The two-parter, Desertion of the Dinobots was one of the best of the series. For some reason, no, because they were just so damn cool, the Dinobots were the most popular of the Transformers. We loved it every time they came on, because they were so tough, and the Decepticons were genuinely scared of them. In Desertion of the Dinobots they had to go to Cybertron, the Transformers home world, to find a cure for the illness that was affecting the Autobots. As the title of the episode suggested, they deserted and went on a bit of a bender, only to get caught and end up crushing rocks in some mine.

Naturally the Dinobots were a little difficult to control, and thanks to Spike and Carly they escaped and cracked some skulls. It’s moments like these that marked Grimlock and his prehistoric band above the other Transformers.

The animation of these episodes as that very unique eighties feel to it, for better or worse, but the sound is quite superb when played through a surround system. What you’re getting here are memories, pure and simple. This is a piece of your childhood, and with twenty-four episodes it’s quite a substantial piece.

Special Features

Of course you’re not just getting the episodes with this set, there’s a stack of features to boot.

First off you get a set of postcards featuring brand new artwork from original Transformers comic artist Lee Sullivan. Lee not only drew for Transformers, but also for 2000 AD and Doctor Who, and his new Transformers artwork here is first class.

Lifting the feature straight off the region 1 Rhino release, there’s the mistake reel of animation errors. I guess if you don’t own it from the region 1 DVD, it’s of interest, but it makes little sense and isn’t very easy to watch or understand.

There’s a quiz on the DVD featuring ten rather challenging questions about the Transformers world. The questions cover everything from the cartoon, to the comics to the obscure toys, so an expert hat is required to answer them, or a trial and error clicking method. Completing the quiz actually unlocks episode number twenty-five of the series, so you get yet another episode for your dosh.

There are a series of character profiles, for those of you who need a little background info on the main characters. These profiles also feature the work of Lee Sullivan.

Also included is a fan art gallery, similar to the one on the Maverick DVD. There seems to be more art here than on Maverick’s season one though, and some of it is truly wondrous.

For those of you who remember the comic there’s a feature from TITAN publishing, which is the first part of the UK comic story ‘Target 2006’. This story is where the UK comic really got going, and incidentally where I first got into the comic, so it’s a nice feature for me. It’s difficult to read it on the screen though as the TV resolution doesn’t lend itself to this kind of thing.

There are two scripts for episodes 16 and 17 that you can read on the TV screen as well, but again it’s not an easy thing to do.

There’s a gallery of toy adverts taken from the mini catalogue posters that used to come with the toys, which brings back great memories of all of those Transformers I could never find in the shops. Predaking for example, what lucky kid had him?

Rounding it all off is some footage from the UK Transformers convention held in Birmingham called Auto Assembly. This footage is very disappointing as it’s just some guy with a video camera, with no training, and no sound. It features the Transformers theme tune looped over the top several times as we get some home movie style shots of toys, and people with guts and beards.

All in all this a great value set for the money, although the presentation on the screen is a little rough around the edges. Some of the features seem botched together, when a little more time would have made them more palatable. Still, after we’d waited so long since Season 1 was released we didn’t really want to wait any longer.

If you remember Transformers first time around, and you remember it fondly, this DVD would make you smile.

 

Darren has enjoyed an interest in film for many years, studying the subject at Newport Film School where he worked on the film ‘Cop on the Edge IX: Prelude to Justice‘ in a directing and acting capacity. The official site can be enjoyed here. Darren setup WhatDVD.Net in 2003 to further his love of films and to write passionately about the movies he enjoys, and about those that he doesn’t.

Although his day-to-day activities mean that he now has less time to review movies than he would ideally prefer, he still tries to review new releases, and DVDs from his extensive collection, whenever possible.
view all DVD reviews by Darren Jamieson

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Rating: 87%

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