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Transformers Season 3 & 4 DVD Review

Transformers Season 3 & 4

December 11, 2004

Director: Jay Bacal, John Gibbs, John Walker,
Starring: Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Charles Adler, Jack Angel, Arlene Banas, Jered Barclay, Roger Behr, Michael Bell, Gregg Berger, Susan Blu, Steve Bulen, Arthur Burghardt, Corey Burton, Roger C. Carmel, Victor Caroli, Michael Chain, Philip L. Clarke, Regis Cordic, Scatman Crothers, BJ Davis, Bud Davis, Marshall Efron, Paul Eiding, Laurie Faso, Ron Feinberg, Ron Gans, Brad Garrett, Linda Gary, Richard Gautier, Ed Gilbert, Dan Gilvezan, Johnny Haymer, Michael Horton, John Hostetter, Jerry Houser, Milt Jamin, Jason Janson, Buster Jones, Stan Jones, S. Marc Jordan, Casey Kasem, Stephen Keener, Aron Kincaid, Chris Latta, Joe Leahy, Jeff MacKay, Danny Mann, Mona Marshall, Michael McConnohie, Terence McGovern, Jeff McKay, David Mendenhall, John Moschitta Jr., Alan Oppenheimer, Rob Paulsen, Tony Pope, Hal Rayle, Pete Renaday, Clive Revill, Neil Ross, Ken Sansom, Tony St. James, Beau Weaver, ,

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DVD Review

In 1986, the Transformers went into their third season, making some bold marketing decisions, and they must have paid off because twenty years or so later here it is on DVD. Those who are not Transformers savvy will be completely and utterly confused when watching the episodes on Season 3 and 4 box set. Twenty years has passed since season 2 and The Transformers have had their very own movie. It’s that movie which bridges the gap between season 2 and 3 and fills in all of the blanks. You really need to have seen the movie as Season 3 is the aftermath and has extensions of the events of the movie.

n the now customary silver slipcase come four discs that make up season 3 and 4. Three discs containing nine episodes each and the final one holding six plus extra features. Season 3 consists of a massive thirty episodes, where as season 4 is a lowly three episodes. Each of the individual volumes comes complete with impressive artwork from Transformers comic book artist Andrew Wildman and the slipcase holds an image of Decepticon leader Galvatron.

The first very evident thing about season 3 is the almost completely new cast, with very few of the original robots surviving the war against Unicron in the movie. A brave move considering in season 3, favourites such as Optimus Prime, Megatron and Starscream are now dead. This new cast does has a lot to offer in the way of replacements, with new Autobot leader Rodimus Prime and his faithful soldiers Ultra Magnus, Kup, Springer and Arcee. To keep things even we are treated to a batch of brand new bad guys as well, in the form of Galvatron, Scourge and Cyclonus. As the number of seasons grow, so do the size of these transforming robots as now we can see them go from robot mode to anything from a small cassette tape deck to an entire city.

Along with this new cast comes a new writing composition. Instead of stories containing themselves to one episode as the first seasons tended to do, season 3 feels a lot more developed and structured, as plots can span a couple of episodes and have several themes explored within them. There’s Rodimus Primes’ internal struggle to live up to the great Optimus, Galvatron’s damaged brain slipping further into the realms of the demented, the history of Cybertron, Starscream’s Ghost and even Dinobot Island get a mention. With the new writing framework comes a new look, as the Autobots have now reclaimed their home planet Cybertron, and the action leaves Earth, and some human involvement, behind and focuses much more on the whole Universe. The adventures spread through many different planets with various inhabitants to save, but leave the audience without an emotional attachment to any of the locations and backdrops.

Even though the scripts are more developed and concise, this was still created with children in mind and most of season 3 heads in a more mature direction. There are several episodes that cater towards that silly child like humour that will entertain a seven year old. The character used for the humour most effectively is that of dumb-dinosaur Grimlock, whose poor use of the English language is enough to give any one the giggles.

Season 3 is a mixed bag of some of the best and worst animation that Transformers has ever seen. Transformers animation has never been top quality stuff and can suffer from some of stupidest of errors but Season 3 holds much less than any of the others. It also contains some great animation from episodes such as ‘Call of the Primitives’ and ‘The Return of Optimus Prime’. Season 4 was the last three episodes of Transformers before the show was cancelled. It’s a great shame as it was going from strength to strength and we had just been introduced to the brand new Headmasters, Optimus Prime is back from the dead and Bumblebee has been rebuilt into Goldbug, but we will never see the results of these.

Special Features

The extras disk in packed full and contains footage of Transformers convention ‘Auto Assembly 2004’ and is a vast improvement on the 2003 footage on the Season 2 Part 1 box set.

It also includes three interviews with some of the Transformers comic book legends, including writer Simon Furman who lets slips some information about a future Transformers title and his thoughts on the newer incarnation of the franchise.

The accustomed quiz is here, only this time it will probably make even the life-long die-hard fans scratch their heads. To top things off is the inclusion of a mini-comic, the much anticipated conclusion to ‘The Beast Within’ comic book from Season 2 Part 2 box set. The book is shorter with half the amount of pages, and it shows as the climax is somewhat unsatisfying, but we are treated to those characters that we know and love from the first seasons, and we are left wondering if this story really is all over.

With Metrodome due to release more Transformers, could there be more to the story on its way?

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 74%

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