The Transformers is one of America’s most popular and successful franchises in American pop culture history. The franchise, which started out as a line of toys has spawned numerous animated series ever since the debut of the original series a little more than three decades ago including but not limited to: Beast Wars, Prime, Robots In Disguise, and Rescue Bots just to name a handful. There has even been a resurgance in the Trnasformers’ popularity on the big screen in recent years with four big screen features having been churned out and a fifth on the way. Now as audiences await that movie and the upcoming episodes of the latest small screen installment of Hasbro’s beloved property, they have just the thing to pass the time in the form of Shout! Factory’s recently released Transformers Prime collection, Ultimate Decepticons. Transformers Prime: Ultimate Decepticons was released early this past September. It features five episodes pulled from the series. And while that may not seem like very much, those five episodes equal to a total run time (TRT) of an hour and fifty minutes. That is nearly two hours of nonstop action and entertainment for audiences. And while all five episodes are ultimately from Transformers Prime, not all of them are from the same chapter of the series’ run. That is one part of what makes this latest collection worth the watch and will be discussed shortly. The writing within each of the collected episodes is just as important to note as the episodes themselves. That will be discussed later. Last but hardly least of note of the collection is the work of the show’s voice cast. Thanks to their work, audiences can more easily suspend their disbelief and in turn allow themselves to be pulled into this Transformers universe and enjoy each presented episode. It is the finishing touch that along with the work of the show’s writers and those charged with choosing the featured episodes, makes Transformers Prime: Ultimate Decepticons yet another enjoyable collection for any Transformers fan.
Shout! Factory’s new Transformers Prime collection Ultimate Decepticons is not the first collection of Transformers Prime episodes to ever be released by Shout! Factory. As a matter of fact, Shout! Factory has released all three of the series’ seasons and a number of other standalone compilation discs since 2012. That aside it still does not do anything to lessen the enjoyment of this latest collection. The main reason for this is its featured episodes. Over the course of its five total episodes all three seasons of Transformers Prime are represented here. What’s more all five episodes, thanks to the work of the series’ writers, leave audiences wanting more. That being the case Shout! Factory has achieved its goal. It would be easy to see that desire to find out what happens next leading viewers to pick up any of the series’ previously released standalone full season sets. It shows that those charged with choosing this collection’s episodes have done quite the commendable job in carrying out their duties. Not only did they do a commendable job of representing all three seasons, they also presented five episodes that are sure to pull in those audiences that might not be so familiar with the Transformers Prime universe and in turn drive them to pick up the series’ full season sets. Of course it’s just one way in which this collection proves itself another successful compilation from Transformers Prime. The work of the writers displayed here is another way in which it proves itself so entertaining.
The episodes that are featured in Shout! Factory’s new Transformers Prime compilation are in themselves plenty of reason for audiences to check out this collection. They are only a small part of what makes the collection so enjoyable. The work of the series’ writers is just as worth noting as the episodes themselves. That is exhibited through each episode’s story line. In ‘Masters and Students’ the collection’s lead episode (and the series’ official premiere) writer Duane Capizzi has crafted a story that sees the vile Decepticon Starscream take control of the Decepticons after the supposed death of Megatron following the events of the Darkness Rising mini-series. What makes Capizzi’s writing so impressive here is that he didn’t just pen a whole new beginning despite the episode being the series’ official premiere. Instead he picked up right where that mini-series left off. That’s just part of what makes the writing here so impressive. The transition from Dark Rising into Transformers Prime is clean. There is no flashback or any of those other overly used elements. Rather Capizzi jumps right into the driver’s seat and keeps the story moving forward with Starscream unsuccessfully trying to take the reins of the Decepticons.
Capizzi’s fellow writer Steven Melching deserves just as much applause for his work in crafting “Con Job” also from Season 1. Melching’s script takes the classic evil twin story that has been used countless times in other TV series and gives the timeless tale its own updated take. One of the most notable aspects of Melching’s script is that unlike with so many other series’ evil twin stories, Melching doesn’t waste time with the whole sequence of Makeshift being captured. It is insinuated ahead of that as Starscream and Soundwave create their own evil duplicate. By taking this route, he actually does leave viewers questioning whether the first Makeshift is really him until the ultimate reveal and showdown that follows. Even in the final showdown between Makeshift and his impostor, Melcher avoids the all too common element of the twins trying to convince everyone that the other is the fraud. Instead he has Makeshift state that he had the situation in hand. Even then, it left viewers to wonder if that was indeed Makeshift or not. It’s a nice change of pace from the classic evil twin plot for which Melcher is highly deserving of his own praise.
