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Review: Transformers Season 2 Part 2 (R2 UK) DVD

Written by Big Bot on May 3, 2004 | Reviews |


Written by Chris McFeely

Woo-hoo, my copy of Season 2, Part 2 finally came today! I’ve been really looking forward to this set, even more than I was looking forward to Part 1, and even better, I’m off work right now, so I can just sit and soak it in all day.

Now, to kick this off, I’ll say this – this set is SO much better, in terms of presentation and professionalism than the first set was. The sleeve is just like the first set, shiny silver, on this time, it’s decked out with a big Decepticon symbol, and the two boxes look very well next to each other on a shelf. The back of the sleeve remains mostly the same, except with the purple and red backgrounds for the extra features list and character illustrations switched. The blurb for the set itself is now in purple, making it *much* easier to read than the white text on Part 1 (white on silver, really?). Once again, the individual boxes are red plastic (I was kinda hoping for purple to really set off that Decepticon theme), and their covers are a little gaudy, but functional. They depict, in order, Jazz, Starscream and Soundwave. I wonder why they didn’t put Jazz in Devastator’s place as the cover to volume 3 in part one, to make that set fully Autobot-centric, and this one fully Decepticon-centric, but there you go. The discs are labelled volumes 4, 5 and 6.

Before getting into the discs themselves, there’s a small bundle of inserts and stuff inside volume 4’s case. First is the booklet like that which was included with Part 1 – a listing of the episodes on the disc (and instead of a red border at the bottom of each page, it’s now purple. The Decepticon theme runs strong!). Also included are ads for Dorling Kindersly’s “Transformers: The Ultimate Guide” (out this Thursday, the 6th), and Atari’s PS2 game (no date given, and official sources range, but this Friday is looking good. It’s a damn good week to be a Transfan!). A typically enthusiastic intro from Darren Jamieson rounds out the booklet.

Next are Andy Wildman’s four postcards, and boy-howdy, do they beat the pants off of Lee Sullivan’s. Wildman is *rocking it* since he started doing Dreamwave-style, rather than his usual “people in boxes” Transformers, and the spiffy backgrounds on the cards liven them up to no end. The cards are of Prime, Megatron, Blaster and Superion.

Now, the most interesting insert – “The Beast Within,” a fan comic written by theTF.Net’s own Darren Jamieson, and illustrated by Dylan Gibson. And I will be frank. My first instinct in writing this was to not say much, but I don’t think Daz would want me to sugar coat my feelings about it, and just to be honest with what I think, so I will be.

The cover is a wraparound of metal tendrils bursting out of Grimlock, and Prime, Megs and Starscream and Soundwave looking on. The inside cover is an intro to the story (essentially – a big arse fight has gone on, and it don’t look good for Prime’s boys), followed by an intro by Dylan Gibson, which probably should be read after, as it spoils a bit about what’s in the story. To quickly summarie the story – as battle rages around him, Grimlock seems to be holding back, afraid of something within himself. But he is eventually forced to act by the deseperation of the situation, and, shockingly… the Dinobots combine! The unnamed monstrosity that is formed from their combination is pure, uncontrollable rage, that quickly rips through Predaking, Devastator, Bruticus and Menasor. And then, with the Decepticons defeated, it turns on the Autobots… to be continued, presumably in the Season 3 DVD set.

Now, my thoughts. It’s an interesting concept – I thought that “the beast within” would just be Grimlock’s own berserker drive, so I was surprised by the revelation, and thought it was a good idea. However, I find it’s implimentation to be a bit… well… fanwanky. It comes off as… “Look, look, this is REALLY awesome!” As a reader of comics who is now, frankly, bloody tired of Grimlock thanks to Simon Furman’s overkill use of the character, I wasn’t loving the concept of *another* story about him. I think he’s one of the most overrated TFs there is. But that’s personal preferences, and that’s all I can REALLY complain about, story wise.

Art-wise, Gibson does a nice job, a little affected by the small amount of space his work has been compressed to. Also, unfortunately for him, he seems to have made an effort to ape the style of Pat Lee, particularly in his drawnings of Optimus Prime (white stripes on arms, chunky window frames), a particularly overrated artist who people shouldn’t strive to emulate.

