September 20, 2020

‘Transformers’ franchise goes ‘Prime’ time


By Kaleigh Levoyer

In the ’80s, Hasbro launched a series that would eventually

become one of its most iconic brands for the next 25 years. I’m referring to the Transformers toy line, which is now a multifaceted franchise — it spans several cartoon series, comic books, movies and other merchandise — with fans of all ages and regions.

Last year, Hasbro launched “Transformers Prime,” which premiered on Hasbro’s new TV channel, The Hub, in November. Being the Transformers fan that I am, I had to see what the new show was like, even though it was aimed towards six to 11 year olds, and I procrastinated doing my final papers last semester to see the five-part miniseries.

Something that sold me on the show before its premiere was the return of Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, and Frank Welker, the original voice of Megatron. This was the first time both original voice actors for these two characters had been together since the original series in 1984.

Another was that the series is written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the writers of the live-action movies. Though the movies had some mixed results, I thought that the story behind them was

great, and when finding out its writers would have a chance to expand it more in “Transformers Prime,” I was willing to give it a shot.

During the miniseries release at the end of November, I could honestly say that after the final episode was shown on my 21st birthday, I couldn’t think of a better gift I could have gotten besides a new car. The graphics were stunning, especially the new designs of the Autobots and Decepticons. The plot for the first few episodes were well-developed, balanced and had excellent twists.

The vocal work was superb. Cullen again delivered beaut-ifully with Optimus Prime and Steve Blum, Josh Keaton and the rest of the cast picked up as the remaining Transformers and human characters.

I have to say that Megatron’s new voice was a pleasant change. Welker decided to make it more sinister and less scratchy, as it was in the original show. There were times during the series that I heard Megatron’s voice and seriously thought he was going to murder someone — and let me remind you that this is a kid’s show.

There were a few downsides. Some components of the show’s design had issues, such as that of Optimus Prime’s mouth. Like other fans, I thought that giving him a mouth when he normally didn’t have one was a horrible idea; however, I think it might ultimately grow on me.

Some of the backgrounds and movements seem a bit underdeveloped, a jarring contrast to the quality of detail and attention given to the characters.

Also, some dialogue and jokes were not impressive. Granted, it is a show for elementary-aged kids, but it could turn off more mature fans of the franchise, such as myself.

My final word on this series is that while it’s not perfect, it has some potential that recent reboots of the Transformers line did not have. I highly recommend any Transformers fan out there to give it a try.

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