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Series: Generation 1
Categories: Merchandise
Year: 2006

My Review:

Remarks: It is the year 2006... and we Transformers fans finally got the complete Generation 1 cartoon series, including the Animated Movie, in one big DVD box. And while we German fans are still waiting for the entire series to come out in German (which will probably never happen, seeing as only about a third of the series was translated into German), this box is the next-best thing.

All the episodes are there in pretty good quality and with improved sound. There are some minor quirks, such as that some sequences seem to be backwards. In "the Key to Vector Sigma" the destruction of the Key causes the entire (natural) landscape to turn metallic, when it's actually the other way around. There is also one or two mistakes when it comes to the order of episodes. For example the Combaticons appear in "Aerial Assault" before actually being built in "Starscream's Brigade", but again, that doesn't take anything away from this great collection.

It also includes the Animated Movie in its special "Reconstructed" edition, as well as numerous extras such as mistake reels, plenty of art and quizzes, and pictures from the Auto Assembly among other things. Of course there could have been more extras, but couldn't there always? Anyway, at this moment in time this box here is the most complete package a Generation 1 fan can hope for. And who knows? With the success of the Movie and all, maybe we will someday see a fully-translated German DVD box. But I'm not holding my breath.

Rating: A-

And for a second opinion the review by Sam:

Remarks: The "Complete Generation One DVD Collection" consists of no less than 14 fully packed DVDs in a really cool box-thingy (whatever it is called), including a double-sided poster and four post cards that no true-blooded Transformers fan would ever mail. Included in this collection are all four seasons plus the newly reconstructed animated movie from the 80s. Each season includes a booklet containing short descriptions of every (!) episode. Sadly I'm missing the booklet for the second half of the second season. Not sure if this is a production error or a general problem. I hope not.

The first season consists of three discs, with the third containing ONLY bonus material. The second season consists of six discs and is divided into two parts, meaning it has two discs with bonus material. Then we come to the movie.

This is the so-called "reconstructed" version, where a lot of work has been put into picture and sound. The sound was completely digitally remastered and is crystal-clear. The picture was changed from 16:9 to 4:3. When the movie originally came into the cinemas, it was animated in 4:3, but the cinemas and every showing thereafter showed it in 16:9, causing the images to be somewhat distorted. This error has now been removed. Okay, you don't get the full 16:9 experience at home, but in return you get a clear picture without any distortions or overly broad faces. Additionally a sort of frame was put around the outer rim of the pictures to hide any fraying-out of the background panels. This makes the picture smaller still, so it's not a movie to be watched on a small screen. No parts of the images are lost and you can see what the animators really intended you to see, but like I said, the picture is quite small. If you're only after the movie, you should maybe look for the Anniversary Box. If you don't mind these "flaws", though, then this movie is the highlight of the box for you. The movie also includes lots of bonus material, including every (!) TV trailer and spot originally used to promote this picture, as well as the first episode of the Japanese Headmaster series. That one is in Japanese, of course, but includes English subtitles.

The third and fourth season are included on the last four discs. The fourth season is only three episodes, of course, so it's simply been written onto the last disc of season three. Slight drawback here is that the included booklet doesn't tell you which episode belongs to which season. Then again, who cares? You want to watch, not read.

The final DVD of each season is a collection of bonus material and is full of various extras. These include fan art galeries, documentaries about animation, storyboard and logic errors, character profiles of the main players, the occassional quiz, excerts from various comic books, a documentary about the Auto Assembly, and other things that make the TF fans heart beat faster. The menues on the discs are pretty well done and differ from season to season. Only the menu for the second season slacks off a bit, but I guess that's a matter of taste.

Each episode can be selected seperately and is divided into six chapters, making it easy to find your favorite bits without any problem. Seasons one, three, and four include chapter names for orientation purposes, while the second season only features "Chapter 1-6" for every episode. Not sure why the second season was included somewhat half-heartedly here. It's just the little things, but they bug me a bit.

So much for the surroundings of the collection. What you think of the actual cartoon series itself is, of course, entirely up to you. For myself, I had a lot of time following the stories of the Transformers in my living room. One thing that always stands out is the vast difference in quality between various episodes. While some episodes are superbly animated and full to the brim with action (like "Call of the Primitives", for example, which is animated almost as well if not better than the movie), others are badly drawn, the transformation sequences look more like morphing than anything else and the image rate is so low that the movements look jerky. It's strange to see such differences within a single series.

As far as plot and content go, of course, the opinions differ. But here, too, there are vast differences between episodes, at least to my mind. Some episodes seem exceedingly stupid ("A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court" comes to mind). But still, this is a very, very good DVD collection that no true-blooded G1 fan should miss out on. I consider the price tag fair, too. I bought mine at Amazon for about 90 Euros. Remember, this is an imported product. Which is probably a good thing.

I recently had the opportunity to see the episode "Heavy Metal War" in German and I was surprised how badly RTL (the German TV station who brought us the original G1 series back in the day) butchered this great TV series. The German voice actors were badly chosen and put little to no effort into their lines. Megatron's passion and drive are completely absent in his German lines. Also, I don't want to know what underpaid intern did the translation. Some sentence structures sound more like inane babble than anything else.

Also, RTL included some stupid CGI sequences, which completely disrupt the flow of the episode. The pictures get constantly interrupted by animations and everything is underlined by stupid machine noises. Who thought of that crap? Did they think any kid would like that?

(Note: The animation sequences Sam mentioned are part of the "Generation 2" series, which reran the old G1 episodes with the aforementioned CGI inclusions. The G1 series did not include those, not in the German or any other version.)

For myself I'm kinda glad that only a small part of the series was ever translated into German. The English lines rock a lot more and are much more fun. Which leaves me with but one thing left to say about this collection: "Autobots... transform and roll out!"

Rating: A

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Review Author: Philip S., Sam

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