on 31 August 2002
This latest DVD offering from Maverick contains the first six episodes of the Japanese "Headmasters" Transformers series. In the US, Transformers ended with the three-part "Rebirth" series, but in Japan, a completely separate, original series was created to replaced "Rebirth" - the 35-episode strong "Headmasters."
As it was never released officially in the US, it was never dubbed into English properly. The group who created the English language versions of the episodes that are on this disc are quite appalling - the voices and acting do heavy damage to a fairly entertaining story, and they also mess up several of the characters' names, and skew plot points due to their lack of actual Transformers knowledge. Also, all the episodes have the incorrect opening sequence, which comes from another Japanese series, "Transformers: Victory," rather than Headmasters - but it's a VERY catchy tune. V! V! Victory!
You should note that these dubs were created several years ago, and aren't Maverick's work.
The end result is something that's so bad, it's hilarious, and well worth watching. If you can get past the bad dubbing, it's a fun show, too. I consider this to be one of the best discs Maverick has put out so far, even if it doesn't contain any extra features, but that's just Maverick's way. I think it's great that these episodes are finally on widespread release, for the first time in the UK (the first episode, "Four Soldiers from the Sky," was previously available on Maverick's Transformers: The Movie DVD), even if they ARE bad dubs, and I sincerely hope that Maverick will release all the remaining episodes.
Just a warning - this is the CUT version of the film, presumably aimed at the new generation of Transformers fans. I'd suggest getting Maverick's PG rated, uncut version, which I've reviewed rather more positively...
Having never really watched the Transformers cartoon series as a kid (I only ever watched Children's BBC, not CITV), but being a major fan of the comic book, my judgement on viewing these DVDs for the first time is clouded with bias toward Bob Budianski's, and particularly Simon Furman's, version of the Transformers universe. As such, I can point to many, many 'factual' inaccuracies here. The Dinobots created by Wheeljack, on Earth? No Buster Witwicky? The Space Bridge being a teleporter? No, no and no. And as for the cartoon's depiction of my favourite Transformer, Grimlock... NO!
Nevertheless, there is much to enjoy here (even for a jaded comic fan such as me). The voicework, on the whole, is excellent - Prime, Megatron, Soundwave and Starscream, in particular, fit their characters extremely well. The animation is generally first rate, and the stories, while often rather throwaway (no ever-developing story arc as in the comic) are, on the whole, fun and engaging. And, of course, there's THAT theme tune.
Being made back in the eighties, before political correctness determined that Tom and Jerry should be friends, the episodes here come across as being rather violent - even if it is violence between armies of robots. Much of what happens here probably wouldn't be allowed these days. No lessons are learnt by the Decepticons, who remain resolutely evil throughout. The only way the Autobots can hope to defeat them is through warfare...
on 5 January 2003
The considerable increase in quality Maverick have displayed with their compilation box set, "Transformers: The Complete Original Series Deluxe Edition," has upped the standard that they're going to have to attain in the future.
Three discs of the four-disc set collect all sixteen episodes of Transformers season one, previously released in three separate volumes as Maverick's "Original Series" set. While the original discs released the episodes out-of-order, this set organises them into their correct running order, and each of the discs contains an episode guide that gives viewers synopses. Mercifully, Maverick refrained from "restoring" the episodes like the American company, Rhino, did with their unrelated release of season one. While this does mean that Rhino's version has a superior picture quality, it also means that Maverick's version - which is still of a fine video quality and perfectly watchable - is blissfully devoid of bizarre reversed scenes and added footage that Rhino inserted into their episodes.
However, Maverick has apparently purchased Rhino's 5.1 audio track, which contains sound effects that Rhino themselves added, which sometimes feel out of place, and can be quite annoying when you know that they shouldn't be there. Though to be fair, a number of the sounds ARE quite cool.
And speaking of things that feel out of place, some episodes have the second season opening animation, rather than the first - a result of combining the new audio track with the alternate opening the episodes already had. Also, most of the credits are text-less, and some are even from season two - I wish Maverick had pasted in the correct sequences for both these. While it's totally unimportant for the episodes themselves, it would create a greater sense of unity within the box set.
