|Transformers Animated: Transform and Roll Out|
Written by Jason Flick
June 23, 2008
Transformers are a house hold name these days. Ever since their creation in 1984 to the recent box office hit, generations of fans have fallen in love or back in love with them. Personally I grew up with the Transformers and they still remain one of my favorite cartoons of all time. Transformers as a whole are now in their 6th Generation (give or take a generation) with the recent release of Transformers: Animated in December of last year. This brings me to the point of this article as I reveal my review of Transformers Animated: Transform and Roll Out.
Transform and Roll Out is a 68 minute pilot to the Transformers: Animated series. The movie of sorts starts out with the viewer meeting Optimus Prime leads at ragtag team of average AutoBots as they respond to a call to….wait for it… repair a part of the space bridge. That’s right our famous Optimus is now the thankless leader of a maintenance crew. Only this isn’t the Prime we all remember.
The AutoBot-Decepticon war has been over for centuries and Ultra Magnus is in charge now. This new Prime was not involved in the War and the only thing he knows about the war is from old video feeds. One of the things I do like is that there are several Transformers that make a return to the series that have been absent over the years like Bumblebee and Prowl. The story of this new spin on the Transformers is centered on the city of Detroit in the 22nd Century. But let me back up just a bit to explain how they got there. 50 years prior while the AutoBots crew is on a salvage mission to repair a section of the space bridge, they happen across the Allspark, yes that Allspark from the movie, but are cut short of their semi-happy discovery by a Decepticon vessel.
Much to their displeasure the AutoBots run into Megatron along with his lackeys. The AutoBots manage to stop Megatron from getting the Allspark but not before getting skipped across the universe by the Allspark to the planet Earth. But little do they know Megatron’s head lands on Earth as well and is found by a young Isaac Sumdac. The AutoBots then go into Stasis Lock for 50 years while Isaac Sumdac reverse engineers parts from Megatron to propel Detroit into becoming the technologic center of the US.
The AutoBots are awaked after one of Sumdac’s inventions goes horribly wrong. With the help of Ratchet, the AutoBots defeat the monstrosity and become the new heroes of Earth. After being taken in by the people of Earth, Optimus, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Bulkhead and Prowl help fight human supervillains and the one rather pesky Decepticon StarScream.
As I mentioned above I am a big fan of the Transformers, not quite a diehard fan, but a fan none the less. I actually stopped watching the cartoons after Beast Wars ended as the new ones after that didn’t really interest me. Not until recently with the release of the Cybertron series did I get back into paying attention to the Transformers again.
To be quite honest I thought this pilot was okay. I’m not a huge fan of the new look of all the Transformers. I feel that while the makers of this new series were going for a new look and a younger audience hence the apparent age of Sari they have lost something that held my attention to all of the series past. As this is only the pilot episode, I can’t make a judgment on how things will bode for the rest of the series or my liking of the show.
One such instance would be the inclusion of Black Arachnia (from Beast Wars) that is seen with the Decepticons briefly at the beginning of the pilot. The pilot also actually features footage from the episode “War Dawn” from the Gen 1 series. These small inclusions I feel are small a homage to the history and popularity of the Transformers.
While I may not agree with the choice of what the Transformers look like, I do like the general look of the Transformers: Animated series so far. Part of this probably has to do with the fact that Derrick Wyatt who did work on Teen Titans (my favorite cartoon) worked as Art Director on this project. I also must say that I have taking a liking to Sari’s character as well. She kind of reminds me of Juniper Lee’s annoying little brother Roger, from The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, only much cooler.
Actually one of the reasons I kept watching this pilot was due to the voice behind Sari Sumdac. Tara Strong provides Sari’s voice and coincidentally does the voice of Roger on Juniper Lee and the voice of my favorite Teen Titan, Raven.
David Kaye, known for doing the voice of Megatron in the Beast Era and Unicron Trilogy returns this time to do the voice of Optimus Prime. This is perhaps why I don’t like Optimus’ voice as much as he is younger in this series then all of the previous series.
Corey Burton performs the role of Megatron for the short while we actually see him before he is blown to pieces. Corey is known for various roles including doing several voices in the original Transformers show back in the 80’s.