“Thirst” closes out Ultimate Decepticons. Marsha Griffin crafted the script for this episode. And in watching this episode, audiences will agree that she is just as deserving of praise for her work as Melching and Capizzi are for theirs. That is because her script will bring just as many laughs as it will excitement and laughs. Griffin’s story is one of those rare instances in which the Autobots and Decepticons aren’t seen fighting one another. It sees Starscream and Knockout testing Ratchet’s synthetic Energon on Cy.L.A.S. Things don’t go exactly as planned, obviously. Instead of helping, it makes Cy.L.A.S. aggressive and requires him to be restrained. The duo decides to use Dark Energon on him in hopes that it would balance him out. The result is quite the opposite. It makes him even more aggressive and also turns him into an energon-craving zombie vampire robot thing. In their attempt to outrun Cy.L.A.S. Knockout makes a joke about having watched human horror stories and their truthfulness in killing the walking dead. Griffin is to be commended here as the playful stab at all of the horror movies out there is sure to generate its share of laughs. The duo’s very attempt to escape Cy.L.A.S. and his hordes of fellow energon-sucking zombie vampire robots is just as funny. That is because the manner in which the pair runs for their lives from each one is anything but serious. It’s obvious that Griffin intentionally did this so as to keep the mood from getting too serious. There is even a scene in which Knockout and Starscream have to convince Megatron about the hordes at which point Megatron turns around tells one of the zombies from advancing. The zombie is promptly dispatched by Megatron as it advances on him. Megatron’s cool demeanor as he does so is worth its own share of laughs. Of course for all of the entertainment value in Griffin’ s script, there is also some action as Cy.L.A.S. does meet his eventual end at the hands of Airachnid. That scene is the episode’s one real serious moment. Of course for those that might not be familiar with the series, the reveal in his death might lead to some confusion for obvious reasons. Of course it could lead said viewers to pick up one or all three of the series’ seasons so as to understand and appreciate that one scene. It is just one more example of how the writing behind Ultimate Decepticons’ featured episodes makes the collection in whole so interesting and enjoyable for Transformers fans of all ages. That is not to take anything away from her work in “Prey” or Marty Isenberg’s work in “Crossfire.” Both scripts are equally gripping and entertaining in their own right. The work put into all five episodes makes each one equally entertaining in its own right. Collectively, they make Ultimate Decepticons yet another welcome addition to any Transformers fan’s collection.
Ultimate Decepticons’ featured episodes and the writers that brought the episodes to life are both key elements in the overall presentation of this new Transformers Prime compilation. While both elements are each important in their own right, the work of the series’ voice cast is just as important to the overall experience. It goes without saying that the voice cast is just as impressive as the writers in carrying out their duties here beginning with that of Peter Cullen. Cullen has brought voice to the Autobots’ leader ever since the Transformers first came to small screens across America back in 1984. He is just as impressive here as in any of the franchise’s previous installments. Whether leading the Autobots in battle or laying injured, on the verge of dying, Cullen has perfected his performance of the famed Autobot. Steven Blum is just as impressive throughout each episode as the voice of Starscream. He fully embodies Starscream’s persona as he schemes to overthrow Megatron (as in previous Transformers series) and throws his pride around, which in turn leads to him being thrown around more than once in each episode. On another note, Jeffrey Combs and Kevin Michael Richardson are just as impressive as the voices of Ratchet and Bulkhead respectively. Combs does a great job of bringing out Ratchet’s grumpy but caring old grandfather style figure while Richardson is just as entertaining as the charismatic Bulkhead. That is especially displayed in “Con Job” when Bulkhead originally thinks that the Makeshift he is talking to is the real Makeshift. He’s one of those light-hearted figures that is as caring as can be but is just as deadly when necessary. It’s just one more example of why the work of the show’s voice cast is just as important to the whole of these episodes as the work of the episodes’ writers and of the episodes themselves to the overall viewing experience of Transformers Prime: Ultimate Decepticons. All three elements together make this latest compilation, again, one that any Transformers fan will want to have in his or her own home DVD library if they don’t already own any of the series’ full season sets.
Transformers Prime: Ultimate Decepticons is a collection that while it features only five episodes, offers plenty for audiences to appreciate. Its selection of episodes represents all three of the series’ seasons and does so to the point that they will leave audiences wanting to purchase all three seasons and get the whole story of Transformers Prime. The work of the series’ writers in each of the featured episodes is just as important as the episodes themselves. The work of the series’ voice cast is just as important as the previously noted elements to this DVD’s overall viewing experience. Each noted element plays its own important part in the whole of Ultimate Decepticons. All combined, they make this collection another welcome addition to any Transformers fan’s home DVD library. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-prime-ultimate-decepticons. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
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