All the ladies want to power-link with Judge Paul Pritchard.
"So one enemy is destroyed and another takes his place. This battle isn't over, it's just begun."
A direct sequel to Transformers: Armada, Transformers: Energon is the first Japanese-produced Transformers series to employ computer-generated Transformers, a style carried over to Tranformers: Cybertron. A bold and successful design decision it may be, but there's a distinct whiff of the emperor's new clothes to it all.
Facts of the Case
Following the epic Unicron battle, and the apparent demise of Megatron, peace has broken out between the Autobots and Decepticons. Working together with humankind, the Transformers search for Energon, with which they plan to rebuild their homeworld of Cybertron. But this peace is to be temporary. Before long the mysterious Alpha Q and his Terracons launch attacks against the Transformers, while an old nemesis plots his return.
Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection collects all 51 episodes of the show, spread over seven discs.
Despite being a huge Transformers nut once, I have, in truth, not followed their adventures a great deal since I was ten. Indeed, until Michael Bay brought the franchise bang up to date with the glorious live action/CGI Transformers in 2007, it would be fair to say my once encyclopedic knowledge of the "robots in disguise" had dwindled to such an extent that I could write what I know about the series on the back of a postage stamp with a large crayon. Bay's Transformers, despite being the target of an often unfair fanboy backlash, has helped introduce a whole new generation to the characters, with my two young nephews becoming converts after I put my HD DVD copy on during their recent visit. It's strangely heartening to see how something I loved as a child can be embraced so wholeheartedly some twenty-odd years later by the youngest members of my family. The staying power of the franchise is astonishing, especially considering how it all began with a toy line.
Since those halcyon days of the mid-eighties, when Transformers ruled the TV schedules, I have only had a cursory glance at each subsequent series. In all honesty, from Armada to Cybertron nothing has stood up to that original run. Although Beast Wars had its moments, I really felt there was too little new introduced to the formula to make a Transformers veteran stick around.
Originally aired in 2004, Transformers: Energon begins with the Autobots and Decepticons at peace and working together to mine for Energon, a source of energy required by the Transformers to rebuild their homeworld of Cybertron. During this truce a new enemy is introduced in the form of the Terracons. Led by Alpha Q, the Terracons launch attacks against the Transformers to siphon off Energon for their own needs. Of course, before long, and this really isn't a spoiler, Megatron is resurrected and sets about causing trouble for everyone. Some people never learn, do they?
From there on in the storyline really doesn't deviate much from anything you've seen in any of the previous Transformers series. Yes, the character roster gets beefed up, but none of the new additions can hold a candle to any of the G1 Transformers. Take Kicker, the main human character here as an example, he is really nothing more than Spike from the original series, only more annoying. While the resurrection of Megatron does see things heat up, it just feels like the same old story, retold for the umpteenth time. Frankly, it's pretty tiresome, and wading through the seven discs of this set soon becomes a chore. Considering how great the original series was, that is surely a crime.
Perhaps its my age, but I couldn't help but get all cynical over the new gimmick introduced in Transformers: Energon, whereby the Autobots can "power-link" with each other, resulting in ultra-powerful mega-Transformers. What should be a cool device just feels like a way to sell more toys. Or maybe I'm just jaded?
The full-screen transfer, much like the stereo soundtrack, is solid rather than spectacular. Though the image isn't as sharp as I'd like, it still provides a colorful picture that is above average. There are no extras included in this set.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
It's important to remember my comments are those of someone who grew up with the Transformers. As such, I found very little new in Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection to hold my attention. With that in mind there is no reason why youngsters, who are still new to the franchise, won't get a kick out of this collection. The Transformers, all created using CGI, have undergone some design modifications, but each still holds true to what made them great in the first place.
The storyline does pickup with the reintroduction of Megatron. Although his character arc is pretty much a retread of all that we've seen before, complete with a transformation into Galvatron, he is still a classic villain.
One area where Transformers: Energon may excel over its forebears is with battle scenes. The CGI animation is excellent, with the huge and detailed characters being thrown all over the place. Battles frequently take on epic status and are a highlight of the series.
Although essential for Transformers diehards, Transformer Energon: The Ultimate Collection is simply not as good as the glorious Eighties series and really did nothing for me personally. That said, young Transformer fans are sure to dig the show, as it's never too long before someone gets their metallic teeth kicked in.
For fans only.
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