With an astonishing 4 Transformers movies released within the last 10 years, it’s hardly surprising that there’s an animated spin off series. What is surprising, is the writers and the voice cast from the movies are all on board. Normally, a spin off would produce more off kilter stories, and the sort of thing you don’t expect would make it in a film, but given that this is from a film series that has already featured robot testicles and dinosaurs, it’s not really straying off the beaten track. The computer animated series opens up with Optimus Prime somehow being deceived by those dastardly Decepticons, and joining up with Megatron to destroy the autobots.
I haven’t watched a Transformers cartoon since I was biting ankles, but the formula pretty much remains the same. The Decepticons up to no good and the Autobots are out to stop them, with the assistance of a group of humans. Orion Pax picks up where season 1 left of, Optimus Prime has had his memory erased by the dastardly Megatron, and is convinced that he is a Decepticon named Orion Pax. The Autobots and their human companions devise a plan to get to their home planet of Cybertron and seek out Vectot Sigma, a super computer which can restore Optimus Prime back to his, er… prime. This is practically a suicide mission, but it’s the only way of getting their leader back. There’s also the traditional sub plots, such as the flamboyant Starscream trying to get one over on Megatron. There’s a few references to other films thrown in for good measure for the older viewers to have a chuckle at.
The show is full of the action I remember from watching the cartoons all those moons ago, and has that familiar Saturday morning TV feeling. Produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote Revenge of the Fallen, perhaps this format is more suited, as this TV show is more entertaining than the films. The animation is decent, combining CG and occasionally a 2D style for its backgrounds and flashbacks. The score is rather in keeping with current action movies, sounding somewhat similar to the recent Star Trek movies.
The limited edition DVD comes with trading cards and a random toy. My little one went nuts for the figure (it’s fair to say I was a little proud). It appears to be part of a set which all fit together to make one big Transformer.
Fans of Transformers should be more than satisfied with this series, with plenty of action packed, giant robot dust ups and, character models aside, no sign of Michael Bay.