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  1. #1
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    Apr 2007
    Saint Louis, Missouri

    DVD REVIEW: Transformers Beast Wars Season 1

    It's Maximals Vs Predacons on DVD...

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    The Emmy Award winning series, Beast Wars, debuted on television in 1996, taking the Transformers in a new and much needed direction at the time. The popularity of the brand as a whole had decreased significantly by the end of the 80s and was almost dead by the time the 90s rolled around so something was needed to be done to refresh and reintroduce the line. So Hasbro created a new theme with characters descended from the original Autobot and Decepticons, continuing their age-old war in a distant future where they must take animal and dinosaur forms in order to survive on a strange new world. While Hasbro largely controlled character and story development themselves, the animation was done by Canadian company Mainframe Entertainment, who was responsible for the highly popular Reboot television series.

    The main plot of Beast Wars finds the Maximals and Predacons engaged in a space battle as they search for new sources of Energon. In the course of their engagement, both ships become damaged and crash land on a mysterious planet (with many similarities to Earth) that holds a rich new source of Energon. The Energon is so potent, in fact, that the resulting energy is deadly to their robot forms in long-term exposure. So both factions scan the local animal life and take on new forms in which to explore their new surroundings.

    The Maximals, led by Optimus Primal take mostly mammal-based forms, while the Predacons, ruled by Megatron take insect and dinosaur forms. While their majority of the first season has the robots fighting over the Energon supplies, there are several times when rescuing life pods containing dormant Maximals becomes a priority as Megatron can reprogram them into Predacons. And hinted at earlier in the season, but coming to play more near the end is the alien race known as Volks, which end up being a danger two both sides as well as the planet in the end.

    The DVD release of the first season includes a small amount of bonus features sure to excite fans of the series. The Art Gallery is a collection of concept art for many of the main characters that appear in the show. The Original Character Models shows 360º turnarounds, transformation sequences, voice animation and more for five of the show’s characters. The last and best special feature is a short featurette entitled Maximize! Creating A New Breed Of Transformer. The program talks with several people involved with the creation of the toy line and show about the development of the property and the production of the series.

    The show ended up lasting over three seasons and fifty-two episodes and was transitioned over and continued in Beast Machines for another two seasons. While Transformers fans were certainly divided when the show first aired, it has since become a beloved and popular part of the overall Transformers canon, proven by the characters induction into the Hall of Fame two years in a row. While Beast Wars Season 1 is available now, uber-fans can also get the complete series set now as well, all through Shout Factory’s online store, as well as most major retailers nationwide.

    Review by Michael Klein

    Review Sample Courtesy of Shout! Factory

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