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DVD Review: Transformers: The Complete First Season (25th Anniversary Edition)

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Written by General Jabbo

Coming off the heels of two blockbuster live-action movies, and timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Transformers inception, Shout! Factory brings to DVD Transformers: The Complete First Season.

Where previous DVD releases left something to be desired (remastered picture, but art missing, characters with the wrong colors, bad audio, and other subtle changes), this collection restores the original broadcast masters, complete with commercial bumpers and next episode previews. While this occasionally leads to some “soft” animation, as the original masters were not of the same quality as the remastered ones, Shout! Factory has color corrected these masters and blended them with the restored masters to present Transformers in a way not seen since these episodes were first broadcast. In addition, the sound is superb, as new stereo masters have been created from the original audio.

All sixteen episodes are included and they tell the story about how the Autobots and Decepticons, in search of energy for their planet Cybertron and to save their race, crash-landed on Earth four million years ago, only to be reactivated to begin their quest anew in modern times.

Highlights include the three-part “More Than Meets the Eye,” which tells the origins of the Transformers; “Transport to Oblivion,” where Megatron returns to form a space bridge in an attempt to transfer Earth’s energy to Cybertron; “S.O.S. Dinobots,” where Autobots Ratchet and Wheeljack create the Dinobots after being inspired by real dinosaur skeletons; and the three-part “The Ultimate Doom,” which finds Megatron brainwashing the humans and bringing Cybertron into Earth’s orbit to try and steal Earth’s energy.

The three-disc set includes one disc of bonus features, including a 20-minute documentary “Triple Changer: From Toy to Comic to Screen — the Origins of the Transformers” which describes how Hasbro in the U.S., along with Marvel Comics, took the Transformers toy idea from Takara (who they worked with on new designs) in Japan, gave it a back story that kids could relate to, and turned that into a toy, comic and television empire. It’s an interesting documentary, but at 20 minutes, much too short for such a pop-culture phenomenon. Also included are a rare PSA ad, as well as some Hasbro toy commercials, and a printable script for the “Transport to Oblivion” episode. The DVD is a little thin on extras, but presumably there will be more seasons coming, so there is time to rectify that. The main focus here is the episodes and those are great.

These episodes are finally back the way Gen-Xers remember them as kids and in a concise, affordable package. Fans of the robots in disguise will be hard pressed to find a better way to enjoy this classic cartoon.

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