Seibertronians, are you excited? The next episode of the Machinima Combiner Wars series is up, and it's good. Like, properly good. But it's still not without it's faults. Let's break it down:
We open with a dusty Colosseum-style arena. We see what is obviously the Constructicons fighting a mysterious figure, which is revealed to be Megatron himself. He beats them all quickly, and demands another challenger. Our First Look at Megatron
Prime arrives, saying he's not here to fight, along with Windblade, who wonders why they came all the way out to a desolate planet for Megatron. Windblade Watches from the Bleachers
Her City-speaker ability is again mentioned, this time by Megatron, driving that point home. Megs also mentioned how he's a big fan of her work (the killing part, that is). He rushes Prime, and Optimus has to engage the former Decepticon leader, with some of the usual mixed-in dialogue about how Prime "is nothing without the war", so on and so forth. It's actually very intriguing, as it points out interesting parts of Prime not previously divulged. This is one of my favorite parts of the series so far. Just Like the Old Days
Prime has a flashback mid-conversation to the Black-and-white scene we saw in some of the Trailers for the series, when Megatron tells Prime to pull the trigger, and end it. Megs then catches him off-guard with a massive blow. Windblade comes in to try and save him, but Optimus is already back up and fighting. Float Like A Fireflight, sting like a Bumblebee
The group talks about the Enigma of Combination for a bit, and Megatron learns that the Council is in possession of it.
Then comes one of the strangest and most out of place scenes in the entire series so far.
Windblade rather randomly and unprovoked walks up and sucker-punches Megatron to the ground. She tells him "Enough." (even though Megatron had already stopped fighting for a good few minutes, and he was making no motions to start again) and that Prime's "telling the truth", (even though Megatron hadn't shown any sign of doubt in what Optimus was saying. Heck, he didn't even have time to before he was suddenly beat to the ground.) She then proceeds to deliver almost the exact same line that Prime had just said, not only once but twice, one after another. And the times she says it sound so similar in tone that it almost seems like they accidentally put two takes of the same line in. Not only does she say it, but she says it in front of the constructicons! She literally puts the entirety of Cybertron singlehandedly in danger by saying basically straight to a combiner the one secret combiners shouldn't know! The Constructicons of course transmit this new info to probably all other combiners right away. This scene simply doesn't make sense. It's actually confusing. It's kind of a train wreck, and drags the whole episode down.
Megatron decides to be a part of the team, and the exit the arena. The old Decepticon leader decides to make fun of Prime's old catch phrase, and gives the order to Transform and roll out. The delivery (and Windblade's reaction to it) seem very out of place, especially after that last scene. It would have been better if it was delivered if Megatron had said "I've waited years to say this: Transform and roll out!" or something of the like. And There They go, off into the Sunset. Headed for Cybertron
So some final thoughts. This is a fairly good episode, but the main problem was the pacing. It's been a problem through the series I haven't touched on yet, but in this episode it's absolutely unavoidable. It rears its ugly head with every change of Pace, feeling, tension, or drama.
Voice acting is good in this one. I'm getting used to Windblade, Prime's good, and Megatron's actor gives a great performance, though I wouldn't peg it as Megatron. Speaking of Megs, one thing of note is that this iteration of the character lacks his arm cannon, even though the designs of the characters seem to be heavily based on G1.
The Animation is especially great in this one. It's surprisingly smooth and fluid and looks really really good. Again, there's the mouth movement issues, but I feel we're going to have to move pass those.
One point that I feel hasn't been touched upon enough is the fact that this is the first time it's referenced or shown that a combiner is actually multiple bots. It seems strange, because up until now it's been implied combiners are one, not many. This really hasn't been explained, and I'd like to know the rules.
So, you've read my opinion, make your own by watching it on Go90, and then share in the comments. Is there anything I missed? Tell us!
Courtesy of our good friends at Shout! Factory, we now have a couple copies of the Transformers The Movie 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray sets in-hand. One is the premium Steelbook version, the other is the regular Blu-Ray version.
The regular version features a reversible cover so that you can transform your set to feature either the Japanese poster artwork from the movie or the newly commissioned Livio Ramondelli cover.
