ADV Films // 1985 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bryan Byun (Retired) // October 7th, 2004
"We will win!"
The third and concluding volume of the Macross chapter of Robotech opens with the Earth-Zentraedi war approaching its final stage. The SDF-1 forges a tentative peace with the invading alien forces when Veritech fighter ace Max Sterling weds his Zentraedi sweetheart, the formerly deadly but now happily domesticated Miriya, a union that convinces Breetai, the Zentraedi commander, of the invincibility of the human spirit. The fragile truce is shattered, however, when Zentraedi Supreme Commander Dolza arrives with a gargantuan armada, intent upon wiping out both the human race and Breetai's "contaminated" Zentraedi. Hopelessly outmatched, the SDF-1 and their renegade Zentraedi allies hurtle toward an apocalyptic endgame.
The Robotech Remastered collection is a re-release of all three seasons of the venerable Robotech animated series, which originally aired in the 1980s, with digitally remastered video and remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, with some "new" footage sprinkled in to sweeten the triple-dip (this is the third release of the series on DVD). Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition Vol. 3 comes in a two-disc set, with each disc in its own keepcase and both cases housed in a box. A series box and plastic Veritech fighter model are included in the set. Volume Three contains 12 episodes, six on each disc:
*"Force of Arms"
*"A Rainy Night"
*"To the Stars"
With this final installment of the Macross story line, the war between the humans and the Zentraedi reaches a somewhat abrupt but ultimately satisfying finale. Surprisingly, most of the concluding episodes focus not on the war itself but on its aftermath, as a ravaged Earth begins to rebuild and the ongoing love triangle between our heroes -- flyboy Rick Hunter, fellow officer Lisa Hayes, and songstress-ingenue Lynn Minmei -- is finally resolved.
The pace slows down considerably as the story shifts from action-adventure with soap opera elements to soap opera with occasional action, but this is my favorite part of the Macross saga. Though humanity has emerged victorious from the devastating conflict, the mood is somber rather than triumphant, as the survivors cobble together the shattered remnants of their lives and are faced with an uneasy coexistence with the surviving Zentraedi, not all of whom are adjusting well to life among the "micronians." No one has escaped the horrors of war, not even the perpetually sunny Minmei, now sadder and wiser and looking to settle down with Rick. But Rick, too, has been changed by the war, and the former lovestruck teenager is now a battle-scarred veteran who must choose between the object of his youthful infatuation and a future with Lisa. This melancholy, dialogue-heavy denouement lacks the excitement and high-spirited adventure of the earlier episodes but makes up for it with moments of poignant drama and a complex, honest perspective on the light and dark sides of human nature.
The Robotech Remastered release has been controversial among Robotech fans, many of whom have deplored the changes to their beloved series, which include previously unseen snippets of violence and (extremely tame) nudity (restored from the original Japanese anime titles from which Robotech was assembled), and newly recorded sound effects that some listeners find overpowering.
Even purists can't deny, however, that this is the best that Robotech has ever looked on DVD. Only sheer nostalgia got me through the previous Legacy Collection boxed sets, whose blurry, badly faded picture and tinny monaural sound were barely a step removed from VHS quality. The cleaned-up footage looks terrific, bringing out colors and details I never knew existed; and although the print shows its age, the full-frame transfer is remarkably clean and sharp. Although this release is billed as an "extended edition," the actual extensions are pretty minor and add up to perhaps a few seconds of added mayhem per disc.
The audio tracks are Dolby Digital 5.1, in English and Spanish, and the sound, especially during action scenes, is impressive, immersing the listener in a maelstrom of swooshing mecha, laser blasts, and explosions. Although the sound mix is pretty aggressive at times, with music and dialogue too often fighting a losing battle against a frantic cascade of sound effects, it's still cleaner than the original audio, and does a good job of conveying the excitement and chaos of battle.
Bonus features are where this collection stumbles, badly; as lousy as the Legacy transfers were, they at least included a wealth of extras on supplemental discs. This release, however, is pretty much bare bones, unless ADV trailers count as a special feature (they don't). The small Veritech fighter model that is included is pretty cool, but it doesn't make up for the lack of extras. (I wouldn't be surprised if ADV puts out some kind of "Ultimate Remastered Edition" in the near future, followed shortly by the destruction of ADV offices by outraged fans.)
Love it or hate it, the Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition, with its vastly improved picture and sound, is an ideal introduction for viewers new to the classic series. It may not be the same Robotech that many of us grew up with, but it's the version most likely to attract a new generation of fans.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bryan Byun; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* ADV Previews
* Series Box
* Veritech Fighter Toy
* Official Site
* The Robotech Companion
* Robotech/Macross Split-Screen Comparison Gallery
* DVD Verdict Review of Vol. 1
* DVD Verdict Review of Vol. 2