Transformers Prime Season 1

season2OrionPax_1327426487Seems like the more I get done on this blog, the more I still need to do. There are many shows and movies that are now staples of Mecha and Kaiju that I haven’t gotten around to tackle yet. Really wish I had the time to make this my day job. Because I don’t I have no choice but to keep on going. Time to look in on one of my all time favorite franchises with Transformers Prime.

Unknown to the world at large a war is going on between a race of robots from the planet Cybertron. One one side of the fight is the heroic Autobots and on the other is the traitorous Decepticons. A trio of kids named Raleigh, Miko, and Jack discover this war and join the Autobots. Together with Ratchet, Arcee, Bulkhead, Bumblebee, and Optimus Prime, the three kids will work to protect he world from Megatron, leader of the Decepticons.

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This series is dark, edgy, and taking the franchise in the way it needed to go with a lot of new twists on  different aspects of the Transformer mythology. Story lines like Dark Energon which causes transformers to become zombies and the new approach to what Unicron is are very intriguing takes on aspects of the history that we have already seen. In the initial five part premiere we watch as fan favorite cliff jumper is killed, Megatron creates a race of zombie robots, and is blown up and presumed dead trying to bring his new army to earth. If that doesn’t entice you nothing will.

One of the aspects I enjoy in this series is how they decided to treat the characters like they were robots. Introduced in the show Beast Wars, the writers and creators of the show actually decided to portray the characters as robots that can actually sustain damage and be repaired afterward. This allows for highly graphic violence to be displayed on a regular basis which makes the tension and stakes feel much more real.

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We are also introduced to a few new Decepitcons each with their own unique skills and personality. Knockout the Decepticon scientist/medic who is extremely vain and cunning easily became a fan favorite. We also get actor Steve Blum as Starscream who keeps the character faithful to his Generation One counterpart but adds his own bit of a deceptive nature with the slyness overflowing his voice. People are split on the idea of the now silent Soundwave, who repeats what people say back to them much like the Predator but personally I liked him. He was more mysterious and he unsettling that way. Adding to the fact that his job was to monitor communication frequencies to spy on people and the creepiness of him goes up a bit more.

If this review isn’t clear enough, let me spell it out for you. GO WATCH THIS SHOW. At least the first season which I feel is spot on. How will the seasons that follow fair? You’ll just have to come back for those reviews another time.

RATING: A

Godzilla: The series


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While talking with a fellow Kaiju aficionado I mentioned I was watching Godzilla the series in an effort to catch the episodes that I missed during its initial run more than ten years ago. Despite my praise for the series he stated that he had never seen it. This is what prompted me to write this review.

Picking up at the end of the movie, Nick Tatopolus looks searches the ruins of New York only to find the last surviving egg laid by creature. Imprinting on the creature who now seems him as a surrogate father, Nick assembles a team known as H.E.A.T. Together the team and Godzilla fight against all the mutant creatures that start appearing all over the world.

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 Despite the movie being incredible disappointment the series is a lot of fun. Some monsters that Godzilla fights seem to be a throw back to the some of his rivals and allies. I cant help but think that the Quecazalecutal is in homage to Rodan. The team also fights against mind controlling aliens which is always a classic story line. Also despite having a story line involving time travel which I didn’t really mind myself enjoying in Godzilla vs. King Ghidora the episode entitled Future Shock was incredible enjoyable and one of my favorite of the series. Also, the whole running gag with the robot N.I.G.E.L. being destroyed every episode never got old to me. It’s one of those few running gags that worked.

 

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Unfortunately the series is not without some flaws and one of biggest ones is one it shares with the original movie. The flaw is that the character Audrey Timmons continues to keep coming around and sadly she seems to be even worse than in the movie. Now your probably thinking “that’s impossible because she was already an annoying character in the movie there is no way she could be more annoying” but you’d be wrong. See, throughout the series there are a lot of personal moments for the team of H.E.A.T. but known really for Audrey. She is exactly as she was in the movie, dedicated more to her career then anything else getting story no matter the cost. Every story involving Audrey either involves her chasing down a story no matter the cost or trying to have a relationship with Nick despite the fact they continually dance around the issue that they are both career oriented and shouldn’t be together. It’s an annoying fact that sadly always came full circle. Just break up already!

Godzilla: the series is an example of good that comes out of a bad opening. Much like how others compliment the story lines that come after Spiderman’s “One More Day” story line being entertaining, this is a series that does spin off from a terrible movie that we all wish had been better than it actually was. My advice: Enjoy the adventures of Zilla Jr. and the H.E.A.T. team on their own and just try to forget about the movie all together. I only wish it was still on Netflix so I could recommend people watching it immediately but sadly it is not there at the time of the review. Hopefully that will change in the future. 