It would take too long to go through all the episodes here, but suffice it to say that the quality fluctuates in both animation and story. "More Than Meets the Eye" is the quintessential Transformers story, while episodes such as "War of the Dinobots" and "Heavy Metal War" stand out as some of the best in the set. In contrast, "Roll For It" and "SOS Dinobots" are two of the weaker episodes, while the "Ultimate Doom" trilogy could have been a great story, had it not been spoiled by treating the mind-controlled humans as a more important story aspect than the destruction of Earth. That said, the episodes are still a great nostalgia trip for anyone looking to relive their wasted youth and a must for Transfans.
It is the extra features that are the real selling point, however. No features were included on any of the previous separate volumes, but the fourth disc of this set proves that Maverick have been sitting on a mountain of extras.
The first two extras are the set's "bonus episodes," "Five Faces of Darkness," Part One and "The Rebirth," Part One, both included primarily to advertise the fact that the complete FFoD and Rebirth miniseries were Maverick's next DVD releases. The episode guide on this disc also gives synopses for the other parts of FFoD and Rebirth.
But there is much more to be seen here, by going to the Special Features menu. First in line is "Character Profiles," which gives you data on important characters from season one.
Next we have "Bumpers and Adverts," a containing original commercial bumpers and television adverts for Transformers toys. Bumpers included are from season one, "Five Faces of Darkness," "The Rebirth," the "Generation 2" series, and the Japanese "Headmasters" series, all included either in accordance with the set's content, or previous Maverick DVD releases. Adverts, of which there are many, are for Pretenders, Micromasters, Actionmasters, and a large selection of Generation 2 toys, as well as a small number of Japanese ads for season one and two toys.
Next on the list is "Classic Quotes," where you can play a short video clips containing characters delivering famous and/or defining quotes. After that you'll want to check out the "Fan Art Gallery," a vast selection of pictures from Transformers fan artists, from the website, TheTransformers.Net.
Next is the Japanese trailer to "Transformers: The Movie" - actually a four minute promo reel used to advertise the movie to some countries before it was completed. It features additional scenes not used in the finished film, and is a rare piece of footage - a very welcome addition.
Another rare item is Sunbow's "Original Synopsis" card for the Transformers series, used to advertise it back during the 80's. You can view and read the card in a pre-set scrolling show. After that comes the "Transformers Trivia Quiz" - five questions that hardcore Transfans will have no problems with, decorated with the art of popular fan artist, Dan Khana, which, when all answered correctly, will unlock some bonus footage - but I'm not telling you what it is. ;)
Finally, there is the DVD Rom feature of this disc, the original episode scripts to all three parts of "More Than Meets the Eye," viewable through Adobe Acrobat Reader. Dated 1985, they are simple dialogue transcripts of the episodes, interestingly containing a few lines that didn't make it to the finished versions.
Maverick has redeemed itself beyond belief for its past flaws with this box set. Undoubtedly, though, fans who had bought all three previous volumes were annoyed when this set was released, given it's large number of extras, and it's price - *two thirds* of what it cost to buy the original three extra-free discs. I know I was, but I'm not sorry that I went on to obtain this set. I - and pretty much all other fans - hope that Maverick will release season two in a similar manner, though I'd pray that they will do away with the tedious process of releasing the weak individual discs, and move straight to box sets like these (or at the very least, release them simultaneously). With the number of episodes season two contains, that would undoubtedly be a smart move.
on 24 September 2002
Having refrained from buying the individual DVDs as they were released, I finally caved in and bought this compendium. And what a compendium it is! The first three discs of this four disc set contain all the original series episodes you might remember from WacADay with 5.1 sound and previews and reviews of the multi-part stories. The series has really stood the test of time well.
Disc four introduces you to the wider world of the Transformers, with 2 episodes from later series after the events in the excellent Movie. It also contains an array of advertisements, a quiz that unlocks additional material when you get all the questions right, and even artwork drawn by fans of the series.
Considering how much you get for your money, this is a remarkable package and would undoubtedly keep both twenty somethings and a younger generation quiet for hours!
on 26 June 2007
Ahh! Wonderful day of the 80's. Getting out of bed at 8:00am on a saturday morning to watch this great new cartoon show were cars and planes turn into robots, HOW COOL IS THAT?
