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Transformers: Prime

November 30, 2010

Not so much red as mauve.

So I watched the premiere of Transformers: Prime and after forming my own opinion of it, I went around looking for the opinions of others. Know what I found? Very mixed reviews. Most either loved it or hated it. And you know what else? Generally, I’m fine with that. One can love or hate whatever one wants. But on the haters’ side, and even the lovers’, I found certain recurring views. So in addition to my own views, I’m going to address those views.

The Animation
Personally, I didn’t really pay attention to the animation. It looked good enough to me. I got a ripped of the show, since I don’t get it in my country. So the quality’s not going to be great, but it looked good enough. The actions and movements are smooth enough. At least it isn’t as stilted as Transformers: Energon.

What I see others mention about the animation though, is that they either say it wasn’t as good as that of Beast Wars or that it was better, but only by a little bit. Now, I don’t mind the latter opinion, but I do have to say that those who think Beast Wars has better animation than Transformers: Prime, should probably grab some episodes of Beast Wars, put on their objectivity hat and rewatch said eps to refresh their memory and possibly, just possibly, re-evaluate their opinions. If they feel BW was still better, so be it. But do try not to base this assumption on rose tinted memory.

Not to go on a rant on Beast Wars, but while the animation models for the characters were pretty good, and are still acceptable for TV consumption in this day and age (obviously not movie consumption, but TV is still okay). The background objects in particular, haven’t aged that well. Fluidity of movement and details of characters are also somewhat primitive, but hey, the show’s over 10 years old. It’s held up decently. It just isn’t anywhere near being able to completely blow Prime out of the water. At best, it’s of comparable quality.

Transformers: Animated
I love Transformers: Animated. But to suggest that Prime isn’t as good based only on two episodes is premature. Prime may well end up as being vastly inferior to Animated in terms of overall quality and entertainment value, but for now, it’s holding up pretty well. The thing is, people seem to be comparing the entire Animated series against Prime’s opening two episodes. Naturally, that’s a fixed fight.

A fairer comparison is between Animated’s premiere 3 episodes against Prime’s 2. In this regard, Prime is just as good as Animated. Animated had the advantage of low expectations, while Prime not only has to live up to Animated, but deal with the stigma of the Bayformers. Despite that, taken on its own, and taking heavy consideration that Animated and Prime have polar opposite tones, I think Prime did a good job. In it’s own way, it’s so far the best piece of Transformers media yet.

The kids
Eh, they aren’t nearly as bad as some people are making them out to be, simply because they haven’t had much screen time. Raf might potentially be an annoying Wesley Crusher, while Miko might have even greater potential to be just plain annoying. Jack is okay. Since his purpose is to let Arcee show her motherly side, not to be the “avatar” for the viewer as Raf and Miko are.

Continuity
This is a new continuity. I mean, it’s pretty obvious. It’s not Bayformer, nor is it War for Cybertron. It has elements from both, but to say it’s a direct sequel to either is premature. They might shoehorn it to either later on, but as it is, it just doesn’t mesh with either. There are too many contradictions. Transformers have a history of rebooting. I don’t see what’s the big problem with accepting that this is yet another new continuity.

The Review… now!
I mentioned in the Transformers: Animated segment that Prime may well be the best piece of TF media yet, BUT only in it’s own way. Whereas Animated was kiddie with plenty of fairly subtle adult sensibilities and a lot of fanwankage, Prime is dark dark dark gloom and abysmal dark. And I love it. In fact, I regret that the premiere is actually a 5 parter, and that it’ll probably end on a happy note, because so far, it hasn’t. The good guys have been losing this entire time when you think about it. Evil is leading on the scorecard. And I would be totally fine with this “arc” ending here and now.

Quite frankly, I don’t care about animation quality unless it’s so significantly bad or jarring that I can’t ignore it, such as the awkward movements in Transformers: Energon or the lip synching in Transformers: Galaxy Force/Cybertron.

Voice acting’s good so far. Peter Cullen’s rendition of Prime is… perhaps a bit too heavily reliant on the slow enunciation of the movie-verse. Otherwise, everyone’s great. I love the horse whispers of the Decepticons, as it just adds to the utter pitch black gloom of this series.

Action’s decent, as is the minimal plot. One can’t expect meaningful and impactful plot twists till a series has time to establish itself. I’m fine with the plots so far. They get the job done.

In a way, this is the Transformers that older fans have been clamoring for. It has some kiddie elements, but all in all, this show is completely black. It’s the like the first half of Re: Cutey Honey Live. As of the first two eps, it’s the most adult and depressing series yet. This might change later on, but for now, I’m enjoying the terminal despair of Transformers: Prime.

So in closing, taken on it’s own, Transformers: Prime is pretty darn good. It’s when it gets compared to ENTIRE older series or gets arbitrarily lumped in as a Bay movie that it falters. I say, for now, it’s good and enjoyable. How it’ll turn out? We shall see, but for now, give it a fair shake and I think you’ll find it’s a pretty solid show.

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