Shout! Factory // 2012 // 154 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 12th, 2012
Peter Cullen's gotta eat!
Following in the footsteps of Michael Bay's much-maligned billion-dollar generating Transformers film franchise, this new animated series imports many of the robot designs and general slickness. Thankfully, there is a refreshing dearth of John Turtorro's junk.
Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand tells a sustained story arc from the series, bringing together seven episodes that tell the story of Optimus Prime and the Autobots' battle against a force far more terrifying than Megatron and his Decepticon flunkies. Powered by the volatile Dark Energon, Unicron is an ancient evil who has set up shop in the bowels of the Earth and compensated for a name that sounds a lot like "Unicorn" with the ability to cause global genocide.
This threat forces Megatron and Optimums to form a tenuous alliance, as neither heavyweight wants to see Unicron level the planet (Optimus because he's a good dude, and Megatron because he wants Earth for himself). In addition, we get some Transformers mythology that gets into the origins of our two leading men...er, 'bots.
"One Shall Stand" isn't a bad story. Clocking in at 140 minutes, it's about as long as Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen and far less likely to take a dump on your intelligence. As is required with all things Transformers, there's a precocious kid involved and the requisite teen plays a central role in tracking down the necessary plot device and saving the day.
In the end, it's all about the robots. I'm not a huge fan of the modern designs, but the animation is top notch. It's all computer-generated and, while the art might lack the nostalgia of the '80s cartoon, the production looks great. The human characters are drawn in big blocks and don't quite stir feelings of realism, but when Optimus and crew jump onscreen, it's a pleasure to watch.
It's also a pleasure to hear. Peter Cullen lends his iconic voice to Optimus and Frank Welker to Megatron, just as they did in the original animated series. Plus, we get the voice talents of Adam Baldwin (Chuck), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), John Noble (Fringe), Gina Torres (Firefly), and Jeffrey Combs (Re-animator). Not a shoddy lineup.
Transformers Prime is a cool show; well-executed, fun to look at, and dripping with genuine Transformers mojo. As a nice bonus, this seven-episode arc tells a decent story and flows uninterrupted.
The DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 2.0 stereo, and bonus features that include an animatic and an interview with the showrunners.
Not Guilty. Primo Prime!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 154 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated