Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids
The latest compilation of episodes from Hasbro Studios’ Transformers Rescue Bots is another great collection for any fan of this kid friendly series. The compilation, which was released last Tuesday, September 2nd, is especially well-timed considering the proximity of its release to Halloween. That is primarily because of the five episodes featured in the disc. The episodes presented on this disc offer their own not so scary stories that are still a good fit for any child’s Halloween party. For those that might be new to this series (like this critic), said audiences will also appreciate the series’ animation. Being another product of Hasbro studios, it should come as no surprise that the series’ animation plays a role in its enjoyment, too. And last but not least of all worth noting in the overall presentation is the series’ list of voice talents. The actors charged with putting a voice to the series’ characters are largely well-known figures. They are figures that have quite the resume when it comes to animated programs, children’s programs, and sci-fi shows, too. Some have experience in all three realms, making their acting all the more believable and in turn enjoyable. The combination of those experienced voice talents and the series’ animation and writing makes Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue just as enjoyable for those that are new to this series as those that are more familiar with the show.
Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue is the fifth compilation of episodes from the Hub network’s hit children’s series. The compilation was released just last week in stores. Its timing could not have been better taking into account its episodes and the fact that Halloween is a little more than a month away. The episodes collected for this compilation each present their own not so scary but still entertaining story for kids at their Halloween parties this year. The DVD opens with a mystery that sees everyone in Griffin Rock suddenly disappearing after a horde of robotic bugs infests the town. It’s up to Cody, his friends, and the Rescue Bots to solve the mystery. The second episode sees some “ghosts” suddenly appearing. It turns out though, that things aren’t always what they appear to be when Cody and the Rescue Bots investigate the “hauntings.” There’s even a little twist that parents and kids alike will like, regardless of whether or not they are believers. “Spellbound” is the third episode chosen for the DVD. One could argue that this episode lifts lightly from Stephen King’s novel Cell as cell phones are being used to take over the minds of the Griffin Rock’s citizens. This is an especially enjoyable episode not only for this reason, but for its emphasis on caring for the environment. “Blame The Gremlins” is another great addition that parents and children will appreciate as it offers its own frightful fun. When Cody’s big brother Kade (voiced by Jason Marsden) starts having nightmares about gremlins, those nightmares become reality and invade Griffin Rock. Parents that are familiar with Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone series will appreciate the subtle homage to the episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” in this episode. One could even argue that there’s a subtle reference to a certain gremlin from Warner Brothers’ beloved Looney Tunes franchise. “Feed The Beast” closes out the DVD with a little tale of Griffin Rock’s own version of the legendary Sasquatch. As with the discs other episodes, it offers its own frightful fun for younger viewers. All of the episodes together will keep young viewers fully engaged from start to finish.
Of the stories included on this disc are not enough enjoyment by themselves, audiences that might be new to Transformers Rescue Bots will appreciate the fact that the episodes are kid friendly. They don’t have the level of violence and deep, thought provoking material that makes up the original Transformers franchise or any of its offshoots over the years. It makes for a fun and safe way to ease younger viewers into the Transformers universe. It could be argued that to that extent, it actually takes a page from the likes of Tiny Toon Adventures, The Flintstone Kids, Taz-Mania and others that came from that era. That’s because while many critics came down hard on the series, the reality was that they were in fact a way to slowly and gently bring younger viewers into the likes of Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and other classic franchises. To that extent, the very concept of this franchise makes the writing all the more valuable and enjoyable to the overall presentation that is this latest compilation.
The writing that went into the episodes on this DVD makes them (and the franchise in whole) a joy for both children and adults. Its mix of family friendly stories and its more grown-up pop culture references will make watching them as a family a fun time. And especially today, families need as much time as possible together. It’s not all that makes this collection enjoyable, either. The series’ animation also makes the episodes presented here fun, too. Audiences that are familiar with Hasbro Studios’ properties will find it no surprise that this series’ animation bears a somewhat similar animation style to that of both Pound Puppies and Littlest Pet Shop. It is safe to suffice that the same individuals charged with crafting the artwork for those series were also behind Transformers Rescue Bots, too simply by watching these episodes. Even with its similarities to those series, it does bear its own identity apart from them. The differences lie mainly in little things like the contours of the characters and the backgrounds and even the coloring. Other than that, this series’ animation lies in the same category as those others from Hasbro Studios already noted. Even as similar as its animation is to those series, it still is nice to see animation today that can look so much like it was hand drawn instead of all of the cookie cutter CGI shows out there for younger audiences today. It’s just one more part of what makes this new DVD so welcome in any family’s DVD library.
The animation in Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue and the writing in its episodes together make this latest collection of episodes welcome in any family’s DVD library. The last factor to note that makes it such a welcome addition to any family’s library is the series’ list of voice actors. Those behind the characters in this series are no strangers to voicing animated characters. The cast includes Jason Marsden, Kath Soucie, Levar Burton, Mauriche LaMarche, Tim Curry, Diamond White and so many others. While their episodes are not included in this DVD, Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman The Animated Series) and Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) even offer their talents in a couple of episodes, too. Having such a who’s who of actors lending their talents to this series is a tribute to its popularity and the popularity of the Transformers franchise in whole. Jason Marsden is known for his work on Nickelodeon’s The Fairly Odd Parents and as the voice of Nermal in Cartoon Network’s The Garfield Show. He has worked on a number of other series and movies, too. These are just a couple examples of his body of work. Kath Soucie and Levar Burton both worked together on Captain Planet and the Planeteers early in the 1990s. Soucie is also known as the voice of Phil and Lil DeVille in Nickelodeon’s beloved Nicktoon Rugrats. Not to omit Mauriche LeMarche or Tim Curry, the resume of these two actors could fill pages and pages. Needless to say they are quite the well trained and well-respected actors. And having them on this series’ cast is quite the statement. Newcomer Diamond White has already started building up her own resume with voice acting credits including work on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, and Sophia the First. She also plays the role of Sophie in Nickelodeon’s teen-centric series The Haunted Hathaways. Needless to say, the cast that was tapped for the roles in Transformers Rescue Bots more than did its job with this latest collection of episodes. Their years of training and experience helped them to interpret each episode’s script and in turn make it each story all the more enjoyable. The end result is a collection of episodes that the whole family will enjoy again and again while they wait for the next collection of episodes from this surprisingly entertaining show.
The A-list voice cast tapped to voice the characters in this latest collection of episodes from Hub’s Transformers Rescue Bots goes a long way toward validating it and the series in whole. Parents will note the celebrities’ names and want to check out the actors’ work for themselves. They will also appreciate some of the subtle pop culture references thrown in for good measure in some of the episodes included on the DVD. Kids will enjoy the animation and stories in general. All things considered, there is a lot that makes Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue a hit for the whole family. So much in fact that it could potentially end up on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s website at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-mystery-rescue. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online now at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.