Thanks to our friends at SHOUT! Factory, we at Unicron.com received an advanced copy of the soon to be unveiled, "Predacons Rising" DVD and Blu Ray. The 2 disk DVD/Blu Ray set comes complete with beautiful art-work and a nifty bonus featurette, about Polygon Studios which produced the series animation. Read on to hear our (try not to be too spoiler filled!) review!
First off, what I have to say is, the film description which leaked a few months ago, is entirely too simplistic and gives away too much! Don't worry. The film is better than this description makes it sound...
"A resurrected Unicron has taken over the now-lifeless body of Megatron to seek vengeance on the Autobots and ultimately, the destruction of Cybertron. This formidable enemy forces an unlikely alliance between the Autobots, Decepticons, Predaking and two new Predacons, who come together in an epic battle to help protect their newly restored planet..."
Quite honestly, this whole summary is not even really accurate! Unicron wasn't resurrected. He was simply banashed from his "corporeal form" at the end of Prime Season 1 and now seeks a means to exact his revenge! The description also leads the viewer to believe that Autobots, Decepticons and Predacons are standing around and decide to fight together, in order to conquer the mutual enemy, Unicron. How it plays out is no where near as corny as this makes it sound.
Unicron is back! Of course we're a little biased around here at Unicron.com, but anytime the Chaos bringer makes an apperance we get excited. His God-like portrayal is handled well and remains a central focus of the series; as he should be!
This is a fitting and well done conclusion to a series. While the ending will surely receive mixed reviews from the fandom at large, we three Lukis Brothers unanamously liked it a lot. In stark contrast to (for example) a Michael Bay film where EVERY lose end is tied up excessively neat (like killing off every Decepticon, scene-by-scene...) the series finale of Transformers Prime leaves something to the imagination. Don't get me wrong, it's a definitive conclusion. But the way it's done is open-ended enough, so that the story and its characters can, for the most part, live on in its fan's hearts; for as long as we fans want it to live on!
The writing is quite good. The story maintains a good balance between epic battles and confrontations, with Smokescreen providing some needed comic relief. Also, can't say enough about Bumblebee having his voice back! I feel like he's back from the dead. Having a voice just gives him so much more personality than he's had ever before in this series. Wish they had done it a long time ago!
Also, the visual and sound effects were amazing!
No Dinobots. Nowhere near enough Predacons and not a single Autobot gets the Beast Hunters meched out armor upgrade seen in this year's toys... Yeah, we're a little toy centric around here. But we were really hoping to at least see Bumblebee get the battle upgrade like Optimus did.
Let's talk about Sky Lynx. The truth is, this example leads me to believe that Hasbro was simply not nearly involved enough with the series development. I'm not saying that they should excessively interfere with story telling or hamper the creative development that it takes to make a series/movie great. But, judging by Sky Lynx, it becomes obvious that the right hand, was unaware of what the left hand was doing. (Not good!) While the Dark Steel character resembles the toy fairly well (except that the model makers put a modified Dreadwing head on it...) The Sky Lynx model, on the other hand, seems to have come from out of left field. With so many other GREAT designs to draw from (Rip Claw, Sky Stalker, Lazerback... all would've been better.) In response, Hasbro simply took the mold that most closely resembled Predacons Rising design and gave it an aproximately similar color scheme. Hm, wish this had been thought through better.
The movie's title is, unfortunately, misleading. I really wanted to get a better sense of the Predacons Rising to power and prominence within the Cybertron landscape. I also hoped for there to be a good reason to finally get that Predaking vs. Optimus smackdown it's seems they've been building up to... Unfortumately, it wasn't meant to be.
As we said before, the visual effects were, overall, stunning and beautiful. The one exception to this is the design for "Megacron/Unitron." I realize I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record here, but we are what we are, and that is, having a toy-centered perspective. I really think that if the shows designers had taken the Megatron 3D model design and combined it with the Unicron models, in the same way that the TAKARA Arms Micron Unicron can combine with Megatron, it would have been SO much better. I'm not saying I hated the design, but it took me some getting used to, and I think that it would have been better to be modeled after the toy.
I'm very glad it's ending leaves much to imagination, while tying up the biggest lose ends. We give the film a solid thumbs up, as it seems a fitting conclusion to a series that has had mixed reviews. While it didn't live up to the fan appeal of it's "Transformers Animated" predecessor, it certainly did much to keep us very entertained and engage/develop today's newest generation of fans. Well done Hasbro Studios. Look forward to seeing what comes along the trail next. In the meantime, we'll be watching this film again, many times over.