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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-Ray Review

Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Transformers Prime: Season Two on Blogcritics.

Transformers Prime, the four-time, Daytime Emmy Award-winning series returns for a second explosive season. After defeating Unicron and losing their leader to the Decepticons, the Autobots must now find a way to restore Optimus Prime’s memory and save him from the grasp of the evil Megatron.

Transformers Prime: Season Two brings us an exciting season of twists and turns as the Autobots must race against time and the Decepticons to capture the highly sought after Iacon Artifacts. The race will take us across the world and the universe on a mission to try and save the Transformers home planet of Cybertron.

Season one ended with an, “edge of your seat” season finale that made you wonder how they could top it. The writers for the show have not come up short in the least with what they have delivered in season two. Though season two did slow down a bit after the premiere, it was almost a welcome chance to catch my breath. But the slow down wasn’t long as the season quickly took off on the hunt for ancient Cybertronian Iacon Relics. Some, weapons of mass destruction, while others brought hope and a promise to breathe life back into the Transformers dead home of Cybertron.

Season two sees the return of many season one regulars such as Airachnid and Wheeljack. They are welcome characters that add an extra excitement to their episodes and make you wish they could be around for the whole season. Along with them are many newcomers, such as the honorable, yet deadly Decepticon Dreadwing; and the young warrior eager to prove himself to the Autobots, Smokescreen.

Transformers Prime continues to provide great action and compelling story that keeps children and adults alike interested. The intensity of the story reaches a peak in the season finale, “Darkest Hour.” You’ll be on the edge of your seat all the way up till the credits, and then you’ll be stuck waiting there until the premiere of season three to get the conclusion.

The series pleases on a visual level as well. The animation has gotten even better since season one; many things seemed to have improved, from textures, character details and even the smallest details. Battle damage appears on the bodies of the Transformers as they fight, leading to scenes where we see them having repairs done to them to get rid of the battle damage.

Transformers Prime: Season Two is presented in a beautiful 1.78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p resolution. The images are very crisp and clear. With enhanced image quality compared to the regular DVD release, the colors and details in the CG models of the show are more visually appealing. The audio is presented in 5.1 surround sound that fills up the speaker system very nicely. The audio adds an atmospehere to the episodes easily lost on basic 2 speaker setups, almost making it a necessity to have the enhanced sound. Combined, these allow you to be easily submerged into the world of Transformers Prime and make you forget that it’s a TV show.

The Blu-ray has two special features. The first is a recap of season two, with interviews from the producers and directors of the show. They go over many aspects of the show, going into the details of the story, early concept art, and how some events in the series go on longer than planned. The second feature is an interview between Larry King and the voice of Optimus Prime himself, Peter Cullen.

Transformers Prime: Season Two keeps the action going strong, the story compelling and the excitement stronger than ever. Regardless if you’ve seen season two during its time on the air, or have been waiting for this release, it is well worth the purchase price. Definitely a must for any Transformers fan as you keep the opportunity to go back and see your favorite scenes over and over again.

Transformers Prime Season Two releases on DVD November 20 and on Blu-ray November 27.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

WST Prowl - Another small Transformer

Round out my Worlds Smallest Transformers collection is Prowl.  He's got a very similar transformation to Jazz, and is highly detailed.  Anyone ever notice how detailed a smaller figure is vs a larger figure?  And I mean that in terms of anything....trains, Transformers, etc.

Like all the other WST figures, Prowl remains true to his Generation 1 toy in both his transformation and look.  Takara scores big again, as do I by pickign him up.  I've snagged up he last, easy to find and inexpensive WST figure.  Now looking to the future, the remaining figures will not be easy to find, nor cheap to purchase.

So what remains?  Silverstreak, Hot Rod, Skywarp, Optimus Primes Trailer, Ultra Magnus and I beleive that's it.  I believe there might be a Thundercracker chase figure but I need to research that again and find out.  If there is one, I have never seen it ANYWHERE!  So he'll be the hardest to acquire, if he does exist. 

Thanks for reading and I'll get something up for you to read in the near future.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: WST Jazz

Here comes a shorty but goodie!

WST Jazz arrived in my mailbox today and I must say, I am happy. Now if you're not a Transformers collector, there are figures that are "Holy Grails" to the fandom as a whole, and then their are personal "Holy Grails." WST Jazz is one of my Holy Grails.

Before we go forward with this, let me share a little story as to why this is a Holy Grail and why Jazz is one of my favorite characters.

One friday afternoon, many years ago, in the early 80's when I was just a wee lad, my mother picked me up from elementary school. From there, we drove home. It was a normal friday, like any other friday. No school for two days, excited I could get to watch movies with the family, stay up late and play with my Transformers.

Upon arriving at home, things changed, something was off. The air was filled with a sense of secrecy and excitement. I had no idea what was going on. I didn't think much of it, being just a hild at the time, all I could think of was which Autobots would be battle the Decepticons to free a captured comrade. Much to my excitement, my father approached me with a gift. A gift that ahs stuck with me my whole life and left a mark that will never be forgotten.

My father hands me a brand new Transformer. Inside the iconic black and red box lay a Transformer who would soon become one of my favorites; Jazz! A sports cart, white in color, with blue racing stripes and a large number 4 on either door. Excited, I opened to box, as Jazz would be in charge of the Autobot team to attack the Decepticon base!