Rating: B+

 

Transformers: The movie



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There are some movies that you have seen so many times that you can regurgitate the dialog up word for word. Yet at the drop of hat or with a simple suggestion from a friend you will gladly rewatch that film. This is the case with Transformers the movie. I’ve watch it a hundred times and I’ll watch it a hundred times more.

The film opens with the Decepticons having the upper hand in their war against the Autobots. Attacking a ship bound for earth and using it to sneak into the Autobots base an epic battle ensues resulting in the lose of many a fan favorite character. Elsewhere an evil force known as Unicron is watching and waiting ready to make his move and change the history of the Transformers forever.

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Considering I could gush over and over for hours about this movie I should probably look at the negative side of it. For starters I can agree with the critics who have stated that the film’s plot is very similar to Star Wars. Hot Rod (Luke Skywalker) is aided by Kup (Obiwan Kenobi) to help stop a mighty nemesis Galvatron (Darth Vader) who is being aided by the unspeakable power of Unicron (The Death Star). True as that might be the fact is that the story is still fun and entertaining despite these similarities. Besides there are worst films to copy.

The movie also successes in making sure to take a step that every good film based on a TV series needs to take. This step is enacting change. If it don’t have change that actually effects the main story from the series and shakes up the established stasis quo then it’ll be criticized for just being a long episode. Sadly this change comes in the form of losing a lot of great characters including Ironhide, Prowl, and Optimus Prime. Still these were deaths that struck a cord with every fan that watch the film.

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The movie boast some of the best fights in Transformer history. Blasters tapes vs. Soundwave’s tapes. Optimus vs. Megatron, and The Dinobots vs. Constructicons. All the while these fights are going on the intense music of Stan Bush and Spectral General (whose actual name is Kick Axe, but had to change it to be on the animated movie’s soundtrack). Another fact that everyone likes to point out is this was the last role for famed actor Orson Welles who voiced Unicron in a very menacing way. Sure its not as glorious as other roles of his but still it is memorable. There are worse ways to be remembered.

As I stated earlier I could gush over and over about this movie. The animation ages well. The action is breathtaking and the new characters are introduced in memorable ways.  The soundtrack is so catchy I dare everyone to be stupid. Sorry couldn’t resist. The fact is that if you haven’t seen this movie and are reading this blog I urge you to stop. You have to see this movie. Go now before it’s too late. In other words…Transform and roll out.

RATING: A

Voltron Force

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Today we have an attempt to cash in on my childhood on a degree just as bad as the next Michael Bay movie. I am talking about the Voltron Force.

Set a few years after where the original series left off, the Voltron team has been disbanded and their mechanical lions impounded after they go haywire. With the help of a few new cadets, the team reclaims their lost lions and prepares to fight against Prince Lotor who has risen from a deep sleep in hopes of once again attempting to take over the entire Universe.

I have to say that I like the feel of the show as a whole. The original team (Keith, Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Allura) are updated for a new audience but still hold enough feel of their personalities from the first series. The action is good and I couldn’t help but have a bit of a fangasm as the lions came together to form the might robot Voltron. The narration sequence as the robots combine is engraved into my mind in the same way GIJOE’s “Knowing is half the battle” is. Pure nostalgic gold.

The problem I seem to have with this series is the new characters that were added to appeal to the younger demographic. All three of them have a huge character flaw that I just can’t get over. Daniel, the main character is basically a self insert biggest fan ever, who gets handpicked to become a cadet for the Voltron Force. Vince is a walking MacGuffin (plot device) who’s mysterious power can do whatever is necessary in the story, everything from recharging a lion that is low on power at the right time to cause the lions to undergo a new formation to defeat an enemy. Larmina, the only girl candidate is displaying the Xena/Buffy personality that has become common with female characters in this day and age. I really don’t have a problem with that aspect of the character. The problem I do have with her is that she is a niece to Allura, to a character who was previously described as being an only child. That’s right, they once again bring in the Scrappy doo, “It’s not a character’s direct kid, it’s their niece, but looks as if it might as well being their kid plot” which was a tired idea back in the day and is a tired idea now.

I really want to like this series but the glaring problems with the new addictions to the cast make it incredible hard to enjoy the series. I would personally prefer to rewatch the incredible underrated series, Voltron: The third dimension, than this one. I might give it a few more episodes but I’m definitely not giving this series my top priority.

Rating: C+