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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Beast Wars Transformers: Complete Second Season
Beast Wars Transformers: Complete Second Season
Rhino // Unrated // March 23, 2004
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 25, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

With Beast Wars, the popular Transformers franchise received a facelift.  Originally airing from 1984-1987, the first Transformers series was very popular, and still is today.  After the show had been off the air for nearly a decade, it was decided to revive the series, but in a different way.  The new show, would take place 300 years after the original program, and would involve new characters with new abilities.  They would change into animals instead of cars and planes, and it would take place on a different planet.  But not everything would chance, the basic plot stayed the same.  Two different groups of Transformers (one good, one bad) would fight it out.  The good guy fighting fairly of course, while the evil group schemed and cheated.

In this second season of Beast Wars, only half as long as the first season, the war between the good Maximals and the evil Predacons continues.  What sets this show apart from many other TV shows of the time is that it has a certain amount of continuity.  Things don't drastically change from episode to episode, but there are plot lines that continue for several episodes, and some of the characters do change.

This was a good set of episodes.  Though it is hard to understand what is going on in the first few episodes if you haven't seen the first season, things quickly become apparent.  The various Transformers all have their own individual personalities, and my two sons soon had their favorites.  While there was a fair amount of "message" in the shows (you should play fair, friendship is important etc.) it never became preachy and didn't slow up the action.

One of the interesting aspects of the show is that there are some quick references to the original series and the closing episodes of this season firmly tie Beast Wars into the previous show's continuity.  (Okay, I admit I'm a bit of a fan boy and enjoy that sort of thing.)

The computer-generated characters look rather dated by today's standards, but at the time they were cutting edge.  While they do move in a slightly mechanical fashion, that fits in well with the fact that they are robots.  I didn't like the animation a first, but I quickly found that it grows on you.

Taken from the insert booklet, this set contains the following episodes:  (Warning: minor spoilers ahead.)

Disc 1: Episode 1: Aftermath-Optimus Primal is dead, obliterated in space while destroying the Planetbuster. Just as the Maximals begin to regroup and the Predacons begin to celebrate, a Quantum Surge from the Transwarp explosion showers radiation down upon the planet, killing Terrorsaur and Scorponok and reconfiguring most of the Cybertronians' bodies and transformation sequences. Thus are born the TransMetals, as the Beast Wars escalate to a new level of excitement!

Episode 2: Coming of the Fuzors Part One-Infiltrating the Predacon base, Dinobot steals the two Golden Disks from Waspinator, but not before the two agree that with only one moon above, there is now proof that this planet is indeed Earth! Megatron travels to a distant, sparse forest where two stasis pods have crashed, and welcomes to his side two new Predacons: Quickstrike and Silverbolt. His army bolstered, Megatron prepares an all-out attack on the undermanned Maximal base.

Episode 3: Coming of the Fuzors Part Two-With Rhinox unconscious and Tigatron and Airrazor off to scout for fallen stasis pods, only three Maximals are left to defend the Axalon. The Predacons attack while Blackarachnia secretly downloads Megatron's back-up files of the two Golden Disks. Just as the battle looks most hopeless, Silverbolt defects to the Maximals, and a surprise from above turns the tide.

Episode 4: Tangled Web-Optimus Primal is back and better than ever in his new TransMetal body. Megatron dispatches Blackarachnia, Tarantulas, and Quickstrike to a nearby cave to build a refueling station. Rattrap and Silverbolt track the trio, and when a fight ensues, the cave is destroyed and the Predacons retreat. Megatron is furious at their failure, but little does he realize Tarantulas' plans for the now-forgotten cave.

Episode 5: Maximal, No More-What does honor mean to a noble and complicated warrior such as Dinobot? And is he willing to betray that honor in order to tip the scales of the Beast Wars? Dinobot hands the first Golden Disk over to Megatron, betraying the Maximals, and joining the ranks of the Predacons.

Episode 6: Other Visits Part One-The Maximals detect another alien device far away from the Axalon and investigate. Spying a mammoth plant/structure, the Maximal duo are attacked by strange creeping vines, converted into energy and beamed into space. The Predacons arrive to seize the device for themselves, but it may prove too powerful for them.

Episode 7: Other Visits Part Two-Megatron boards the Metalhunter, the activated plant/structure at the center of the alien site. While Tarantulas theorizes about its connection to the aliens, TransMetal technology, and the Beast Wars at large, Megatron sets his sights on the Maximals with this floating fortress at his disposal.

Disc 2: Episode 1: Bad Spark-What is the mystery of Protoform X? In the jungle there lies a single, oversized stasis pod with a seemingly dead TransMetal inside. Optimus Primal and Megatron both know that this prize must be theirs, but can any Maximal or Predacon stand against the might of the deranged Transformer contained within that pod?

Episode 2: Code of Hero-Using his presence on Prehistoric Earth strategically, Megatron employs the Golden Disk to pinpoint how he will change the future to rewrite the timeline and ensure Predacon rule. Dinobot learns of this, and gives his all to stop the Predacons from incinerating the valley from which humans are destined to evolve.

Episode 3: Transmutate-Silverbolt and Rattrap discover another stasis pod, but this one contains a strange, malformed Transformer. Unable to the speak clearly and lacking the specs of a scientist or warrior, the "Transmutate" is both puzzled and puzzling. Silverbolt sees in this simple machine a kindred spirit, an innocent. Predacon Rampage sees something as well: Another one-of-a-kind freak, as alone as he is.

Episode 4: The Agenda Part One-Rhinox tracks the Transwarp Wave from "Aftermath," announcing that Cybertron will soon know of the Axalon's location in space and time. But on a far away Cybertronian space station, the Tripredacus Council deflects the wave and dispatches an agent to Prehistoric Earth. The agent arrives and offers to help, presenting himself to the Maximals as Ravage, formerly of the Decepticon Army! But first, Megatron sends his own troops on a secret mission.

Episode 5: The Agenda Part Two-Optimus Primal is concerned that Silverbolt's feelings for the Predacon Blackarachnia are interfering with his duty as a Maximal. Aboard his ship, Ravage taunts the captive Megatron, but Megatron reveals his true intentions for stealing the Golden Disk and its connection with the original Generation One Megatron! Meanwhile, Silverbolt and Blackarachnia arrive at a familiar volcano.

Episode 6: The Agenda Part Three-Megatron's grand scheme comes to fruition as the Maximals arrive too late at the site of the crash-landed Autobot Ark. Can Optimus Primal, Rhinox, Cheetor, Silverbolt, and Rattrap stop this plan from undoing the very future of the Transformers?
 


The DVD:



Audio:

You have your choice of a stereo or 5.1 mix.  The 5.1 was a little more dynamic and had a good amount of punch to it, but the stereo track was adequate.  Both sounded very good, with no real defects or glitches.

Video:

The full frame video looked very good.  The color palate used was darker and contained more earth tones, but they were accurately reproduced.  The images were clear and detailed and the show looks much better than I remember it ever looking.  The only major problem I had was with the first episode.  It was very dark and it was hard to make out some of the images.  That problem corrected itself with the second show though.

The Extras:

There was an interesting set of extras on the second DVD:  some of the test animation and reference materials used to create the show.  This included 360-degree characters illustrations, Headshots/poses, Walk and run cycles, Scale reference sheets of the characters, and transformations for two of the characters.  This was a nice inclusion that I enjoyed viewing.

Final Thoughts:

This is a fun series.  If you picked up the first season, this one offers more of the same.  Though the animation takes just a bit to get used to, the DVD looks and sounds great.  An interesting sequel to the original TransformersRecommended. 

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