But the biggest gripe about this comic is the lettering and dialogue. It’s apalling. The text is all over the place, poorly formatted in some ill-shaped word balloons, and there’s not a SINGLE FULL STOP in the entire comic! Three dots don’t count!

Anyway, enough ranting. It’s a neat, intruiging extra that just needs a bit of fine tuning.

And now, the main event!

The twenty-five episodes of the set are split up nine to volume 4, nine to volume 5, and seven to volume 6 (as opposed to the 10-10-4 split of Part 1). The main menus are VASTLY superior to Part 1’s decidedly underwhelming offerings, with more use of the energy grid from the season 2 opening and nifty 3D faction symbols. These ones are NICE to look at. However, I don’t know if it’s my player or not, but the transititions between menus are a bit jerky and iffy.

Again, we have 5.1 or 2.0 audio options, with 5.1 being the default, unlike Part 1. Now, most people will remember the rantings that have gone on in the past of how Rhino, the American company who remastered these episodes, added extra noises to the 5.1 track (jet fly-bys, big explosions, and the primary truly annoying one, a demonically irritating WHCSSH!! to nearly every laser impact). For their season 1 box set, Maverick used only this 5.1 audio. Metrodome, for S2, Pt2, gave us both 5.1 and 2.0, although an error by Rhino on their set carried over, which saw the extra noises applied to the 2.0 tracks of “Changing Gears,” “City of Steel,” “Attack of the Autobots” and “Traitor.” Furthermore, on the American Season 2, Part 2 set a technical error resulted in the 2.0 track of EVERY episode getting the added noises, driving many US fans up the wall.

The good news?

This error HASN’T carried over! I haven’t watched EVERY episode yet, but after a good chunk of disc one, and a sampling of some episodes from the others, flicking back and forth between tracks and rewinding to examine specific instances, I can find no evidence that the 2.0 tracks contain the added noises! TAKE THAT, YANKEES! If I find evidence to the contrary, of course, I’ll take this back.

So, with that joyous discovery made, I was really settling down to watch some awesome robot action. There’s little point in actually going into episodes in that much detail, but I reccommend-

– the refreshingly mature change of pace that is “The God Gambit”
– “The Secret of Omega Supreme,” which gets the “Contradicting the Conustructions’ Origin, but Giving A Reason For At Least ONE of the Season’s New Characters” award
– the hoots that are “Prime Target” and “Triple Take Over”
– The really quite spiffy “Key to Vector Sigma”
– the continuity-chewy-tasty “War Dawn”
– and the absolutely CRACKIN’ “Starscream’s Brigade” and “Revenge of Bruticus.”

The worst ep on the set is, without question, the utterly nonsenscial, brain-itching “B.O.T.,” one of the worst episodes of Transformers ever.

Now, as I did in the past, let’s take a deep look at the extras. Before I get into them individually, I just have to say that they are presented *sooooo* much better than the previous set’s. More work has gone in here, and even though there are less individual extras than Part 1, what we do get is simply much more pleasing to experience.

The first extra is the quiz – same format as part 1, multiple choice, only with 20 questions, instead of 10. And these ones are ones that you DO have to REALLY be a Transfan to answer. When you complete the quiz, it’s apparent that nothing is unlocked, but….

…when the quiz is over, and “Special Features” is highlighted, press “up,” and Megatron’s eyes will light up. Hit enter to play the set’s vaunted Easter Egg… and then be disappointed to discover that it’s “Four Soliders From the Sky,” the first episodes of the Japanese “Headmasters” series… again. Forget the fact that it’s the lip-jabberingly poor English dub, and focus instead on the fact that this is now the THIRD time this episode has been on DVD, first on Maverick’s release of the movie, then again on it’s own disc with five more Headmasters episodes, and now this time. It’s hard to know what to feel here – I mean, I am annoyed that it’s this episode AGAIN, but I also applaud Metrodome for using some Japanese episodes (boding well for their use in the future), and although it would have been NICE to start where Maverick left off, that seems silly, even though Metrodome has done it with their box sets. Ah well.