WST Jazz is a beautiful recreation of the original Generation 1 Transformer, just a lot smaller. WST, also know as Worlds Smallest Transformer, is a line that came out about 10 years ago, exclusive to Japan. The figures were blind packed, so when you got a box, you had no idea who you were getting in thbox until you opened it.

WST Jazz is perfect in amost every way. His design, an exact match to his G1 counterpart. A white sports car with blue racing stripes and the number 4 on the doors. Jazz's transformation is even a dead on mimic. The figures is a gorgeous and perfect representation of an iconic and loved character that will always have a special place in my heart. To have this figure added to my collection is a perfect to fit in with any of my other Jazz figures, or my WST characters.

Though this figure has been around for many years, I highly recommend him to anyone who is a fan of G1, Jazz or just the small figures in general, like Cyberverse.
A special thanks to my Father for buying me that Jazz so many years ago.  Jazz will always have a special place amungst my Transformers figures and my heart.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

SDCC 2012 Bruticus....

Thanks to a friend of mine on tfw2005, I have acquired Bruticus for a very decent price. He's beautiul and looks great... in his box! I can't decide wether or not to open him, but either way, I'm happy thanks to a very good friend!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DVD Review: Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand

No sooner do I post on waiting for my editor to okay my review when suddenly, BAM!  Here it is.  Read on...

Article first published as DVD Review: Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand on Blogcritics.

Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand combines the epic season finale of season one and the first three episodes of season two together into an unedited movie-style presentation. It’s exciting, fun and full of adventure as both the Autobots and Decepticons must band together against a common foe, the dark harbinger Unicron. Threatening to destroy the planet Earth, and possibly the universe, they must stand as one to defeat this seemingly indefeatable foe.

Transformers Prime is easily one of the best Transformers television series since the introduction of Transformers in the '80s. A well thought out and engaging show, the writers have definitely taken the time to make it appeal to new comers and old fans alike.

When I first came to see Transformers Prime, I had a huge concern with it being a CGI show. I tend to be unforgiving when you step into the realm of CGI as the detail in the models of the characters, the set pieces and locations can detract from the enjoyment of a show. If there isn’t enough detail to appease my visual appetite, I tend to become bored with the imagery and loose interest. With Transformers Prime, they have added a fair amount of detail in almost every aspect of the show.

The Transformers themselves have great detail that surpasses my expectations. Many of the battles between the Transformers leave visible marks, scuffs and damage that you normally wouldn’t see. One of my favorite characters in terms of detail is Megatron. His body has small scratches and obvious wear from the many battles he’s been engaged in over time. The least detailed characters in the show are probably the humans, and for me that is acceptable. We’re not going for completely realistic look here and I’ll be honest, it’s really all about the Transformers.

One may ask at this point, “What’s so good about this DVD? I already own season one!” Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand does what an earlier release, Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising did. It takes seven episodes and seamlessly edits them together into a single presentation to make it more like a movie. It is also the only place you can get the first three episodes of season two on home media. Some may feel this is a waste of money, to purchase something they already have with the season one DVD and will have when they buy season two. For me it’s a huge plus as I loved the presentation in a movie format rather than episodic. For that one reason alone, if you’re like me, you’ll love this DVD. It brings that much more emotion to the epic story arc that happens from season one to season two.

The DVD comes with two special features. The first of them, “A Look at One Shall Stand”, is an interview with Jeff Kline, Duane Capizzi and Steven Melching. The interview covers the series as a whole, speaking a lot about the process that goes into writing the episodes for the show, with insight into how they come to decisions on what ends up on screen, and what remains nothing more than a thought. The interview runs just over 12 minutes.

The second feature is a very cool and fun feature, running just over 22 minutes long. “One Shall Rise, Part 2”, shows us the entire second episode in the season 1 finale story arc in the form of an Animatic. From beginning to end, you get to see the very rough, yet enjoyable, version of the episode before any computer rendering for the episode is done. It is the ground work for what goes into every episode of the series. This feature is well worth the time to watch.

Exciting, engaging, epic… Pick your favorite word to describe it, or make up your own; Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand delivers on all levels. It is a fun presentation of an intense and dramatic story arc that should not be missed. Fans of Transformers Prime and of Transformers in general shouldn’t miss this DVD. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, even if they already own season 1 on DVD and plan on buying season 2 when it releases.

Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand will be available on DVD on July 31.

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises has hit theatres and it has hit with unbelievable force.  I took the time out to see the movie yesterday and was competely blown away by it.  Though you won't be seeing a full review of the movie, I still felt it important share a little about it.  Basically, this is as close to a review as you'll be getting from me on the subject.

The Dark Knight Rises opens with an extraordinary event that nearly matches that of what the Joker did in The Dark Knight.  The pacing of the movie was great, it was engaging and intresting from beginning to end.  And the end, what an end it was.

Bale performed well as Batman once again, and Tom Hardy as Bane was a powerful performance.  Tom Hardy has truly risen as an actor and he made Bane.  For me, Hardy made Bane much like Bale made Batman and Ledger made The Joker in this trilogy. 

Rises is a perfect wrap up to the trilogy and Nolan should be more than proud with what he's presented us.  It makes me wish this was the first one so I could look forward to two more!

Hasbro Toy Shop campers, SOUND OFF!

Wether you got what you wanted from the HasbroToyShop.com wait this week, sound off in the comments.

Did you get what you wanted?

What did you get?

What didn't you get?

What avenues will you be taking to try and acquire your favorite SDCC 2012 exclusive you missed out on?

Let me know, I'm curious, and share in the comments.  Get your friends in on it too, comment away.