Series Review: Transformers Prime – Season 2 (2012)

There are probably those in the world who would say “You’re 23, stop watching cartoons!”. And to that I say “Be quiet, fool, I’m trying to watch a cartoon”. Oh, and there will be spoilers for the end of season 1, just so you don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ladies and gents… “Transformers Prime” season 2.

At the end of the previous season, we saw Optimus (Peter Cullen) defeat the mighty Unicron. But that doesn’t mean him and his fellow Autobots get any time to rest, since they find themselves in a race against Megatron (Frank Welker) and his Decepticons to find and gather up mighty Cybertronian artifacts, all scattered across Earth. Yes, most of this season is a MacGuffin hunt, but so are all the “Indiana Jones” movies, and those are great. And “Transformers Prime” does it really well too by throwing in a lot of enjoyable character development, some clever twists, and genuinely fun sci-fi concepts. It also continues the show’s exploration of “Transformers” lore in really nuanced ways. The narrative manages to be a lot more compelling than a lot of contemporary cartoons… and a lot more compelling than the live action movies… what I’m saying is that the story here is great.

The characters here are flawed, layered, colorful, and just in general great. In season 1, they kinda started out one way, kind of being a cliche. But by the end of it, they had developed further. And they kept that going here in season 2. A lot of cartoons return to the status quo every now and then, just to make syndication easier. But none of that’s here. Character development sticks, and even gets furthered throughout the season. And the voice cast is great too. Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeffrey Combs, Sumalee Montano, Josh Keaton, Tania Gunadi, Steve Blum, Ernie Hudson, and a few more all return from the previous season, all delivering damn good voice performances. And some of the newer additions, including the likes of Tony Todd, David Kaye, and Nolan North, are also great great.

As with the previous outing, the music for season 2 was composed by Brian Tyler, and he once again did a good job with it. It’s a big, bold, badass, brass-based score that fits the tone of the show really well while adding an extra layer of emotion to certain scenes throughout.

In my review of season 1, I praised the show’s animation for being fluid and dynamic without sacrificing much in terms of detail. Well, I can happily say that it’s still the case here. The animation is beautiful. Sure, the human characters look a bit like putty, but that’s an acceptable compromise for the titular robots. My god, they look amazing. The amount of detail on them, from parts, to shine, to wear and tear in their paint… you can tell that the crew really cared to make them look amazing. And the good animation carries over to the action too, which has plenty of exciting fights, shootouts, and chases. It’s all fluid and super fun, without compromising on any of the detail.

On imdb.com the show has a score of 7,8/10.

The crazy bastards did it. They somehow managed to give “Transformers Prime” another terrific season. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and excellent animation/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Transformers Prime” season 2 is a 9,82/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Transformers Prime” season 2 is now completed.

Roll out…

Series Review: Transformers Prime – Season 1 (2010 – 2011)

Hello. My name is Markus. I’m 22 (soon 23) years old, and I watch kids cartoons. And you can’t fucking stop me.

Ladies and gents… “Transformers Prime” season 1.

A heroic group of alien robots known as the Autobots secretly reside on planet Earth as they try to fight off the villainous Decepticons. The setup is basically the same as any other “Transformers” adaptation, Autobots fighting Decepticons, Autobots having some human friends, yada yada yada. No need to dwell on the setup stuff, as it’s basically the same in most shows. However, “Transformers Prime” transcends its well-trodden premise in its execution, which is pretty damn good. While it’s still a kid-friendly action cartoon, it sports a fairly serious tone that isn’t afraid to go to some surprisingly dark places at times, making for a show that can give kids the colorful action fix they might want, while also featuring some surprising nuance for any potential adults (AKA me) watching. Even the filler episodes help further develop the world and characters, while still retaining a relatively closed off plot for those specific episodes. Am I saying this is the deepest plot for a show ever? Of course not. But it’s still way more compelling than I actually expected, leading me to be genuinely invested in what was going on without solely relying on my nostalgia for this franchise.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, and surprisingly nuanced (kinda like the plot). The cast is a bit too big to go into detail for, so here’s just a quick rundown (starting with the core Autobot team). You got Peter Cullen back as the ever inspiring Optimus Prime, you got Kevin Michael Richardson as the strong but not too smart Bulkhead, you got Sumalee Montano as the fierce and loyal Arcee, and you got Jeffrey Combs as the ever cranky but lovable Ratchet. Among the bad guys you got Frank Welker (fuck yeah) back as the menacing Megatron, you got Steve Blum as the ever scheming Starscream, you got Daran Norris (who possibly gives my favorite performance in the show) as the sassy and clever Knock Out, and you got Gina Torres as the sinister Airachnid. As for human characters, you got Josh Keaton as aspiring cool guy Jack, you got Tania Gunadi as the almost annoying, but luckily endearing Miko, you get Andy Pessoa as the young but bright Rafael, and you get Ernie god damn Hudson as Special Agent Fowler. Sorry I won’t go into more detail on each character, but I don’t have the time or willingness to ruin some interesting developments that occur.