Next up is the game, just identified as “Transformers Game” on the Menu, but called “Guess the Autopart” in the booklet and “Scrambled Transformers” on the sleeve and box. From any screenshots you may have seen of it, you may think it’s played by selecting individual parts and combining them to make a Transformers, but in actuality, it’s just a randomised process – you just repeatedly hit “play” until a whole Transformer appears on screen. You can build either Starscream, Soundwave, Jazz or Bumblebee, and once you have successfully done so, you can play a slideshow of the character’s highlights from the set. Unfortunately, like the menu transititions, these are a bit choppy – though as before, I’m not sure if this is just my player or not. A nice idea for an extra, though the way I *thought* it could be played would have been a better way to play it.

Next are the staple character profiles, presented a bit better than Part 1’s with a preferable use of screen captures, rather than artwork. Profiles are for Menasor, Superion, Bruticus, Defensor and Blaster. Better written all around. Nice work.

Next up is a familiar sight – the Fan Art gallery. Wisely changed from the scrolling movie of Part 1 to a user-controlled page-by-page presentation, this thing is bloody MASSIVE. Art ranges from great to average to copied (bad boys, dirty boys, in your bed, etc).

Next on the list are the Episode Scripts – once again, wisely changed from Part 1’s on-screen presentation to PDF files opened on your computers. They’re the original dialogue of the episodes, lacking the stage directions between speech. All twenty five episodes have their scripts here – that’s a lot of reading!

Finally, there is the Atari game trailer, a preview of the Armada PS2 which rocks my socks. Seeing Tidal Wave transform and land in that water just gave me a joygasm.

And that, my lads and lassies, is your lot. A huge improvement over the already-great Part 1, with a much more professional, polished finish, a better handling of content, some spiffy inserts, and with superior audio to the US set. Roll on season 3/4 – if the quality climbs as much as it did from S2 Pt 1 to Pt 2, I may very well explode.

Review: Transformers Complete Original Series Deluxe Edition (R2 UK) DVD

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on September 22, 2002 | Reviews |


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.

Review: Transformers: Original Series Volume One (R2 UK) DVD

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on January 18, 2002 | Reviews |


Maverick sent a copy of their new DVD, released January 28th, to us here at TheTF.Net to cast our eye over it. It features five episodes from the first season of the original Transformers series – War of the Dinobots, Fire on the Mountain, and The Ultimate Doom parts 1-3.

So what is the DVD like? The episodes themselves are all classics, particularly War of the Dinobots which features the creation of Swoop and Snarl. The Ultimate Doom is currently available in the US on the Villains DVD, but the other two episodes are not yet available on DVD in the English language.

The episodes aren’t re-mastered in any way, but the picture quality is clear enough and it’s the best quality that you can currently find these episodes in. The menu system is actually quite impressive, and features a scene selection allowing you to choose your episode. I would have preferred a theme running through from the movie DVD in the menu system, or in the cover but there isn’t one.

The cover is something of a let down unfortunately. It seems that all of the best Transformers art either exists in comic form or from fan artists such as Dan Khana, leaving very little for official DVD releases – unless they were to commission any art.

Rhino in the US are releasing a season 1 box set, and I’d hoped to get one here in the UK soon but it seems we may have to wait a while. Maverick still intend to release a season 1 box set but not for some months yet. Before you judge them, don’t forget that Rhino released two volumes of episodes on DVD before announcing that a box set was planned, forcing fans to buy the same episodes twice.

Review: Transformers The Movie (R2 UK) DVD

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on November 29, 2001 | Reviews |


It seems like we’ve waited forever for this, an eternity almost, and now it’s finally here. But is it worth the wait? We were hopeful for widescreen, by some online retailers such as Blackstar and Play247 we were promised widescreen but it has not materialised. So is this DVD release worth the money without it, particularly if you already own the region 1 US version on import?

Well, in a word… yes.

The mockery of justice with the cover misprint (a PG certificate with a Universal description) nearly delayed the release, but in the end proved unimportant and in all honesty may actually help. You see there are only 20,000 prints of this first run and the second run will have the cover altered. This original cover with the classification mistake will become something of a collector’s item!

