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Transformers Prime: Season Three(TV) (2013)
Following the destruction of their base at the hands of Megatron, the Autobots, along with Jack, Miko, and Raf, are separated and struggle to reconnect with one another. However, Smokescreen returns to Jasper to rescue Optimus Prime, who is close to death. Meanwhile, Shockwave returns, having cloned an ancient Cybertronian, dragon-like beast called a Predacon in hopes of having it hunt down the Autobots. While Smokescreen tries to find a way to save Optimus, Ultra Magnus comes to Earth to lend the Autobots a hand as the Predacon named Predaking starts to get intelligent.
For more about Transformers Prime: Season Three and the Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray release, see Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on December 6, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Steve Blum, Jeffrey Combs, Sumalee Montano, Kevin Michael Richardson
» See full cast & crew
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray Review
Three's the charm?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, December 6, 2013
The Transformers franchise has been an incredible cash cow for Hasbro. Hasbro took original designs from the Japanese firm of Takara Tomy and first created a toy sensation in the mid-eighties but which soon (appropriately) morphed into an animated television series which ran for some four seasons. During the run of that series, The Transformers: The Movie, a feature length animated enterprise, debuted. Comic books, videogames and more animated television outings (like Beast Wars: Transformers) followed, but the franchise really burst into the mainstream with the live action film series, which to date includes Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (with a fourth entry primed—optimus or otherwise—for release in 2014). The Transformers saga is by now so varied and labyrinthine that only the most rabid fan is probably able to keep track of all the ins and outs of the various timelines, storylines and characters, and that may be part of what tends to make Transformers Prime, a CGI-fest which aired from 2010 to 2013 and managed to pick up several Emmy Awards along the way, seem to be nothing much more than a footnote to the franchise at times, which may not be entirely fair for a series that has managed to maintain a relatively high bar for this type of show. Transformers Prime at least boils the entire franchise down into what is after all its central thesis: the age old battle between good and evil. Autobots take on Decepticons, while a gaggle of humans looks on like slightly befuddled sidekicks at times. For those not up to speed on this particular iteration of the Transformers saga, my colleague Martin Liebman has reviewed the two previous seasons:
Transformers Prime: Season One Blu-ray review
Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray review
One of the interesting things about Transformers Prime is how fairly evenly it has split the Transformers fan base. I've personally interacted with lovers of the franchise (going back to the original toy line) who either think it's one of the greatest things in the entire Transformers universe or one of the worst. As someone who's a bit too old to have been transfixed by the toy line when it appeared, and then the subsequent animated versions, and who instead was introduced to the multimedia enterprise courtesy of my own sons, who had tons of Transformers growing up (not the original run, obviously), my personal take on the series is that it's surprisingly sober (perhaps too much so at times), but that it increasingly became undercut by one of its most defining features—its CGI animation.
The third season kicks off with one of its longer arcs, which continues throughout the first four episodes. It appears that the Decepticons have the upper hand in their long running battle with the Autobots. In fact, forces are dispersed throughout the opening arc of this season, with the Autobots separated from humans and quite a bit of chaos ensuing. A near death experience turns out to be just that— near death (the series repeatedly has tended to pretend to kill off characters, only to have them end up "not quite dead yet", to quote Monty Python). And a long isolated character suddenly shows up to help the Decepticons.
A major character undergoes a bit of a morphing process (beyond the traditional transforming ability) which tends to send shockwaves (no pun intended) through the ranks of the Autobots. The future of the Earth hangs in the balance, and if there's no real suspense as to how things are ultimately going to turn out, this third season of Transformers Prime manages to invest the proceedings with a modicum of nicely done action set pieces while continuing to utilize a nice coterie of expert voice actors.
What tends to undercut the series—at least at times—is the strangely uneven animation style. Some of the CGI effects are fantastically organic looking and worthy of at least a moderately budgeted live action affair. But more and more as this series went on, a lot of the Transformers started looking like brightly colored versions of those very first computer animation experiments which tended to deal in geometric shapes like cubes and planes. Even the humans in the series are often fairly generic looking, as if some animator "borrowed" designs from an underdeveloped Pixar enterprise. Even some of the backgrounds and establishing shots look like they were dashed off just to get the work done, without much thought about finesse.
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray, Video Quality
Transformers Prime: Season Three is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout! Factory with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. As Martin Liebman noted in his review of the second season, Transformers Prime has a generally sharp and solid image, one which offers nicely rendered fine detail on the Transformers, if not quite so much on the humans who assist them. The best elements in this third season are the purely "special effects" sequences (see screenshots 4 and 5 for good examples), which often feature incredibly vivid colors and excellently sharp imagery. As with the second season, there are some compression artifacts that crop up from time to time, including banding in some of the gradients as well as minor shimmer.
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Transformers Prime: Season Three has a nicely boisterous lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix which features nicely immersive content during the many battles that make up the series. The down side to this is that the series can sound a bit noisy at times, without well articulated foley effects. Dialogue is very cleanly presented, and the show's score also utilizes the surround channels and sounds fine. Dynamic range is extremely wide throughout the series, and there's more than ample low end to satisfy those who enjoy seeing their subwoofers pulse with activity.
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
This third season of Transformers Prime moves with more concerted dramatic moementum than the second season did, but there's also a bit of the law of diminishing returns here as well. The miraculous survival of one character (I've attempted not to overtly spoil anything, but fans can no doubt guess who it is) is just the latest rabbit the show's writers pull out of their hat, but the series probably benefits from only having 13 episodes this season, which keeps the action compressed and exciting, without too much filler material getting in the way. As with previous seasons, the technical merits here are generally strong, even if the video has some minor issues. Unlike the last season, this year has a glut of commentaries and an enjoyable Comic-Con panel. Most Transformers fans have already made up their minds about Transformers Prime. For those who like the show, this third season is Recommended.
Transformers Prime: Other Seasons
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Transformers Prime: Season Three - Beast Hunters Blu-ray - September 24, 2013
Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios have announced the Blu-ray release of Transformers Prime: Season Three - Beast Hunters, the complete third and final season of the Emmy Award-winning animated series. The 2-disc Blu-ray set is being made available in time for the ...
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Transformers Prime: Season Three Blu-ray Screenshots
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