The score for the season was composed by Brian Tyler and Matthew Margeson, and I think they did a good job with it. For the most part it is of course the cool action brass one might expect, but it does get a little more somber when needed. There is also frequent use of the main theme as well, but I’m fine with that, because it’s great. Really, this score is solid.

“Transformers Prime” was developed for the Hub Network by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Duane Capizzi, and Jeff Kline, with writing/directing by a whole load of cool people. And I have to say, this show is way more well crafted than I expected… those last three words seem to be coming up a lot in this review. The first time I saw the art style, I wasn’t really a fan. But when I watched it in action, I grew to really like it, with only a few minor niggles regarding some of the human designs. But the overall animation here is great, showing plenty of detail without sacrificing good movements and such. Usually I tend to lean towards preferring drawn 2D animation, but here I think the animation team made great use of 3D animation to create a lot of fun angles and camera movements, making for some spectacular action scenes.

The show doesn’t really exist on my sites I use for this “other ratings” section. But on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

Season 1 of “Transformers Prime” surprised the hell out of me, it’s one of the best action cartoons I’ve seen in recent years. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “Transformers Prime” is a 9,62/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Transformers Prime” season 1 is now completed.

Roll out…

Movie Review: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015)

Bla bla bla, Markus likes DC animation, bla bla bla, moving on.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis”.

After the death of their king, the Atlantean troops get coaxed by Ocean Master (Sam Witwer) into attacking the surface. This brings queen Atlanna (Sirena Irwin) to try to get help from the Justice League to find her son Arthur (Matt Lanter) and stop Ocean Master’s crusade. So now we have our Aquaman origin/Justice League sequel story. And is it any good? For the most part, sure. It tries to do a lot of things at the same time. On one hand it is a sequel to “Justice League: War”, showing the team still having some mild struggles to come together and help each other. And on the other hand you have Aquaman having to become Aquaman because the DC universe needs Aquaman… Aquaman. And while I’m used to the relatively short runtime of these animated features, I feel like they could’ve added a couple minutes to it, because a couple of the more dramatic/important moments feel a bit rushed through. I’d like to see those moments be held for just a little bit longer. But I was never bored and I wouldn’t call any of it bad, just slightly lacking. The plot is fine.

The characters returning from “Justice League: War” are the fun and colorful characters that we know and love. But since this is mainly an Aquaman movie, let’s talk about the titular fishman. He’s portrayed in this as a broken man, not yet aware of who/what he is and what legacy he has to follow, and it’s interesting seeing him having to come to terms with all this craziness. He’s voiced by Matt Lanter who does a really good job in the role. He gives a very likable performance. Next we have Orm/Ocean Master, the entitled asshole half-brother of Aquaman. He’s kind of a brat and maniacal dick, but that also makes him an interesting foe for Aquaman. He’s voiced by Sam Witwer who gives a pretty hammy performance… but you can tell that he’s having a blast with it, which made me enjoy it. We also got Sumalee Montano as Mera, protector of Atlantis and love interest of Aquaman. She’s a fun character and Montano does a good job in the role. We also got Harry Lennix as Black Manta, the shady Atlantean wearing a weird helmet. He’s clearly up to no good, but he’s still decently interesting. And Lennix does a good job voicing him. And we see the returns of of Jason O’Mara as Batman, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Christopher Gorman as Flash, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, and Sean Astin as Shazam, all doing really frickin’ well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, a man who has composed the scores of multiple modern DC animated movies. And once again he has created something pretty damn good. His score here is exciting, emotional, dramatic, and even manages to be awe-inspiring at times. So yeah, it was quite good.

This movie was directed by Ethan Spaulding and it is fairly well directed. And since it’s an animated feature, we should talk about the animation. It is pretty damn good (for a low budget direct-to-video movie). The animation here flows very well and there’s a decent amount of detail in it. The action scenes are especially well animated. You can really see it all coming more alive in those times, with plenty of fluency in the animation making for a lot of entertaining moments.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is not one of the greatest DC animated movies ever, but it’s a really enjoyable movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/animation. My main flaw of course being that several moments throughout the plot felt a bit rushed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is an 8,78/10. While flawed, I’d say that it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is now completed.

This was fun.