And what a cover! We’re biased because it’s our artwork, but we really prefer this to the badly rendered VHS cover and the American Ultra Magnus artwork. This was the original face of the movie way back with the Video Gems release, and for cinema posters here in the UK. This artwork was also picked by readers of TheTF.Net as their favourite, that’s why it was used. People Power!

When you put this long awaited DVD into your player you’re greeted with the introductory footage from BBC’s I Love 1984. This features interviews with comic writer Simon Furman. This provides a nice little backdrop to Transformers if you’re unfamiliar or are trying to brainwash a colleague, spouse or child – I know from experience, it works.

There is of course the famous mistake in this program where Paul, bless him, talks about Soundwave whilst the good old Beeb cut in some footage of Blaster. Don’t blame Paul, it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t edit the thing, the BBC did and he feels really embarrassed about how dumb they made him look. Apart from that inexcusable error the interview with Simon Furman is great.

Once this footage ends we go straight into the animated intro sequence… and there’s no season 3 intro on a season 1 DVD here (as Rhino did with Ultimate Doom!). This intro rocks.

The words Access Granted adorn the screen, allowing us into the Transformers vault. Shots of the movie flash up in a very slick, well put together montage with the thumping sounds of Leon’s ‘The Transformers’ theme. This evolves into the main menu, with a matrix (Keanu, not Creation) animated backdrop. You can just make out the Autobot logo scrolling down on the left.

Special Features
Let’s talk first about the features, not what isn’t on it but was is!
Your first choice in the menu offers the film, the scene selector, the trailer and the special features. It is the features that we made a bee line for.

There are two special feature in this section, the first being the Takara episode: The Four Soldiers From The Sky’ which is also included on the recent VHS release. The quality is obviously superior here, but the dubbing still bad.

The second feature is something new, a moving picture gallery with music. This is the reason the disc carries a PG certificate. The music featured is a new remix by NRG of their track Instruments of Destruction and it uses samples from the movie of Spike’s infamous line. The remix is great, and is sure to soon be available on many web sites for download.

It should be noted that this mix was part of some work NRG were hoping to finish in time for the 2001 Botcon convention, but unfortunately were unable to do so. Luckily we have a chance to enjoy it here.

The gallery images themselves are all from the movie, which helps… Rhino take note! They are in fact from the Marvel adaptation from 1986 – Transformers the movie comic/poster. This is the comic that TheTF.Net provided for use on the cover art.

The obligatory animated scene selector
Every decent DVD needs animated chapter selectors, particularly if it’s an animated film. This DVD is no exception, and this time the chapters on the cover are spelt correctly. For those that don’t know, the original print of the cover had a spelling mistake that we here at TheTF.Net noticed and caught Maverick just in time to prevent an embarrassment.

Interesting version?
This version of the film on this DVD is quite unusual, it’s neither the U.S. uncut version or the UK version. It is in fact a hybrid of the two. It features the UK scrolling text and voicover, yet still has the swearing intact. This makes it unique, if not unusual. Is this the best version available?

Theatrical Trailer
For me this is the prize of the features, for although it doesn’t say it on the cover it is actually in widescreen! here are some screenshots to prove it. A 4:3 version of this trailer is downloadable in our video section now, but this widescreen version on the DVD is a beautiful sight.

The Film Itself
OK, OK, no widescreen. I know. Sunbow said that it existed and that they’d found it, but they didn’t come forward with it. This is very frustrating and annoying, particularly considering that the trailer has been unearthed in widescreen. This just wets our appetites even more. Never mind, one day the widescreen print will light our darkest hour… or at least our DVD players, I’m sure of it.

As the film itself, I don’t know if it’s just me but the actual transfer looked a little dark. I thought the same about the VHS version, maybe I’m just picking holes. This film also features a 5.1 sound mix that was created at great expense by those chaps in the USA.

I have to say that I feared the worst with this release. We’d waited so long with so many promises, disappointments and false advertising by retailers that I just felt we were in for a big let down. Those fears however were dispelled with the intro sequence of the disc. It was slick, stylish and professional, far better in my opinion the the US region 1 version from Rhino.

The extras from there were like a candy flavoured topping. The widescreen trailer, ooh bliss. The Takara episode, the NRG remix with my images (ego trip) and even the BBC intro footage. This DVD made my day, I just hope that Maverick’s efforts to please the fans don’t backfire on them with people feeling cheated, because you won’t be. believe me.