Both sets include a Digital Download code so that you can watch it in all of its new digital glory right on the comfort of your computer or mobile device at any time. The url for the download, TFTheMovie1986.com, is currently unavailable but should function by the Blu-Ray's release date on September 13th, 2016.
Bonus features included with these sets:
'Till All Are One - A brand-new, comprehensive documentary looking back at the Transformers: The Movie with members of the cast and crew, including story consultant Flint Dille, cast members Gregg Berger, Susan Blu, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, Singer/Songwriter Stan Bush and composer Vince DiCola!
Audio commentary with direcdtor Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille, and star Susan Blu
Trailers and TV spots
... and more (screenshots later this weekend)
Both the fullscreen and widescreen versions of the film are included. First time on Blu-Ray in North America. Brand-new bonus materials. Movie shown as never seen before: remastered from a new 4K transfer. Looks fantastic!
If you want to preorder this release, go to the links below:
Do you like the new fembot? Will you be picking her up anytime soon? Did the galleries sway you opinion one way or the other? Let us know in the comments! And, as always, keep your optics and audio sensors tuned to Seibertron.com for all the latest Transformers news and reviews!
Seibertronians, our very good friends over at Shout! Factory have given us an exclusive clip from their 30th Anniversary Blu-ray relase of Transformers: The Movie to share with you! Relive the seconds-long reign of Starscream before Galvatron crashed the party in this new featurette!
Check it out below.
Still want some TF:TM news? Take a peek at when the staff of Seibertron.com paid a touching tribute to this classic film here!
What do you think of the enhanced color and detail in this new version? Does it look better or worse than the original? Are you planning on picking up the new blu-ray, or is that bootleg VHS in your media cabinet enough? Let us know in the comments!
If you want to preorder this release, go to the links below:
Seibertronians, it's Tuesday. That means that Machinima has released the next episode of their Combiner Wars series. It also means that it's review time! So sit back, relax, grab a mug of Hot Energon, and let old Bronzey tell you a story.
We open with Optimus Prime this time(bit of a change of pace there), and he's standing in an old hangar with Windblade. The hangar appears to be on an Asteroid or moon, as it's overlooking the entire planet of Cybertron. Windblade and Optimus are standing off. Windblade reaches for her sword, and Optimus takes her sniper rifle and breaks it.
Our first good look at Optimus
A minor thing here, I wish a louder sound effect would have been given to the gun breaking. As it sits now, it sound less like it's breaking and more like it's supposed to fold in half or transform. (Ala Masterpiece Optimus Prime's gun) The first time I watched this episode, I didn't realize it was the sniper rifle from last episode he was holding, and I thought he was turning it in to some kind of sword to fight Windblade.
Anyway, we pick up pretty much where we left off last episode. Windblade takes a few swipes at Prime, and the former Autobot leader dodges all of them, making me wonder how she took down a Combiner no problem.
Optimus avoids Windblade's attacks
Windblade and Prime share some dialogue about how she tried to kill Starscream, how Windblade feels like the universe would be better off if all Autobots, Decepticons, and Combiners ceased to function. This line especially strikes me as odd. She suddenly hates everyone, and wants to commit mass genocide, but in the same breath she literally says she doesn't want the war to continue. Prime says he obviously won't stand by and let her. Windblade then asks him how many 'bots he's killed in the war, and he says anything he did in the war was not done out of spite and was not unprovoked.
While we're on dialogue here, let's look at voice acting. Windblade is still a little stiff, but you can tell the voice actor's getting more comfortable in the role and the character she wants to play. We finally hear OP speak, and he's done wonderfully by our very own Jon3.0 (or Jon Bailey as he's know in the "Real World"). And, I mean this genuinely, he is bar none the best Voice actor in the entire series so far. This is because he's had years of experience not only voicing transformers, but voicing Prime. It's unfair to expect the same result from voice actors who aren't comfortable in their new metal skin.
Again, there's problems with the animation, it's waaay too blocky and completely off-base with the words being spoken, plus there's a lot of close-up mouth shots in this one, so it's near impossible to ignore. I have a feeling this isn't going to change, so we'll have to get used to it.
Windblade then uses a special, what I'm calling a, "Turbine Attack" on Optimus, who pulls out his G1 orange Energon axe. It's cool to see the axe return in this series, and it's a nice tie-in to the older fiction.
