Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection DVD
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-12-20 DVD Movie E10 (Everyone 10+) Paramount Home Entertainment / Hasbro

With 2007's blockbuster release Transformers introducing the franchise to a whole new generation of children worldwide, it's no surprise that the line of Transformers animated television series would receive a boost, and be released for consumption by the general public. One such release is Transformers Energon, the 2004-2005 television series that Hasbro and Paramount Home Entertainment have been able to release on DVD in an "Ultimate Collection".

Energon presents the story of the Transformers' search for Energon, an element that is the source of all life itself, especially where Transformers are concerned, as it not only strengthens their life force, but also protects them from enemy attacks with Energon Star Shields, boosts their own offensive maneuvers and so on.

With the help of the humans, including a young boy named Kicker, who can sense the presence of Energon, the Omnicons (who are the only ones able to handle raw Energon and form it into usable Energon Stars and so on), and with the help of an unlikely ally in the Decepticons, the Autobots (led by Optimus Prime) have set up bases throughout the galaxy, most notably on Earth, Mars and the moon in search of this rare and powerful element.

Ten years prior, the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons ended when Megatron and the evil living planet Unicron were defeated and blasted into space, allowing for such an uncharacteristic alliance. And even though the tension between the Autobots and the Decepticons is still thick, both sides are satisfied with their current routine of mining for Energon, when unexpectedly the galaxy is rocked by a string of attacks on various Transformer controlled bases.

After learning that these surprisingly powerful new enemies are android Terrorcons who wish to steal the Autobots' newly mined Energon and use it to rebuild Unicron, Optimus Prime sets all bases to Defcon 4 in an effort to prepare them for a coming attack.

Throughout the series' 52 episodes, viewers witness not only the battle for the Energon stores, but also the rebirth or Megatron, the rising of an even more powerful enemy named Alpha-Q who wields the power of the Terrorcons, the resurrection of Unicron and more throughout the series' over 1000 minute run time.

With seven discs in all, Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection truly is a sight to behold; however, the only "ultimate" qualities contained therein seem to be in the number of discs contained in the set and in the set's name itself, as there are no special features to be seen. Likewise, each disc's menu contains but two choices: "Play All" and "Episode Selection", leaving a bit to be desired when customizing your viewing experience. Luckily, while the DVD itself contains no established access to subtitles, you can easily utilize your television's "Closed Caption" mode to follow along.

Or perhaps the "Ultimate" in the title is referring to the series' animation, which does contain some noteworthy differences from previous shows, specifically the show's combination of both cel-shaded computer animation with 2D cel-animation. While the portions containing computer animation tend to be reserved for heavier battles and times demanding more special effects, the combination is a bit awkward until one gets used to it.

This makes the overall series very comparable to Pok??mon, which has utilized both classic and modern animation techniques in their films (and subsequently television episodes) for years. For those who are not familiar with either the terminology or with Pok??mon, the graphics can be roughly equated to the combination of a Pixar film and a children's cartoon from the early 1990's.

With a few rather annoying characters, specifically the stubborn, irritable Kicker who was more than a bit irritating throughout the majority of the series, and a graphical style that takes some getting used to, Transformers Energon definitely isn't perfect, but the overall story itself is far more complex and entertaining than most children's programs tend to be, leading me to believe that the writers had both adult viewers and young children in mind when developing the plot.

All in all, with the lack of any real special features, Transformers Energon would do fine as a rental, that is, if you had a long enough rental period to get through the DVD's 17 hours of run time. If not, the price to own is comparable to other DVD sets of this size, and with a storyline that is surprisingly addictive, is a great gift for the Transformers fan in your life.

Special thanks to Brigid Darcy for providing a copy of this title.