The really great thing is that with this epic project out of the way, Maverick can now focus on the next Transformers release. A DVD containing five episodes from season 1: SOS Dinobots, Fire in the Sky & The Ultimate Doom parts 1,2 & 3. This they hope will be out by December 31st.

Now if you want this DVD, and you know you do, it’s only available in the UK.
If you’re in the US or any other country for that matter you can order it online and import it, GAME will ship to foreign turf. Bear in mind though that there is a US region 1 DVD of Transformers The Movie already available, if you’d rather that check out Amazon. If you’re unsure which one you want, check out our review of the US region 1 version here.

That’s it, the DVD is out, I’m off to bed to dream of Transformers and a time when, well, all are one.

’til then?

Review: Transformers The Movie Special Collectors Edition (R1 USA) DVD

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on September 9, 2001 | Reviews |


For those of us with DVD players there are a number of major releases that bring tingles down the spine when thought of, outbreaks of cold sweating at the mention of, and a small damp patch in the front of the trouser department when we finally lay our hands on their lean, feature packed forms. Releases such as Terminator 2, Ghostbusters, The Star Wars Trilogy and now, dare I say it… I dare, I dare. Transformers: The Movie. Excuse me while I look for some tissues.

The DVD menu screen, it Transforms!

This is not just another DVD release, it’s not even a significant release, nay, this is the singularly most important occurrence in the history of mankind. The wheel? Bah! The microchip? Duh! Transformers, oh yeah baby, light my darkest hour. For those of you with no culture, life or any kind of meaningful existence here’s a brief recap on who the Transformers are…

Hailing from the tiny planet of Cybertron the warring Transformers were divided into two codes: The heroic Autobots lead by Optimus Prime and the evil Decepticons led by the maniacal Megatron. Crash landing on Earth four million years ago they were rendered inactive until revived by a volcanic explosion. Their war naturally began again much to the enjoyment of children in the mid to late Eighties, watching their cartoon antics and playing with their plastic effigies. These Transformers remained on the small screen until 1986 when the greatest movie of all time in the history of the cosmos was released… Transformers: The Movie.

I’m telling you kid, it was this big.

Now you’re up to date, let battle commence.

The movie concerns a young Autobot named Hot Rod who must realise his potential in order to save the Autobots and Decepticons from the evil monster planet devourer Unicron. That’s putting it briefly because of course there’s far more to it than that. Most dramatically we see the final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron. Optimus was the biggest role model to children in the Eighties, he was brave, heroic, strong, fair and most importantly of all, he turned into a shiny red truck.

That curry’s gone right through me.

This battle left many a child traumatised as the undefeatable Optimus Prime was ‘crushed by Megatron’s bare hands’. Exaggeration or not he was dead, and with him all hope. This is just one of the powerful memories the film leaves you with, don’t forget Starscream’s treatment of Megatron, Galvatron’s retribution on the newly crowned Decepticon leader and the devastation laid upon Cybertron by the all powerful Unicron.

I’m taking Hot Rod to the prom, not you Prime!

Me bash brains!
Now we should warn you that if you haven’t seen Transformers: The Movie and you’re expecting a nice little good verses evil kiddies cartoon with cutesy robots, boy are you in for a shock. Transformers is violent, very very violent. The old school Autobots such as Ironhide, Wheeljack, Ratchet, Prowl and many others are mercilessly slaughtered to make way for the new characters. No Transformer is safe, even Prime and Megatron are at risk!

Arise Rodimus Prime.

If Rodimus Prime’s ascension to Autobot leader, as Optimus’ words wring out doesn’t move you to tears then you’re already dead. ‘Arise Rodimus Prime’ should be in every nations national anthem, it’s also a powerful aphrodisiac!

Return of the Jedi?
The plot is classic sci-fi fantasy in the traditions of Return of the Jedi. Hot Rod (Luke) must face up to the loss of his mentor Optimus (Obi-Wan) and fight the Evil Galvatron (Vader) in order to destroy Unicron (Emperor and Death Star in one) and save the universe. Once successful he can truly call himself a Jedi… I mean Rodimus Prime.