So after such success with the TV shows and the fabulous toy range (I was lucky enough to get Prime for christams on the year of release!) it seemed only a matter or time before the big movie outing was to take place. Were we disapointed? NO WE WERE NOT! It had it all, big fights, great 80's soundtrack, a planet sized transformer and even the death of Optimus Prime!
A story that deals with the principals of change, re-birth and fulfilment of one true destiny. The details of the story have already been written here so I will skip that part. The movie has a much darker and more adult feel than the TV shows and hence a little more realism is injected for the viewing adults.
The animation still stands up well and looks good all the way through, even in these days of CGI, although some little mistakes can be seen, see if you can spot them!
For many years due to the advent of modern CGI I often wondered when somebody out there was going to give Optimus Prime and Megatron the royal treatment and bring them back for us to see again in new spangly CGI, my wish has been granted and its on its way with the new Transformers The Movie.
So, after you have taken your little ones to see the new movie, dig this one out and watch it again with them and bring back those halcyon days of Waker Day and the guy with the big mallet!
on 25 September 2002
After a series of mediocre DVD releases in the Transformers series Maverick have finally cracked it. All 16 episodes of the first Transformers series in one box, how can you get better than that? Well extra feature is how, and there are no shortage of those on the forth disc in this set. When compared to the recent Region 1 release of the series Maverick have just blown Rhino (the US Transformers DVD Distributors) out of the water. The two preview episodes, from Maverick upcoming releases The Five Faces Of Darkness and The Rebirth, are superb and the latter really does have some of the most fantastic animation of all the Transformers four series. The character profiles give some interesting little details about all the main characters including who voiced them. The toy adverts included really take you back to your childhood. The Fan Art Gallery is a very nice thank-you to all the fans that have followed Transformers over the years, and there is some very fine artwork included. But the best two features of all are the Japanese trailer for Transformers the Movie and the Bonus features for completing the Transformers Quiz. I won't ruin what the bonus features are, but I am sure you wont be disappointed. The Japanese trailer however is NOT the Japanese trailer at all. It's the 4-minute promotional film used to sell Transformers the Movie before completion. It features footage not shown in the movie, including Ultra Magnus in a different colour. My one and only gripe with this release is that a few of the episodes have the series two introduction, featuring characters that are not even in the series yet, instead of the series one intro. This is just a small gripe and doesn't really have any effect on the viewing of the series, just one of those things that annoys nit-picking fans. Overall Maverick have done a super job with this DVD set, let's just hope they keep it up with their future Transformers releases.
on 9 June 2003
Over two years ago Maverick Entertainment released their version of this timeless film, and the results were... Somewhat dissapointing, to say the least. Now, TV Loonland have aquired the rights to all of The Transformers' adventures, and I for one expected more from their first DVD release.
Although the film has great picture and sound quality, it has no extras. That's right, no trailer, no nothing. Christ, Maverick's version had a trailer, and the Season One boxset had the much sought after pre-sell trailer. All you get is a budget DVD, at a budget price.
Don't get me wrong, if you haven't got Maverick's version this is a perfect buy. However, TV Loonland promised so much, and yet delivered so little. I could have done a better job.
The film is still as timeless as ever, with classic good versus evil action. And the soundtrack is the bomb. But, in future I expect more.
on 29 September 2002
This is a truly fantastic set, the outercover is well illustrated cars, which protects the folding contents. On the back of the disk case is an excellent peice of artwork by one of the comic artists. The episodes them selves are original, and not remastered, which some will hate, but I personally love, and with a great 5.1 soundtrack.
However, it is the special features which really sell this item. The toy spots are great and the japanese film trailer is actually one of the rarest pieces of TF footage you could wish for. The quiz is fun, and the bonus footage unlocked from it is great. The quotes are great fun, as are the character profiles.
All in all, if you are a fan of the Transformers, BUY THIS!! If not, ahh, hell, get it anyway, it is truly superb.
on 30 September 2002
The hole transformer experience starts as soon as you look at the box and when you see the inside of the pagging the tranformers experiance overwelms you. You have to see it to beleve it!.
The DVD's themselves are evrything a true transformers enthusiast could wish for from the episodes to the explosive special features evey episode is in order and easy to slect and play. If you want you can also read all about the episode before you see it.
This box set just keeps geting better and better evey time you see it.
In my view every transformers enthusisat should have this and even if you not an enthusiast your going to love it. It is well worth the money.