Posted in: Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on July 25th, 2012
Hopefully, a lot of the readers had a chance to read my Transformers Prime: Season One on Blu-Ray review. In it, they would have found a fantastic animated series that is almost on equal level to the Generation one cartoons. The series has captivating characters, amazing sound and a better story than those silly live action movie sequels. Today to review, I have the Prime special dvd: One Shall Stand. The dvd has four episodes from season one and three new episodes from season two cut into one huge movie. Let’s go shall we?
As we open, we listen to Optimus Prime tell the crew of a doomsday prophecy known as the Covenant of Primus that has the potential to destroy the earth. It seems to be only a few days away and is connected to the Decepticon leader: Megatron. It would be best to squash this prophecy before it begins. Meanwhile, we are transported to the war ship of the Decepticons where Megatron has been on stasis. He was fixed up by fellow Decepticon, Knockout.
Megatron is filled with dark energon, said to be the blood of Unicron and he is very aware of the prophecy. It even speaks to him. We come back to the Autobot base where Ratchet is about to tell the story of how Optimus became a Prime. However, he is stopped when we learn of Soundwave has stolen a phase conductor. It appears that they are trying to finish their space bridge and it would appear all they need now is an ample power source which they just found at a local military base.
Optimus Prime tells Special Agent Fowler to evacuate the humans before they bridge in to the location. The Autobots arrive right on time and start to counter-attack the Decepticons. Meanwhile, Bumblebee with Raf seated inside are running recon when Optimus calls Bumblebee and tells him to drop Raf off and head up to the base. However, at the same time, Megatron flies over and see the car and gives it a good shot of dark energon. The last image we see is the Autobot wrecked with Raf slumped over inside.
Back at the base, we see the Autobots continuing to fight the Decepticons. Prime learns of what happened to Raf and Bumblebee and sends Arcee back to the base to help as the human Raf has been infected with dark energon and is clinging to life. Meanwhile, Optimus and Bulkhead invade the Decepticon Ship and start to make their way to finishing the job. However, in an odd move Optimus decides to send Bulkhead back to the base as well. Optimus realizes that he must go alone.
The Autobot leader knows that Megatron must be destroyed before the evil leader fulfills the doomsday prophecy. He already claims he can hear the thoughts of Unicron – The Chaos Bringer and that is indeed a dire situation. As Optimus clears his way through more Decepticons, Megatron also realizes he has to face his adversary one on one. He orders the other robots to stand down as the two leaders face each other in an epic showdown. One shall stand and one shall fall.
As mentioned in the header, this takes the last four episodes of season one and bridges it with the first three episodes of season two and clips into a two and half hour movie. At first, I was skeptical of what seemed like an obvious cash grab. But it actually works quite well. Usually when I was watching the first season, I would watch 2-3 (except for Darkness Rising 1-5 which I watched in one fell swoop) episodes in row before diverting my attention elsewhere. Here, I was quite content to spend all of Tuesday night with this.
Those who have watched the series to the end of the first season have a chance to take a look at three new episodes that should keep them happy until Shout Factory decides to release Season 2 (which better come on blu-ray) which will probably not be until 2013. The story is continually fantastic here and reaches a fever pitch that I have not seen in a long time from a cartoon. It has action, thriller, drama and even a couple of horror elements (check out the tiny Dead Space homage with Jack near the end).
The show gives a satisfying ending and for Starscream fans, he does indeed show up and plays a pivotal role in the final hour. We even get an Insecticon (not sure which one that was supposed to be though) which was nice to see. The characters are well done and the story is indeed a great piece of writing. Sure it can be viewed as a bit of rehash but watching the old bridge into the new was more refreshing than anything else.
The video is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. As mentioned previously, I had reviewed the first season on blu-ray and it is impressive. Here on the dvd, it is still awfully good but some of the sizzle is gone. Color is excellent (and the style really suits the Transformers) and there is a lot of detail in places one would not expect there to be. The action is constant and the animation seems to keep up nicely. There are not many faults to be had here.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 Dolby Digital track in English (2.0 mix also available). Sound did not get up to HD levels, but it was pretty darn close. This show is big and bombastic and your speakers will flow with aggressive sound for 2 1/2 hours. The bass is heavy and surrounds are used on a regular basis. Dialog is crisp and there should be no problems with any of the voices. This is an exceptional track and only gets better if you change disc formats. No subtitles could be found.
- Automatic Trailers: Transformers G1, Beast Wars Transformers, G.I. Joes Renegades and Jem and the Holograms.
- A Look at One Shall Stand 12:11: This is basically a table top talk between Jeff Kline, Steven Melching, and Duane Capizzi. They talk about the writing and how they had to have a dedicated writing staff (where as a lot of shows are one writer and a bunch of freelancers). They are even planning this series 2 to 3 years in advance which is quite remarkable. They describe their take on Unicron as well as the epic battle between Optimus and Megatron. They also discuss how they approached certain characters and made sure they were satisfying to the fans. I wanted it to be a bit longer, but it is good for what it was.
- One Shall Rise Pt2 (Animatic) 22:06: Early and unfinished black and white art (and occasional color splotches, there were one or two pretty close to final shots) with some voices added. Pretty neat to see how far the sketches go from the early stages of production. This is the entire third episode.
When I presented the synopsis, I really did not want to give too much away but suffice to say that the Optimus and Megatron fight is only part of the story. There is a much bigger story arc to worry about which will even have the unthinkable happen. (It’s a shocker kids) This two and a half hour movie will keep you glued to your seat even if you have seen some of this before. The three new episodes from Season two show that this series is only going to get better and better as time goes on.
The disc package gives us a nice slipcover as well as the usual great video and audio we have come to expect. The extras are pretty good and probably will not be present when the Season Two package rolls around. I strongly recommend this if you can find it for about a ten-spot as we start to come out of the summer months. This show is full of classic good versus evil storytelling, but sometimes good and evil are not always so black and white. Enjoy kids.
One Shall Fall
One Shall Rise, Part I
One Shall Rise, Part II
One Shall Rise, Part III
Orion Pax, Part I
Orion Pax, Part II
Orion Pax, Part III