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Paramount Home Video presents
Transformers Cybertron Robots in Disguise: A New Beginning (2005)

"Roll out!"
- Optimus Prime (Gary Chalk)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: September 14, 2005

Stars: Gary Chalk, David Kaye
Other Stars: Kirby Morrow, Sarah Edmondson, Sam Vincent, Ryan Hirakida
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:27m:28s
Release Date: September 13, 2005
UPC: 097368872448
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ BB+B- D-

DVD Review

Growing up in the 1980s, my day wouldn't be complete without the latest episode of both G.I. Joe and the Transformers cartoons. This was the heyday of hand-drawn animation on television, and none of the kids' shows these days can hold a candle to those classics. G.I. Joe has hung around the pop culture landscape through the years, but has never been as visible as it was back then. Transformers, on the other hand, is in the midst of a renaissance of sorts. There have been a few animated series since the '80s (again, none of which coming close to the original), with the newest being Transformers Cybertron. On top of that, a feature film is in the works, and is currently slated for a 2007 release.

Transformers Cybertron: A New Beginning brings this latest series to DVD for the first time, giving us an initial output of two feature episodes and a pair of "Bonus Episodes" to boot. The new series finds the robots on Earth, as they are fighting a new, extremely deadly threat to their home planet of Cybertron, as well as the rest of the universe. Most of the usual suspects are back for more changeling action, including the first leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime. This walking, talking, semi-truck has died and been resurrected more times than most soap opera characters, but he is and will always be the quintessential leader and figurehead for anything bearing the Transformers name.

We also see plenty of old stalwarts like Jetfire and Hot Shot, plus, our favorite villainous Decepticons, Megatron and Starscream. There's still a human element to this series, with a trio of pre-teenage kids on board, namely, Kobe, Brad, and Lori. There have always been a few humans involved in the Autobot/Decepticon war, but they are generally kept out of harm's way. When they are in the fray, they seem to only suffer minor scratches and bruises, which, while unrealistic, is excusable since the characters that most people care about are the Transformers themselves.

"Haven" is the first episode on this disc, and this is actually the second episode of the Transformers Cybertron series. Actually, the four episodes here represent entries 2-5 of the show, and why the first wasn't included is beyond me. "Haven" finds the Autobots building a new base on Earth; one that they are trying to keep under wraps from Megatron and the rest of the Decepticons. This one actually harkens back a tiny bit to the old series, given its classic Autobots Vs. Decepticons themes.

The other episodes focus on the robots attempts to blend in on Earth as well as possible, with "Hidden" has the Autobots trying to change the way they transform so they aren't as obviously strange to humans. "Landmine" focuses on the Autobot of the same name and his attempts to recover from Thundercracker's damaging wrath, while "Space" finds Kobe traveling to space for a unique perspective on what Earth is like from the outside.

My major problem is purely nostalgic, as Transformers Cybertron doesn't even seem to really be trying to capture the feel of the original series. I understand that the producers are trying to bring their robots to an entirely new generation, but I'm hoping this isn't a bad sign as far the feature film goes. I think every Transformers fan, young and old is looking for the most comfortable medium between old and new elements of the franchise in Michael Bay's (Yikes!) film, but I guess we won't know for another year or so.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All of these episodes are presented in their original full-frame format, and do feature slightly improved image detail and sharpness. Colors are slightly truer and more vivid, and there isn't any grain or dirt to speak of.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is a bit of an improvement as well, but is still typical TV animation fare. Most of the sound stays up front, but the surrounds do spread out a few of the action-oriented sound effects. The dialogue always stays up front, and is worked in well with everything else.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Rugrats Tales from the Crib: Snow White, Transformers: Energon, DuelMasters, The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra features are a collection of previews for other Paramount Home Video releases.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Transformers Cybertron: A New Beginning is the first in what will probably be a long line of DVDs for this new series. We're off to a good start, thanks to Paramount Home Video's audio and video treatment of these four episodes. Unfortunately, the only things posing as extras are a few trailers for other DVD releases.


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