Darren Jamieson
Transformers Season 1 Deluxe Box Set DVD Review

Transformers Season 1 Deluxe Box Set

July 15, 2003

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

Darren Jamieson

After a series of average DVD releases, Maverick have a chance to redeem themselves with the Transformers Season 1 Deluxe Box Set. How have they done? Daz finds out…

Rhino’s season one collector’s edition box set won over many fans with its release a few months back. Feature packed and complete with restored animation it was beautifully packaged, and even came with some animation cells. Surely Maverick couldn’t reach the lofty heights set by Rhino with their release, due out this coming Monday (23rd September)?

Upon receiving this DVD through the post I was delighted with its presentation. Packaged similar to MGM’s Rocky box set in a card sleeve, the DVDs slide out in a fold out set adorned with Theo Black’s artwork. Finally a bit of effort has gone into the packaging. There is no booklet though, nor are there any special tidbits such as the film cells that Rhino gave us.

We’re treated to a rather slick intro sequence and a well thought out animated menu, this is in my opinion better than that in the Rhino set. Rhino tried to do something nice but the execution was poor with the playback jarring when you select an option. No sign of this here in Maverick’s release.
Unlike Rhino’s set we don’t get the ‘remastered’ episodes. Errors are not fixed and added with equal regularity, we get the episodes as they were back in the day. I never liked the idea of tampering with production line animation anyway. The picture is sharp and the sound is 5:1 and booming. I can have no complaints here.
What this set succeeds or fails on though is not the episodes, but the features. First off you get two taster episodes from DVDs being released later this year. The first episodes from ‘Five Faces of Darkness’ and ‘The Rebirth’ are included. Many people questioned the wisdom of having these episodes on the DVD, but they are a welcome addition. I’d rather have them than not, plus you get a little synopsis for each episode in the series of Rebirth and Five Faces, so the story for the episodes is set.

There are a series of character profiles for all of the major characters, from Optimus Prime to Rumble. These use stills from the episodes and give you 1-3 screens of info on each character. These are informative and interesting and use info derived from the original toy profiles and the Transformers Universe.
When Transformers The Movie was released one of the most requested features was to see some toy adverts. Hasbro were being a bit tight on releasing these at the time, but now Maverick have gotten their hands on a collection of adverts for toys such as Action Masters, Gen 2 and many more. There are lots of adverts here, make no mistake. Together with the original bumpers from the series this is a great addition. Unfortunately there are no season 1 toy adverts, but I guess ads that old were very hard to find.

The next feature is a classic quotes gallery. This is an interesting addition which allows you to select different quotes from throughout the season (mostly from More than meets the eye) and view the sequence with the quote. My favourite being ‘If on Decepticon turf you happen to tumble, look out robot cos here comes Rumble’.
We now move on to the Fan Art gallery, and this is where the fans of this site come in. TheTransformers.Net mailed all of their Fan Art contributor’s and asked them if they’d allow their artwork to be used on the DVD. All of them responded with much the same answer of a whole-hearted YES. This gallery is superb, and really showcases the talented artists in the Transformers world. They’re hoping this is something that can be carried forward to the next box set and give even more artists a chance to get their work shown.

The original synopsis from Sunbow is included on a press card for you to read, but only on the DVD, not a hard copy unfortunately. This is one item I’d like to own myself. If anyone has one of these then drop me a mail, I’d be very interested in buying one. Great artwork on the card and a very nice item to boot.
To add some interactive elements to this DVD release we’re treated to a little quiz. Five questions about the first season with multiple choice answers unlock some bonus footage if you answer them correctly. If you’re new to Transformers or you’ve not watched the first season for while it might be better to watch the episodes before tackling the quiz. TF experts though should have no trouble with it, and the bonus footage is worth it! Note that Michael Smith is credited on the reverse of the sleeve, so if you’ve been keeping a close eye on TheTransformers.Net you should be able to guess what one of the bonus footage pieces is.

If you have a DVD ROM you are able to access some of the original scripts from More Than Meets The Eye Parts 1-3. These are presented in a web page set up and are accessed using Adobe Acrobat. They are certainly worth looking at and even printing out.

Every episode on the set comes with a few paragraphs about it to set the scene; this is described as an episode guide. It would have been better to have given you info about the making of the episode rather than the synopsis approach it took, more like the Professional DVD set. It’s still nice to have the info though, but reading it before watching the episode will give away info you need not know!

The final feature is the one that excited me most of all. Billed as the Japanese trailer for Transformers the Movie I though it wasn’t worth adding to this set. Who wants the Japanese trailer for TFTM? It’s not relevant. This however is NOT the Japanese trailer at all. It is perhaps the rarest of Transformers video clips. It’s the 4 minute promo film used to sell TFTM to the territories before completion. It features footage not shown in TFTM, including Ultra Magnus in a different colour! This video clip is available to download from this site, but not in the quality shown on this DVD. This is a great piece of footage, and one that would be welcome on any Transformers DVD.

In short this DVD set is superb. If you don’t own Rhino’s set then you should get this one. If you do own the Rhino release I’d still recommend this set just for the features. It’s worth it. I’m looking forward now to see what both Rhino and Maverick do with their season 2 releases.

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.
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Rating: 83%

Website: http://www.thetransformers.net/


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