The Axe is back, baby!
After a few more minutes of fighting, Windblade pleads with Optimus to help her because the combiners are getting out of control. I wish the series would actually show us this "Devastation" she's talking about, because save for the initial Computron v. Menasor fight, we've seen nothing about the combiners being "out of control". And even that fight was still between an Autobot and a Decepticon, so it's not to out of the norm for us. I wish she would have some flashback to a combiner tearing through the buildings of Cybertron, killing civilians. Something to give her more of a motive. (More specifically an Autobot combiner, that would really be a stark realization for the audience that they really are out of control.)
Optimus Prime and Windblade battle it out in front of an impressive backdrop
Windblade tells Prime about the council's possession of the Enigma of Combination. Prime didn't know this, and Windblade now has a chance to talk him into joining her in destroying it. Optimus realizes the danger the Enigma poses to Cybertron, but is concerned it can't be destroyed. He considers "the amount of fire-power it would take", and then looks up to the sky, saying that there's only one who can help them now. The episode ends.
This is interesting, because my first thought was Megatron, since he's somewhere in exile, too, but in terms of fire power, Megs doesn't have much more than Optimus. Let's think bigger. So...Devastator? Superion? I can't imagine a combiner helping to destroy a sacred Combiner artifact, although we have been told some are still loyal to the concil...
My theory is: It's been mentioned all-throughout this series that Windblade is a City-Speaker. (Heck, it's even mentioned in this episode), and Optimus is concerned about a lack of firepower, it leads me to believe that either Metroplex or Fort Max is set to make an appearance. I could be completely off-base, but this is what it sounds like to me.
So, in conclusion, Episode 3 is still better than episode 1, but I think 2 still takes it for best episode so far. This was a bit more action-focused like 1, but it had some exposition as well. Unfortunately, most of the exposition is all re-hashed things we've heard before. "End the war" "You're a killer, too" "Combiners must be stopped" "We all have reasons to continue the war" "The enigma threatens the people of Cybertron" It's pretty much the same lines each episode. So again, better than the first, not as good as the second.
Haven't seen the episode yet? You can find it on Go90!
Thanks for tuning in, I'll see you next week when we take a look at Episode 4! So keep it right here on Seibertron.com, your best resource for the latest and greatest Transformers news on the net.
Episode 3 'The Duel' of the Hasbro / Machinima animated series Transformers Combiner Wars is now available to watch via the Verizon go90 app - and shortly for most non-US fans on the Machinima YouTube channel too! UPDATE: If you are a non-US viewer, the episode should now also be available for you, check it out embedded below.
Keep your optics tuned to Seibertron.com for an episode review soon - and read through our thoughts on episodes one and two in the meantime, too.
Via a number of different sources, we have some behind the scenes tidbits concerning the Machinima Transformers: Combiner Wars animated short series, currently airing on go90 and the Machinima YouTube channel every week. The first is an interview with Amy Johnston, the voice of Maxima in episode 1 'The Fall', via ComicBookMovie. Snippet below, and full piece here!
CBM: How did you get involved with Combiner Wars?
Amy Johnston: "I got involved with Transformers: Combiner Wars through Bat in the Sun whom I had worked with previously on their show "Super Power Beatdown".
CBM: Were you a big Transformers fan growing up?
Johnston: "I have definitely been a Transformer's fan so when I found out about the role of Maxima I was super excited! How cool to have my own Transformer character! I love her!"
CBM: How did you find the right voice for Maximia?
Jonston: "Maxima was described to me as a strong female character who had a relationship wtih Windblade so I made sure to give her strength and passion yet retain a femininity about her."
The second is some further insight into the series with producer Eric Calderon, via ComicBook.com, discussing a number of aspects on the creation of the characters, their interactions and the story as a whole. Full piece here, and a selection below!
Is there a challenge that's inherent to doing something like this? When you look at web series, you have a lot of like "Okay, we just grew up this property that you like" and it's mostly played for laughs. Is there a challenge to doing this seriously and not feeling like another kind of web series that's trying to take a fun?