What was that stuff called again? Oil of Ulay?

You’ve got the touch, you’ve got the power.
When all hell’s breakin’ loose you’ll be riding the eye of the storm!

Lyrics don’t come cheesier than that, nor do they root themselves so deeply into Eighties soft rock culture as those present in Transformers: The Movie. The soundtrack has been criticised, it’s been lauded, whatever your belief it can’t detract from the fact that it is Transformers. ‘Dare’ is as much a part of the movie as the creation matrix itself and deserves its place in Cybertronian history. The music of this film is unlike any other animated feature, scored by Vince DiCola, the man who brought us the ‘Rocky’ soundtrack, and featuring such classic performers as NRG, Stan Bush, Spectre General and Weird Al Yankovic. It’s rock n’ roll with robots in disguise! (cool eh? I made that up myself)

If you want a piece of the Eighties then this soundtrack is all the piece you will need, and probably more than you can handle! Unashamedly cheesy, and undeniably enjoyable.

This looks like a little Unicron… interesting.

Me Grimlock know all about music, when me hear about DVD?
Alright, get your noodle outta my face.

The Region 2 edition details are unclear at this time, but if the Region 1 version is anything to go by we’re in for a treat. If you’re used to watching Transformers on an old worn out VHS copy, distortion lines affecting your enjoyment, get ready for perfection. Animation always transfers well to DVD, and Transformers is no exception. It’s crisp, vibrant and even with the technically inferior NTSC Region 1 version it looks as though it were drawn only yesterday. (Note: Region 2 will be PAL which is a superior colour format to NTSC)

Alas poor Ironhide, I knew him well.

The sound is amazing, the music is, well, we’ve covered that enough, and the overall experience of this disc could only be topped by watching in the cinema. (Or being stuck in a sordid love triangle with Cindy Crawford and Elle Mcpherson, obviously!)

Features Kup, tell Swoop about Features!
OK, well the dust was really thick. This disc contains animated menus with the scene index featuring Transformers doing what they do best: Transforming. It’s particularly exciting as it shows the beginnings of each scene in little windows, including one scene entitled ‘You got the power’. That damp patch is starting to reoccur in my trousers.

Check out the scene index.

Of course the main aspect of these special features is a ten minute interview with the cheese maestro himself: Vince DiCola. Any man that can score a Rocky movie and be proud clearly isn’t picky on his work ethic. This interview is a very hurriedly thrown together film shot with two cameras in what appears to be a small recording studio. There’s a Transformers: The Movie poster on the wall in a kind of ‘let’s dress this set quickly so we can make it in time for lunch’ sort of way, and not much else. Vince waffles on about Transformers conventions, The Touch appearing in Boogie Nights, and clears his throat regularly, loudly, into the microphone. The fact that this wasn’t removed in post production suggests the speed with which it was bashed out, very very fast indeed.

Vince DiCola: Get that man a hanky.

Vince did have some interesting things to say, I just can’t quite put my finger on them right now. Oh for an interview with Leonard Nimoy. The other special feature is considerably more interesting, for me at least having studied Animation. We’re treated to storyboards for deleted scenes. Let me hear you say WOW! Of course as with all deleted film scenes you can see why they were deleted, but their inclusion gives an insight into the story making process of the film that you would otherwise be without.

Prowl is dazed by a comet, then slaughtered by Megatron.
Just one of those days.

The best of these deleted gems features Optimus Prime’s one robot demolition of the Decepticons. He actually catches Blitzwing and… well I’m not going to spoil that one!

Me Grimlock no kisser, me king!
The disc has some notable omissions, which we can only hope will appear in the Region 2 version. The biggest of those is the original widescreen version. There has been some disagreement, nay argument with name calling, in the fan community as to whether the film was originally shot in widescreen or not. I can tell you now that it was. The original television trailer clearly states ‘Spectacular Widescreen Action!’ Download it here for proof.

The trailers themselves could also do with being included, more interviews, this time with the cast or the animators. The original promo video with extra footage, also available here. TV toy commercials, DVD ROM features such as screenplays, screensavers, games and web links… now I really do need a tissue, oh my god I’m starting to get very excited.

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