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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Transformers: Energon Ultimate Collection
Transformers: Energon Ultimate Collection
Other // Unrated // December 16, 2008
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted December 19, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

The follow up to the Transformers Armada series and the predecessor to the Transformers Cybertron animated series', Transformers Energon is an interesting American-Japanese co-production and is significant because it's the first time in the franchise's history that computer generated and traditional cell animation have been used together. Developed by Takara animation in conjunction with Hasbro Toys, this recent series continues the trend of bringing the eighties cartoon and toy sensation into the modern day and keeping it front and center in the minds of toy buying kids everywhere and of all ages!

The series begins a decade after the destruction of Unicron and Galvatron and the Autobots and Decepticons have formed an uneasy alliance with the Earth's population so that they can build on the planet. They've also set up mines throughout the solar system to produce the ever precious Energon that they all need to survive. All of this temporary peace gets rocked when a Transformer named Alpha Q sends a group of Terrorcons out to wreak havoc on the cities that the good natured Autobots have built and to steal the Autobots' Energon for Alpha Q. The Autobots ally themselves with a group of humans to fight the Terrorcons and build protective Energon towers while the Terrorcons bring back the Decepticons to help them with their evil cause.

With the sides set once again for war, things get a little more complicated. Megatron is resurrected, Starscream is rebuilt for the express purpose of killing Optimus Prime, and Rodimus shows up on the scene. The Autobots decide they'll need help so they bring Unicron back which leads to the Transformers' return to their war ravaged homeland, Cybertron. Meanwhile, Alpha Q's true colors are beginning to show as he goes about rebuilding the worlds destroyed years ago by Unicron, whose head has now formed a sun! Megatron decides that his Decepticons will take over these new planets and suck the Energon out of them, while the Autobots (some from Earth and some from Cybertron) rally amongst themselves to stop that from happening. Omega Supreme is also resurrected to fight alongside the Autobots but Megatron and his cronies are not going to go down without a fight and they've got more than a few dirty tricks up their cold metal sleeves...

The fifty-one episodes that make up the series are spread across the seven discs in this set as follows:

Disc One: Cybertron City / Energon Stars / Scorponok / Megatron's Sword / The New Cybertron City / Megatron Resurrected / Megatron Raid / Starscream And The Mysterious Mercenary

Disc Two: Battle Of The Asteroid Belt / Energon Tower / The Legend Of Rodimus / Crisin In Jungle City / Kicker Beware! / Energon Grid / Rodmius: Friend Or Foe? / Go for Unicron!

Disc Three: The Return Of Demolisher / A Tale Of Two Heroes / Battle Stations / Alpha Q: Identity / Shockblast: Rampage / Survival Instincts / Each One Fights... / Unicron Unleashed

Disc Four: Open Fire! / Ripped Up Space / Team Optimus Prime / Protection / Imprisoned Inferno / Jungle Planet / Bulkhead / Farewell Inferno

Disc Five: Crash Course / Omega Supreme / A Heroic Battle The Power Of Unicron / Optimus Supreme Bulks Up / Unicron Perishes / Ambition

Disc Six: Wishes / Galvatron! / Break Through / Distribution / The Omega Train / Decepticon Army / Ironhide Team / Formidable

Disc Seven: Galvatron Terror / Destructive Power / Spark / The Sun

While the continuity might sound more complex than your average action cartoon series, it's really not. Once the set up is out of the way, the series is basically just a string of plots that lead us from one battle to the next. That's not to say that this simplicity and repetitiveness is a bad thing, it's not, in fact it delivers pretty much exactly what any pre-pubescent kid would want from a show like this - but it does get repetitive and predictable at times. That said, the series is fun. It's interesting to see how the show pulls in elements from previous Transformers series and sometimes puts a new spin on it. Energon does a good job of updating the franchise while still managing to 'feel' like a Transformers cartoon and the modernization of various aspects of the series is done quite respectfully.

The animation style used in the series is slick and nicely handled. There's some very cool detail evident on screen and the transformation scenes will keep viewers interested in the design work and intricate and at times complex character design elements. The voice work compliments the animation nicely as well, with the sinister Decepticons sounding appropriately serpentine while the noble Autobots generally have a friendlier or more noble tone. This gives the various players some distinct personality which makes it much easier to tell the Transformer characters apart (a good thing, as there are a lot of them here). The interaction between the Transformers and the various human elements should allow for younger viewers to relate to the series with reasonably ease and it allows the scripts to explore some interesting avenues when not focusing on giant robot battles.

Older viewers familiar only with the original series that was shown in the eighties may object to the updates and alterations made here but for a series geared to today's kids, Transformers: Energon is entertaining enough. There are some good morals throughout the series that teach kids about teamwork and loyalty without ever feeling preachy or overbearing and most importantly, the content is fun.

The Video:

Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection arrives on DVD in its original 1.33.1 aspect ratio. Aside from the fact that the transfers are all interlaced, they look pretty good. Colors are nice and bright and black levels stay deep and strong. There aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts nor is there much in the way of edge enhancement to complain about either. Some of the scenes with really fast action and motion in them look a little bit soft but that's because of the animation style used, not because of the transfer. Overall, the series looks quite good.

The Audio:

The only audio option provided for this set is an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. There are no alternate language tracks or subtitles provided although there is an English closed captioning track available. Overall, the audio quality is quite good. There are some moments that provide nice channel separation and the dialogue is always clean and clear. There are no problems to report with hiss or distortion and sound effects come through with a nice amount of punch.

The Extras:

Aside from static menus and episode selection, this seven disc set is completely barebones.

Overall:

Despite the repetitive nature of the series and the barebones presentation of the material, Transformers: Energon - The Ultimate Collection is worthy of a recommendation for fans of the series. The audio and video quality is pretty decent and the material will no doubt entertain the young boys who serve as its target audience while making older viewers nostalgic for the original eighties series. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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