The great thing is, both Machinima and Hasbro, they have never used that word with me. They said "You are making a series." They always put it at a higher level, and the show is budgeted, and distributed in a very sophisticated way, that to me, is not like a webseries at all.
So I think about this as an adaptation, I just go "Hey, it's my job as a creator to make the best work I can" and I don't think about "Oh it's only for this category so let's have fun", I want to tell this combiner wars story, and I'm going to tell it in 40 minutes. That's almost a movie, so I really treat it like that. There's act breaks, there's a solid structure to the character development, there's resolution. That's what I'm worried about.
Seibertronians, it's review time! As reported on earlier, Machinima's Combiner Wars series now has a second episode, and it's now online! After a less than satisfactory first episode, this episode will really tell the fate of the series. Yay or Nay? Let's break it down to find out.
We start on Cybertron this time, as apposed to Caminus in the first episode, and we quickly change to a shot from what I'm assuming is Starscream, as it cuts back and we see him flying just a moment later. Starscream is on a reconnaissance mission, to gather information on the state of Cybertron. On his flyover, he witnesses some bombs going off on the surface below.
From this vantage point it almost looks like Starscream was the one that dropped the bombs, but I seriously doubt this is the case.
We pan backwards, as mentioned before, to see the Decepticon fly to a large silver building. Here again we have an issue with the choppy animation. As mentioned previously on the boards, Starscream appears really choppy, while the background moves fluidly with the camera.
Starscream enters the building
Starscream enters the building from a top landing bay, and slowly descends using the thrusters on his feet. He lands and meets with Rodimus and, randomly, the Mistress of Flame. These bots are apart of the "Council" we've been hearing about.
They discuss the state and threat of the combiners, and how word of Computron and Menasor's fight has broken out on Cybertron. This is why there's so much unrest on the planet. Peace has been achieved between the AutoBots and Decepticons - and the council doesn't want to ruin that. They all consider using the "Enigma of Combination" for one reason or another. Rodimus wants to use it to take over an army of combiners, turning a threat into an asset. The Mistress wants to use it to wipe out all the combiners in one felled swoop. Starscream has an objection to this, as the combiners are transformers, too. Wiping them all out would be genocide. Besides, some of the Combiners have been loyal to, even fought for, the council.
Rodimus and the Mistress of Flame are introduced to the series
The Mistress feels it isn't Starscream's place to talk about killing other transformers, given his past. We also learn in this discussion that not only is Optimus Prime in hiding, but Megatron as well.
See, now we're getting somewhere. Now we have a story to work with. One that plays with the original concept that was proposed, and not too terribly I might add. There are still some issues, such as some of the lines delivered are a bit stiff, and the mouth-movement-to-actual-voice-and-words is way off and not ignore-able, but it goes leaps and bounds above episode one. But we're not done yet.
We start to view the council meeting through the scope of a sniper rifle. It targets Rodimus, Starscream, and the Mistress. The council walks over to the Enigma of Combination, and agree they should study all it's powers before making any brash decisions.
A sniper sets up an attack on the council
The sniper is revealed to be Windblade, set on stopping the council one way or another. She decides to fire at the Enigma, and somehow misses. She hits Starscream in the shoulder, and he falls. Another problem I have is right here. There's such a weird, delayed reaction to Starscream being shot by the rest of the council. There's a good two seconds before they really do anything. The Dialogue and sound effects become a little clunky here, as the Mistress raises the alarm and Rodimus checks on the former Decepticon.
The Enigma of Combination
We return to Windblade. She hears a noise behind her and immediately jumps and turns around. It's revealed to be Optimus Prime, now out of exile. He still doesn't say anything, and the episode ends pretty much on the same shot as the previous one.
Overall, episode two is a lot better than episode one. It gives us actual emotions, and actual dilemmas for the characters to face. It still suffers from that 5 minute time constraint, and trying to make people understand a whole new continuity with a new story line in 5 minutes in near-impossible. My only wish is that the past to episodes would have had a bit more of each other in them. Meaning, episode one, the hard-to-follow action-feast that it was, could have definitely used a little more (or, a lot more) story. And, on the flip side, episode two could have used a bit more battles and action. But, all in all, you're starting to win me back Machinima. That Wheeljack name-drop didn't hurt, either.
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