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Featured TV on DVD Review: Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand

July 28th, 2012

Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand - Buy from Amazon

Transformers: Prime is the latest incarnation of the Transformers cartoon franchise, a franchise that is closing in on 30 years old. I've previous reviewed the first season, both as a mini-series and the complete DVD. The first season ends, and the second season begins, the same way the series began, with a mini-series, which they are releasing on DVD. So if you have the first season on DVD or Blu-ray, is this one also worth picking up? If you only own Darkness Rising, does it make a good companion DVD?

The Show

Basic setup, the Autobots and the Decepticons are battling on Earth for supremacy of the galaxy. Both sides have been hit hard by war and there are very few of them left. Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Bulkhead, Bubblebee, Arcee and the main good guys, who have help from three kids, Jack, Miko, and Raf, as well as the military, mostly from Special Agent William "Bill" Fowler, who helps when he can, but is mostly concerned with keeping the Transformers a secret from the general population. (Later on, Jack's mom, June, gets sucked into the events.) The Decepticons are not faring much better. Megatron has been gone for a long time before the series begins, and his return leads to his death... and then undeath? (I'm still not sure if he is alive or dead.) His second in command is Soundwave, while the medic, Knock-out, is the only other Decepticon with an active role in the group (not counting the "troops"). However, they occasionally get help from Airachnid, who is a rogue Decepticon and is loyal to no one. Speaking is loyalty, and the absence thereof, by the time this mini-series begins, Starscream has already been removed as leader, twice, and through out of the group.

We learned just before the mini-series began about a Cybertronian Doomsday Prophecy that would plug the world into darkness during an alignment of planets. Everyone on Cybertron assumed the planet in question was Cybertronian itself, but evidence suggests that it is Earth that will be plunged into darkness. Optimus Prime is not exactly convinced there's anything to the prophecy; however, he is very concerned what Megatron will try to do if he thinks he is at the center of the prophecy. What Megatron is planning on doing is (re)building the space-bridge to Cybertron. However, his plan doesn't work out quite as well as he had hoped. Instead of finding enough Blood of Unicron to raise an undead army, Megatron finds... Here we are entering spoiler territory.

Unfortunately, we haven't even touched on the second mini-series. To do that, we need a wall of white text, beginning now. We learn the Earth formed around the core of Unicron, and when he rises, he will destroy the Earth, and destroy the last of the Primes, Optimus. The Autobots are powerless to stop him, but Megatron offers to help. His reason is simple. He wants to destroy Optimus Prime and rule the Earth. He can't do that if Unicron destroys Optimus first. The Autobots reluctantly agree to an alliance, and the plan works, for the most part. Unicron is, while maybe not destroyed, he is at least put into stasis. However, in the process, Optimus Prime's mind is wiped and all memories of him being a Prime are gone. The last thing he remembers is the great war, when he and Megatron were friends. Now Megatron has convinced him that the Decepticons are the good guys and Ratchet was the one who destroyed Cybertron. There is hope. Before he left for the mission, he gave the Key to Vector Sigma to Jack. Vector Sigma is the mega-computer that grants life to all Transformers, and if Jack can activate it, he might be able to restore Optimus Prime's memory. However, it is on Cybertron.

Like I mentioned before I think this is one of the best TV shows in the Transformers franchise since Generation One, and there have been a surprising number of them. If you just look at the story arc from Darkness Rising to One Shall Stand, you have a very strong three hours of entertainment. There are some holes in the narrative that need filling out, so getting the complete seasons is obviously the better deal, but if you can't wait for Season Two to come out on DVD, then this is worth picking up.

The Extras

Extras include a 12-minute look at the creating of the series, plus you can watch One Shall Rise, Part 2 in animatic form.

The Verdict

If this DVD is any indication, Season Two of Transformers: Prime will be even better than Season One. One Shall Stand is worth picking up. The price-per-minute is better than most single-disc releases for kids shows and the extras are pretty good. (I would have liked some audio commentary tracks, on the other hand.) The full-season set will probably be a better deal, but if you can't wait, it is money well spent.

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